Director of AZ Americans for Prosperity gives group's opinion on propositions

SUZANNE ADAMS/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Tom Jenney, Arizona director of Americans for Prosperity, talked to the Republican Men’s Club on Monday.

SUZANNE ADAMS/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Tom Jenney, Arizona director of Americans for Prosperity, talked to the Republican Men’s Club on Monday.

KINGMAN - Tom Jenney, the state director for the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity, gave the Kingman Republican Men's Club the organization's opinion on the November ballot issues Monday. Americans for Prosperity is an organization that favors limited government, free markets and cutting taxes.

Jenney called Proposition 106 a "fantastic proposition." The proposition would prevent any state or local government agencies from forcing residents to purchase specific healthcare plans or see specific doctors. It would also make it illegal for state or local governments to fine or tax residents to force them into purchasing a healthcare plan. It also allows residents to use their own money to purchase whatever healthcare they need that is not covered by their healthcare plan, he said.

Because it is an amendment to the state constitution, the proposition will also allow Arizona to use the states' rights argument in the healthcare lawsuit against the federal government, Jenney said.

Proposition 107 is a civil rights matter, he said. That proposition would amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs and prevent schools and state and local government agencies from hiring or contracting based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

There are some counties and local government agencies that allow minorities to place a higher bid on a project than other groups, Jenney said. This proposition would halt that process.

Mohave County does not use that system, he said. Every project is awarded to the best bidder regardless of if they are a minority or not.

Proposition 109 would amend the state constitution to make hunting wildlife in the state a constitutional right. The idea behind this proposition is to head off any future challenges to hunting rights in the state from animal rights groups, Jenney said. It still allows the regulation of hunting by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Also on the ballot is Proposition 110, which would allow the state to swap state land with privately owned land near military bases in the state, he said. The proposition will hopefully prevent future zoning issues around military bases, such as Luke Air Force Base. All of the land swaps would have to be approved by voters, Jenney said.

Voters will also get to decide on Proposition 111, which would change the Arizona Secretary of State's Office to the Lieutenant Governor's Office in 2015, he said. The proposition would not only rename the office, but the winners of the 2014 primary election for the lt. governor and governor positions would run as one ticket in the 2014 general election, Jenney said.

One concern about Proposition 111 is that it may make it harder for Independent or third party candidates to get on the ballot for governor or lt. governor.

Arizona Rep. Nancy McLain said the Legislature had designed the proposition to place the primary winners for the two positions on one ticket in the general election because not many people realized that the secretary of state assumes the position of governor if the governor leaves office. If passed, the proposition would ensure that the same party stays in power should the governor step down, she said.

Americans for Prosperity was kind of split on Proposition 112, which would change the deadline to submit signatures to place a citizen's initiative on the ballot from June of that year to April. The idea was to prevent out-of-state groups from interfering with Arizona elections and give the state more time to work out any lawsuits that may be filed to prevent something from getting on the ballot, Jenney said. But it shortens the amount of time that small groups can collect signatures in order to get something on the ballot, which could mean that some community issues may not reach the ballot, he said.

Proposition 113 deals mainly with labor groups, Jenney said. The proposition would protect the right of labor union members to vote by a secret ballot. The concern is that if union members lose that right, union bosses or others may try to influence or intimidate union members to vote in a certain way, he said. Oddly enough, a number of the businesses in the state are for the issue, while a number of state unions are against it, Jenney said.

If it passes, the proposition will also allow the state to challenge any federal law banning secret ballots in union matters, he said.

Proposition 203 is the only citizens' initiative on November's ballot, Jenney said. The proposition would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state. If passed, the proposition could cause problems not only with people abusing the law and the drug, but it also prevents landlords and business owners from discriminating against people who use medical marijuana. A landlord could not deny housing and a business could not refuse to hire a person based on the fact that they use medical marijuana. This could create a civil rights issue for businesses and landlords, Jenney said.

Propositions 301 and 302 both deal with the state budget, he said. Proposition 301 would sweep all of the money in the state's land-conservation fund into the state's general fund to help with the state deficit. The money in the fund is currently used to help state and local government agencies purchase land for parks and other recreational purposes. Approximately $20 million would be moved into the state's general fund, he said.

Proposition 302 would end the First Things First program, Jenney said. The program provides funding for early childhood development and education projects. Funds for the program were generated through a voter-approved 80-cent tax on tobacco products. Any remaining funds in the program's account would be transferred to the state general fund to help with the state deficit, he said.

"I would rather the Legislature had the money," Jenney said. The First Things First program has distributed very little of the money it has received, he said.

The Miner plans to do a more in-depth story on the ballot propositions with analysis from both sides of the issues in the future. More information on the November ballot measures can be found at www.azsos.gov.