Arizona Propositions 2012 Presidential Elections

The Arizona propositions come in two forms. Constitutional amendments which carry the 1XX prefixes and the Legislative initiatives which have the 2XX numbers. The constitutional amendments can be proposed by the legislature or popular initiative. The 2XX tend to be from popular initiative.

Proposition 114

This will add explicit protection to the constitution for victims of crime. The short description is so that victims of crime cannot be sued by those that committed the crime against them. The trivial argument is that a criminal slips on a toy when burgling a house and then sues the crime victim for negligence.

Currently Section 31 contains; "No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing death or injury to any person." The proposition would add; "except that a crime victim is not subject to a claim for damages by a person who is harmed while the person is attempting to engage in, engaging in or fleeing after having engaged in or attempted to engage in conduct that is classified as a felony offense".

Apparently there has not been a case in Arizona where [pdf] "an unambiguously defined crime victim was legally compelled to pay restitution to a perpetrator of a felony". I suspect this may also have something to do with the Republican style policies of "stand your ground" and not making crime victims liable for restitution if there is a shooting involved.

I am voting no on Proposition 114. I suspect this will get through as it appeals to populist sentiment.

Proposition 115

This proposition has a large number of changes to the Judicial selection process in the Arizonan Constitution. The Arizona Department of State sends out a large paper booklet to all voters which describes all the propositions with for and against on it. The current nomination method is by a non-partisan board which is made up of five attorney members that are appointed by the State Bar of Arizona and ten non-attorney members that have strict limits on party membership. The proposition will change that to Governor appointing four members of the board and State Bar appointing one. The non attorney members also have the party limits removed.

There are a lot of constitutional language changes in this proposition and it is confusing. I can not find any issues with the current judicial system that needs fixing and that this proposition will achieve. It looks like it will aid the Governor controlling the selections more closely as well through tighter control of the nomination board. I am giving this a no.

Proposition 116

This amends the constitution to give a greater tax break on newly acquired machinery. The Arizona constitution claims that all property is subject to taxation unless exempted by the constitution.

I may be off base here, but I think the constitution is poorly written if it is so inflexible that a simple legislative solution like this is entrenched and requires a popular ballot to change it. This is definitely in the realm of legislative language and not entrenched constitutional language.

I thought that maybe these propositions on the West Coast were a new way of legislating with popular will where the voting public starts to interact with legislation via propositions. It does not seem that way though. It is possible that this is the start of Athenian style democracy where all legislation is constitutionally entrenched and policy is done via propositions and popular ballot. In Arizona I think these propositions are done because the constitution carries legislative tasks in it.

Proposition 116 gets a no vote.

Proposition 117

This proposition will amend the constitution to limit the annual increase in the value of property to calculate property taxes. This is typical "no" to all taxes type policy. Currently in Arizona you pay property taxes on the value of the land from two years ago anyway which makes it cheaper - except after the crash when property values plummeted and the two year old value was still higher. The state and counties do all they can to bend over backwards and keep property taxes low anyway. Proposition 117 gets a no.

Proposition 118

This amendment changes the formula for distributing money from the permanent fund to public institutions. This is another legislative task that somehow got entrenched into the constitution. Apparently there were genuine issues during the real estate crash with the formula; "Experience since 2004 has demonstrated that the current formula can result in years with little or no payout due to economic fluctuations or downturns. Prop 118 would guarantee annual payouts but likely at smaller average distributions over time."

This seems innocuous. Proposition 118 gets a yes.

Proposition 119

This is a complex proposition. It allows the state to exchange trust land for public land when it is to do with developing lands for sale or public use or protecting military facilities. It appears in the 1930s there was federal legislation to give Arizona 11 million acres which it could only lease of sell. There has been new legislation in Congress which expands the scope of that original act.

Arizona entrenched the 1930s Federal legislation into its constitution. Now the Arizona constitution needs a proposition to amend it so that it matches federal legislation. Once again, the Arizona constitution is too inflexible, this should be done by the Arizona Assembly.

Proposition 119 gets a yes vote but it is more an indication of the inflexibility of the Arizona Constitution that this is being put before voters.

Proposition 120

This is a retarded Tea Party proposition. It is also unconstitutional and will most likely be thrown out by the Supreme Court if it passes. This proposition would, "amend the Arizona Constitution to grant the state exclusive control over air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state's boundaries."

Proposition 120 gets a no and a wish that the Tea Partiers in Arizona understand the constitution of their nation and stop abusing the Arizona assembly for pushing unconstitutional propositions in-front of voters. Idiots.

Proposition 121

This proposition is a popular initiative which would change the constitution so that the primary becomes a top-two system. All voters will be able to participate no matter their party affiliation. Supposedly it is to encourage more moderate candidates by having it open and a top two system rather than partisan voters voting in their party's primaries. Potentially the candidates that survive the primary could be from the same party. Party signaling is important especially when faced with a massive ballot on a voting booth and under pressure to fill it out. Having candidates from the same party is no good, nor is third party candidates being excluded.

The real problem is the current Republican party is not moderate. Until they clean up their act it is important that third parties offer alternatives such as the Libertarians, Greens and Independents. Additionally the Democrats need to offer candidates as well. Diversity is good in this instance. Voting against the Republicans because of their extremism is the best mechanism to enforce moderation.

Proposition 121 gets a no.

Proposition 204

This is a popular initiative that would create a legislative act which raises the sales by one per cent for the purpose of funding educational, transportation and human services. The sales tax rate will go from 5.6 percent to 6.6 percent. The legislation also requires the Legislature to increase certain components of the education financing formula. One of the downsides of this mechanism is that legislators aren't able to respond to changing funding demands because money is fixed in place by a formula. California has had similar issues. Then again it is a popular initiative that is being pushed because the legislature has not been responding to popular demands.

Proposition 204 gets a no vote.
cam 2012-10-20 12:04:25.0