• The Gaggle: Health care in Congress and school voucher expansion

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  • The Gaggle: Is the filibuster busted and will Michele Reagan show us the money?

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  • The Gaggle: Teacher raises, ACA repeal and ballot initiatives

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  • The Gaggle: Federal budget and few women in the Legislature

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  • The Gaggle: Obamacare replacement, George W. in town and TANF benefits

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  • The Gaggle: Tax that did not get cut, tweets from Gosar and a non-job

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  • The Gaggle: SB 1142 is dead and town halls get rowdy

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  • The Gaggle: Bigfooted, McCain and HB 2404

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And now it’s two: The governor signs the second of three bills intended to hold citizen initiatives to a higher standard.

When it comes to new limits on citizen initiatives, Gov. Doug Ducey acts fast.

Less than 24 hours after the Legislature gave final approval to a bill that would hold citizen-driven ballot measures to a tighter legal standard, Ducey signed it into law Friday. It will take effect this summer.

“Strict compliance” sets a higher standard for reviewing any legal challenges to future citizen initiatives.

Republican lawmakers who supported House Bill 2244 said since initiatives create law through the ballot, it’s important the process is rigorous and strictly follows the law.

But Democrats, as well as numerous civic groups, activists and others, said the bill was designed to create a higher hurdle for initiatives, which often propose laws that the GOP-controlled Legislature opposes. They complained petition signatures could be tossed for something as minor as using a wrong font size.

Strict compliance will replace the “substantial compliance” provision that currently gives judges more discretion on how they consider legal challenges

Ducey called the bill “common-sense legislation (that) preserves the integrity of the process by ensuring that those seeking to make lasting changes to our laws comply with current laws.” It also holds citizen initiatives to the same legal standard as referenda, he wrote in his signing message.

The bill passed with near-unanimous Republican support and solid Democratic opposition.

The governor last month signed a bill that bans the practice of paying petition circulators by the signature. A third bill, awaiting a final vote in the state Senate, would impose new regulations that initiative organizers must follow, such as assuming liability for errors a paid circulator might make. These regulations, if signed into law, also would be subject to strict compliance.

The three bills, taken together, will drive up the cost of initiatives, critics say. Lawmakers have complained that once a citizen-driven measure is approved by voters, there’s virtually nothing they can do to change it.

Reach the reporter at maryjo[email protected] and follow her on Twitter @marypitzl.

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