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Business Groups Come Out Strong To Push Initiative Changes

AP Photo/Keystone, Martin Ruetschi

Republicans on an Arizona House committee have approved changes to the state's initiative process pushed by business groups that failed to prevent voters from raising the minimum wage.

The overhaul of the signature-gathering process for citizen initiatives was opposed by voter right groups and Democrats. They call it the biggest change to the citizen-driven process since statehood.

House Bill 2404 by Republican Rep. Vince Leach of Tucson makes it harder for backers of voter initiatives to get them on the ballot by changing how they gather qualifying signatures. Leach and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce say the changes are needed to prevent fraud and make signatures easier to challenge.

The measure passed the House Government Committee on a 5-3 party-line vote Thursday and now heads to the full House.

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