Know the issues: voting on Arizona Propositions
By Bree Purdy
Many Americans already know which presidential candidate they will be voting for in the 2012 election, but that is not the only question on the election ballot. There are also eight crucial propositions on the Arizona ballot that will directly affect the state and its residents.
In order to be informed while voting, we have included a summary of each proposition:
Proposition 114 would protect victims of crime from lawsuits by someone harmed while committing a felony. For example, if a victim assaults a burglar in an effort to protect themselves, they could not legally be sued by the burglar.
This proposition would amend a section of the state Constitution that bars laws limiting the right to sue for death or injury.
Prop 115, titled The Judicial Department, would amend the Arizona Constitution to change the way state judges and justices are selected and retained. Superior court judge terms would increase from four to eight years, and Supreme Court Justices from six to eight years. Currently, judges and justices are retired at age 70, and passing of the proposition would increase that to age 75. Supreme Court members would also be required to make all opinions and orders available online on the Arizona Supreme Court website.
If passed, Proposition 116 would allow the state to exempt from taxation the “full cash value” of equipment and machinery used in agriculture or a trade business, up to the amount equal to the annual earnings of 50 workers. This amount would be chosen by determining the median income for Arizona residents, and would be adjusted annually.
Proposition 117 would put a five percent cap on the value of property used to calculate property taxes, in order to prevent a drastic increase from the previous year.
If passed, Proposition 118 would guarantee the amount of state trust land permanent funds be 2.5 percent of the average market value to Arizona schools, colleges and prisons until 2021.
In previous years, schools would often receive zero state trust land funding due to a poor economy. This proposition will guarantee public schools funds, even in an economic downturn.
Proposition 119 would allow the state to exchange state trust land for other public land to assist in preserving military facilities from being bought out by outside developments. To do so, public hearings must be held, voters in a statewide election must approve the exchange and two independent analyses must determine the trade is of equal value.
Passing of Proposition 120 would declare Arizona the exclusive authority over air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and all other natural resources in the state, excluding Native American territory. The intent is for the state to more effectively protect and harness the economic potential of its properties and become independent of outside management, such as the National Park Service.
If passed, Proposition 121 would eliminate the primary election where voters may only vote for candidates within their political party to move forward to the general election. Instead of a primary election, voters would select their candidate(s) of choice regardless of political affiliation. This would not apply to the presidential election.
Proposition 204 would extend Prop 100, which added a 1 cent tax to use for educational programs, public transportation and human services program.