Arizona Republicans use taxpayer money to oppose citizen initiatives

GOP lawmakers are once again relying on taxpayer money to fight their battles as they try to remove the obstacles facing HB 2244, which places stricter requirements on citizen initiatives. They have hired the law firm of Cantelme and Brown according to public records obtained by The Arizona Republic. The firm charges as much as $310 an hour for attorneys, and the expenses are coming straight from the pockets of citizens like you and me.

The bill aims to hold citizens to the same strict standards that lawmakers follow when they are passing a law, which House Speaker J.D. Mesnard says justifies the expenses it will rack up in the courts. The bill is considered unconstitutional by many people, who believe the House Republicans are infringing on the authority of courts to determine if citizen initiatives follow legal standards.

House Democrats, however, oppose the bill as they say citizen initiatives help Arizonans fight wrongful legislation. Since 1912, Arizonans have proposed over 150 initiatives, of which more than 70 have passed. These include landmark issues such as women’s suffrage (1912), environmental reform (1914, 1916), right to work laws (1946), term limits for state legislators (1992), and recently, a raise in minimum wage (2016).

Follow up with us for more on this story as it unfolds.