A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star 2014
Arizona lawmakers are trying to take power away from the voters with the proposed ‘voter underminer bill‘, HCR 2043. A house panel voted on it just this past Monday.
As it currently stands, once an initiative has been adopted by voters, lawmakers are only able to alter it if it ‘furthers the purpose’ of the original measure and in order for lawmakers to do this they need 3/4ths vote in both the House and Senate. Why? Because in 1996 AZ lawmakers overturned a voter approved medical marijuana initiative, and we didn’t like that so in ’98 we voted to remove their power to do so with the Voter Protection Act.
So now if voters approve HCR 2043, the Voter Protection Act of ’98 will be repealed. If that happens then the legislature would be able to overturn any voter approved initiative so long as they receive the same margin of votes in the House and Senate.
So for example, if voters move to legalize recreational marijuana this year, lets say by 53 percent, lawmakers could vote to overturn the new law so long as 53 percent of the House and Senate agree. Of course, this bill would only allow the legislature to overturn new initiatives, they can’t touch any initiative approved by voters in the past. This is still bad news for Arizona voters who elect these officials to work for us, not against us.
For more reading on this issue, see this article on Arizona Daily Star.
Photo by Lauren Saria
Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, and Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale have both started pushing to make it more difficult to obtain medical marijuana for certain groups. Here’s the kicker, it may be illegal since the medical marijuana law was put in place by voters not the legislature.
“The Arizona Constitution spells out that voter-approved measures can be altered only with a super-majority vote. It’s possible that Townsend and Lawrence could get that margin.
But any change needs to “further the purpose” of the original measure.“
Rep. Kelly Townsend is trying to make it illegal for a pregnant woman to use medical marijuana, regardless if her doctor says it would be beneficial. Essentially overruling the doctor’s orders for the patient. Ridiculous!
Rep. Jay Lawrence would like to make it so only allopathic and osteopathic physicians can write medical marijuana recommendations. As it stands now, naturopaths and homeopaths are allowed to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, but if Rep. Jay Lawrence gets his way, this will change.
It truly is a shame these lawmakers can’t just respect the voter’s and leave us be.