Assigned to JUD                                                                                                                              FOR COMMITTEE






Forty-seventh Legislature, Second Regular Session




single subject; initiative; court review

(NOW: initiative; single subject; court review)




            Subject to voter approval, requires the Arizona Supreme Court to determine whether a citizen initiative contains more than one proposed amendment before the proposed measure goes to the ballot.




            The Arizona Constitution includes two provisions often loosely referred to as the “single-subject rule.” 


            The first provision, properly referred to as the single-subject rule but commonly referred to as the germaneness test, establishes the rule that applies to statutes enacted by the Legislature.  The single-subject rule states that every act must embrace “but one subject and matters properly connected therewith, which subject shall be expressed in the title” (Ariz. Const. art. 4, pt. 2,        § 13).  If there is a subject in the act, not expressed in the title, the offending portions of the act are void and stricken, but the rest of the act is left intact. 


            In contrast, the second provision, properly referred to as the separate-amendment rule, establishes a stricter test for determining whether a proposal involves more than one constitutional amendment.  The separate-amendment provision provides “[i]f more than one proposed amendment shall be submitted at any election, such proposed amendments shall be submitted in such manner that the electors may vote for or against such proposed amendments separately” (Ariz. Const. art. 21, § 1).  This rule requires the voters to vote for or against each proposed constitutional amendment separately.  Pursuant to the separate-amendment rule, if a proposal includes more than one amendment the entire proposal will fail.


            On two occasions, the Arizona Supreme Court (the Court) has found propositions unconstitutional because they violated the separate-amendment rule.  The Court determined that Proposition 107 relating to the elimination of the income tax violated the separate-amendment provision.  See Taxpayer Protection Alliance v. Arizonans Against Unfair Tax Schemes, 199 Ariz. 180, 16 P.3d 207 (2000).  The Court also recently determined that Proposition 106 relating to Clean Elections funding violated the separate-amendment rule.  See Clean Elections Institute, Inc. v. Brewer, 209 Ariz. 241, 99 P.3d 570 (2004). 


            There is no anticipated fiscal impact associated with this legislation, although requiring the Attorney General (AG) and the Court to review citizen initiatives could increase operating costs for the AG and the Court.




1.      Allows an initiative petitioner to request that the proposed amendment to the Constitution be submitted for review by the Court.


2.      Requires the AG to request that the Court determine whether an initiative contains more than one proposed amendment to the Constitution and whether the electors may vote for or against the proposed amendments separately.


3.      Requires the Court to hear interested persons and to issue its written decision within 45 days after receiving the AG’s request.


4.      Requires the written decision to specify the grounds for the decision.


5.      Makes technical changes.


6.      Requires the Secretary of State to submit the proposition to the voters at the next general election.


7.      Becomes effective if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the Governor.


House Action


JUD                 2/2/06     DPA/SE       8-1-0

3rd Read         2/20/06                        31-25-4


Prepared by Senate Research

March 2, 2006