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King Day Is Off Arizona Ballot Under New Bill

From Associated Press

The Arizona House on Wednesday joined the Senate in voting for a paid state holiday in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Gov. Rose Mofford signed the bill.

The House measure, passed 35 to 24, designates the third Monday in January to be observed as Martin Luther King-Civil Rights Day for state employees. The measure also would repeal an earlier one that created a King Day at the expense of Columbus Day.

Because it cancels a November referendum on the subject, passage of the bill is likely to touch off a new campaign to put the racially sensitive issue to the voters. Opponents have 90 days to collect the 43,350 signatures required to qualify a question for the state ballot.

Julian Sanders, who led the earlier ballot drive, promised to launch another referendum campaign. So did former Gov. Evan Mecham, who was impeached in 1988 and is running for a return to the office.

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“The people’s got a right to vote,” Mecham said.


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