The House majority leader said a “clerical error” led the chamber to prematurely send a ballot referral to the Secretary of State’s Office last month.
Members unwittingly approved SCR1007, a legislative ballot referral sponsored by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, on March 22. The referral would ask voters whether to amend the Arizona Constitution to exclude the amount of original investment recovered in a transaction for the purposes of calculating the property tax exemption for people 65 and older.
The ballot referral was unanimously approved in both chambers.
However, after representatives realized that their vote effectively sent the ballot referral to the Secretary of State, Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, made a motion to reconsider SCR1007 within 14 days.
The House has yet to vote on the measure again, but representatives discussed the bill in committee of the whole on April 5.
“It should have been held so that we can put it in the basket with all of the other (legislative ballot referrals) and make that decision,” Allen told the Arizona Capitol Times.
Leaders typically decide which referrals to send to the ballot as the end of session nears. This session, 44 ballot referrals were introduced in the House and 38 were introduced in the Senate. Of those, nine, including SCR1007, are still alive. Another two were approved in the House and in Senate committees, but haven’t yet been given the OK in the Rules Committee.
Allen said House and Senate leadership will usually discuss with the governor which referrals should be sent to the ballot. He said they then come up with a “theme that fits the ballot in a way that moves our agenda forward.”
“Then we put what we’ve agreed to up to the members to ratify and send to the ballot,” he said. “(SCR1007) got out of order. It happens occasionally. We all make mistakes. It’s like when you press send all on your email but you didn’t mean to.”
Allen said he’s unsure if the governor’s office and members will want the measure to ultimately be referred to the ballot, but if they don’t, that means members will have to kill the bill when it comes back for a vote.
If it’s something the governor’s office is interested in seeing on the ballot, Allen said members will have to again approve SCR1007, and the Legislature can send it to the Secretary of State’s Office on it’s own before approving other ballot measures.
“I haven’t been involved in discussions with the governor’s office on how they want to handle that. They might say ‘Let it go. We love it,’” he said. “We’re still waiting to see.”