- Associated Press - Thursday, February 23, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on proposals to change Arizona’s initiative process (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

The Arizona House has given preliminary approval to a bill changing how signatures that qualify voter initiatives for the ballot can be collected.

The measure by Republican Rep. Vince Leach of Tucson bars groups from paying per signature.

Two other measures that will ask voters to repeal protections on voter initiatives and referendums also received initial approvals.



A final vote expected late Thursday evening will send the measures to the Senate. If approved there, voters will be whether to completely or partially repeal the 1998 Voter Protection Act and Leach’s proposal will go to gov. Doug Ducey for his signature.

That act was passed by voters to prevent the Legislature from changing voter-approved laws.

The House delayed debate on a contentious proposal to change how signatures are gathered for voter initiatives until next week.

7 p.m.

The Arizona House has given preliminary approval to measures that will ask voters to repeal protections on voter initiatives and referendums.

A final vote expected late Thursday evening will send the measures to the Senate. If approved there, voters will be whether to completely or partially repeal the 1998 Voter Protection Act.

That act was passed by voters to prevent the Legislature from changing voter-approved laws.

The House delayed debate on a contentious proposal to change how signatures are gathered for voter initiatives until next week. But it is expected to take up another measure changing the signature process.

5:45 p.m.

The Arizona House will delay debate on a contentious proposal to change how signatures are gathered for voter initiatives.

The proposal by Republican Rep. Don Shooter of Yuma is still undergoing review by House lawyers who said earlier Thursday that it may have Constitutional issues. Shooter’s bill will require voter approval if it passes the Legislature.

Another proposal by Republican Rep. Vince Leach of Tucson on initiative signature gathering will be amended to remove most of the new regulations that troubled Democrats. What’s left for the House to debate Thursday night is a provision banning paying circulators per signature.

Two other proposals set for a late-night debate would ask voters to repeal or modify the Voter Protection Act, which bars the Legislature from making substantive changes to voter-approved laws.

1:50 p.m.

Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard says a proposal that would have made wholesale changes to how signatures are gathered to qualify voter initiatives for the ballot will be stripped of many major provisions.

Mesnard said Thursday that Rep. Vince Leach’s proposal will be left with only a ban on paying circulators per signature and two smaller components. They are an optional review by the Legislature’s lawyers of proposed initiatives and adding to the time a legal challenge must be filed from 5 days to 10 business days.

Provisions that added a raft of new regulations will be removed.

Another proposal set for debate Thursday asks voters to require signatures to be collected from each legislative district rather than statewide.

Two others would repeal or modify the Voter Protection Act, which bars the Legislature from making substantive changes to voter-approved laws.

11 a.m.

The Arizona House has scheduled debates on a series of Republican-sponsored bills that would alter how citizen initiatives make the ballot.

The Thursday debates come as Republicans angered over voter approval of a minimum wage initiative in November mount a full-court press that Democrats says is designed to make it harder for voter-driven proposals to make the ballot.

Among the bills is one that makes major changes in how signatures to qualify initiatives for the ballot are collected. It bans paying per signature and imposes a raft of new rules. Another proposal asks voters to require signatures to be collected from each legislative district rather than statewide.

Two others would repeal or modify the Voter Protection Act, which bars the Legislature from making substantive changes to voter-approved laws.

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