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: 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)

#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)

Barto’s Anti-Abortion Bill Criminalizes Doctors & Victimizes Women (video)

medical freedom

Every terrible idea the Republican Party has ever had has at least one bill in the Arizona Legislature this year. Their signature bad ideas — attacks on reproductive rights, voter suppression, and tax cuts for the corporations and the rich — have multiple bills each.

The House debated SB1457, a bill that criminalizes doctors, for two hours recently. This is a fetal personhood bill, which values the life of the fetus over the life of the mother and criminalizes doctors for providing abortion counseling or performing abortions when the fetus is determined to be generically abnormal or not viable beyond birth.

Ironically, House Republicans used the rallying cry of “medical freedom” as an excuse to not wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, but  they  don’t  see the  disconnect between their demands for medical freedom during a public health crisis and their insistence on controlling women’s private medical decisions. Continue reading Barto’s Anti-Abortion Bill Criminalizes Doctors & Victimizes Women (video)

Ducey Says AZ Has Too Many Laws: Let’s Start Repealing! (video)

Arizona House

In his January 2019 state of the state address, Governor Doug Ducey said Arizona has too many laws on the books. I agree!

The Republicans routinely pass 300+ bills each year. Many of them are unnecessary laws that favor special interest groups. He challenged lawmakers to find laws to repeal. I would start with the anti-abortion laws.

 

Fun with Campaign Finance: Questions for Ana

All three of my opponents spent $1000s on consultants leading up to the primary on August 30, 2016.

According to the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Database, Ana Henderson, the sole GOP candidate in the LD9 race, spent $6280 (the largest part of her Clean Elections funds) on an ultra-conservative Phoenix-based consultant– Constantin Querard of Grassroots Consulting LLC. His website says that he works for “‘platform Republican[s]’ with uncompromising beliefs in the sanctity of life, pro-family issues, low taxes and the right to keep and bear arms…”

The Capitol Times is quoted on his website as saying, Querard “has helped to create the most conservative Legislature to be seen in years…” The website client list bears this statement out; it’s a who’s who of Cathy Herrod fetal personhood aficionados and NRA backers.

The second biggest chunk of Henderson’s funds– $4800– was spent in Mesa at a non-union sign shop. So– Henderson spent 80% of her $13,908 in Maricopa County. (This is surprising since Henderson often talks about being a former small business owner– like me.)

For comparison purposes, I spent almost all of my $19,806 locally. Except for buying office supplies, party supplies and food at local chain stores, by far, most of my money was spent at small locally-owned businesses. The Gloo Factory– a local union printer– got the largest chunk of my money with $6341; second was National Mailing at $4808; and third was Tucson Local Media at $2224. I spent 68% of my funds ($13,373) with three local businesses. The only non-Tucson businesses that I used were the company that printed the checks for my bank account and the Arizona Democratic Party who gave me access to the Democrats’ giant voter database.

I have a few questions for Ana Henderson…

Continue reading Fun with Campaign Finance: Questions for Ana