Arizona's "Majority Rules" Ballot Initiative Bad for Game and Fish

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The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has unanimously voted to oppose Proposition 105, an initiative that will be on November's ballot for consideration by Arizona voters.

Proposition 105, also known as the "Majority Rules" initiative, would require any future ballot initiative that imposes additional taxes or state spending to be approved by a majority of all registered voters - not just a majority of those casting votes.

Currently, initiative measures pass or fail based on the actual votes cast by registered voters in the state. Proposition 105 seeks to amend that to include all registered voters, even those that do not cast a vote. If Proposition 105 passes, failure to cast a vote would equate to a 'no' vote.

"Arizona citizens concerned with conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat should be vitally concerned about this proposition. Arizona's population is exploding and will continue to explode over future decades. Protecting critical wildlife habitat and wildlife funding will not keep pace if this initiative passes," says Bill McLean, chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

McLean noted that, as we currently understand the proposition, passage of two ballot initiatives that have benefited wildlife and conservation in Arizona would have failed if Proposition 105 had been in place at the time. The Heritage Initiative, which passed by a nearly two-to-one margin in 1990, provides funds from Arizona Lottery revenues to support wildlife conservation activities, parks, trails, natural areas and historic preservation. Proposition 202, the Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act, passed in 2002 and provides wildlife conservation funds from tribal gaming revenues.

The commission also noted that if Proposition 105 had been in place prior to 1998, it would have prevented the passage of every ballot measure between 1998 and 2006.

The commission took its action at its Sept. 5 meeting in Pinetop.