August 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Upcoming Events (video)

Jim and Pam Hannley

Community Event Update

ERA in ArizonaWomen’s Equality Day: Aug 26

I am honored to be a speaker at Women’s Equality: Courageous Conversations on August 26, the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment. I will be talking about the history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the struggle to pass it. Only two more states are needed to ratify the ERA. I filed a bill proposing ratification of the ERA in the Arizona House in 2017, and I plan to do it again in 2018. Event information here.

Standing Room Only at July 8 Townhall

Unlike some politicians who hide from their constituents, LD9 Senator Steve Farley, Rep. Randy Friese, and I held a constituent town hall in early July. At the time, Congress was wrangling with health insurance reform and was poised to knock 30 million Americans off of health insurance, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy, to big insurance and to big pharma.

As a result, our LD9 town hall drew a standing room only crowd at the Martha Cooper Library in midtown– despite 109 degree temperatures. My UA intern Antar de Sa did a Facebook live video, and you can watch the whole event here. I also posted my comments on my YouTube channel.

Continue reading August 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Upcoming Events (video)

Balancing Responsibility & Liberty: The Yin & Yang of Public Policy

This is the text of the talk that I gave at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson (UUCT) on July 30, 2017. (Watch the video here.)

Rep. Pamela Powers HannleyOur lives are made up of the choices we make. Although they range from the mundane to the profound, all of our choices bundled together determine balance or imbalance in our lives. Taoist philosophers believed that to lead a happy and tranquil life, one must live in balance with the forces of nature—the yin and the yang, the female and male, the good and evil.

In her book, Envisioning a New World, UU Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius applies the concept of balancing yin and yang to public policy. She suggests that we should try to consciously balance social responsibility—the yin—with individual liberty—the yang. It sounds so simple yet so profound. Like the Tao.

Carnarius goes on to point out that with the our country’s Declaration of Independence, “… for the first time in history, an individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was proclaimed as divinely ordained, unassailable, and constitutionally guaranteed.” A huge step for the common man.

Also, lest our new country devolve into the lawlessness of unbridled individualism, the framers of the Constitution balanced “the ascendency of the individual” with a “trust in humanity’s capacity for self-governance.”

Democracy—the voice of the people—would balance the rights of the individual.

Continue reading Balancing Responsibility & Liberty: The Yin & Yang of Public Policy

The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

Affordable Care Act
An old meme from 2014 refers to the movie Elysium, where Matt Damon and others are doomed to live on Earth with no workplace safety, no health insurance and squalid conditions, while the rich live on a floating space station (Elysium) with luxuries including a machine that heals disease.

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

Continue reading The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

Bills! The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & Mine

Moms

After the first three weeks of the 53rd Legislature, things are starting to heat up. Hundreds of bills have been filed, and as usual, they run the gamut from boring to hopeful to dangerous.

I want to personally thank Speaker J.D. Mesnard for assigning some Democratic Party bills and some more moderate Republican bills to committee. (In recent Legislatures, bills from these sponsors were never assigned to committee. Of course, it’s up to the committee chair to put the bills on their agendas, but getting assigned to a committee is a welcome first step, in my book.)

Assignment to committee and very orderly and cordial floor meetings are positive notes in what has been a fast-paced time. Last week we shift from third gear to fifth gear and floor debates start on Tuesday, January 31. If you like reality TV, you should watch your Legislature in action. (The Arizona Capitol Television link on the Arizona Legislature’s website will take you to live proceedings and archives.)

All action and inaction on the floor of the House and Senate is televised– as are the Democratic and Republican Caucus Meetings (10 a.m. on Tuesdays, where we discuss the bills with staff, audience members, and paid lobbyists) and all committee meetings. Representatives have TVs on our desks, so we can keep up with the action while doing email, etc. Rep. Randy Friese’s motorcycle bill (HB2046) crashed and burned in the Transportation Committee but not without over an hour of testimony pro and con (bikers vs doctors). It was TV worth watching– as was the lengthy preemption discussion about local IDs and “illegals”.

When a variety of bills are heard, more constituent voices are heard. Here are a variety of bills that are coming down the pike this week (or in the near future). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Every committee meets every week, and agendas can include any number of bills. (Translation: there’s a lot happening.)

My Bills

HCR2012 (Powers Hannley) ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment in Arizona. (Assigned to Judiciary Committee in the House, headed by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth.) We only need three states to ratify the ERA to meet the requirement for a new amendment to the US Constitution. The ERA deserves to be debated in committee and on the Floor of the House and the Senate. Senator Martin Quezada has sponsored SCR1003— a mirror bill in the Senate (assigned to Government, headed by Senator John Kavanagh). Farnsworth and Kavanagh are blocking the ERA in the Legislature. If you think women’s rights should be debated and voted on in the Arizona Legislature, contact those two and your representatives and senators this week to get it on an agenda.

HB2172 (Powers Hannley) offers medical treatment instead of arrest in overdose situations. (Assigned to Judiciary, Farnsworth, again.) Thanks to the Arizona Republic‘s EJ Montini for giving a shoutout to this bill every time it has been proposed. Yes, this will save lives. Unfortunately, Farnsworth told me that he “doesn’t want to offer immunity to criminals” and refuses to hear this. If you think drugs addicts deserve a second chance at life, contact his office and encourage him to allow public testimony on this. There are several Moms lobbying Legislators to hear this bill– including the two pictured with this blog post.

HB2336 (Powers Hannley) allows terminally ill patients to make the decision to take their own lives with the help of their physician and medical team. (Assigned to Health Committee.)

HB2401 (Powers Hannley) requires medical providers to reveal the services they will not provide due to their religious beliefs. This is a major issue for women, particularly pregnant women. If you’re in a pregnancy-related emergency, you don’t want to end up in a hospital with services restricted by religious beliefs. Also – we should know which pharmacies dispense medications based upon the religion of the pharmacist and not based upon what is best for the patient. (Assigned to Health Committee.)

HB2400 (Powers Hannley) lengthens the renewal period for medical marijuana cards from every year to every five years. We have heard multiple bills to make other newals easier and less cumbersome, why not make the medical MJ card easier to renew? If you have arthritis, it’s not going away in a year– so why do patients have to renew every year and get a new ID card every year. Seems like too much bureaucracy to me. (Not assigned to committee.)

HB2439 (Powers Hannley) requires home health aides to have the same training, regardless who pays for the care. Currently, in Arizona, home health aides whose care is paid for my Medicare or Medicaid have to meet certain basic training requirements, but there are no standard training requirements for home health aides who are otherwise funded. (For example, an individual could pay for home health themselves.) There has been a rise in elder abuse cases, and I think better training could help that situation. This is a topic that the Health Committee has tried to fix in the past but didn’t have the votes for change. (Not assigned to committee.)to committee.)

HB2531 (Powers Hannley) expands the Clean Elections system to county and local, unpaid boards. There was a backlash against big money politics in the 2016. The original “chosen candidates” with the most money– Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush– lost. Multiple Clean Elections candidates beat traditionally funded candidates in Legislative races. I think candidates running for county and unpaid boards (like school boards, water boards, etc.) should have a Clean Elections option. (Not assigned to committee.)

HB2532 (Powers Hannley) establishes a feasibility study to create a state public bank. The Arizona Legislature is hearing multiple economic development bills that theoretically boost our economy by giving away more taxpayer funds. The basic premise behind all of them is giving a tax break to someone who will develop land. Is development our only economic development tool? When will we jump off this merry-go-round? At every level– city, county and state– politicians say we don’t have the money we need to have the schools and roads we want. Then… why do we continue to give away tax money? Setting up a public bank would give us an alternative, sustainable economic development tool. We could offer low-interest loans to local, small businesses and college students, while strengthening our community bank system. The return on our low-interest loans who go back to the state to pay for public education and/or transportation infrastructure. (With our current economic development system based upon giveaways, there is not direct return on investment of taxpayer funds… only promises of jobs and prosperity in the future.) I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the trickle down.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Here are some other bills you may be interested in.

Continue reading Bills! The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & Mine

Speaking Truth to Power in the #AZLeg (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley

Last week was action-packed in the Arizona Legislature. We returned to work on Monday– just a few days after immigration restrictions and the Muslim travel ban and related protests unfolded at airports (including Sky Harbor).

This week I was proud of the Democrats in the Legislature. I am particularly proud of my Sisters who are also first-time Legislators: Representatives Athena Salman, Isela Blanc, Kelli Butler, Winona Benally, Mitzi Epstein, and Kirsten Engel.

Yes, we’re the minority, but we’re a fiery bunch with a lot to say. Thirteen of the 25 Dems in the House are new, and several of the newbies are unabashedly Progressive (like me) or Progressive-leaning, depending upon the issue.

Often, the people who spoke truth to power this week included some or all of the women listed above. But don’t take my word for it. Watch the videos.

Jan 30: Democrats made statements about the Muslin travel ban.

Jan 31: Democrats spoke out against snake shot and rat shot in the city. (The vote broke along party lines.)

snake shot
The vote on using snake shot and rat shot within city limits broke along party lines.

Feb 1: A lively debate ensues regarding states rights and Donald Tump’s executive orders. Unnecessary fingerprinting which could disproportionately affect the poor also debated.

Feb 2: We had our second gun rights debate– this time we discussed “smart guns”. Feb 2 was such a big day that there are eight videos. (Helpful hint: if you click on one here and look below the video feed, it will say which bills are debated in that clip.)

More action this week with a full calendar of votes. It’s TV worth watching; all of the meetings are live-streamed, videotaped, and archived. Archives are here. Live streaming link here.

Floor action begins daily at 1:30 p.m. Committee meetings are at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. (or after Floor). Republican and Democratic Caucuses meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. All of these meetings are Monday – Thursday, so out of town Legislators can be home on the weekends with family and constituents.

Heads Up! The Con-Con Is Coming

US Constitution

For years Tea Partiers have been pushing for a Constitutional Convention (AKA Con-Con) for a balanced budget and more.

The Con-Con has passed the Arizona House of Representatives several times, but stalled in the Senate. This year there are four Con-Con bills on the agenda for the Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy Committee on Tuesday, January 31.

HCR2010 (Townsend) declares that the Arizona Legislature wants a Constitutional Convention. (Concurrent resolution with the Senate.)

HCR2006 (Thorpe) includes a wish list of changes to the Constitution. (Concurrent resolution with the Senate.)

HCR2013 (Mesnard) calls for a Constitutional Convention for a federal balanced budget. (Concurrent resolution with the Senate.)

HB2226 (Mesnard) also calls for a Constitutional Convention for a federal balanced budget and includes details of the balanced budget. (House only bill.)

In previous years, the Con-Con bills were stopped at the door of the Senate by former Senate President Andy Biggs, who resigned the Legislature to run for Congress. Biggs is so opposed to the Con-Con that he wrote a book about it– The Con of the Con-Con.

Continue reading Heads Up! The Con-Con Is Coming

Know Your Candidates before You Vote

Pamela Powers Hannley

Residents of Legislative District 9 have a clear choice for Arizona House. Two Democrats Rep. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley are running against Tea Party candidate Ana Henderson.

The Clean Elections debate revealed major differences between Henderson’s extreme Tea Party positions and the two Democrats’ views.

To simplify your voting decision, I revised my ven diagram (below) comparing where I stand on the issues and where Henderson stands.

Continue reading Know Your Candidates before You Vote

#LD9 Voters – Can’t Decide How to Vote? Watch the Debate (video)

Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley, Ana Henderson

The Arizona Clean Elections Commission recently hosted a debate between the three candidates vying for two seats in the Arizona House: Democrats Rep. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley (me) and Tea Party Republican Ana Henderson.

This debate was the first candidate forum that Henderson participated in with the two Democrats, and it’s likely the last. With 75 or more people from both parties, the debate was well-attended. The audience submitted many great questions. Some questions are asked of all candidates– like education funding, climate change, Prop 205 (marijuana legalization), and Prop 206 (raising the minimum wage).

Below is the video.

If you want to skip through the topics, there’s a list of the high points below.

Continue reading #LD9 Voters – Can’t Decide How to Vote? Watch the Debate (video)

#LD9 Debate Reveals Clear Choices Between Dem & GOP Candidates

Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley, Ana Henderson

Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley (me) and Ana Henderson– the three candidates for the two Legislative District 9 seats in the Arizona House– faced off on Friday night in front of a packed house for the LD9 Clean Elections Debate.

This was the first event– and perhaps the only event– in which voters got to hear all three candidates. Friese and I were the only LD9 candidates who appeared at the Pima County Interfaith Council Candidate Forum, the candidate forum sponsored by the UA pre-law candidate forum, the Arizona Daily Star candidate interview and Pride on Parade— besides all of the joint events with Matt Kopec during the primary. (OK, so Pride wasn’t a candidate forum, but many candidates turned out to show their support for the LGBTQ community and celebrate diversity.)

So– even though this is the first time that most of us got to hear Henderson talk, we learned a lot about her views. Climate change, reproductive choice, homelessness, corporate tax cuts, minimum wage, public banking, gun violence, and, of course, education– the three of us fielded a wide variety of questions from the audience last night. (I’ll link the full video when it is available on the Clean Elections YouTube channel.)

Here’s we learned about Ana Henderson at the debate.

She’s against raising the minimum wage. (She said it’s bad for business, and government shouldn’t be meddling in business– except to dole out more corporate welfare. In a town with a 25% poverty rate, too many workers are just scraping by in the gig economy. They can’t buy the goods businesses are selling if they have no expendable income.)

She’s against legalization of marijuana. (In her opinion, marijuana– a plant that never killed anyone– is dangerous for children, but a loaded gun in the house is safe. Yes, we need to work on impairment definitions for marijuana– and other drugs. And, yes, dosing for edibles has to be improved. When you buy a whole Snickers bar, you expect to eat the whole thing– not just a 1/4 inch of it. And, yes, parents should protect their children from accidental drug poisoning and from accidental death by firearms.)

She’s a climate change denier. (She’s in the it’s-just-a-theory camp on climate change. She stands with free market forces on the question of incentivizing people to install solar panels. Friese and I both said clearly that climate change is real. Look at the increased dust storms, flooding, and fires. We should take our heads out of the desert sand and start planning for the changes in order to mitigate their effects. Look at the increased dust storms, flooding, and fires.)

She thinks corporate taxes are too high and supports more trickle down economics. (Friese and I attacked the $4 billion in corporate tax cuts repeatedly last night, and she defended them as necessary to boost the economy. We’ve been waiting for 35 years for trickle down economics to work. Time’s up.)

She likes public education but supports expanding vouchers. (Friese and I talked a lot about public education funding, educational goals not met, teacher retention, and shortchanging our future by denying a good education to so many children. Her main point was parental choice– a buzzword for more vouchers. Republicans like to say that Arizona is #1 in school choice. The other way to phrase this is: Arizona has cut and weakened public education more than any other state. That’s not something to be proud of.)

She supports “small government.” (Republicans tout “small government” when running for office, but once they are in office, Arizona Republican Legislators routinely pass 300-400 new laws each year. If you average that at 350/year for each year since the Tea Party took over in 2010, that’s 2100 new laws. I had fun pointing that out that 2100 new laws in six years is “too much government regulation.” Ha!)

She supports Donald Trump for President and made excuses for his now-infamous bragging about sexually assaulting women. Her “everyone does it even women” excuse for “vulgar locker room talk” was shocking.

The debate video will be up in a few days. I’ll post the link when available.

 

 

 

Who is Ana Henderson? (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley, Ana Henderson

Matt Heinz, Brian Bickel, and I have something in common. We’re all running against Republican women who are running stealth campaigns and hiding their opinions from the voters.

Heinz is running for Congressional District 2 against Congresswoman Martha McSally who is infamous for dodging questions and debates. Bickel is running for Pima County Supervisor against incumbent Ally Miller, who refused to be interviewed by the Arizona Daily Star (and other media outlets) for their candidate series. For the LD9 seat, I am running against Tea Party candidate Ana Henderson who is hoping that $5500 worth of giant signs featuring her and her dog (but not her party affiliation or any detauls about her) will convince voters to back her.

If my website stats are any indication, voters want to know where candidates stand on the issues. Leading up to primary voting day on August 30, my website stats were booming, and the page visitors went to most often– after the home page– was the Issues tab. (Inquiring minds want to know.)

Unfortunately, Henderson didn’t answer AZCentral’s candidate questionnaire this summer, didn’t show up to the LD9 interview with the Arizona Daily Star a few weeks ago, and didn’t attend the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) candidate forum this past Sunday. More than 500 people — most representing local churches or charitable organizations like the Community Food Bank and Literacy Connects– attended the PCIC event hoping to hear multiple candidates speak about public education, hunger, and drugs.

Candidates and UA students after the forum on October 5.
Candidates and UA students after the forum on October 5.

October 6 UPDATE: Last night the University of Arizona pre-law fraternity hosted a candidate forum at the UA Law School. Democratic and Republican candidates from CD2, LD9. LD10 and LD2 participated. Unfortunately, again, McSally and Henderson were no-shows.

Now the question is: Will Henderson show up for the LD9 Clean Elections Debate on October 14 or pay the no-show fine?

Continue reading Who is Ana Henderson? (video)