Propositions 110, 111 and 112 the most straightforward
Some of the propositions on Arizona's November ballot can be quite complex, but several are fairly straightforward.
The latter is true for propositions 110, 111 and 112.
For the first time in at least seven attempts, a proposition that would allow Arizona to exchange state trust lands for other public lands has widespread support.
In fact, no one even registered opposition to Proposition 110 in the Secretary of State's ballot propositions publicity pamphlet.
Propositions about state trust lands have been on half the statewide ballots since 1998, and sometimes two competing measures were on the same ballot. Voters have rejected them all.
Conservation groups have been pitted against the Legislature in the past, on more complicated changes to state trust lands rules.
But the Legislature proposed the Prop. 110 Constitutional amendment mainly to protect military bases, which bring a lot of federal money and contracts to Arizona.
State Land Commissioner Maria Baier said the existing military bases bring an economic contribution of $9 billion annually to Arizona.
Conservation groups such as the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy are supporting Prop. 110 mainly because it offers an avenue to trade lands to help manage state lands, such as to consolidate checkerboard land holdings, although it's a tough process that would require statewide ballot approval.
It's not often one sees the above groups on the same side as the Arizona Farm Bureau, another supporter.
Proposition 111 would change the secretary of state title to lieutenant governor, who would be from the same party as the governor.
That would prevent a secretary of state from the Republican Party from taking over the office of governor when a Democrat leaves that office before his/her term has expired, or vice versa.
That has occurred more than once in Arizona, including this year. Gov. Jan Brewer has called herself the "poster child" for this proposition.
Arizona has not had a governor leave office under normal circumstances since 1975, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which supports the proposition.
Forty-five states have lieutenant governors, according to the state chamber and the Greater Phoenix Leadership.
Two voices of opposition are in the state publicity pamphlet, including the Arizona Farm Bureau, which worried what would happen if a non-partisan candidate wins the governor's race.
The Farm Bureau also wondered if candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would get along, since voters instead of the gubernatorial candidate would pick the lieutenant governor.
Arizona Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce of Prescott said he doesn't support the change, although he voted to put Prop. 111 on the ballot so voters could decide.
Proposition 112 would make people file citizen ballot initiative and referendum petitions two months earlier than now required.
The proposition wouldn't affect ballot referrals from the Arizona Legislature, which technically has no deadline to submit ballot propositions, said Secretary of State Elections Director Amy Bjelland in response to a Daily Courier question.
State legislative leaders in Legislative District One (LD1) say this is meant to help the Secretary of State have more time to count ballots, not to make it harder to get on the ballot. Some legislators and others have expressed general disdain for citizen initiatives in the past.
"Through initiatives, narrow ideas can become a tyrannical majority, as there is neither nuance nor compromise as in legislative debate," the Arizona Farm Bureau argued in its state publicity pamphlet statement supporting Prop. 112.
The extra time also would give propositions more time to overcome court challenges before the deadline to get on the ballot, so Prop. 112 also could help citizen petition drives.
One "pro" statement in the state publicity pamphlet from a Phoenix attorney said that happened to him. His group had the right to prove it had enough ballot signatures, but not enough time to prove that in court.
Again, no one submitted arguments against this proposition in the state publicity pamphlet.
LD1 Democratic House candidate Lindsay Bell said she will vote no because of Legislative opposition to some initiatives, and because it's already tough for citizens to meet the existing deadline.
LD1 Democratic Senate candidate Bob Donahue also said he opposes it, calling it an unnecessary infringement on voter rights.
Analysis by Arizona Legislative Council
In 1910, the United States Congress passed the Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act, allowing Arizona to become a state. The Enabling Act granted Arizona approximately 10.9 million acres of land, referred to as "state trust land."
The state land trust is intended to produce revenue for various public institutions (schools, colleges, prisons, etc.). The state can lease or sell trust land, and the natural products (timber, minerals, etc.) of the land, only to the "highest and best bidder" at public auction.
In 1936, Congress amended the Enabling Act to give Arizona more flexibility in managing and disposing of trust land by allowing the state to exchange trust land for other public or private lands.
Arizona did not amend its state Constitution to incorporate that authority for land exchanges. The Arizona Supreme Court has determined that without amending the Arizona Constitution the state cannot conduct land exchanges.
Proposition 110 would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the state to dispose of (for example, sell or lease) state trust land or interests in trust land or to place restrictions on interests or rights in trust lands, without advertisement or auction, in order to avoid incompatible use of the trust land that would interfere with military installations, facilities, ranges, airspace or operations or to enable military combat readiness and allow full spectrum test and training operations.
Proposition 110 would also amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the state to exchange state trust land for other public land. The exchange must be in the best interest of the state land trust. The purpose of the exchange must be to either assist in preserving and protecting military facilities in this state from encroaching development or for the proper management, protection or public use of state lands. There must be two independent appraisals that show that the true value of the land the state receives in the exchange is equal to or greater than the true value of the trust land the state conveys. There must also be two independent analyses that detail the income to the state land trust before and the projected income to the trust after the exchange, the financial impact of the exchange on each county, city, town and school district in which the lands are located, the physical, economic and natural resource impacts of the exchange on the local community and the impacts on local land uses and land use plans. A detailed public notice of a proposed exchange must be given, public hearings must be held and an opportunity for public comment must be given. A proposed exchange is not effective unless it is approved by the voters at a statewide November general election.
Analysis by Arizona Legislative Council
Proposition 111 would amend the Arizona Constitution to rename the office of secretary of state as the office of lieutenant governor, beginning with the term of office that starts in 2015. The lieutenant governor elected in the November 2014 general election would assume all of the duties currently performed by the secretary of state, including being first in the line of succession to replace a governor unable to serve.
The proposition provides that during the primary election, candidates for the office of lieutenant governor would run separately from candidates for the office of governor.
The nominees selected at the primary election for the office of governor and lieutenant governor from the same political party would then run on a single ticket in the general election. At the general election, voters would cast a single vote for a candidate for governor, and that vote would constitute a vote for the ticket, including the candidate for lieutenant governor.
Proposition 111 also would make a technical change by consolidating two overlapping versions of Article V, section 1 of the Arizona Constitution and then repealing one of the overlapping versions.
Analysis by Arizona Legislative Council
Proposition 112 would amend the Arizona Constitution to require that initiative petitions be filed at least six months before the date on which the measure will be voted on. Under current law, initiative petitions must be filed at least four months before the date on which the measure will be voted on.
For more information on the ballot propositions including "virtual" town halls, go to the Secretary of State's website at www.azsos.gov.