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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Yay or nay: Ballot Propositions

    Prop 122:

    No

    Proposition 122 would allow Arizona voters and the state legislature the ability to “opt-out” of federal laws they decide are unconstitutional. Proponents say this would enable the state to stop bad laws from being enacted by exercising its sovereignty. In spite of their intentions to protect the Constitution, the writers of Proposition 122 skirt constitutionality themselves.

    Federal courts have always been the ones to interpret the U.S. Constitution and decide whether laws passed by Congress are constitutional or unconstitutional. This is not something that should be in the hands of Arizona state legislators or voters to decide for themselves. The state’s opinion of a bad federal law does not negate its responsibility to enforce it, and the voters’ popular beliefs have no bearing on constitutional law. We should leave the judging to the judges and the legislating to the legislature. This proposition erodes the division of powers that is at the very center of the constitution.

    Should this proposition pass, lawsuits will follow, which will only serve to waste taxpayer money on a long-winded court fight to discover that Proposition 122 is unconstitutional. Arizona’s taxpayers should save their change and reject this proposal.

    Prop 303:

    No

    Proposition 303, also called the “Right to Try,” would give terminally ill patients the right to acquire and use experimental drugs, which may or may not improve the quality and extend the length of patients’ lives, but which are still unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration.

    The Prop stipulates that the unapproved drug must be recommended by the patient’s doctor and that the drug can only be recommended after patients have taken all other available recourse against their illness.

    Though a patient-centered “compassionate use” law would be ideal for terminally ill Arizonans trying to wade through red-tape bureaucracy, 303 isn’t it.

    The proposition allows patients to use drugs that have only completed — not necessarily passed — Phase 1 of the FDA’s approval process. Such drugs have not yet been tested for effectiveness. They haven’t even been tested on humans with the illnesses they may or may not alleviate.

    Phase 1 drugs have only demonstrated that they do not exhibit “unacceptable toxicity” in animals or in healthy volunteers.

    In a recent op-ed in The Arizona Republic, 50 Arizonan doctors signed a letter asking voters to say “no” to Proposition 303, writing that only 6 percent of the drugs that complete a Phase I trial will be found to be effective.

    The FDA’s current policies already allow for some use of unapproved drugs — though without compelling data, they prefer not to disseminate those drugs that have not yet passed Phases 2 and 3, thus proving competence against a specific illness.

    Granted, as some 303 supporters have pointed out, the existing system for what the FDA calls “emergency use of an investigational drug” can be drawn-out and tedious. But The Wall Street Journal reports that the agency says it has approved 99 percent of all received “compassionate use” cases since 2009. In 2013, one third of those approved cases were considered emergencies, meaning that the experimental drug in question could be shipped to patients by a willing company even before the patients’ written requests were approved by the FDA.

    For obvious reasons, the terminally ill are an extremely vulnerable population, without means or time to waste. Though the FDA’s system could certainly be tweaked or retooled to reflect that, as it stands, the agency is providing more protection and aid to dying Arizonans and their families than a complete approval circumvention, without any burden of proof, would.

    We’d hate to see a law implemented that was really more concerned with using the sick and dying as a platform for rejecting federal dictates than with the health, well-being and freedoms of a very disadvantaged group.

    Prop 304:

    No

    Proposition 304 is a referendum that would raise the salaries of Arizona state legislators by $11,000 from the current salary level of $24,000 to $35,000.

    While $24,000 seems a fairly paltry amount for a job as prestigious as “legislator,” it is worth noting that the state legislature only met for about three months this year. That’s a part-time wage for a part-time job.

    Supporters of Proposition 304 argue that it simply adjusts legislator’s wages for inflation. When we see the minimum wage adjusted for inflation, that argument might hold a bit more weight with us.

    For now, though, we think Arizona legislative pay is just fine. When compared to other states, Arizona pays its legislators around the median range. Our neighbor to the east, New Mexico, only compensates its legislators with a $154 per diem.

    Arizona will have a $1 billion deficit in 2017, according to projections from the legislative budget office. When Arizona is running this large of a deficit and state legislators are embarrassing Arizona again this year (SB 1062), it isn’t reasonable to reward state legislators with a nearly 50 percent pay increase.

    A more reasonable pay increase is likely necessary in the future, but now is not the time.

    Prop 415:

    Yes

    Proposition 415 asks voters for $22 million in bonds to expand and renovate the Pima Animal Care Center main facility.Practically, this means that secondary property taxes for homes valued at about $150,000 a year would, because of this law, amount to $2.83 more a year over the next four years; that’s only 24 cents a month.

    The shelter boasts an impressive list of accolades. It’s the only open-admission animal shelter in Pima County, the top adoption agency in Southern Arizona in the last fiscal year and the only agency in the county that enforces state and local laws regarding animal care.

    Despite all these roles and responsibilities, the Shelter now accepts around 24,000 animals each year, a number that the shelter estimates is about 2.5 times the capacity it was originally built for in 1968. This overcrowding means many stray animals have to be euthanized; there’s simply no space for them.

    The new expansion, doubling the shelter’s size, would allow it to adopt a no-kill policy.

    The $22 million would also go to building a dedicated adoption center and better veterinary clinics, with built-in spay-and-neuter initiatives. The shelter is interested in combatting the county’s overpopulation of strays, as well as dealing compassionately with the animals that result.

    At 24 cents a month, why wouldn’t we reward the aging, hardworking shelter and save our furry friends?

    Check out our congressional endorsements tomorrow

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