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)
If you have missed one of my 2022 Legislative Updates, you can check out this compilation from the first 10 days of session. Enjoy!
There is a link to this podcast below. You can also subscribe to A View from the Left Side on multiple podcasting services such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. The original Legislative update videos on these topics can be found on my YouTube Channel.
Continue reading Podcast: News from the Capitol: Rep. PPH Updates (Jan. 10-20, 2022)
In Governor Doug Ducey’s State of the State address on Opening Day at the Legislature, one of his big applause lines was when he said that we should “focus math, not masks.”
I think the governor should focus on math — particularly the epidemiological data that shows COVID is still a public health threat. In the past two weeks, cases nationwide are up by more than 200%. COVID deaths are up 36%. COVID is not over. Three years ago in my videos, I said we could move into a chronic COVID world if we were not careful. We are on our way there.
Continue reading Ducey Is Ignoring COVID Math (video)
This is my first Legislative Update of 2022. usually, on opening day of the legislature, I introduced my guests. Today, my only guest was my husband Jim. I had planned to bring my oldest grandchild to the legislature today but decided it was too risky for his health. He missed Opening Day at the Legislature today because the Republicans decided to host a Super Spreader event.
This is the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple times Governor Doug Ducey’s decisions have resulted in Arizona being worst in the world or worst in the country for COVID-19 deaths and/or infections. Today, Arizona saw 14,000 new COVID cases. Today, Governor Ducey, Speaker Bowers, President Fann, all republican legislators and their guests and some Democratic legislators and their guests were maskless and chummy on the floor of the Arizona House which apparently no longer has HEPA filters.
Continue reading #AZLeg Opening Day Super Spreader Event (video)
As prescribed in the US Constitution, every 10 years the United States conducts a census and counts everyone in the country. After the census, there is a redistricting process in which the areas that have gained population can potentially gain seats in the US House of Representatives. Population shifts nationally and statewide dictate that new maps be drawn to update representation in government at multiple levels. Historically, redistricting has been conducted by the political party in power in each state. This has resulted in highly gerrymandered and oddly shaped districts that are designed to keep the party in power in power for another 10 years until after the next census. Allowing the political parties to draw lopsided maps – literally – is obviously not a fair to the people and leads to unrepresentative government.
In 2000, the voters of Arizona passed a Citizen’s Initiative that took the redistricting process out of the hands of the Republican-controlled Legislature and gave it to an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). By law, there are two Republican members, two Democratic members and one Independent member.
Arizona’s 2021 Independent Redistricting Commission has been working on new Congressional and Legislative maps for a few months now. Controversial draft maps (version 10) were passed by the commissioners on October 28, 2021.
The maps are not final, and many people in Pima County, myself included, are not happy with the Pima County’s gerrymandered districts. Tucson proper is split into four different districts, ignoring natural boundaries like Interstate 10 and multiple mountain ranges and putting urban areas in districts that are heavily rural.
Continue reading Podcast: Independent Redistricting Commission Draft Maps Ready for Public Comment (video)
One of my pet peeves is reading a cliff-hanger news story, only to be left hanging when there is no follow up. Several stories reported in my previous podcasts have had newsworthy developments since those episodes aired.
To catch you up on the details, Episode 8 is a compilation of updates.
Many of my podcasts referred to petition drives and court cases that were trying to stop bad Republican bills from being enacted. These issues were decided last week. Why last week? Because September 29, 2021 is the 91st day after June 30, 2021, which was the end of the Legislative session. Unless passed with an emergency clause or stopped by the courts or the voters, bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor are enacted 90 days after the end of session.
Three previous guests return to discuss the status of the contested laws – particularly the flat tax, the alternative tax to get around Prop 208, the voter suppression bills, the bills attacking the power of the Secretary of State and the power of the governor, Arizona’s latest radical anti-choice bill SB1457, and mandated COVID public health protections.
The good news is that progressives had some wins in the courts. We also had some disappointments. Needless to say, the struggle to beat back oppressive legislation continues. Of course, Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich are appealing cases that the state lost. Brnovich is even appealing the court’s ruling that Republican Legislators acted unconstitutionally when they stuff dozens of unrelated failed bills into the budget. Who is paying for these unnecessary lawsuits generated by unconstitutional or burdensome laws enacted by Republicans? You are. The taxpayer.
Continue reading Podcast: Updates from Taxes to Reproductive Rights & COVID … What’s the Latest?