It was another late night on Wednesday, but I snuck away to my office for a couple of minutes to do a video in the daylight.
It’s about this time in the session when the Democrats start to get ornery because one bad bill after another is passed on a party line vote. If something fails, one of the good old boys or good old girls brings it back up for reconsideration, and all of the Republicans march in a line and revive the Zombie Bill, as directed. Occasionally, bills die a second time like the rodeo license plate that would have benefited the Spirit of the West Museum in Scottsdale.￼ That died for the second time yesterday– thanks to Reps. Shawnna Bolick and Michelle Udall joining the ranks of representatives who are fed up with license plates. (I did a previous update on this topic.)
Governor Doug Ducey and Republican Legislators often pontificate about reducing bureaucracy and regulation. They then turn around and create more bureaucracy and regulations surrounding issues and services that they don’t like–for example, women’s reproductive rights, Clean Elections, voter rights, independent redistricting, the Citizens Initiative, marijuana… you get the idea. Today’s video is about three Republican bills that create new, unnecessary and redundant bureaucracy, regulations, and structure in the government.
HB2268 from Rep. Kelly Townsend is another “anybody can complain bill” that allows any adult in the state of Arizona to challenge somebody else’s right to vote, for example, at a voting center.￼ Her bill instructs the attorney generals office to create a voter fraud hotline. The secretary of state’s office, which is directed by a Democrat, already has a voter fraud hotline. Townsend’s bill would require the AG to set up a separate hotline, write the procedures, hire the personnel, and fund it. Last year, the AG complained about the unnecessary, extra work that his office had to do because of the SB1487 preemption bill that allows any of the 90 Legislators to complain about local ordinances they think violate state law. during debate, I suggested that the AG’s office would have to add a lot of bureaucracy and personnel to keep up with complaints from across the state from anybody who wants to complain about somebody else potentially being ineligible to vote.￼T here are lots of other regulations in this bill including having an armed police officer at every pulling location. This is a voter intimidation bill. It adds extra bureaucracy and regulation to suppress the vote.￼ There hasn’t been any evidence of voter fraud in Arizona since 2012, and those were found to be innocent mistakes. This is a solution looking for a problem.
HB2238 from Rep. Anthony Kern dictates that all three universities must create departments that oversee public policy events. The bill says they have to maintain and publish calendar calendars with these events and distribute them (including sending them to the Governor, Speaker and President of the Senate). whenever they have a speaker on one topic they have to make sure that they have a speaker who says the opposing view even if this creates a false equivalency. The universities also have to pay for the expenses to bring the other speaker in.
First of all, when I worked in PR at University Medical Center and later at the Arizona Cancer Center, part of my job was to create and publish a master calendar of events in the employee and community newsletters I wrote. ￼ Let me tell you, maintaining a calendar like that at the Arizona Health Science Center is a task for a detail-oriented person. There are hundreds of meetings. Some of the scientific meetings are provocative. For example, in ~2000, I went to a presentation by an addiction scientist from the University of Michigan. He predicted that in the future, tobacco companies, alcohol manufacturers,￼ big pharma, and street drugs would be in a “bidding war for the hearts, minds and wallets of the addicted.” At the time, it was shocking, but obviously, he was totally right. Would that be considered a public policy event under this law? The message was based in science, but his message was also provocative and somewhat political because he said inaction on addiction was bad public health policy. With this bill, would the universities be required to bring in someone who said we should just ignore addiction?
I think, that given the volume of presentations and scientific meetings at the University of Arizona alone,￼ this bill would be an enormous undertaking and completely redundant. I’m sure the universities still employ information specialists like me who are gathering the information, publicizing and organizing these meetings and events. The information is already out there. We don’t need a new structure, new regulations and more bureaucracy– with no funding to do it.
HB2805 from Rep. Mark Finchem would create an Arizona Elections Process Study Committee. Be very afraid. There is no evidence of voter fraud in the state of Arizona, so of course, the Republicans are going to waste time trying to find it and tinker with the election processes that seem to be working. This is a completely unnecessary and potentially very dangerous exercise.
Isn’t ~20 voter suppression bills in one session enough?! Voter suppression is a well-known republican tactic. I didn’t realize until we started debating in COW that￼￼ Finchem has some voter suppression bills, in addition to the ~14 that Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Townsend have together. (I did a previous update on this.) I think the Republicans may have close to 20 voter suppression bills. They would go into affect before November 2020. What are they afraid of? Voters!
We need the grassroots to rise up against these bills if you want to protect your voting rights. I also suggest that you back the 2020 citizens initiative from the Arizona Advocacy Network regarding fair elections￼. Republicans repeatedly attacked the citizens initiative because they know it’s the only way we have to fight for our rights in this state besides voting, and they want to take that away, too. ￼
Of course, all three of these featured passed the House this week. They will move to the Senate and then to the governor. If you are on Request to Speak, please voice your opinion, and I hope it’s a big loud “no” for all three of these. They were many other horrible voter suppression bills and anti-citizens initiative bills that have passed this week.
In debates, many Democrats have pointed out￼ the volume of voters who are saying “HELL NO” to many bad bills. Hundreds have people have signed in against all of the voter suppression bills. I believe on Townsend’s bill HB 2268 no one signed in as supporting it.￼
Like I said, suffering through late nights to watch Republicans pass horrible bills makes the Democrats ornery and defiant. At this point in the session, injustice is rampant. Speaking of injustice, Kern’s pawnbroker bill (HB2240) will turn pawnbrokers into Pay Day lenders.