April 24, 2014
For Immediate Release
Media contact: Robbie Sherwood, 480.246.7944
Arizona Progressives Stood Tall in 2014 Legislative Session
The 2014 Arizona Legislature adjourned sine die early this morning with minimal damage done. Working and standing together, Arizona’s growing progressive community stood up and – with a few exceptions – thwarted the extremist agendas of Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy, the Goldwater Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
“Cathi Herrod, ALEC and the Goldwater Institute have treated the Arizona Legislature like their personal playground for far too long,” said Robbie Sherwood, executive director for ProgressNow Arizona. “Arizonans are sick and tired of ideological Tea Party legislators serving corporate masters and not constituents, and making Arizona a national laughingstock. We stood up and stopped their agenda cold in 2014. Voters will hold accountable those dividing our state and who refuse to work on solutions to restore education funding, stop discrimination, protect workplace rights, equal rights and women’s healthcare.”
High points of the 2014 session included:
Senate Bill 1062 vetoed. Cathi Herrod’s legislation to condone
discrimination against the LGBTQ community based on religious objections
inspired thousands of young Arizonans to protest and become politically active,
many for the first time. The deafening community outcry and embarrassing
national spotlight forced Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill.
Public education protected from “Alt-Schools Fiasco.” Led –
astoundingly – by our own Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal,
ideologues on the right sought to serve a knock-out punch to public schools by
massively expanding tax-payer funded private-school vouchers. Though one smaller
expansion snuck through, the bills sought by Goldwater and the Alliance for
School Choice to steer hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into private
schools failed in the face of bi-partisan opposition in both the House and
Big wins for public
servants and working families. ALEC and Goldwater’s anti-labor bills on
“paycheck deception,” release time and to destroy retirement security (HB2058) for public employees were bottled up
A bad year for ALEC all
around. ProgressNow Arizona helped expose ALEC’s back-room wining and dining of
Arizona Republican lawmakers with a hidden-camera investigation by KPHO-TV 5 News.
In addition to its anti-labor and anti-public-school agenda going down,
controversial ALEC bills also went down, including an “ag-gag” measure to
protect farmers from animal cruelty investigations (HB2587), a single-source contract for online
education company Imagine Learning (HB2485), and a student-privacy/anti-Common
core measure (HB2316).
- Voters are off the menu. After the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee successfully referred last year’s heinous voter suppression bill HB2305 to the 2014 ballot, frightened legislators came back this session and repealed their bill. Bottom line, efforts to get tough on voters in 2014 were stopped.
"There is still time for Gov. Brewer to do the right thing with her veto stamp," Sherwood said.
There is a very real entrepreneurial opportunity before us to change the tone of politics and direction of public policy development and lawmaking at the Arizona Capitol in this election year. Key candidates are already pounding the pavement to reach voters door to door to let them know the cause of democracy in our state is not lost in the din and cacophony resulting from the 2010 Citizens United ruling or the 2014 McCutcheon decision set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Granted, reforming Congress and the federal government is a far greater problem and project, but we have seen and will see even more, that reestablishing our voice at the Arizona Capitol is doable and very much within our grasp.