It is a sad state of affairs when our government’s most important decisions — how to wisely invest $5 billion and how to maintain our water supply into the future — are made behind closed doors by a tiny group of (primarily) white men.
The Libertarian and Corporate wings of the Arizona Republican Caucus in the Legislature have been battling each other over the budget, since the skinny austerity budget failed in April on a bipartisan vote.
While Republicans twist each other’s arms over the budget, water, and tax giveaways, floor action focuses on culture wars, 2020 election conspiracy theories, voter suppression and guns. Since April, the Legislature has had sketchy schedules with a handful of votes and many days of adjournment. (Don’t get me wrong the extra days working from home in Tucson are greatly appreciated.)
In 2021, Republican disarray over the budget dragged out the session until June 30 — the very last day to pass a budget. If the Republicans are going to make backroom deals until they get 100% of their members to agree on the budget, I prefer 2022’s the somewhat random scheduling to 2021’s 28 days of “Pledge and Pray” with no votes. (That was a real waste of time and money!) Although many Legislators (Ds and Rs) stated publicly that they didn’t want a repeat of 2021, that is where we are headed.
Continue reading House Hears Seven Election Bills … Budget Remains Stalled (video)
February 10, 2022 was African American Protocol Day in the Arizona Legislature. This is a day when leaders from the African American community statewide come to the Legislature to educate us.
Continue reading CRT Takes Center Stage in #AZLeg African American Protocol Day (video)
I am the most independent-voting Democrat in the Arizona House and perhaps in the Arizona Legislature. How did that happen? When I first ran for office in 2015, I said I would look at every bill and ask myself, “How does this help the people of Arizona?” And if it didn’t broadly help people OR if it was a carve-out for the connected, there was no reason for me to support it.
Continue reading I Am the Most Independent Voting Democrat in the #AZHouse: Here’s Why (video)
As 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past Legislative session, the extreme laws enacted by the radical right that controls the Arizona Republican Party, the continuing court cases and voter backlash against these new laws, and a look forward to November 2022.
The first session of the 55th Legislature was a wild ride because of the Republicans’ slim majority (47 Rs – 43 Ds) and the radical nature of the newly elected Republican lawmakers. In order to get 16 Republican Senators and 31 Republican House members to vote “yes” on their budget, they stuffed many unrelated, failed policy bills into the budget. (Many of those were later thrown out of the budget by the courts.)
To get anything from tax giveaways to common sense bills to online gaming passed in the 55th Legislature, the Libertarian “Freedom Caucus” forced Corporate Republicans to reach out to Corporate Democrats and sometimes to all of us. They don’t like to pass bills where the majority of “yes” votes are Democrats because it shows how big our numbers are, but sometimes they need us … or some of us.
For a recap of the first session of the 55th Legislature, watch the video below.
Continue reading Rep. PPH Legislative Update: Moving into the 2nd Session of the 55th #AZLeg (video)
Each session has a pattern. This year, everything seems more orderly. We have had only one night where we were on the floor past 7 PM. Mondays generally have a leisurely pace, now that there are no committee meetings, but Thursday’s make up for it with rousing debates.
Arizona House members had several debates on voter suppression and unnecessary election tinkering on April 29. Three bad election bills passed on a party line vote. The worst one sets up a differential system for paper ballots that have missing, messed up or non-matching signatures. Ballots with missing signatures can be cured only up to 7 PM on the night of the election, while messed up signatures can be cured for up to five days after the election.
People whose first language is not English are more likely to not sign their ballots, according to Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren from LD7. People, who are older and whose handwriting may be impaired or changing due to a medical diagnosis, would end up in the five-day signature resolution pile. You can see why this two-tiered system for signature curing matters. Also, many people drop their completed paper ballots off at the polling place. Those ballots are usually counted AFTER election day. Any of those ballots without signatures wouldn’t be counted at all if SB1003 is signed into law.
The Navajo Nation sued the state of Arizona over this issue in 2018 and won. Why are the Republicans putting into law, the very system on which we lost in court? SB1003 is a terrible bill.
Continue reading Arizona Republicans Pass More Voter Suppression Bills (video)
There’s never a dull moment in the Arizona Legislature when we debate voter suppression. There are more than 30 voter suppression bills currently in play. Arizona Republicans are #1 in the nation for their productivity. The sheer volume of bad bills that make it harder to vote, harder to register to vote, and easier to hide campaign donations is staggering. Many thanks to the hundreds of people who signed into RTS against these terrible attacks on your right to vote.￼
This video discuss several voter suppression bills from Reps. John Kavanagh and Jake Hoffman: HB2723 (campaign finance); HB2792 (felony charges for election workers who mail an unrequested ballot); HB2793 (criminalizing volunteers who register people to vote); HB2811 (ban on same-day voting); HB2569 (ban on elections departments taking outside funds to run the elections); HB2794 (ban on changing election deadlines, even during a pandemic); and HCR2023 (attack on Congressional voter rights bill HR1). (Correction to the video: I named Kavanagh and Chaplik as the source for these voter suppression bills, when in fact, these bills should be credited to Kavanagh and Hoffman. Hoffman gets the prize for proposing six voter suppression, although Kavanagh infamously said the the Government and Elections Committee that government should not look at the “quality of the votes” in an election — not just the quantity.)
Continue reading Arizona Is #1 in Voter Suppression (video)