Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why should we have fair and competitive districts?

The Democratic caucus of the Arizona House of Representatives posted the following this afternoon:
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats released today a list of the worst, most extremist bills this session, pointing out where Tea Party lawmakers’ priorities lie.
The bills include the Birther Bill (again), repealing the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Committee, guns on campus, putting a heavily-armed, untrained group of volunteers like the Minutemen on the border, taking money from kids and giving it to millionaires and much more.
“These bills just echo the extremism from Tea Party lawmakers who control the capitol,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “We should be focused on jobs. We shouldn’t be focused on these radical and extremist bills, but these are the priorities of the Tea Party and we hope that by pointing them out, Arizonans will tell their elected officials that they voted for them to work for the people, not for themselves.”

Consider the following list, which consists largely of ALEC related measures, intended to make it easier for Big Business to manipulate lawmakers and DICTATE public policy in Arizona:

Make-Arizona-its-own-country Bills
  • HB 2650 (Burges)/SB 1481 (Burges) — The Birther Bill
  • HCR 2025 (Harper/Seel) — Calls on Congress to dissolve United States’ membership in the United Nations
  • HJR 2001 (Harper/Gould) — Calls for opposition to any UN force on American soil that seeks to enforce a UN treaty which has not been ratified by the United States Senate and authorizes the use of organized resistance to “thwart any international force” that attempts to do so.
  • HB 2437 (Gowan) — Prohibits states from implementing federal mandates unless the federal government provides proof of constitutionality
  • HCM 2002 (Barton) —Calls on the U.S. Congress for devolution of federally-owned public lands to Arizona
  • HCM 2003 (Dial) — Calls on the U.S Congress to transfer all Bureau of Land Management lands to Arizona
Anti-Transparency/Voter-Suppression Bills
  • HB 2441 (Gowan) —Makes “private” conversations with constituents exempt from public records requests
  • HCR 2039 (Seel)/SB 1449 (Smith) —Russell Pearce Sore-Loser Bill: Adds a primary round to a recall election for each party (in order to avoid a repeat of Republican v. Republican and resulting in, for example, Jerry Lewis’ defeat of Russell Pearce last year)
  • HB 2710 (Tobin) — Calls for a special election for voters to choose between the district maps drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission, committee approved by voters, or Republican Speaker Andy Tobin’s own draft maps
  • HCR 2052 (Tobin) — Calls for approval of new legislative districts drawn by Tobin, not the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission
  • HCR 2053 (Tobin) — Calls for approval of new Congressional districts drawn by Tobin, not the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission
  • HR 2005 (Tobin) — Calls for a special election in which voters would determine whether to retain the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission maps or the Tobin-created maps
  • SCR 1035 (Biggs) — Repeals the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission
  • HCR 2026 (Smith) — Instead of collecting petition signatures, a candidate can pay to be on the ballot.
  • HCR 2044 (Stevens) — Legislative ballot initiatives would be voted on during primary elections with less voter turnout.
  • HCR 2043 (Stevens) — Requires all propositions with a positive fiscal impact on the city/state/county general fund that passed since 2002 to be re-voted on at the next general election and to be repealed automatically if they don't reach the two-thirds threshold
  • HCR 2005 (Crandell) — Requires voters to re-approve initiative and referendum measures that involves public funds every six fiscal years and is retroactive to 1998
Miseducation Bills
  • HB 2039 (Fillmore) — Normally, qualifying for a teacher’s certificate is required in order to teach; this bill would remove that requirement.
  • HB 2383 (Farnsworth) — Drops university requirements that students receive certain immunizations in order to attend classes and/or live in dorms there
  • HB 2563 (Proud)— Bible Bill: Allows high schools to offer an elective on the Bible and exclude every other spiritual text from the book of Mormon to the Quran
  • HB 2675 (Kavanagh) — More debt for cash-strapped students bill: Requires a minimum $2,000 contribution by students toward their tuition, regardless of scholarships, grants or other financial aid that is need-based; students on athletic and academic scholarships are exempt from the contribution
  • HB 2719 (Seel) — Guns Near Campus Bill: Allows weapons to be carried immediately outside school grounds
  • SB 1474 (Gould) — Guns on Campus Bill: Allows persons with CCW permits to bring guns onto college and university campuses
  • SB 1061 (Crandall) — Allows schools to opt out of the National School Lunch Program, which provides some underprivileged students with their only meal of the day
  • SB 1467 (Klein) — Attacks the First Amendment, freedom of speech and local control by prohibiting profanity of any kind, even quoting a text, while teaching in the classroom. It would require suspension for the first two violations and termination for a third.
  • SB 1202 (Klein)—A strike-everything amendment that would prevent teachers from speaking “partisan doctrine” in the classroom, even in government classes or speaking about political parties in a historical context, for example. A violation of this law would cause the Department of Education to withhold 10 percent of a school district’s monthly apportionment of state aid.
Public Unsafety and Unhealthy Bills
  • HB 2729 (Gowan) — Would allow a person to carry a deadly weapon into a public establishment or event, including where alcohol is present and/or sold. It removes the owner/sponsor’s right to have the person remove the weapon and place it in temporary storage. It eliminates the liability exemption of owner/sponsor for damages/injuries/deaths resulting from use of a deadly weapon in a public event or establishment.
  • SB 1083 (Allen) — Gives newly-created Arizona State Guard, a heavily-armed, untrained group of volunteers like the Minutemen, the powers to protect the border
  • HB 2022 (Harper) — Repeals the one year moratorium on ex-legislators that prevents them from lobbying the legislature within that period
  • HB 2078 (Harper) —Increases salaries of statewide elected executive officials
  • SB 1047 (Murphy, Yarbrough) — STO Expansion Bill: Establishes a tax credit for excess contributions to certified school tuition organizations and allows STOs to spend more money on administrative costs. Sen. Yarbrough directs an STO.

Attack on Middle-Class Families
  • HB 2133 (Olson)—Takes money from kids’ education and gives it to millionaires by allowing capital gains to be subtracted from income tax
  • HB 2318 (Smith)/SB 1485 (Murphy)—Prevents agencies from recognizing, bargaining with, or meeting with union members and organizations
  • HB 2040 (Fillmore)—School boards would not be allowed to meet with labor organizations or their members concerning employment contracts
  • HCR 2056 (Court)—Allows employers to lower pay by $3 under the minimum wage for workers under 20 years of age if employment is part-time or temporary, which would make it harder for students to pay the $2,000 minimum tuition contribution under Kavanagh’s More Debt for Cash-Strapped Students Bill (HB 2675)
  • HB 2519 (Fann) — Greatly diminishes the number of people who receive unemployment insurance by making it significantly harder to qualify
  • HB 2571 (Olson) — Bribery Bill: Makes hard-working, middle-class families choose between receiving a raise and being a victim of cronyism or bypassing the raise and being protected

Whether or not the Tea Party would approve of each one of the bills is irrelevant. Likely, those people would approve of some of these bills, but not all of them. Nevertheless, these bills have been put forth by  people the wondrous and mighty TP ordained to rule over the great state of Arizona.

In many cases, there has been NO consideration given to unintended (but sometimes easily foreseeable) consequences. Notably, HB2571 (cited by House Dems as the Bribery Bill) actually is all about political spoils.

The lobbying group Goldwater Institute has spun the Bribery Bill as being necessary to address the problem of problem state employees. Reports the Arizona Capitol Times:

Rep. Justin Olson, who sponsored the bill, cited several examples from a 2010 report from the conservative Goldwater Institute that highlighted instances in which state, county or municipal governments in which employees were kept on the job or reinstated after egregious violations of statute or agency policies.
Olson, R-Mesa, said there is a direct cost to the state when it ends up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and administrative leave when the State Personnel Board overturns disciplinary actions. And there is an indirect cost, he said, when supervisors are hesitant to discipline employees because the process is so cumbersome and difficult.
“Our system right now discourages productivity and it does not save the taxpayers’ dollars. With these reforms we can reverse that,” Olson said.
But Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said Republicans are exaggerating problems with the current system and ignoring the consequences of Brewer and Olson’s plan. He and Republicans argued over the fact that the State Personnel Board upholds 89 percent of supervisors’ disciplinary actions, and said an 11 percent overturn rate is a good track record for management.
“I just can’t buy it for a second that there’s a big problem out there when you sit there and admit that 89 percent of the time these actions are being upheld,” said Patterson, who grilled Olson on whether he had any examples of problems in the personnel system that did not come from the Goldwater Institute report. Olson didn’t have any.
HB2571 would make all new state employees, and some existing ones, at-will employees, or “uncovered,” meaning they could be fired for any legal reason. It would eliminate the appeals process for employees who feel they were unfairly disciplined and eliminate the State Personnel Board’s ability to modify disciplinary actions. (emphasis added)

How abundantly clear must it be that this is bad public policy before anyone besides Democrats will object? Because legislative districts have been so heavily slanted in favor of the GOP, they absolutely do not care what Democratic lawmakers, or candidates, or VOTERS think about the proposals they dare to introduce.

How about allowing Crazy Jack Harper and other soon to be former lawmakers to immediately get high-paying jobs with lobbying firms?

How soon will TPers regret requiring public schools to teach Bible Influence on Society? What will prevent others from rightly pointing out the influence the Koran has had on our society? Will the TP be happy when our high schools are required to offer a class on the scriptures of Islam?

Authoritarian public policy is the OPPOSITE of freedom. Nationalism (anti-immigrant/racial scapegoating, etc) has engulfed America in a rabid paranoia that dramatically increases the cost of government without increasing ANYONE'S quality of life. You want Theocracy? WHO is going to put limits on what religiously inclined elected officials say you can or cannot do?

A great deal of the discussion and public testimony during and about the recently completed Congressional and legislative redistricting had to do with the link between fair and competitive districts and moderate (as opposed to extreme) public policymaking. The TPers, in most case, I believe, just did not have a clue about the ramifications of what they were trying to accomplish.

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention "let's foul our nest" bills. It's madness down there - worse than usual. And that's *really* saying something.