Protesting outside of an Amazon warehouse on May 1, International Workers Day, has become an tradition for Tucson labor unions. Organized by the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF), the 2023 event drew about 50 protesters on a blustery day. AFL-CIO Organizing Specialist Ryan Kelly highlighted many union organizing accomplishments in the past year.
This video includes the speeches from several Tucson union leaders. It was heartening to see so many young people rising in the ranks of a revived union movement in the US. (My apologies for the wind and the street noise.)
In our history, beginning with President George Washington and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, the US has created four National Infrastructure Banks (NIB). Under Presidents Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt, National Infrastructure Banks built and upgraded infrastructure across the country from roads, damns and bridges to health clinics, schools and the national parks; provided productive work and good pay for thousands if not millions of Americans; increased production and manufacturing capacity nationwide; and created economic vitality.
For more than a month, the Legislature hasn’t done much except pass a few bills and take random days off. The current glacial pace is the result of multiple feuds within the Republican Caucus of the Arizona Legislature.
Libertarians don’t want to spend money on anything — even to save lives. This is unrealistic and cruel when our state has $5 billion in the coffers and chronic poverty. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership wants to continue their tradition of not negotiating with the Democrats on the budget. Our ideas are not extreme; we have common sense spending proposals (like funding public education, basic healthcare, affordable housing, and infrastructure).
Season 2, Episode 5 of A View from the Left Side is a compilation of Legislative Updates from Arizona House member Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley. These updates were recorded in late February and early March 2022. They range in topic from tax breaks and trickledown economics to bullying in the Arizona House, nursing workforce development, fixing the housing crisis, funding the Border Wall, and remembering Senator Olivia Cajero-Bedford.
The Arizona Legislature has been ignoring our state’s affordable housing crisis for years. When I got to the Legislature in 2017, I was told that “we just need more supply” because demand was so high.
The sole solution present in 2017 was tax credits for developers. To which I asked, “Is making the rich richer the only way to help the poor?”
In 2022, I am answering my own question. No, tax credits and business incentives are not the preferred path to affordable housing. I proposed eight housing bills this year. My bills fall into two primary categories: 1) ending preemption of local ordinances that will allow the cities to innovate and 2) keeping people housed.
Not surprisingly, bills passed over the last 10 years — since the Tea Party takeover — have made Arizona’s housing crisis significantly. When you’re in a hole, stop digging! There are many bad bills that should be repealed. That’s where we should start, rather than focusing on new laws.
Preemption Laws to Repeal
HB 2193 state law; local violations; repeal (Rep. PPH) repeals the worst preemption bill in the US: SB1487 from 2015.
HB2446 local planning; residential housing; repeal (Rep. PPH, sponsor) repeals the preemption of inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning allows municipalities to designate a certain percentage of a new housing project be affordable or low income.
HB2401 rent regulation; state preemption (Rep. Solario, sponsor) repeals the preemption of rent control.
HCR2006 short-term rentals; vacation rentals (Rep. Butler, sponsor) repeals the original deregulation of short-term rentals in Arizona. Arizona municipalities that are tourist designations (like Tucson) are being overrun by corporate-owned short-term rentals. Taking affordable rentals off the market squeezes residents who are renters.
Keeping People Housed
HB2794 landlord; tenant; fee disclosure; waiver (Rep. PPH, sponsor) is my Truth in Renting bill. It brings transparency to leases, protect tenants from unnecessary fees and traps in leasesand helps prevent some evictions. It sailed through the House Commerce Committee in 2021 and through the House but was stopped by politics in the Senate. It was never heard in 2022. Helping people stay in their homes and apartments is more cost effective and humane that throwing people on the street, breaking up families and trying to put some of those people and families back together again later.
HB2792 landlords; tenant’s marijuana use (Rep. PPH, sponsor) says that any substance that is legal to use in the state of Arizona is legal to use in apartments in Arizona. Corporate leases exclude cannabis use in the apartments even in states like Arizona where cannabis is legal. This is an entrapment policy with no exclusions. Even medical marijuana patients with cancer can be evicted in Arizona for any cannabis use. That’s not fair.
HB2793 rent increase; limitations; substantial remodel (Rep. PPH, sponsor) says that year to year rent increases cannot exceed 10%. Arizona is a deregulation state. There are no restrictions regarding raising rent. Corporations are churning the apartment rental market in Phoenix by buying and selling giant apartment complexes and raising the rent every time. There are far too many stories of renters being forced to move because of 50-100% rent increases. Corporations make big bucks in fees when they force people to move.
HB2522 property taxes; elderly assistance fund (Rep. PPH, sponsor) helps low-income seniors pay their property taxes and stay in their homes, particularly if the area has been gentrified. (A Republican also sponsored a similar bill this year.)
HB2195 housing trust fund; unclaimed property (Rep. PPH, sponsor) would fully fund the Housing Trust Fund in Arizona. This fund historically was funded at $40 million per year until the dark days of Governor Jan Brewer and Senate President Russell “SB1070” Pearce when those funds were routinely swept to pay for tax cuts and other Tea Party priorities.
The Arizona Legislature created the current housing problems with 10+ years of bad Legislation. Let’s repeal these bad preemption laws, challenge cities and towns to innovate and keep people housed.
Check out my video for the details behind my housing bills and others that I support. This video was originally recorded on February 28, 2022. All of my video updates are available on YouTube and Facebook.