Staropoli et al. v. Arizona
On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, the Center filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1454, enacted by the Arizona Legislature in the final hours of the 2013 First Regular Session. The Bill, which started out in the Senate as a campaign finance bill, ran afoul of the Arizona Constitution when it was amended in the House of Representatives to include numerous unrelated provisions dealing with Homeowners Associations (HOAs). The unrelated provisions were added to the bill at the behest of Representative Michelle Ugenti who had earlier tried, unsuccessfully, to get the provisions enacted into law in a separate bill. The earlier bill, HB 2371, had been opposed by several homeowner advocates including the plaintiffs in the Center's suit, George Staropoli and William Brown. After they defeated HB 2371 in the Senate, they continued to monitor the legislature in case it was revived. Yet, they only learned of the amendment to SB 1454 after the bill had been amended, passed and signed. That's because the legislature failed to include any reference to the HOA provisions in the amended bill's title. That is a violation of Article 4, pt. 2 Sec. 13 of the Arizona Constitution, which requires that the title of a bill include all matters addressed in the bill. However, even if they had gotten the title correct, the bill still violates the "single subject" requirement of the same constitutional provision. The HOA provisions added by Rep. Ugenti and the House of Representatives have nothing whatsoever to do with campaign finance reform. Because SB 1454 is a blatent violation of the single subject requirement, the Center has asked the Court to declare the entire bill void as unconstitutional.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the State proposed resolving the case through a consent judgment that called for striking the HOA provisions that were added to the bill by Rep. Ugenti and the House of Representatives. The Center agreed and on September 11, 2013, the judge signed and entered an order to that effect.