Pursuant to a consent agreement with the State of Arizona, the Attorney General’s office admitted that SB 1454 violated the AZ Constitution and sections of SB 1454 relating to certain HOA statutes to be invalid and without effect on September 13th. SB 1454 violated Article 4, Part 2, Section 13 of the Arizona Constitution. On July 19, 2013 plaintiffs George K. Staropoli and William M. Brown had filed suit against the State of Arizona, CV 2013-009991, seeking a declaratory judgment that SB 1454 violated the Constitution.
“The founders understood that the principal mission of government was to secure people in their natural rights — to protect them against the lawless private thugs as well as of ill-intentioned legislators.” Machiavelli and America, Hadley Arkes, p. 145, The Prince (Yale University Press, 1999).
The invalidated Sections are: 2, 3, and 15 – 17, 19 – 21 of SB 1454 (Ariz. Sess. L. Ch. 254). These sections affected the following Arizona Revised Statutes: 9-461.15, 11-810, 22-512, 33-1250, 33-1260.01, 33-1261, 33-1806.01, 33-1812, and 41-2198.01. We believed that Section 18, adding ARS 33-1261(E) to the Condominium Act, is about political signs and relates to public elections. We agreed it is covered in the title subject of “elections” and is a valid statute.
Particularly disturbing was the amendments that granted special powers to HOA managers to represent HOAs in small claims court and in OAH hearings, powers that state Certified Legal Document Preparers do not possess. The litigation rights of homeowners were put at a disadvantage because they could not also have an untrained and unlicensed third-party represent them.
Many may believe that SB 1454 had HOA amendments that would benefit homeowner rights and this lawsuit removed these benefits. The loss of these perceived benefits lies not in this victory, but in the acts of Rep. Ugenti who is responsible for attaching, at the last legislative session, her defeated HB 2371 to SB 1454. SB 1454 now became a bill with two subjects in violation of the constitution.
The consent agreement will become binding pending acceptance and signing of the order by the Superior Court judge, expected before the 13th.
I would like to thank Executive Director Tim Hogan, Staff Attorney Joy Herr-Cardillo, and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest for their outstanding support of the people.
 Consent Agreement http://pvtgov.org/pvtgov/downloads/order-final.pdf