Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pre-filed House Bill seeks to penalize political sign stealers

Back in August, LD18 Republican state Rep. Bob Robson was accused of stealing campaign signs set up to disparage him. Right-wing blog site Sonoran Alliance, in a post date August 13 said,
What is it with the Tempe/Chandler area?
Former State Senator Harry Mitchell was caught stealing the campaign signs of Gary Richardson many election cycles ago.
This time Obamacare Republican Bob Robson was caught stealing signs from his opponents. And his escape was caught on video.
I’m sure those who caught him will sign an affidavit affirming to the theft. [...]
On Saturday night, August 9, 2014 at approximately 9:45 p.m. at Dobson and Warner Roads one Bob Robson, of the Robson/Dial get elected whatever the cost partnership, was out in force with an accomplice involved in a sign stealing caper and got caught.
Robson and Dial have been removing and destroying signs for about one month now. There have been in excess of 130 signs missing or destroyed. The signs in question are the public information signs that point out who voted for the Obamacare Expansion debacle thrust upon our state with the red “Arrow of Truth”. The arrows were pointed at the Robson Dial signs to inform the public of who it was in LD18 that did the dirty deed to Arizona and the AZGOP. (italics in original, bold added)
The signs at issue were something to similar effect as this image from a mailer sent out to people in LD15 this year.


I hope Rep. Carter (R-LD15) is not offended by my using this image. After all, she won reelection despite the campaign against her by RWNJs. Actually, so did Robson.

Nevertheless, Carter's seat mate, John Allen (R-LD15) has pre-filed HB2002 which aims to close what Robson's opponents no doubt consider a loophole that let the Chandler representative off the hook.

The Arizona Republic in September reported,
The sign scrum is yet another indication of the high tensions swirling around the Legislature's vote in 2013 to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover 300,000 low-income Arizonans. Robson, along with 13 other Republicans, joined Democrats to approve the expansion proposed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Opponents vowed to seek retribution at the polls, working to defeat what they called "legis-traitors."
As part of that opposition, the Arizona Taxpayer Action Committee installed signs stating "voted for Obamacare" with an arrow pointing at the campaign sign of certain Republicans. These signs, which the committee calls the "arrow of truth," were reportedly removed by Robson Monday as Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies witnessed the act. [...]
The citation is for tampering with a candidate's sign, but Ryan said the "arrow" signs Robson is alleged to have removed do not meet the state law's requirement of being a candidate sign. There is no candidate named "arrow," he argued.
Which brings us to Allen's HB2002, which intends to modify ARS §16-1019 by removing nine words and adding a subsection J.
A.  It is a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office or knowingly remove, alter or deface any political mailers, handouts, flyers or other printed materials of a candidate that are delivered by hand to a residence for the period commencing forty‑five days before a primary election and ending seven days after the general election. [...]
J.  FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "POLITICAL SIGN" MEANS A SIGN THAT IS INTENDED TO INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF AN ELECTION.
As if, of course, John Allen doesn't have anything better to do with his time on the taxpayer dole than to make it easier to nail his political opponents during an election campaign.

Typical penalties for conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor are fines. According to ARS §13-802, the maximum fine for a Class 2 misdemeanor is $750.00.
B. A sentence to pay a fine for a class 2 misdemeanor shall be a sentence to pay an amount, fixed by the court, not more than seven hundred fifty dollars.
According to ARS §13-707, if sentenced to imprisonment, the maximum for a Class 2 misdemeanor is four months.

Raising voter awareness is what those "arrow of truth" signs are about anyway, right? Well, given that there is NO cost to taxpayers for earned local news media coverage -- and alleged sign stealing always seems to get news coverage -- why should taxpayers be made to pay for local law enforcement investigations and possible imprisonment?

Doesn't this put Rep. Allen's apparent vindictiveness into perspective?

And that's without even considering that when the Arizona Legislature passed "Obamacare" (which was really the Medicaid restoration), it saved rural Arizona communities from having their hospitals shutdown. We can pretty much count on the RWNJs to fail when it comes to figuring out the ramifications of the dumb ass legislation ideas they propose.

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