Cannabis Reform & Tax Cuts: Highs & Lows in #AZLeg (video)

Reefer Madness poster

Feb. 20 was another very long Thursday with the House Health and Human Services Committee starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m., with no lunch and a few hours in between for floor action and introductions. Thank goodness I had time to eat a yogurt cup and apple slices that were in my refrigerator. I had other food, but I never had time to sit down and eat it. (Thank goodness I ate a hearty breakfast.)

Thursday’s low point was in the afternoon when the Republicans passed more than $300 million in tax giveaways in two bills. There are more than a dozen additional tax breaks in the House queue, alone. What the Republicans are doing with these tax giveaways is so incredibly irresponsible… but I digress.

Anyway, today’s video is about the high point of the day (no pun intended) when four marijuana bills passed the health committee, including my bill HB 2840, giving medical marijuana patients the choice between electronic medical marijuana cards and physical cards.

Continue reading Cannabis Reform & Tax Cuts: Highs & Lows in #AZLeg (video)

With #HB2872, #AZGOP Uses #ALEC Legislation to Attack Labor Unions (video)

Writers Union joins ASARCO picket

Arizona Republicans are on the attack in 2020. We have heard anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ, anti-voter, and anti-immigrant legislation so far, and now to round out the set– we have anti-union legislation. Today’s featured bad bill is HB2872 proposed by Majority Leader Warren Petersen. It is an anti-union model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Unions are private organizations, and this bill puts unnecessary, burdensome regulation and reporting requirements on unions that are not required of any other businesses. In fact, when I read HB2872, I thought, “Gosh, I would love to have this level of cost-benefit analysis reporting from my private insurance company regarding their profits and losses, salaries, and how much they actually spend on my care, compared to how much I pay.” But they aren’t required to do that.

HB2872 is national, model legislation that is duplicative and unnecessary because the reporting is already required by the federal government, and it is published online– for everyone to see. So, why is this bill necessary?

Continue reading With #HB2872, #AZGOP Uses #ALEC Legislation to Attack Labor Unions (video)

#AZLeg Hears Competing Bills on Vaping (video)

Is vaping safe?

Vaping is a hot topic in the Arizona Legislature this session. E-cigarettes (also known as nicotine vape pens) are unregulated in Arizona. Nicotine vaping is widespread, and usage is increasing, particularly among youth.

Many adults use nicotine vape pens as a way to stop smoking real cigarettes. E-cigarettes don’t have the particulates that tobacco cigarettes do, but that doesn’t mean they are safe.

We have had two competing vaping bills in the Legislature. SB1147 is a tobacco industry bill that carves out vaping and regulates it separately in the Arizona statutes; it also preempts local laws. HB2357 regulates “any product derived from tobacco or containing nicotine” the same.

Back in the 1990s, when e-cigarettes first came to the US, tobacco control researchers at the UA and elsewhere said that e-cigarettes were “drug delivery devices” that should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The tobacco industry fought this and said e-cigarettes were tobacco and should be regulated like tobacco. They won their court case at the national level, and e-cigarettes have been regulated like tobacco since then.

HB2357 is aligned with the federal law. SB1147 puts vaping into its own category— not a tobacco product or a nicotine delivery device.

Continue reading #AZLeg Hears Competing Bills on Vaping (video)

#AZ House Debates, Passes Association Health Plans SB1085 (video)

Although we had a short floor calendar on May 1, we had some rousing debates. The highlight was a two-hour debate on SB1085, association health plans. (Watch the action here, beginning at 19:32 min.)

The Republicans have had three bills this year to lower healthcare insurance costs by encouraging people to leave the healthcare marketplace. I agree that the Affordable Care Act is too expensive, particularly for sole proprietors (like my husband who was offered a silver ACA plan for more than $1000 per month just for him.) This is why I voted for direct care contracts. I believe those are a better deal for sole proprietors than association health plans.)

Democrats debated valiantly, led by Health and Human Services Ranking Member Rep. Kelli Butler (right). Here, she does Q&A with Rep. Isela Blanc.

I get that costs are too high, but the association health plans are not the way to go. They could, indeed, lower costs for business owners, but they could be risky due to limited coverage. There are reasons why these plans will likely be cheaper. Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for”. If sole proprietor business owners want to take a risk with their own insurance and their own health, I have a mind to let them take their own risk. (Just don’t ask me to help you later with a Go Fund Me Request if it turns out I was right on limited coverage under cheap junk insurance plans.)

Where I object is when businesses are making these risky insurance decisions for their employees— just to save money.

Continue reading #AZ House Debates, Passes Association Health Plans SB1085 (video)

LD9 Debate Recap (video)

LD9 candidates

About 50 LD9 residents and Democratic Party regulars attended the Clean Elections primary debate on June 28 with candidates Dr. Randy Friese, Matt Kopec, and me. (The hour-long event was taped by the Clean Elections Commission.)

The debate had an interesting format– much better, in my opinion, that some of those free-ranging presidential debates where each candidate was asked a different question, making it difficult to compare candidates. The format was: one-minute intros, a set of questions that everyone answered (two minutes each), a set of questions written by audience members and addressed to specific candidates or to anyone (one minute each), and one-minute wrap-ups. (Our audience was very involved and submitted many good questions.)

The debate gave me an opportunity to explain my sustainable economic development ideas  and talk about my background and other ideas. Here is the excerpt about economic development (29:33 mark):

Economic reform is a big part of my platform. Everything in my platform either raises money or saves money to pay for the things we want like quality education, a solid infrastructure, and good-paying jobs. Public banking is a big part of it, but it’s not the whole part. I really believe that we have suffered under the failed economic policies of trickle down economics and austerity. So, we have largesse for the 1% and austerity for the 99%.

With the idea of public banking, we could bring all or part of our tax dollars back from Wall Street and invest it on Main Street.

Continue reading LD9 Debate Recap (video)

Arizona Workers Deserve a Living Wage & a Lot More (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley

Far too many good-paying, full-time jobs disappeared when Wall Street crashed our economy back in 2009. Unfortunately, these jobs were replaced with part-time, low-wage, no-benefits jobs in the gig economy. In Southern Arizona, the post-recession economic recovery has been slow. Arizona workers deserve better. Arizona workers deserve economic security.

On the campaign trail, I often talk about my upbringing in a union household. My Dad was a member and officer in the United Steel Workers local in Lorain County, Ohio, and my Mom worked as an admin assistant in another unionized factory. We lived modestly in a small house, yet we always were financially secure. My parents were high school graduates who never rose the corporate ladder, yet– thanks to unions– my family had many benefits that workers in Arizona today don’t have.

Arizona workers deserve better. They deserve a living wage; benefits like health insurance, paid family leave, paid sick time, paid vacations, overtime pay, and pensions;  equal pay for equal work; full-time work if they want it; and they should be paid for every hour they work. If we can help Arizona workers become financially secure, it will not only help them and their families (obviously), but it will help our state thrive and save our state money in the long run in public assistance, crime, drug addiction, domestic violence and more. There are many negative consequences to living in poverty– or on the edge of it. Workers fuel the economy with their labor and their money. We need to help them and their families be successful in life; after all, like it or not, we’re all in this together riding this blue ball in space.

In this video, I talk about putting Arizonans back to work and about job creation through diversified, sustainable economic development, public banking and other economic reforms.

I want to go to the Arizona Legislature to help Arizona workers and their families. I am a progressive Democrat running for the Arizona House to represent LD9 in Tucson. Together we can build a stronger Arizona for future generations.

Please follow me on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and this blog.  I will be having more house parties, coffees with the candidate, canvassing, and phone banking. Please consider volunteering to help me– here.

AND, if you live in Legislative District 9, please vote for me on August 30 in the Democratic Party Primary and again on November 8 in the general election.