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With lawsuit filed, arguments to be heard for Arizona ballot measure

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July 13, 2010

MARICOPA COUNTY, Arizona: An initial hearing took place in Maricopa County on July 12, 2010 to review the description of a certified measure for the Arizona ballot. The measure in question, Proposition 302, would repeal the First Things First program, which is an early childhood services program, and put it's $324 million into the general fund. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig will review the validity of the measure's ballot language, which opponents are stating persuades voters to vote for the measure during the November elections. The suit, which is Case Number CV2010-020927 and filed on behalf of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, claims that Proposition 302's description misleads voters and hides important facts to consider.[1][2]

Some of the facts that the board says are hidden is that the measure does not tell residents that voters approved the program in a ballot measure in 2006. Rhiann Allvin, executive director of the First Things First program, stated that their accusations stem from their "impartial analysis" of each ballot measure when their council met in June 2010.

Attorneys for the Arizona Legislature claim that nothing is wrong with the wording of the proposal and that Judge Oberbillig should approve of the language.

On July 12, 2010, Oberbillig ordered a hearing of each side's arguments on July 26, 2010. Reports are stating that the losing side of the lawsuit will bring the issue to the attention of the Arizona Supreme Court.[3]

Oberbillig has been busy in the world of ballot measures in Arizona, as the judge, in another ballot measure lawsuit, struck Proposition 108 from the Arizona ballot after ruling that the proposal violated Arizona's single subject rule. The measure would have let voters decide to extend the right of Arizonans to use a secret ballot in union organizing votes and public votes.

The judge stated that proponents may have had other motives for placing this measure on the ballot. Oberbillig then officially ruled that the measure violated Arizona's single subject rule, deciding that public votes and union votes were not "sufficiently or logically related to one another." The judge also stated that the Arizona Constitution already required secret ballot for public elections. The measure was then removed from the ballot[4] The lawsuit, which is filed as Case Number CV2010-014942, was filed by the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 99, and the defendants, as listed by the case file, included the Legislature Of The State Of Arizona, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Board Of Supervisors Of Maricopa County.[5]

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