Tuesday, August 25, 2020

BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court Won't Take 130 Bar Owners' Lawsuit Against Ducey/Christ; Challenge Moves To Superior Court For Injunction Request

The Arizona Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge from dozens of Arizona    *
*"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc.



AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

BREAKING: Arizona Supreme Court Keeps “Stop Surprise Billing and Protect Patients Act" OFF Ballot, "Smart and Safe Arizona" ON

 The Arizona Supreme Court this afternoon ruled that the “Stop Surprise Billing and Protect Patients Act" will be kept off the November 3 ballot, affirming the trial court's ruling invalidating 28,000 signatures when the persons who gathered those signatures failed to show up for the trial.

Yesterday, the Court determined that the Invest In Ed ballot initiative would be placed on the ballot, and the court has challenges to the other two ballot measures to rule on.

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*"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc.



AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

BREAKING: Supreme Court Reverses, Invest In Ed Initiative Back On The Ballot (READ Decision)

 In a major decision, the Arizona Supreme Court has reinstated the Invest In Ed ballot initiative that will place a surcharge on higher income earners to help fund education. The decision reverses the Superior Court opinion that removed the measure on the basis that the 100-word description was not comprehensive enough. 

"The Court unanimously finds that the 100-word description did not create a significant danger of confusion or unfairness and reverses the trial court ruling." 

The Justices did agree with Judge Christopher Coury that the incentives that the petition circulating company paid individuals who collected many of the signatures "did not warrant the invalidation" of the petition signatures, although recent statutes prohibit initiative circulators from paying by the signature.

Today's decision on the 100-word description will bode well for the other three ballot measures - all of which are currently in front of the Supreme Court on similar challenges.

A more complete Opinion will likely be published in the next couple of months.
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​*"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc.

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Friday, August 7, 2020

NEW: Close the Pandora's Box You Opened In the 2018 Invest In Ed Case, Arizona Supreme Court Told (In Molera v. Invest In Ed, Part Deux); READ Today's Briefs

The Arizona Supreme Court should close the Pandora's Box it opened in the 2018 battle over Invest In Ed. That's what the proponents told the Justices today in their Opening Brief. For their part, the opponents of the measure also appealed in an effort to have the Supreme Court declare the incentives offered to the paid petition circulators violated Arizona law.

Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury decided that this year's model of the Invest In Ed ballot measure should be thrown out because the required 100-word summary did not properly describe all of the provisions of the measure designed to raise monies for education salaries by surcharging taxable income over $250,000.

Coury's opinion points out five provisions in the measure's language that he believed should have also been included in the 100-word summary. As today's Brief points out, it required 127 words for him to describe those provisions. Proponents suggest that if the Supreme Court affirms the lower court, it will effectively eliminate Arizonans' constitutional right to propose and pass laws through ballot measures. 

 "The result, if not overturned, would be an unconstitutional and untenable new standard under A.R.S. § 19-102(A): (1) an initiative’s “principal provisions” are whatever a challenger can imagine, (2) initiative proponents must limit themselves to simple laws able to be fully described in 100 words or less, and (3) even then, proponents’descriptions must use language preferred by their opponents in a quintessential example of compelled speech. It is an impossible standard to meet, and conflicts with article IV, pt. 1, § 1 of the Arizona Constitution (“Article IV”) and the First Amendment."

The contents of the 100-word summary became the focus of all of the challenges to ballot measures this year, following the Supreme Court's decision removing Invest In Ed from the 2018 ballot. In that case, the Court found that the summary improperly described how much individuals' taxes would go up. 

The opponents, supported by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and others, focus their attention on limiting how future ballot measure campaigns can pay their circulators. In 2014, the Arizona Legislature began restricting how circulators could be paid for gathering petition signatures - only for ballot measures, not for candidates - and then came up with a law that prohibits paying them per signature.

Their appeal here is challenging creative promotions offered by the petition circulating company. The Supreme Court's ruling on this may end up setting some parameters on what is an acceptable way to incentivize circulators without running afoul of the law.


Thursday, August 6, 2020

BREAKING: PLEASE Keep Gyms Closed "In the Midst of the Unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic"! Governor Ducey Appeals To A Higher Court (READ pleadings)

Don't let gyms reopen next week! That is the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's battle cry in today's appeal to both the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Superior Court Judge who ruled against him on Tuesday.

Finding that the Governor's Executive Orders re-closing gyms in June, and keeping them closed for the foreseeable future, Judge Timothy Thomason found that Ducey had violated the fitness centers' right to procedural due process (although complying with substantive due process). He said that they must have a "prompt opportunity to file for reopening" by next Tuesday.

Ducey asked Thomason to put that ruling on hold while he takes the issue to the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Special Action was filed either late yesterday or early today. As put in that pleading, the Governor "seeks immediate, emergency relief to avoid the harmful public-health consequences of reopening gyms—against the advice of medical experts—in the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic."*

Ducey's Communications Director, Patrick Ptak, tells Arizona's Law that "as we continue to work with these industries on when and how these reopenings should occur, our top priority will remain to protect and defend public health."

In the suits brought by both Mountainside Fitness and eOS Fitness, Judge Thomason had suggested in early July that the Governor and the Department of Health Services needed to come up with some process for the gyms to show that they were ready to safely reopen. He was not impressed with AZDHS's clever process, quietly posting an "attestation" form for gyms to complete. That form would not permit them to reopen so long as the Governor kept a "mandatory" closure in place. And, that is exactly what Ducey did in his July 23 Executive Order.

Thomason held a hearing on Monday, and issued his stern 24-page decision the following day.

(As a side note, Mountainside and eOS had appealed the judge's earlier ruling, so the Court of Appeals now effectively has a both-sides-of-the-coin appeal.)

Given that, it is questionable whether Judge Thomason will grant Ducey a stay pending the appeal.

(UPDATED, 8/7/20, to include response from Governor's Office.)

*It could be noted that this dire warning to the Court came while the Governor was in Washington exchanging praise with President Donald Trump over Arizona's handling of the pandemic.

NEW: Ballot Harvest October Surprise For AZ? Ruth-less Supreme Court Considers TWO Arizona Election Law Cases On Tuesday

As the nation prepares for the burial of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the nomination of her replacement, the remaining eigh...