As the dust settles from Tuesday's primary election, the candidates who survived the winnowing process will be gearing up for the Nov. 2 general election.
On that same ballot, voters will also decide 11 ballot propositions, ranging from establishing a right to refuse to buy health insurance to letting lawmakers take control of cigarette taxes dedicated to children's health and education programs.
Ten of the propositions come from the Arizona Legislature; only one, an initiative to allow the use of medical marijuana, was put on the ballot through a signature-gathering campaign. (The lack of initiatives might have something to do with the fact that conservative special-interest groups that have run initiative campaigns in the past now have an easier time persuading state lawmakers to spare them the expense of signature-gathering campaigns by putting their propositions on the ballot.)
Here's a brief run-down of the propositions. We'll dig in deeper as the general election approaches.
• Prop 106 would amend the Arizona Constitution to "preserve the freedom of Arizonans to provide for their health care." The prop is essentially aimed at undermining the Democratic healthcare reform package by creating a state constitutional amendment at odds with the new federal law requiring people to purchase health insurance, as well as a new right to purchase private health insurance. A similar proposition was narrowly shot down two years ago. If Prop 106 passes, expect a legal showdown in federal court.
• Prop 107 would amend the Arizona Constitution by banning affirmative-action programs that provide preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin by state, city, town or county governments, including any programs at universities or community colleges.
• Prop 109 would create a new constitutional right to hunt and fish in Arizona. The proposition would prevent future propositions to limit hunting and fishing by giving the Arizona Legislature exclusive authority to regulate hunting, although rule-making authority could be delegated to the Game and Fish Commission.
• Prop 110 would ask voters to approve certain types of land swaps related to state trust lands. Previous efforts to approve land swaps have been knocked down by voters.
• Prop 111 would change the title of Secretary of State to Lieutenant Governor to make it more clear that the secretary of state becomes governor if a governor should, say, resign after being convicted of fraud in federal court, be impeached by the Legislature, or skip off to Washington to serve in a presidential administration, abandoning voters who supported her in a governor's race because they believed she would stand up for them against GOP lawmakers.
• Prop 112 would push back the deadline for submitting petitions for an initiative campaign from four months before an election to six months before an election.
• Prop 113 would amend the Arizona Constitution to require that union-organizing elections be conducted with a secret ballot. The proposition, which was hastily added to the ballot earlier this month after another version was tossed off the ballot by the Arizona Supreme Court, would attempt to counter any effort at the federal level to pass "card check" legislation that would allow unions to form if enough workers sign paperwork saying they want to organize. If passed by voters, Prop 113 could end up the focus in federal court if Democrats should ever pass such card-check legislation, which has stalled on Capitol Hill.
• Prop 203 would legalize medical marijuana for terminally or seriously ill patients who register with the state and get a doctor's recommendation. Dispensaries would face a variety of regulations.
• Prop 301 would eliminate the Land Conservation Fund created by voters and give the roughly $123 million remaining in the fund to lawmakers in order to balance this year's budget.
• Prop 302 would eliminate the First Things First program, which funds early childhood development and health programs, and use the estimated $324 million in the fund to help lawmakers balance this year's budget. Future revenues for the fund, which come from an 80-cent-a-pack cigarette tax, would also be turned over to the lawmakers to be used at their discretion.
Voters in the City of Tucson will decide two additional propositions:
• Prop 400 would increase the sales tax inside the Tucson city limits by a half-cent, bringing the combined city, state and transportation sales tax to 9.6 cents on every dollar. City officials say the money would prevent drastic cuts in city services, including the police and fire departments.
Eva Carillo Dong of the Sunnyside Unified School District is chairing the Keep Tucson First campaign in support of the tax; Shaun McClusky, who ran unsuccessfully for the Tucson City Council last year, is heading up an effort to oppose it.
• Prop 401 would amend the Tucson City Charter, which serves as the "constitution" of the city and sets out the powers and responsibilities of the Tucson City Council. The four changes would grant the mayor equal powers to council members; move all city council elections to the same year beginning in 2013; reduce the civil-service protections of department heads; and raise the annual salaries of council members from $24,000 to roughly $61,000 and the mayor from $42,000 to $76,600. (Future pay raises would be pegged to the pay of county supervisors, whose salaries are set by state lawmakers.)