The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session, which convenes in January 2024.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
15-1408. Use of community college district resources or employees to influence elections; prohibition; civil penalty; definitions
A. A person acting on behalf of a community college district or a person who aids another person acting on behalf of a community college district shall not spend or use community college district, resources, including the use or expenditure of monies, accounts, credit, facilities, vehicles, postage, telecommunications, computer hardware and software, web pages, personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or any other thing of value of the community college district, for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections. Notwithstanding this section, a community college district may distribute informational pamphlets on a proposed bond election as provided in section 35-454 if those informational pamphlets present factual information in a neutral manner. Nothing in this section precludes a community college district from reporting on official actions of the governing board.
B. The prohibition on the use of public resources to influence the outcome of bond, budget override and other tax-related elections includes the use of community college district-focused promotional expenditures that occur after an election is called and through election day. This prohibition does not include routine community college district communications.
C. This section does not prohibit the use of community college resources, including facilities and equipment, for government-sponsored forums or debates if the government sponsor remains impartial and the events are purely informational and provide an equal opportunity to all viewpoints. The rental and use of a community college district facility by a private person or entity that may lawfully attempt to influence the outcome of an election is permitted if it does not occur at the same time and place as a government-sponsored forum or debate.
D. Employees of a community college district may not use the authority of their positions to influence the vote or political activities of any subordinate employee.
E. This section does not prohibit community college districts from permitting student political organizations of political parties, including those that are recognized pursuant to sections 16-801, 16-802 and 16-803, to conduct lawful meetings in community college buildings or on community college grounds, except as prescribed in subsection A of this section. Each student political organization that is allowed to conduct lawful meetings on community college property shall have equal access as any other student political organization that is allowed to conduct lawful meetings on community college property.
F. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as denying the civil and political liberties of any person as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions.
G. The attorney general shall publish and distribute to community colleges a detailed guideline regarding activities prohibited under this section. The attorney general may distribute these guidelines through a web site or electronically.
H. The attorney general or the county attorney for the county in which an alleged violation of this section occurred may serve on the person an order requiring compliance with this section and may assess a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars per violation, plus any amount of misused funds subtracted from the community college district budget against a person who violates or a person who aids another person in violating this section. The person determined to be out of compliance with this section shall be responsible for the payment of all penalties and misused funds. Community college funds or insurance payments shall not be used to pay these penalties or misused funds. All misused funds collected pursuant to this section shall be returned to the community college district whose funds were misused.
I. An attorney acting on behalf of a community college district may request a legal opinion of the county attorney or attorney general as to whether a proposed use of community college resources would violate this section.
J. All penalties collected by the court for a suit initiated in superior court by the attorney general shall be paid to the office of the attorney general for the use and reimbursement of costs of prosecution pursuant to this section. All penalties collected by the court for a suit initiated in superior court by a county attorney shall be paid to the county treasurer of the county in which the court is held for the use and reimbursement of costs of prosecution pursuant to this section.
K. For the purposes of this section:
1. "Government-sponsored forum or debate" means any event, or part of an event or meeting, in which the government is an official sponsor, which is open to the public or to invited members of the public, and whose purpose is to inform the public about an issue or proposition that is before the voters.
2. "Influencing the outcomes of elections" means supporting or opposing a candidate for nomination or election to public office or the recall of a public officer or supporting or opposing a ballot measure, question or proposition, including any bond, budget or override election and supporting or opposing the circulation of a petition for the recall of a public officer or a petition for a ballot measure, question or proposition in any manner that is not impartial or neutral.
3. "Misused funds" means community college district monies or resources used unlawfully pursuant to this section.
4. "Routine community college district communications" means messages or advertisements that are germane to the functions of the community college district and that maintain the frequency, scope and distribution consistent with past practices or are necessary for public safety.