Verde Independent

Counties have verified there are enough valid signatures on petitions to give voters the last word on extensive changes in election laws pushed through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The Secretary of State’s Office said Wednesday that a random check of signatures found 18.38 percent to be invalid. Applying that to the 139,161 that Ken Bennett’s office found preliminarily valid, that leaves backers with 113,583, far more than the 86,405 needed to delay enactment of the law and put the issue on the 2014 ballot.

But Barrett Marson said the Republican interests he represents who want the changes on the books may still sue in a last-ditch attempt to keep the issue from voters.

Claiming preemption by federal law, the National Labor Relations Board filed suit Friday to void a voter-approved state constitutional amendment spelling out that unions can be formed in Arizona only by secret ballot. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, says the measure mandating elections by affected workers would eliminate the option that now exists for employers to recognize a union without having an election. That, according to attorneys for the NLRB, runs afoul of federal law.

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Hospitals want all Arizona voters to approve higher taxes on the richest of them to help pay for health care for the needy. An initiative drive to be launched this week proposes a surcharge on income greater than $150,000 a year for individuals and $300,000 for couples. Right now the top state income tax rate is 4.54 percent. So someone with an adjusted taxable gross income of $225,000 owes the state $10,215.

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