The challenges to ballot propositions
just keep coming.

Now there is a lawsuit to ax
Proposition 102, which would make it harder to
limit hunting and fishing, and another
to change the official analysis of
Proposition 203, restricting bilingual
education.

That makes half a dozen propositions
that are under legal fire, and the
deadlines for printing voter guides and
ballots are fast approaching.

Proposition 102 amends the Arizona
Constitution to require the state to
manage wildlife in public trust. It
also requires two-thirds approval for
initiatives that permit, limit or
prohibit the taking of wildlife, or the
methods or seasons for doing so.

Attorney Stephanie Nichols-Young, who
represents opponents, argues that
Proposition 102 violates the
requirement for constitutional amendments to
stick to one subject.

A hearing is scheduled today in
Maricopa County Superior Court on the suit
she filed to boot the measure off the ballot.

Supporters pooh-pooh her lawsuit as frivolous.

Proposition 102 “will stay on the
ballot, and we’ll continue on our way,”
said Mike Hull, spokesman for Arizonans
for Wildlife Conservation.

He says the measure will safeguard
wildlife by ensuring that the Arizona Game
and Fish Department isn’t handcuffed by
voter-imposed restrictions.

But Tom Woods, a former member of the
State Game and Fish Commission, says
the proposition could backfire,
thwarting propositions that hunters want.

The battle over Proposition 203 is over
wording: the official analysis of the
proposition in the voters guide.

A civil-rights organization argues that
the analysis of the controversial
anti-bilingual education initiative is
“false and misleading.”

The Mexican-American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund filed a lawsuit
asking the state Supreme Court to
reject the analysis, which was adopted by a
bipartisan panel of legislators, and
require new wording that is neutral,
said Hector Villagra, a lawyer for the
plaintiff.

Proposition 203 seeks to severely limit
bilingual education in Arizona by
requiring virtually all immigrant
children with limited English skills to
attend a one-year English immersion program.

If there isn’t enough time to reword
the analysis, which is legally required
to be evenhanded, the Mexican-American
Legal Defense and Educational Fund
might ask the court to throw out the
initiative altogether, Villagra said.

The lawsuit is a “last ditch effort” to
keep the initiative off the ballot,
responded Hector Ayala, co-chairmain of
English for the Children, which
supports Proposition 203.

The Supreme Court has already ruled
that part of the analysis of another
ballot measure – Proposition 202, the
Citizens Growth Management Initiative –
is biased. In that case, the paragraphs
in question may be dropped rather
than revised.

State Elections Director Jessica
Funkhouser said the Mexican-American Legal
Defense and Educational Fund might have
waited too long to challenge the
analysis.

The pamphlet is being proofread and has
already been translated into Spanish,
she said.

Meanwhile, the State Supreme Court is
preparing to hear arguments on three
propositions, all challenged over the
“single-subject” rule: changes in
managing and protecting state trust
land; a proposal to abolish the state
income tax and a revised method for
setting telephone rates.

But even on a fast track, the court
won’t rule before the statewide voters
guides have to go to the printers.

“We’re extremely concerned about
frustrating or confusing the voters,”
Funkhouser said.



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