The Arizona Chamber of Commerce recently posted an op-ed article penned by former Republican state Senate President Steve Pierce for the Arizona Daily Sun in which he argues for reforms regarding citizen ballot initiatives.
“Arizona’s ballot initiative process is one that needs a serious overhaul,” Pierce wrote in the article. “That’s why this year I’m pleased to see the Arizona Legislature working to restore integrity, accountability and transparency to this critical component of our state election system.”
To illustrate his grievances with the current policies surrounding citizen initiatives, Pierce cited two narrowly defeated initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana and to cap the compensation of health care executives in the state. He said both of these measures were driven by special interest groups who got the initiatives on ballots through questionable signature campaigns. Pierce also took issue with the fact that most signatures for citizen initiatives come from Maricopa and Pima counties, leaving rural Arizonans out of the picture.
“Issues with signature gathering and limits on the ability to challenge questionable proposals make it far too easy to get a bad idea on the ballot in Arizona," Pierce wrote. "These bad ideas stick and can have lasting consequences for generations to come. …Our citizen initiative process is worth preserving to allow government by the people. Central to that goal is ensuring the process has integrity and can be trusted by voters.”