Arizona voters rejected two proposals to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a state holiday, and waited for the other shoe to drop: a move by the National Football League to yank the 1993 Super Bowl out of the state.
Proposition 301, which would have created a paid King holiday but eliminated a paid Columbus Day, was rejected by a 3-to-1 margin. Proposition 302, which would have given state workers both days off, was defeated by fewer than 15,000 votes out of about 1 million cast.The NFL awarded the 1993 Super Bowl to suburban Tempe earlier this year, but Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman promised to lead a drive to reverse the decision if the state failed to enact a King holiday.
It was with that threat in mind that the Legislature ended nearly two decades of divisive debate over the issue last year by passing a bill creating Martin Luther King-Civil Rights Day in Arizona.
But opponents, led by impeached Gov. Evan Mecham, circulated petitions to force a referendum.