Direct Democracy and State Recreation Policymaking: The Case of the Arizona Heritage Fund


  • Larry Mutter
  • Randy J. Virden
  • N. Joseph Cayer


Recreation policy, funding, initiative process, interest groups


In 24 states, citizens can use the initiative process, a form of direct democracy, to enact state laws rather than going through conventional legislative channels. This study examines how citizen/interest groups in Arizona used the initiative process to pass the Arizona Heritage Fund, an outdoor recreation and natural resource protection funding policy. Enacted with strong electoral support in 1990, the Arizona Heritage Fund initiative mandated the state to spend $20 million of lottery revenues annually for a variety of recreation, park, wildlife, environmental education, and cultural resource programs. In this paper, the case history of the Arizona Heritage Fund initiative is described, as are the typical characteristics and steps associated with the initiative process. The specific strategies used by citizen/interest groups to facilitate passage of the Arizona Heritage Fund initiative are also discussed with implications for groups considering such efforts in their states.





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