From 1992 - 1995 we published “Citizens Taking Initiative” (which would later become “The Arizona Libertarian” then “The Western Libertarian Alliance Newspaper” and soon the printed version of “FreedomsPhoenix”. It was a newspaper that printed all of the filed Initiatives and provided space for their supporters to advocate why it was important.
Within 2 years we were filing over 30 Initiatives and most of them were being introduced as legislation (‘cause they were good ideas that legislators wanted to be seen supporting).
In 1994 we printed up 4 “Kits”. The law requires that the Initiative contain no more than 100 words describing the Initiative, (another law we worked to get passed for its ‘marketing’ ability… another story) and the law requires that the text of the initiative be “attached” to the petition. We printed up the petitions along with the ‘Instructions’& the ‘Text’ of the initiative ‘attached’ (same sheet of paper) separated as a perforation (could tear it away when readying for filing.
We kept the initiatives simple and to the point so that they could be printed on one sheet of paper. This allowed us to use the ‘Petition Kit’ as a marketing piece. We printed over 80,000 of these “kits” and they went all over the state.
The featured 4 of the dozens of initiatives filed for the 1994 election cycle were:
Repeal of Arizona’s call for a Constitutional Convention – ConCon
“Re-legalize” Concealed Carry
FIJA – Fully Informed Jury Amendment
Elimination of Arizona’s Personal Property Tax (Auto Registration tax)
The result was pretty dramatic. The Arizona Republic Editorial Board called me and the State Libertarian Party Chair in to “explain” things to us :) And the legislature was none too happy either. The idea that the people were setting the agenda for the legislature pissed them off no end. Front Page headlines "The Second Legislature Convenes".
The ConCon fight opened up a whole lot of worm cans and the issue went away after a great deal of spot lighting (We also learned a great deal - a great deal of background can be found here,… but there’s much more) http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Find-Freedom.htm?At=042909
The Concealed Carry effort produced Arizona’s Concealed Carry laws that we would immediately oppose due to the “permit” part.
FIJA passed the Arizona State Senate that year (the first legislative body to pass this in the United States) but failed in the House after “the Man” sunk their teeth into the legislator’s backsides (another very good story).
The elimination of the Personal Property Tax was a main campaign issue for several election cycles due to our efforts.
All of these issues were very educational to many thousands and helped create the base of support that Arizona liberty activists enjoy now.
There are many reasons why “it always starts in Arizona”. And this effort was one of those reasons.
Now with the Internet and our increased awareness this process can be even easier. But many laws about the filing of initiatives were changed to discourage this sort of activism (required bank accounts etc.) But there are many things that can be done still.