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Lawyers Seek Injunction To Prevent Clean Energy Ballot Initiative

Published: Friday, August 10, 2018 - 5:00pm
Updated: Sunday, August 12, 2018 - 1:44pm
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Oral arguments were made Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court by lawyers on behalf of a state lawmaker seeking an injunction to prevent the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative from appearing on the ballot this fall. 

Arguments against the measure center on satisfying strict compliance standards for ballot initiatives.

ASU Constitutional law scholar Paul Bender said in the past only referenda coming from the Legislature must adhere to this stringent definition.  

“Initiatives, where the Legislature hasn’t done anything, and it’s just a voter proposal like this one, the court has used a substantial compliance standard," Bender said.

But Matthew Benson, spokesperson for Arizonans for Affordable Electricity which opposes the initiative said a state law signed in 2017 changes that past standard in favor of strict compliance.

Moreover, he added that the initiative would raise energy costs for consumers.

“And the reason is really common sense," Benson said. "If you’re going to require utilities to make billions of dollars in additional investments, they’re going to have to pass those costs along and that’s going to impact consumers and ratepayers.”   

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 17 with a bench trial to follow Aug. 20.

Editor's note: The previous story has been updated to add additional sourcing.