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Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction to Stop Voucher Program

On Friday, January 27, 2012, Judge Verdin denied the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction in Niehaus v. Huppenthal, the case challenging the state legislature's most recent voucher program.  The court held that disbursement of scholarships under the program did not violate the "Aid clause" because parents can choose to fund various educational services and programs from more than one entity. According to the court, "[t]he exercise of parental choice among education options makes the program constitutional."  The plaintiffs strongly disagree with the trial court's ruling and will be filing a special action with either the Arizona Court of Appeals or the Arizona Supreme Court. 


Center files Amicus Brief in Clean Elections case

On Wednesday, January 25, 2012 the Center filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Arizona Advocacy Network in No Taxpayer Money for Politicians et al. v. Todd Lang, et al a case currently pending in the Maricopa County Superior Court.  The Plaintiffs in the case, represented by the Goldwater Institute, allege that the members of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and its staff including the Executive Director, Todd Lang, have unlawfully lobbied on clean elections issues including opposition to the repeal of public funding for campaigns.  Arizona Advocacy Network is concerned because the plaintiffs have submitted a proposed an order that explicitly prohibits the Defendants from communicating about any activity to promote the Citizens Clean Elections Commission or public funding for political campaigns or to oppose the repeal of public funding for political campaigns with any member of the Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, as well as a number of other specifically identified groups that take a position on public funding for political campaigns. 

The amicus brief points out that there are at least two problems with the order proposed by the Plaintiffs.  First, it is unnecessary to even address communications between members and staff of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and advocacy groups.  If, as the plaintiffs contend, the Commission and its staff are engaging in unlawful activity, then that is all that the Court needs to enjoin.  And, second, the proposed order presents significant First Amendment issues.  Prohibiting communications between citizens and their government officials on matters clearly within the statutory mandate of the Commission plainly violates the First Amendment.    A hearing on the plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction is scheduled for February 2, 2012.   

Center will Appeal Decision Allowing AHCCCS Cuts

The Center will immediately appeal the Court of Appeals decision issued on December 6, 2011 that affirmed the trial court's ruling that notwithstanding the plain language of Prop. 204, the state could eliminate AHCCCS coverage to adults at or below the poverty line if they do not have dependent children. 

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