Getting a head start on initiative petitions

Group trying to add seven initiatives to the ballot

KINGMAN - The voting district lines for various federal, state and local representatives have not been drawn for the 2012 election yet, but that hasn't stopped groups from filing initiative petitions.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State's website, five groups have filed paperwork to collect signatures for seven initiatives. All of the groups will have to have their required number of signatures in by July 5 to put their initiative on the ballot.

Prop 13 Arizona is one of the groups that have filed to add an initiative to the ballot. The group wants to change the state's property tax laws and cap the total residential property tax rate at 0.5 percent and all other property tax rates at 1 percent. It would also limit value increases on properties to no more than 2 percent per year.

The People for Ethical Government is looking to remove immunity for politicians who are accused of DUI, domestic violence or postponing their taxes.

Open Elections/Open Government Act would allow all Arizonans to vote in a single primary for the candidate of their choice. All of the candidates for the Republican, Democratic and other parties would be listed on one ballot, which would be handed out to all voters. The top two vote getters would run against each other.

The change would only apply to Arizona elections where a candidate's party affiliation appears on the ballot. It would not apply to elections where a party affiliation is not listed on the ballot and elections for the president of the United States.

Prop 13 Arizona, the People for Ethical Government and Open Elections will have to gather 259,213 signatures in order to get their issues on the ballot.

Another group trying to get something on November's ballot is the Arizona Solar Power Society. The group is trying to get three initiatives on the ballot that would increase the number of tax incentives to people and businesses that install solar power arrays. One initiative would create a $2.25 a watt personal solar tax credit. Another would create a tax credit for 50 percent of the value of solar power array, with a maximum amount of $12,000, which could be applied to a homeowner's personal income tax over 10 years. In return for the tax credits, a person would have to sign over their solar renewable energy credits to the state.

The organizations third initiative would create a solar renewable energy credit exchange, which would allow Arizona to sell the energy credits it gets from homeowners and businesses through the tax incentive programs to utility companies and other businesses looking to offset their carbon footprint.

The last petition request is from the Justice in Sentencing Community. The organization wants to change the law and deny parole to people who are convicted of a felony that's sexual or violent nature.

Arizona Solar Power Society and Justice in Sentencing Community will have to turn in 172, 809 signatures in order to get on the ballot. The difference between the two signature amounts is because some of the issues would change the state constitution, which requires a higher number of signatures.

The Mohave County Elections Department is also working toward next year's election. The Board of Supervisors approved the new voting district maps on Sept. 12. The maps will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice in the next few weeks. Once they are approved by the DOJ, the county can officially adopt the maps.

The department is working on determining how many signatures candidates will need to collect to get on the ballot. Those numbers will be posted some time in mid-March.

The department is also asking all political parties to update their address and phone number information with the department. The department gets a number of calls each year looking for local party headquarters information. The department can be reached at (928) 753-0733.