Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, March 5, 2012

ARIZONA UPRISING -- Frogs in boiling water?

Do you remember the story of the frog put in a pot of cool water on a stove THEN someone turned on the heat?

There has, for a very long time, been incremental movement by forgers of public policy to erode the rights of the American workforce. In various states throughout our country, the attack on workers, the rights of workers in the workplace AND the rights of workers to align themselves for a common voice has grown more brazen and more bold in the last year.

Nowhere has this been more obvious than with the election of Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Well, the metaphorical frogs have begun to detect that ALEC has turned the burner on high. John Nichols' newest book, UPRISING, provides crucial insight on what has taken place over the last year in his home state.

The influence of ALEC on Arizona is unmistakable and needs to be addressed now.

A sampling of ALEC (and other special interest) bills in the works right now:

  • SB 1474 -- GUNS ON CAMPUS 
  • SB 1336 -- Product Liability -- Passed the Senate, currently under consideration in the House.
  • HB 2386 -- Asbestos Product Liability -- Passed House, currently under consideration in Senate. 
  • SB 1075 -- Wildfire Resource Deployment -- Passed Senate, under consideration in House.

Both product liability bills are all about limiting the CONSTITUTIONAL rights of Arizona citizens to redress when harmed by businesses. The wildfire resource deployment bill is about 1) asserting states rights, a primary ALEC aim (it's easier to manipulate public policy for states than the federal government); and 2) privatizing, or finding ways for businesses to have a ready made big money contracting market from state government. The NRA is still VERY interested in legalizing GUNS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES. And besides Brewer's Spoils System bill, there are several other anti-worker bills in the works.

Quite a number of ALEC model bills have been implemented in Arizona over the last several years. Some have caused a great deal of controversy (like SB 1070, which dramatically increases the market for private prisons).

But some have quietly greased the wheels for parochial interests to makes huge sums of money with little effort, paid by Arizona taxpayers, with little to no value returned to Arizona citizens. Think film industry tax credits. And tough criminal sentencing laws coupled with proliferation of private prisons.

NONE of these bills provides constructive vision or direction for anything other than narrow special interests. Nothing to address economic or social justice for Arizona citizens. But there is plenty of moral judgment and theocratic intrusion into private lives. 

Congress recently passed, with negligible opposition HR 347, a bill to dramatically limit protest rights of citizens in the nation's Capitol. Here in Arizona the GOP supermajority adopted new rules in January (with Democratic members opposing) to also severely limit protest rights at the State Capitol.

When will YOU have had enough? When will YOU recognize that the ALEC-owned lawmakers have turned the burner on high?

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