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An Election Power Grab Buried in the Arizona Budget

Kate Stewart  | Published on 6/23/2021
The GOP proposed budget (specifically HB2891 and its counterpart SB1819) contains several provisions ((bill sections 24 (A, (B) and (C))that would take certain powers over elections from the current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and the voter-created non-partisan Clean Elections Commission, and move them to the current Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) and to the Ducey-appointed Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.  Note that the bill is written so that these provisions would be in effect only through Jan 2, 2023 (the rest of Hobbs’ and Brnovich’s terms in office). 
The bill (section 15) also broadens the power of the Governor's Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) to review an existing agency practice, substantive policy statement, final rule or regulatory licensing requirement at a public meeting if they receive any information (rather than through a petition) that a practice, rule etc does not meet statutory rulemaking requirements, is not authorized by statute, is unduly burdensome or is not demonstrated to be necessary to specifically fulfill a public health, safety or welfare concern. Even more concerning is the provision that the matter will be heard if at least 4 GRRC members so request. This provision effectively allows the Ducey-appointed Council to strike down any rules, including those of the Citizens Clean Election Commission, in violation of the voter-passed Clean Elections Act.
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