Podcast: Updates from Taxes to Reproductive Rights & COVID … What’s the Latest?

Rep. PPH's podcast

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.

Every year, Democrats and the Legislature’s nonpartisan staff lawyers warn Republicans that the state will be over multiple bills. Every year, Republicans cavalierly pass those questionable bills with the purpose being sued just to make a political point. Creating and fighting ideological court cases all the way to the Supreme Court is a badge of honor for red state legislatures nationwide and an enormous misuse of taxpayer funds – particularly when the states are defending suppression of voting rights, reproductive rights, civil rights and public health precautions. Besides the unnecessary court cases, does Arizona really need more than 300 new laws every year? I don’t think so, but that’s how many the Republicans pass each year. Thanks to Ducey, “small government” Republicans, and special interest groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Goldwater Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the Institute for Justice, the Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) and the Center for Arizona Policy (Cathi Herrod), hundreds of new laws were in the queue to go into effect last week. Which ones were the people able to stop? Not enough.

Interviews

For Episode 8, three previous podcast guests joined me to provide updates on the lawsuits and petition drives that Arizona voters used in an attempt to stop bad Republican bills from becoming law. Children’s Action Alliance President and CEO David Lujan talks about the three Invest in Arizona referenda. Civil rights lawyer Dianne Post discusses Arizona’s new anti-abortion law. Arizona Public Health Association Executive Director Will Humble reports back on COVID19 in Arizona. There’s also news about sports betting, the filibuster and what’s going on with labor. [Spoiler alert: Arizona was #4 nationwide in online sports gambling during the first weekend of the NFL season.]

My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.

Cybersecurity, Corporate Surveillance, & Crypto: How Safe Are We? A View from the Left Side

An overabundance of fake news, paid political advertising and trolls gaslighting the facts have turned most social media sites into cesspools of misinformation and click bait to boost engagement and profits.There is little or no regulation to protect the privacy of the unassuming public or to ensure the accuracy of information disseminated through social media. Consumers are left to ferret out scams and misinformation on their own.   The highly unregulated landscape of Internet-based commerce and finance is the ideal breeding ground for risky, questionable get-rich-quick schemes. Enter cryptocurrency, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and blockchain.  Maybe you have heard these terms, but you don't know exactly what they mean or you're not sure why you should care. Today's podcast covers Internet privacy, cybersecurity and their relationship to cryptocurrency, NFTs and blockchain. My guests today are two of my colleagues in the Arizona House of Representatives. Serving LD10 in Tucson, Rep. Domingo Degrazia is a lawyer by profession, a Certified Information Privacy Professional, and drafter of the proposed Arizona Data Privacy bill. He is Whip for the House Democratic Caucus and serves on both the Judiciary and Rules Committees. Serving LD18 in Maricopa County, Rep. Mitzi Epstein is a computer systems analyst by profession. She worked for Olin Brass Manufacturing and in the Treasury Department at Citicorp Mortgage. She is Ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and also serves on the Rules Committee and the Land, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.Time StampPPH Commentary 00:42Interview with DeGrazia and Epstein 05:26Privacy and Security on the Internet 06:08Are People too Trusting? 08:36Are Devices Listening to Us? 09:52There Is Little Government Regulation. Tech Regulates Itself 10:11Personal Information Was Used Against People in WWI, WWII 11:03Radicalization and Misinformation Spreads through Social Media 12:52Outrage Algorithms Build Anger and Profits 13:58European Internet Regulations 14:34Regulation Is Patchy or Nonexistent in Most US States 15:40Is It a Good Thing that Some Apps Track Your Every Step? 16:53Some of Your Data Is Being Collected and Used by Other Countries, including China 17:23Deleting Apps that Track You 18:33What about Cryptocurrency, Nonfungible Tokens, and Blockchain? 19:23Blockchain Is Just One Tool 20:46Which AZLeg Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee Members Are Invested in Crypto? 22:42Cryptocurrency Is Built on Nothing 23:03Nonfungible Tokens (NFTs)
  1. Cybersecurity, Corporate Surveillance, & Crypto: How Safe Are We?
  2. Fight for $15 in a Right-to-Work State
  3. Updates: From Taxes to Reproductive Rights & COVID … What's the Latest?
  4. The Filibuster: It's Time to Remove a Relic of Racism
  5. COVID19 in Arizona: Where Are We Now? 18 Months Later …

Time Stamp for YouTube

PPH Commentary 1:00

Update on ‘Fraudit’ (E1) 4:47

Update on Referenda (E2) 5:39

Update on Online Gaming (E3) 11:41

Update on United Campus Workers (E4) 13:50

Update on Anti-Choice Laws (E5) 15:12

Update on COVID19 (E6) 20:20

Update on Filibuster (E7) 27:49

Podcast: The Filibuster, It’s Time to Remove a Relic of Racism (video)

Rep. PPH podcast

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, he and other Democratic leaders have proposed sweeping legislation to tackle deep-seated societal problems.

Many popular progressive bills – like the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; the Richard L. Trumka Protect the Right to Organize Act, the Dream and Promise Act, and the Women’s Health Protection Act – have been passed by the US House of Representatives. Unfortunately, these bills and many more are blocked in the Senate by the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold.

Parts of Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better Plan are also in jeopardy due to opposition from so-called “moderates” in Congress. Build Back Better would rebuild and modernize our nation’s neglected infrastructure, address climate change, create jobs, and lower taxes and costs for the middle class. Who pays for Build Back Better? Biden’s plan calls for a “fairer tax code.” Rather than taking on more debt, corporations and the wealthiest Americans would pay more in taxes to fund this sweeping recovery plan. These are the people who have enjoyed decades of tax cuts under the guise of trickledown economics. These are the people who made billions during the pandemic while working families scraped by. These are the people who build private space ships to glorify their egos while they starve their workers and bust unions. These are the people who enjoyed the biggest tax cut ever under President Trump. Unfortunately, these are also the people who have the money to buy politicians and lobbyists. That is why Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was passed by Republicans on a party line with a simple majority without debate just days before Christmas, but Biden’s plan, which would tax the rich to the benefit of the rest of the country, needs a super majority to overcome a filibuster.

Continue reading Podcast: The Filibuster, It’s Time to Remove a Relic of Racism (video)

‘A View from the Left Side’: New Podcast from Rep. PPH (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley

I’m not the politician who strides into the room with an entourage and takes the first opportunity to grab a mic and give a speech. I’m the politician who wanders around parties and events chitchatting incognito until somebody, like my husband, tips people off and blows my cover.

Before COVID, I heard a lot of your stories with this way.

Literally everywhere I go–even to Jim’s recent Rincon Rangers High School Reunion–people tell me how much they appreciate getting an insider’s view of the Arizona Legislature through my video updates and blog posts.

Although this blog has been quiet since the end of a grueling, six-month Legislative session, I have been busy in the background.* Given the dismal state of our state government and the struggles to make progressive change in the Congress, I decided to up my communication game and start a weekly podcast.  Each episode of A View from the Left Side focuses on a specific topic and includes a commentary to set the stage, followed by guest interviews. My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.

A View from the Left Side began with a soft opening on August 20 with Episode 1: The State of Politics in Arizona. There is obviously a lot of material for a political podcast in Arizona. 

Continue reading ‘A View from the Left Side’: New Podcast from Rep. PPH (video)

Podcast: Fighting Back Against Repressive Anti-Choice Laws in Arizona & Texas (video)

Rep. PPH's podcast

In 2016, Senate Republicans stopped President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was too close to the election and that the new president should choose the new supreme court judge. Despite nationwide outcry against this, the Supreme Court functioned for months with only eight justices. After President Donald Trump took office, he nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch in January 2017,  Judge Brett Kavanaugh in July 2018, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett on September 2020, just months before the 2020 election. (I guess according to Mitch McConnell rules are meant to be broken.)

The US is currently suffering the aftermath of these three conservative appointments. Multiple Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed restrictive anti-abortion bills during the past decade. Since the Supreme Court has taken a decided hard turn to the right with the Trump era appointments, states like Texas and Arizona are in the forefront with anti-choice legislation designed to challenge Roe v Wade.

Continue reading Podcast: Fighting Back Against Repressive Anti-Choice Laws in Arizona & Texas (video)

What Did #AZLeg Do in the First 100 Days?

Phoenix

For many years, the Arizona Legislature has had a 100 day target for the length of each session. April 20, 2021 was day 100 for this session. When more than 1000 bills are proposed every year and more than 300 are usually signed into law in non-pandemic years, the Legislature doesn’t generally finish in 100 days.

So, what did we do in the first 100 days? Here are a few examples of bills that have been signed by the governor. Below is the complete list of 33 video updates that I have created in 2021 … so far.

The Legislature passed two massive corporate tax giveaways that will primarily help Maricopa County — the qualified facilities tax credit (HB2321) and the data center tax incentive (HB2649).  Fun Fact: according to the Financial Advisory Committee, 90 percent of the job creation touted by Governor Doug Ducey has been in the Phoenix metro area. Bills like HB2321 and HB2649 perpetuate the inequitable system that exists in our state.

We passed a passed another Ducey priority, the  massive expansion of gambling (HB2772/SB1797), which legalizes sports betting, fantasy sports betting, and app-based Keno. In exchange for additional casinos and a portion of the app-based gambling action, the tribes backed and heavily lobbied for expanding off-reservation gambling. Since most of the new tribal casinos and all of the major league sports teams are in Maricopa County, the millions generated from gambling will disproportionately benefit Maricopa County. I have serious concerns about the negative public health and privacy aspects of this dramatic expansion. Gambling will be everywhere, and gambling apps will be hounding people on social media — thanks to HB2772. Every click, every bet, every win, every loss, and every betting location on every app-based gambler will be collected, stored, and used to advertise more gambling.

Ducey surprisingly vetoed Cathi Herrod’s bad bill which put ideological guardrails on what can be taught in sex education (SB1456). A second Center for Arizona Policy bill which criminalizes doctors and patients for even talking about abortion (SB1457) is awaiting the governors signature (or veto) at the time of this writing.

Many bills are stuck in the process somewhere, which is a good thing. Arizona would be in terrible condition if all of the tax giveaways, voter suppression schemes, and education privatization bills passed. In my opinion, Democrats should push for a speedy end to this horrible session, so the Legislature doesn’t do any more damage to our state or take away more of our rights.

There are many other examples. Check out the good, the bad and the ugly. Below is a list of my video updates for 2021 … so far.

Continue reading What Did #AZLeg Do in the First 100 Days?

#AZLeg​ Vote Protects Fetuses, Criminalizes Doctors & Patients (video)

fetal personhood

Republicans have spent weeks and employed multiple levels of parliamentary procedures to ram Senator Cathi Herrod’s … er … Senator Nancy Barto’s fetal personhood bill through both houses … twice. SB1457 died in the Senate earlier in April, but the Republicans brought the zombie bill back to life for a do-over.

SB1457 inserts BIG government into private medical decisions. It criminalizes doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, and patients.

Government has the right and the duty to make and implement public health policy to keep us all safe and healthy — like mask mandates, vaccinations, inspections, etc. Government does not have the right to insert itself into personal medical decisions and impose felony charges against medical personnel and patients to enforce the Legislature’s will. SB1457 criminalizes the doctor/patient relationship if they discuss, recommend, refer or perform an abortion on a woman and they all know she is carrying a child with a disability or a child that is so medically fragile that it won’t live long after birth. It also makes ordering abortion-inducing drugs by mail illegal.

Besides the fact that government should not be meddling in this personally tragic decision, the woman and her partner have to thing long-term about raising a child with a severe disability or carrying a fetus to term that may not live 24 hours. This is a tough decision — emotionally, physically and financially.

Continue reading #AZLeg​ Vote Protects Fetuses, Criminalizes Doctors & Patients (video)