Monday afternoon, the Arizona House of Representatives (narrowly) approved HB2789 in what amounts to a USURPATION of CONSTITUTIONAL authority delegated to the Arizona Corporation Commission to regulate investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
Before the measure can be enacted into law, it still must pass the senate and go before the governor.
Thirty-one members of the House voted to pass the bill, including ALEC-owned state chair Debbie Lesko, Speaker Tobin and many (but not all) ALEC members. That is, ONLY 31 members voted for the bill. That's the minimum number required to send the bill to the senate. Since several Republicans voted NAY, one has to figure it is possible to enlighten a few of the GOP senators.
This bill should be no surprise, however, since private sector ALEC members include APS (Arizona Public Service) and TEP (Tucson Electric Power). Former APS chief lobbyist Martin Shultz, according to ALEC's website, is private sector co-chair of ALEC's energy, environment and agriculture task force.
How does HB2789 relate to the Progressive roots of the Arizona Constitution?
Consider this perspective on development of the US Constitution:
America is still occupied with the great struggle between the Madisonian faithful, operating on the founding premise that the people are the only certain defenders of the republic, and those who would consolidate power for political and financial gain. -- John Nichols, UPRISING page 23 (emphasis mine)
So it was that Madison arrived at Philadelphia in 1787 with a vision of representative government that would make elected leaders "the agents and trustees for the people" rather than the masters they had been in the empire against which the framers had so recently revolted. Constraints on leaders, both structural and political, were necessary because, as Madison observed, "Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations." UPRISING page 25
At the forum on April 11th, the scholars on the forum panel will show, I expect, how 125 years of additional American history informed the development of Arizona's Constitution and that the much debated Article 15 was Arizona's founders' best effort to keep those same silent encroachments in check.
ALEC is perhaps the primary vehicle for political and economic elites to impose on YOU unconscionable silent encroachments today.