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Senate Panel OKs Initiative Changes

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Republicans on an Arizona Senate panel have advanced a new proposal they say is needed to put checks on the citizen initiative process.

Democrats and voting rights groups call the proposal making initiatives subject to a tougher legal standard part of a concerted effort to make it harder for citizens to pass their own laws.

The proposal approved on a party-line vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday raises the legal standard for challenges to initiatives. House Bill 2244 says measures are subject to a "strict compliance" test.

Republicans have been pushing initiative changes since voters approved a minimum wage increase in November.

A House panel on Wednesday is considering another proposal imposing new rules on petition circulators. Gov. Doug Ducey last week signed a measure banning per-signature pay for those circulators

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