Panel approves legislation to keep HOAs from putting limits on politicians - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Panel approves legislation to keep HOAs from putting limits on politicians

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Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 4:54 pm | Updated: 7:27 am, Thu Feb 24, 2011.

A Senate panel voted Tuesday to strip homeowner associations of most of their ability to limit politicians from seeking votes from residents.

SB 1540 would overrule any restrictions against candidates going door to door. Only gated communities would be able to preserve those limits.

The measure also would override limits that some HOAs have on political signs limiting either the number of candidates on a sign or requiring that the signs be professionally produced.

``This is just trying to protect the free movement of candidates and their materials,'' said Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson. He said too many associations, which have become very popular among new subdivisions, impose too many restrictions on candidates.

Rep. Lori Klein, R-Anthem, who lives in such an association, expressed some concerns, saying HOA members may want to be left alone. She suggested that each be permitted to set its own rules.

Melvin disagreed both with her suggestion and the premise that homeowners want to keep politicians away.

``The vast, vast majority of homeowners are thrilled -- thrilled -- that you come to their door,'' Melvin said.

Vince Leach, a resident of the Saddlebrook subdivision in southern Pinal County, brought along a sign from the last election promoting the joint candidacy of Republicans Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce for the Arizona Corporation Commission. He said the rules in his subdivision, which permit only the name of a single candidate on any sign, makes this illegal.

Melvin's legislation, though, is not absolute. It does allow associations to keep out traveling politicians between sundown and sunrise.

Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, was one of two members of the Appropriations Committee voting against the plan. ``It's an issue of local control,'' she said.

But Sen. David Schapira, D-Tempe, said the measure doesn't go far enough. He said the Legislature should overrule any and all HOA regulations limiting political expression.

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