Arizona State Sovereignty Amendment, Proposition 122 (2014)

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Proposition 122
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Arizona Constitution
Referred by:Arizona State Legislature
Topic:Federal constitutional issues
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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November 4
Proposition 122
Proposition 303
Proposition 304
Polls
Local measures
The Arizona State Sovereignty Amendment, Proposition 122 is on the November 4, 2014 general election ballot in Arizona as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, if approved, would create a mechanism by which state personnel and financial resources could only be used for purposes that are deemed congruent with the federal constitution by the state. The measure was primarily sponsored in the Arizona State Legislature by Sen. Chester Crandell (R-6) and Sen. Judy Burges (R-22), where it was known as Senate Concurrent Resolution 1016. It would amend Article 2, Section 3 of the Arizona Constitution.[1][2][3]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The short title for Proposition 122 reads as:[4]

Rejection Of Unconstitutional Federal Actions

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE II, SECTION 3, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO THE REJECTION OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL FEDERAL ACTIONS.[5]

Ballot summary

The full ballot summary reads as follows:[6]

PERMITS THE STATE TO EXERCISE ITS SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY BY RESTRICTING STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO PURPOSES THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of allowing the state to restrict the state and all local governments from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with a federal action or program that is not consistent with the Constitution of the United States. The state's authority is exercised if the state passes an initiative, referendum, bill, or pursues any other available legal remedy.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of retaining the current law relating to state and local governments and the Constitution of the United States. [5]

Constitutional changes

If approved, Proposition 122 would amend Article 2, Section 3 of the Arizona Constitution to read as follows, with the CAPITALIZED and underlined text being added:[1]

3. Supreme law of the land; authority to exercise sovereign authority against federal action; use of government personnel and financial resources.


Section 3. A. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land TO WHICH ALL GOVERNMENT, STATE AND FEDERAL, IS SUBJECT.
B. TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE'S FREEDOM AND TO PRESERVE THE CHECKS AND BALANCES OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, THIS STATE MAY EXERCISE ITS SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT THE ACTIONS OF ITS PERSONNEL AND THE USE OF ITS FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO PURPOSES THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE CONSTITUTION BY DOING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. PASSING AN INITIATIVE OR REFERENDUM PURSUANT TO ARTICLE IV, PART 1, SECTION 1.
2. PASSING A BILL PURSUANT TO ARTICLE IV, PART 2 AND ARTICLE V, SECTION 7.
3. PURSUING ANY OTHER AVAILABLE LEGAL REMEDY.


C. IF THE PEOPLE OR THEIR REPRESENTATIVES EXERCISE THEIR AUTHORITY PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, THIS STATE AND ALL POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THIS STATE ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING ANY PERSONNEL OR FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO ENFORCE, ADMINISTER OR COOPERATE WITH THE DESIGNATED FEDERAL ACTION OR PROGRAM.[5]


Background

AZ sovereignty measures

Proposition 122 is not the first attempt to address state sovereignty issues through ballot measures in Arizona. One proposed initiative in 2012 was very similar to Proposition 122. That initiated constitutional amendment would have allowed voters to reject federal actions with veto referendums. That measure was not certified for the ballot, but a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment was placed on the ballot in 2012 regarding state sovereignty and natural resources. It would have declared state sovereignty over the state's natural resources, including land, air, water, minerals and wildlife. The measure was defeated in the November 6, 2012 election.

Supporter examples

Supporters of this 2014 measure have used several case examples to demonstrate what they believe to be instances of federally mandated unconstitutional actions. The following subsections provide some background context for those arguments. To read what supporters have to say about these issues in light of Proposition 122, see the support arguments subsection.

Child Protective Services

Ongoing problems with Child Protective Services have been pointed to by supporters of Proposition 122 as a reason the measure is necessary. The agency was abolished by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in January 2014 following a series of scandals involving a backlog of over 6,000 cases from the state's hotline. It was replaced with a new agency called the Department of Child Safety.[7] According to the new agency's website, information protected by state or federal laws cannot be released by the agency, even in cases of deaths. "This may include: information regarding the source of a CPS report, information related to the privacy and dignity of crime victims (Arizona Constitution), criminal history information obtained from the Department of Public Safety, medical records protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and educational records protected under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act."[8]


ABC15 Arizona, "Arizona Child Protective Services," January 10, 2014

Affordable Care Act

See also: Affordable Care Act & Health insurance policy cancellations since Obamacare

Supporters of the proposition have also argued that the loss of insurance plans caused by the Affordable Care Act demonstrates the need for the proposition. Despite early assurances that the act would allow people to keep their private insurance plans if they wanted, plan cancellations did occur due to the ten essential benefits for coverage required by the act.[9]

Tombstone water issue

The Forest Service has stated that the reemergence of the Mexican spotted owl, Strix occidentalis lucida, did not affect the permit issuing for Tombstone water project.

Another case pointed to by supporters of Proposition 122 in their arguments is the water issue in Tombstone, Arizona following 2011 forest fires and flooding. The water line that had been supplying the city was damaged in the course of events. While the city worked to repair the water line, they had to comply with the 1964 Wilderness Act, as part of the line runs through Coronado National Forest. These regulations include that digging must be done with shovels instead of bulldozers and new pipe had to come up the mountain on horses instead of trucks. The conflict between the city and federal regulations increased and led to the city suing the federal government over the issue. The Goldwater Institute took on the city's representation in court. The city claimed ownership of 25 springs in the Huachuca Mountains, while the Forest Service claimed that the city only holds permits for 5 springs. Both sides have accused the other of exploiting the natural disasters of 2011 to promote or hinder the water project.[10] The reemergence of an endangered species, the Mexican spotted owl, following the forest fires was raised as possible reason for delaying work on the water line.[11] However, Forest Service officials later said that the owls' presence would have no effect on the permitting timeline for the water project.[12]


CNN, "Tombstone's water showdown," June 9, 2012

The following timeline of the court case was provided on the Goldwater Institute's website:

December 28, 2011: Tombstone files lawsuit in U.S. District Court against U.S. Forest Service
December 28, 2011: Tombstone files Motion for Preliminary Injunction
January 25, 2012: Goldwater Institute files Motion to Continue Consideration of Tenth Amendment Issues
February 20, 2012: Goldwater Institute files Tombstone’s Reply in Support of Motion to Extend Time by Severing and Continuing Consideration of Tenth Amendment Issues
March 30, 2012: Goldwater Institute files amended complaint
May 14, 2012: Court denies preliminary injunction
May 21, 2012: Goldwater Institute files for an injunction pending appeal
May 30, 2012: Ninth Circuit denies injunction
May 31, 2012: Goldwater Institute files emergency application with the Supreme Court of the United States[5]

Goldwater Institute, [13]

Support

AZ2014 Yes on Proposition 122.JPG

Supporters

Officials

Organizations

  • Yes for Common Sense
  • Tenth Amendment Center[14]

Individuals


Arguments

Yes for Common Sense argues that while the state is required to comply with federal rules, they should not have to pay for "ill-conceived" legislation.[16] They also provide the following three examples of specific ways Proposition 122 would affect Arizona's interaction with federal laws.

Child Protective Serivces

You've seen the headlines: Children abused. Children neglected. Children killed by their own parents. CPS, the agency charged with protecting abused kids, often fails to investigate [...] The lawyers for CPS say that federal law prevents them from releasing this information. That's right, a federal law originally designed to protect kids is actually being used to protect the wrongdoing of bureaucrats instead. [...] Prop 122 forces Child Protective Services to be more transparent when children are harmed. Bureaucrats would be forced to give up documents that could shed light on where they made mistakes and more importantly give us insight into how we can prevent children from dying in the future.[5]

—Yes for Common Sense, [17]

Healthcare mandate

[We] can all agree Arizonans should not lose doctors and insurance plans they want to keep. The good news is doctors and small businesses are innovating with free market solutions like "direct primary care" and "partially self-insured plans" to support their patients and employees.

Unfortunately, the federal government and anti-free market groups are looking to further limit our choices [...] Worst of all, they are trying to use the states to implement many of these restrictions. Some states have already succumbed to these pressures.

Prop 122 will allow us to prevent the federal government from making side deals with state bureaucrats restricting the choices of patients and businesses.[5]

—Yes for Common Sense, [18]

Land and water

Tombstone, Arizona at the intersection of Allen Street and 5th Street.
[The] legendary Town of Tombstone, ravaged by floods and forest fires, was unable to repair damaged water lines that could prevent another devastating fire. The Federal government, citing concerns about the Mexican Spotted Owl, tried to block Tombstone from making repairs to damaged water lines that were desperately needed by the local fire department. [...] For over 132 years the Town of Tombstone has used this water and has a claim to the land that even predates Arizona becoming a state. Tombstone has survived gamblers, rustlers and shootouts but might not survive a stupid law in Washington D.C.

Is the State of Arizona obligated to help the Federal Government enforce a law that puts lives in danger?

If Prop 122 passes Arizona can stop helping the Federal Government from taking land and water away from the communities that need it.[5]

—Yes for Common Sense, [19]

The Tenth Amendment Center defended Proposition 122, saying,

Opponents will inevitably argue that “federal law is supreme” (ignoring the words “in pursuance of” in the supremacy clause) and claim that Arizona has no authority to reject federal law. But even the Supreme Court agrees that states do not have to enforce federal acts – constitutional or otherwise.[5]

—Tenth Amendment Center, [14]

Campaign contributions

Yes for Common Sense registered with the secretary of state's campaign finance office as supporting Proposition 122 on November 18, 2013. The following totals are accurate as of the June 30, 2014, campaign finance report. At that time, the campaign only had one donor: Jack Charles Biltis. Biltis had given $75,075.00 to the campaign at that point.[20][21]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Yes for Common Sense $75,075.00 $50,000.00
Total $75,075.00 $50,000.00

Opposition

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Opponents

Arguments

According to the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter, Proposition 122 "would have an extremely negative impact on protection of natural resources, especially relative to the Legislature's role." They further argue,

The Arizona Legislature has a very poor record of determining what is constitutional or what is good for our state’s natural resources, yet we are supposed to leave it up to the Legislature to decide whether or not our state will abide by the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or the Endangered Species Act?[...]

Americans have a long history of supporting laws to protect natural resources. We no longer have rivers catching on fire and air pollutants from smokestacks and automobiles have been reduced significantly. Many species of plants and animals have been brought back from the brink of extinction. SCR1016 says the Arizona Legislature can reject these laws and their enforcement in Arizona. Where would the Mexican gray wolf, the California condor, or the black-footed ferret be without the Endangered Species Act? How bad would the air quality be in Phoenix without the Clean Air Act? What would the water quality be on the Colorado River without the Clean Water Act? We still have work to do in all these areas, but without these important federal laws, we would have dirtier air, more polluted waters, and less diversity of animals and plants.[5]

Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, [22]

Path to the ballot

Arizona Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
1234566.178910111213141516171819202122252627282930
See also: Laws governing ballot measures in Arizona & Amending the Arizona Constitution

According to Article 21 of the Arizona Constitution, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment can go to the ballot if a majority of members in both the Senate and House approve it. After approval from the legislature, the proposed amendment goes on a statewide ballot for a popular vote of the people where, if approved by a simple majority, it becomes part of the constitution. On May 14, 2013, the House approved the measure with a vote of 36 to 23. Previously, on March 4, 2013, the Senate passed it 16 to 12.[3]

Senate vote

March 4, 2013 Senate vote

Arizona SCR 1016 Senate vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 16 57.14%
No1242.86%

House vote

May 14, 2013 House vote

Arizona SCR 1016 House vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 36 61.02%
No2338.98%

Similar measures

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Arizona State Legislature, "SCR 1016," accessed February 7, 2014
  2. KJZZ.org, "Arizona voters to decide state sovereignty measure in 2014," May 14, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 OpenStates.org, "SCR 1016: Arizona Senate Concurrent Resolution - Rejection of unconstitutional federal actions," accessed May 24, 2013
  4. Arizona Secretary of State, "2014 General Election Ballot Measures," accessed July 1, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. Arizona Secretary of State, "Attorney General Approval of 2014 Ballot Measures," accessed September 8, 2014
  7. The Daily Banter, "Why Arizona Abolished Child Protective Services," January 17, 2014
  8. Arizona Department of Economic Security: Department of Child Safety, "Department of Child Safety (DCS) Frequently Asked Questions," accessed July 1, 2014
  9. The Washington Post, "This is why Obamacare is canceling some people’s insurance plans," October 29, 2013
  10. CNN, "Showdown at the H2O Corral," May 10, 2012
  11. CNN, "Spotted owl could be game-changer in Tombstone water war," June 9, 2012
  12. Cronkite News, "Officials say spotted owl doesn’t matter one hoot in Tombstone water feud," June 11, 2014
  13. Goldwater Institute, "Tombstone v. United States," February 17, 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 Tenth Amendment Center, "Arizona Voters Get Opportunity To Consider State Sovereignty Amendment In November 2014," May 15, 2013
  15. The New American, "Arizona Prop 122 Restores State Power to Reject Federal Mandates," July 11, 2014
  16. Yes on 122, "Why Yes on 122," accessed July 1, 2014
  17. Yes on 122, "Protect our children," accessed July 1, 2014
  18. Yes on 122, "Protect our healthcare," accessed July 1, 2014
  19. Yes on 122, "Protect our property," accessed July 1, 2014
  20. Arizona Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance - Filer Details: Yes for Common Sense," accessed July 1, 2014
  21. Arizona Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance Report, Yes for Common Sense," June 30, 2014
  22. Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter, "Legislative Tracker: rejection of unconstitutional federal actions," accessed July 1, 2014