View from the Left Side

March 2018 Constituent Update: News & Events

Save Our Schools March

As usual, this Legislative Session has been a whirlwind of meetings, events, protests, bad bills, and hectic schedules. (Photos below the fold.)

On the Saturday before the session started, more than 1000 people rallied and marched in support of public education. In the above photo, LD11 Candidate Hollace Lyon,  my husband Jim Hannley and I talk as we march to Save Our Schools. Check out a short video on my Facebook page.

We started the session by passing the big bipartisan opioid bill.
#AZ Leg Passes Landmark, Bipartisan Opioid Bill (video)

I dropped the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) again this year, and we are still working on this in the background. (It ain’t over ’til it’s over, as our old high school football coach used to say).
Arizona House Dems Drop 2018 #ERA Bill

We have voted on lots of crazy bills and some good ones in the past two months. As with last year, there is a bipartisan group voting for tax giveaways and a bipartisan group voting against tax giveaways. Millions of dollars in tax breaks have passed the Arizona House. These bills still have to make it through the Senate. If you don’t want tax cuts to continue to starve public education, check out the votes, the debates, and the bill numbers in these two blog posts and contact your Legislators. You can also make comments on bills that have been assigned to agendas by logging on to the Request to Speak system.
Marijuana to Bump Stocks to Tax Giveaways: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?
#TaxCuts & Deregulation: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?

Upcoming Public Events

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
LD9 PCs organized three Ground Game house party events which drew great crowds. This event was hosted by Linda Horowitz.

I am extremely grateful to the Ground Game and to the LD9 precinct committee members for hosting three successful house parties this year. In March, I will be appearing at several public events. I hope to see you there.

An Evening with John Nichols, March 10

Author and historian John Nichols of The Nation will be in Tucson for the Festival of Books this weekend. As is his tradition, Nichols will be speaking at the IBEW Hall on Saturday night, March 10. Doors open at 6 p.m. I am proud to be Nichols’ warm-up act again this year. This free, public event is hosted by PDA Tucson and PALF. You can find more information here. To RSVP on Facebook go here.

Our Time Is NOW, March 17

The Arizona Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) will be holding its state convention in Tucson on March 17 at the IBEW Hall from 10 a.m – 3 p.m. I will be participating in a panel of women elected officials at the conference. For more background go to the NOW Facebook page here.

Three Events on March 18!

Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes

The Jewish Community Center is sponsoring Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. More information can be found here.  My plan is to stop by at the beginning, since this will be such a busy day!

LD9/LD10 St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon

This ticketed fundraiser for LD9 and LD10 is an annual tradition at the Cunningham Home in midtown. It is a chance for LD9 and LD10 Democrats to hob-nob, eat corned beef (or not), and talk with electeds and candidates.

LD9 Town Hall

My seat mate, Dr. Randall Friese and I will be hosting an LD9 town hall on March 18 at the Martha Cooper Library in midtown from 3:30 – 5. As usual, we will each do a quick update and open the floor to questions from the audience. This is free and open to the public. Check out the event on Facebook here.

I hope to see you in the near future at one of these events.

Event Photos and More

Below the fold are a few photos from events and office visits. Thanks to all of you who made the trip up from Tucson during session. Representatives particularly appreciate it when regular folks come to the Capitol to testify in committee. The voice of the people is important– and all too often unheard up here.

Continue reading March 2018 Constituent Update: News & Events

An Evening with John Nichols of The Nation, March 10 (video)

John Nichols, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley & Phil Lopes

The Tucson Festival of Books brings hundreds of authors to Tucson each year. For politicos, one of the hottest tickets at the Book Festival is author and historian John Nichols of The Nation.

If you want to hear Nichols speak in an informal setting– away from the Book Festival crowds, come to the IBEW Hall on Saturday night, March 10. Progressive Democrats of America (PDA Tucson) and the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF) are hosting their annual An Evening with John Nichols. I am proud to be the warm-up act for Nichols again this year. Doors open at 6 p.m.

If you are a Progressive and you have never heard Nichols speak, you should make time for this evening talk. I had the pleasure of meeting Nichols years ago at a PDA retreat in Winslow, Arizona. Since then, I have heard him speak and videotaped him many times.

Continue reading An Evening with John Nichols of The Nation, March 10 (video)

#TaxCuts & Deregulation: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

The volume of bills heard in the Arizona House this past week was down significantly from the crossover week flurry, but we still voted on some doozies.

Tax cuts, sales tax giveaways, deregulation on the edge of risky business, “efficiency savings,” and miscellaneous wacky bills abound.

The capital gains tax cut, which benefited only the wealthiest Arizonans, was a party line vote, with all of the Republicans voting for tax cuts for the 1%. Other than that, the tax giveaways have passed with bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. Votes shift here and there depending upon the cost of the tax giveaway and the stated beneficiary, but the most consistent votes against giving away taxes are cast by Progressives and Libertarians– the same people who killed several tax giveaway bills in 2017. Several of these votes can be seen below the fold and in my Marijuana to Bump Stocks to Tax Giveaways: How did your #AZHouse Rep Vote? blog post from last week.

Continue reading #TaxCuts & Deregulation: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?

Marijuana to Bump Stocks to Tax Giveaways: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?

There have been many lively debates in the Arizona House in 2018. This team of House Democrats fought for consumer protections and fought against risky financial deals in a “regulatory sandbox.” (Pictured are Reps. Mitzi Epstein, Kelli Butler, Athena Salman, Pamela Powers Hannley, Ken Clark and Isela Blanc.)

In the middle of each Legislative Session, there is a frenetic time period called “crossover week”. It is characterized by a flurry of debates and votes in a compressed timeframe. The purpose is to pass on as many wacky bills as possible in each chamber of the Legislature before successful bills are passed to the other chamber. (Hence, the name “crossover week”).

In the last two weeks, the Arizona House has voted on more than 100 bills. I think the House is up to ~250 bills that we have sent to the Senate. Of course, this list includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Below the fold are a few of the recent votes on gun violence, tax giveaways, mandatory sentencing, and drugs. All of these bills are still alive and have been sent to the Arizona Senate. If you don’t like these bills, tell your Senators and Representatives. (On the voting below, green = yes, red = no, purple = excused absence, yellow = absent.)

Continue reading Marijuana to Bump Stocks to Tax Giveaways: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?

#AZ Leg Passes Landmark, Bipartisan Opioid Bill (video)

Arizona Legislature

January 25, 2018 was one of the most dramatic days at the Arizona Legislature, since I was elected.

Not only did we have ~75 Luchadores visiting their Legislators and five extremely aggressive anti-immigrant, pro-Trump protesters heckling them, we also had the big vote on the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (SB1001).

We have been working on SB1001/HB2001 for weeks. Unlike much of what we do in the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act was a truly bipartisan effort. The governor even gave the Democrats the bill language in advance and asked for our input. The Republicans included us in the bill development process because they needed our votes and because didn’t want us to blow it up on the floor with our speechifying, as we did with the stingy TANF and teacher raises in 2017.

As someone who worked in public health and nicotine addiction treatment for years, I was proud to serve on the Democratic Caucus team that reviewed the bill and offered suggestions for revision. It was very heartening that they included several Democratic ideas in this bill. Four of my suggestions were included: offering treatment instead of jail during an overdose situation, AKA the 911 Good Samaritan bill (HB2101), which has been proposed by Democrats for four years in a row; providing funds to counties for life-saving NARCAN kits (HB2201); providing a non-commercial treatment referral service; and offering treatment in a brief intervention after an overdose scare (when your doctor says, “You didn’t die this time. Maybe you should quit!”). The Democrats also suggested including the Angel Initiative (where addicts can drop off their drugs and ask for treatment, without fear of arrest) and $10 million for drug addiction treatment services for people not on AHCCCS (Medicaid) or private insurance.

Continue reading #AZ Leg Passes Landmark, Bipartisan Opioid Bill (video)

Smoke ’em If You Got ’em: #AZLeg Considers 15 Marijuana Bills

Senator David Farnsworth and Rep. Vince Leach want more regulation of small businesses in the cannabis industry and increased law enforcement against citizens who use a plant that never killed anyone. (The specter of the Nanny State rises again in the text of these regulation bills.)

Reps. Mark Cadenas and Pamela Powers Hannley (me) want decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana and want to make medical marijuana cards more affordable.

Senator Sonny Borrelli is bringing back industrial hemp bill, which passed with flying colors in 2017, only to be vetoed by Governor Ducey.

Two of Leach’s bills will be heard in committee this week– HB2064 in Commerce and HB2067 in Health. Details on all 15 below.

Anti-Cannabis Bills


HB2064: medical marijuana; packaging;labeling. HB2064 goes after the evil THC gummy bears. Republicans are afraid that irresponsible parents will leave THC gummy bears on the kitchen table where children can get them. I think the gun on the kitchen table is more dangerous than the cannabis. Parents should keep all harmful drugs and objects out of their children’s reach. This is another Nanny State law.)

HB2067 dictates felony charges for certification clinics that certify someone for a medical marijuana card who is not eligible. This bill is particularly bad because it says if a MMJ certification doctor breaks any law while certifying someone form medical marijuana, the doctor would be charged with a felony. If this is interpreted in include federal law (under which marijuana use is illegal), this could shut down the whole medical marijuana program.

HB2063 makes any active or inactive cannabis metabolites grounds for a DUI conviction. Cannabis metabolites can stay in your body for days; the presence of metatolites in the blood stream doesn’t constitute impairment. Inactive metatolites are inactive.

HB2068 revokes a patient’s medical marijuana card if they get a DUI.

HB2066 spends the millions of dollars in excess medical marijuana card fees on law enforcement. This doesn’t comply with the Citizens’ Initiative that created the MMJ card.

HB2284 blocks citizens’ initiatives that challenge legislation and requires monthly campaign finance reports. This sounds like unnecessary paperwork; it would burden everyone who wants to do a Citizen’s Initiative.

Continue reading Smoke ’em If You Got ’em: #AZLeg Considers 15 Marijuana Bills

Arizona House Dems Drop 2018 #ERA Bill

ERA in Arizona

In 2017, the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in eight states, debated in three, and ratified in one– Nevada. The Arizona Legislature was one of the bodies that debated the ERA. (Watch the video.) I have vowed to introduce the ERA every year until it is ratified by the states. Only two more states are needed. This could be the year the ERA is finally sent back to Congress to become an amendment to the US Constitution.

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, I dropped the ERA– with the help of some of my Democratic sisters. All of the House Democrats signed the bill. I stopped asking Republicans to sign the ERA, when I confirmed that Republican Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita also has introduced the ERA this year.  Ugenti-Rita and Rep. Heather Carter were the only two Republicans who voted to hear the ERA in 2017 (rather than shutting down debate, as the Republican leadership wanted to do.)

You’ll remember that in 2017 the Democrats forced the ERA debate by using parliamentary procedures. We did this because Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, chair of the Judiciary Committee, refused to hear it in committee. (Committee chairs often kill bills with this parliamentary procedure.)

In 2018, the ERA is coming in the front door of the Arizona Legislature.

Continue reading Arizona House Dems Drop 2018 #ERA Bill

Reflections on 2017 at year end…

Arizona House Dems

To say that 2017 was a challenging year is a gross understatement. Buffeted by angry Tweets, backward-thinking executive orders, political grandstanding, militarism, and attacks on our healthcare, our finances, and our freedom, the American people have been on an emotional roller coaster since November 8, 2016. At the dawn of 2018, we have nowhere to go but up.

Inequality in the Trump Era
The summer 2017 news cycle was filled with stories about Congressional Republican plans to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and throw millions of Americans off of health insurance. Problem is: Most people didn’t want to lose their health insurance. Vigilant activists and 1000s of phone calls, emails, and protests stopped multiple ACA repeal and replace attempts. Tucsonans at the 200 Stories Healthcare Forum overwhelming said they wanted health insurance to be affordable and universal— not more expensive and less accessible, as the Republicans had planned. We must stay vigilant because Republicans plan to continue their attacks on our health and well being in 2018.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the fall 2017 news cycle flip flopped between stories on militaristic Tweet tantrums and details of Congressional Republican plans to dramatically reduce taxes for big corporations and 0.01% of the richest Americans. Who will pay for massive tax cuts for the rich? The rest of us, of course. Tax Cut and Jobs Act is blatantly unfair to millions of Americans. As far as I’m concerned if the federal government is giving away billions in tax cuts, the State of Arizona can roll back our tax cuts. After all, we need the money to fund education and other items on the People’s To-Do List. For more thoughts on this, check out the text and video of my DGT speech on solving economic inequality: Economic Inequality, Access to Care & Workforce Development: A Progressive Roadmap.

#MeToo Movement Shake-up
A year that began with amazing women’s marches nationwide, ended with months of sexual harassment and sexual assault charges against powerful men in entertainment and politics. Several Congressmen, State Legislators, and entertainment icons like Matt Lauer, Henry Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey and others have lost their jobs and fallen from power.

In the #MeToo Era, is it finally time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)? I think so. I proposed the ERA in 2017, and I have opened a 2018 bill folder for it. You can read my blog post on this topic here. Watch for ERA activists at the Together We Rise Rally on Opening Day of the Legislature, January 8, 2018. Check out the ERA in AZ Facebook Group here and my blog here for news and updates.

Happy New Year! Take care of yourself. In a few days, I will be heading back to the Arizona House.

Below the fold, check event updates from December 2017 Constituent Newsletter. (BTW, the feature photo depicts Arizona House Democrats at their December retreat on the Gila River Indian Reservation.)

Continue reading Reflections on 2017 at year end…

With Massive Tax Cuts from Feds, Big Corps Don’t Need AZ Tax Giveaways (video)

Mama Grizzly

Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin called herself a “Mama Grizzly” because she said she would fight like a Mama Grizzly to protect her children.

Although “Mama Grizzly” was a catchy marketing slogan for the folksy rural mayor from Alaska, the Republican Party has never embraced the idea of protecting children after birth or helping families. Unfortunately, this week Congressional Republicans took their disregard for middle class families one step further by voting for billions of dollars in tax cuts for big corporations and for the richest Americans– while saddling our children and grandchildren with massive debt to pay the bills in the future.

Hmmm… let’s see… what to do… pass legislation that would actually help millions of Americans– like equitably funding public education across the country or fixing the Affordable Care Act (to make it affordable) — OR cut taxes for your rich donors? Cut taxes, of course! With party-line votes to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congressional Republicans have shown that they are far more interested in enriching the billionaire class than in improving the lives of everyday Americans. Universal healthcare? Food Security? World-class public education? Safe roads and bridges? Financial stability for the middle class? Meh. Congressional Republicans don’t care about pursuing the People’s To-Do List.

Although the majority of Americans see the tax cut bill as unfair, Republicans are on course to deliver the biggest Christmas present… ever… to the 0.01%.

In my opinion, the passage of this massive wealth transfer bill underscores the need for a few new progressive action items…

Continue reading With Massive Tax Cuts from Feds, Big Corps Don’t Need AZ Tax Giveaways (video)

The ERA in the #MeToo Era

I have given a number of speeches since the #MeToo stories started popping up on social media and since the powerful men started falling down. People regularly ask me about the Arizona efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Now, they also are asking me about sexual harassment in government.

My younger naive self experienced workplace sexual harassment perpetrated by much older men. Like Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, I made my own #MeToo post on Facebook, but mine focused on men from my past– not on men in the Arizona Legislature.

Continue reading The ERA in the #MeToo Era