Today was another wacky day in the Arizona House.
We are back in session and primarily debating and voting on unnecessary Republican bills, as if the COVID-19 virus had never happened.
Yesterday, I posted about the unnecessary and non-emergency insurance industry bills that were passed, primarily on a party line vote. Today, May 20, was a repeat but not quite so ridiculous.
My deciding factor in voting is: Is this bill good for the people of Arizona? For example, I voted for the bill that allows rural electric cooperatives to offer broadband to customers in their service areas. I think it’s the great way to expand Internet access to some parts of rural Arizona, and this will help rural Arizona fight COVID19 by improving communication. I also voted for the bill that offers suicide prevention training for teachers; a bill that allows crisis helpline numbers to be printed on the backs of the student IDs; expansion of teacher training for blind and otherwise impaired students; and some relief for people whose property has been foreclosed upon, a lien placed on it, and auctioned off. I voted against deregulation of drone delivery devices and a few other bills.
Everything blew up when Reps. Travis Grantham and Steve Pierce conspired to stop debate on S1397￼ by having Pierce call the question before Rep. Kelli Butler could propose her amendment to improve SB1397. It requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions in the future, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed by Congress.￼ SB 1397 makes no mention of all of the other benefits from the ACA. Those are included in Butler’s amendment, but she was not allowed to present it, and we were not allowed to debate it at all.
SB1397 is an election year bill by Senator J.D. Mesnard. Protecting health insurance for pre-existing￼ conditions is a popular topic, but this insurance will be expensive. Most of us would be better off if Butler’s amendment to protect all ACA benefits had passed also, or better yet, if the ACA
were fixed or replaced with Medicare for all.￼￼
The Republicans tried to stop the Butler amendment in order to make the debate time shorter. Instead it dragged the debate on, with all kinds of nonsense and shenanigans on their side — trying to shut us up, as usual. Personally, I think this bad behavior by the Republicans just makes them look patriarchal and controlling.￼
Is this what you want from the Legislature? Do you want the truth to be silenced? Do you want politics over policy and public health? The four COW calendars for May 22 are again filled with unnecessary Republican bills.￼
Why are we doing this? Why are we debating insurance company email notices, drone delivery devices, and breast implants? Isn’t there a pandemic at our doorstep? Why aren’t we talking about public health, unemployment insurance and housing security?￼