"Progress Now Arizona" group opposing bill that could overturn voter initiatives

- A battle is brewing at the Arizona State Capitol over whether state lawmakers should be allowed to override initiatives that are passed by voters, if they don't like it.

Citizen initiatives goes back to the early days of the state, and now, lawmakers are considering a thorny issue over proposals that will make it harder to gather signatures for voter initiatives, like the recently passed Proposition 206 that raised the state's minimum wage.

"That bill would essentially allow the legislature to repeal or change any measure voters had approved on the ballot, after voters had voted it in," said Josselyn Berry with Progress Now Arizona. The group is working to defeat the proposals.

A supporter of the bill said that if lawmakers feel voters have made a mistake, the legislature needs the power to intervene.

"This simply removes the restrictions," said Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-District 23). "Maybe they want to make a change that reflects different priorities. Maybe there is a deficiency in the law that needs to be addressed. Right now, we are incapable of addressing this in a meaningful way because of this restriction."

Opponents of the legislative proposals, however, say letting lawmakers pull the plug on propositions they don't like is "an insult" to the voters.

"I think that is a bit patronizing and disrespectful of Arizona voters," said Berry. "They can make their own decisions."

The bill should be heard by a House committee in the coming week.

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