Measure seeks to allow state to sell land to local governments at market value

Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer last Friday disqualified Proposition 103 — the “Conserving Arizona’s Water and Land Initiative” — from appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Proponents of the measure seek to reform the Arizona State Land Department and how its holdings are managed and sold.

According to the state constitution, the land department has to put lands up for sale at public auction.

The initiative would change that, allowing the state to sell the lands directly to local governments for purposes of conservation.

The measure also would have set aside 570,000 acres of the state land department’s 9 million acres for permanent protection.

But the measure lacked the minimum number of signatures to make it on the ballot, according to Brewer.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t get it through on the first round,” said Pat Graham, executive director of the Nature Conservancy, the group spearheading the initiative.

The group has filed a lawsuit to challenge Brewer’s decission.  

Supporters of the plan initially collected 369,708 signatures. The secretary of state’s office and county recorders, however, deemed more than 150,000 of those invalid.

After an initial signature check, the secretary of state returns a random 5 percent sample to the counties for verification.

The count resulted in the throwing out of 125,580 signatures.The majority of invalid signatures came from Maricopa County.

There, 41 percent of the signatures turned up invalid as opposed to just 20 percent in other counties, Graham said.

Brewer called on lawmakers to revise the voter registration and ballot initiative processes.

The final count of valid signatures for the Conserving Water and Land Initiative totaled 210,825. The measured needs 230,047 signatures to go before voters this fall.

What’s on the ballot

So far, Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer as of Aug. 18 has certified seven ballot

initiatives for the November General

Election. They include:

Prop. 100: Protect our homes

Bars government from imposing new taxes on real estate sales.

Prop. 101: Medical choice for Arizona

Allows greater choices in health care.

Prop. 102 : Marriage amendment

Changes state constitution to recognize marriages only between one man and one woman.

Prop. 200: Payday loan reform

Forces lower interest rates, creates repayment plan at no cost to consumers.

Prop. 201: Homeowners’ bill of rights

Puts a 10-year warranty on all new homes; allow buyers to cancel within 100 days of a sale, get back most of deposit.

Prop. 202: Stop illegal hiring

Punishes those who hire illegal immigrants.

Prop. 300: State legislators’ salaries

Increases state legislators salaries to $30,000 a year.

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