In March of 2017, the Arizona legislature passed a bill that sets the financial bar for initiatives and referendums higher than ever before. If we don't stop it, HB2404 will silence ordinary people by ensuring that only the most financially privileged people can place measures on the ballot.
PHOENIX - Refer 2404 has reached its final destination and that’s the office of the Arizona Secretary of State. Today I and a few members of the Refer 2404 committee turned in over 22,956 signatures from Arizonans across the state upset, disgusted, outraged and disappointed that our elected “leaders” would pass a terrible law like HB 2404.
Yes, this is short of the required 75,000+ signatures to refer the bill to the ballot. However, we felt we needed to take a stand against the establishment suppressing citizen voices as a political power punch.
We needed to make a statement with thousands of Arizonans and that is this: We are NOT a tool of any political party. We are Arizonans, and we must continue to protect the right to petition!
Despite falling short of our target amount, I can confidently say that I am proud of Grassroots Citizens Concerned and the team of supporters behind Refer 2404 at every capacity. We pushed to the very end and are going out on a high note. We couldn’t have gotten so far without dedicated volunteers; we have forged new friendships and partnerships across political lines, backgrounds, philosophies and geographies.
Most importantly, it wasn’t just that these communities became connected to each other. It was HOW we bridged a partnership: through our shared dissatisfaction with the status quo and a point of view skeptical of the established power bases. Arizona’s early leaders anticipated that one day our political system would become corrupt, and they gave us these tools to stand up for ourselves. Win or not, uniting around that concept brought together contemporaries who think just like they did; and people like them - like you and me - are the people who change Arizona and ultimately, the world.
Make no mistake, these alliances are only the latest defense in a pattern of popular political uprisings in recent election years. With each new wave of grassroot groups organizing, we gain the strength we need to accomplish the goal of finally restoring accountability and putting our elected leaders in their place as servants of the public good.
While it wasn’t the primary outcome we had expected or aimed for, we’ve learned many things along the way, and I am not alone in saying that this new knowledge and skills we’ve gained during the campaign will be used again...and perhaps soon.
Grassroots Citizens Concerned is a nonpartisan organization comprised of Arizonans concerned about voter suppression through the passage of HB 2404. The all-volunteer, citizens advocacy group is the only referendum campaign challenging all five sections of HB 2404, which places additional barriers on the already-restrictive petition process. Refer 2404 represents the concerns of all Arizonans and not one special interest, business or industry. Learn more at Refer2404.org.
Initiative and referendum are the very first enumerated power of the very first enumerated branch in the Arizona Constitution and guarded from executive and legislative veto.
Since it doesn't apply to candidate petitions, HB2404 creates an inequality between citizens and politicians that places us at a political disadvantage.
Ordinary people in the State of Arizona were intended by its founders to be the most powerful branch of government, and we should keep it that way.
HB2404 is another in a series of patterned behavior by the GOP controlled legislature for whom political challenges are an inconvenience. Enough is enough.
Arizona's political heritage is rich with triumphs of the people going back to our very first successful initiative in 1912, which gave women the right to vote.
Circulating petitions is not easy, and the people who do it deserve their pay. HB2404 robs them of the fair value of their work and replaces it with a low hourly wage.