Arizonans love Clean Elections and the Citizens’ Initiative because these two statues allow the voters’ voices to be heard. That is exactly why these two rights of Arizona voters are under continuous attack by the Republican Party.
HB2724 is a direct assault on the autonomy of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and is the natural next step for right-wingers after the passage of the anti-Clean Elections Prop 306 in Nov. 2018.
HB2724 is politically targeted and costly over-regulation of a popular commission. HB2724 allows every rule created by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to be challenged by anyone in the state and thus start an official investigation. This bill could spark multiple unnecessary investigations by the Governor’s regulatory agency. No other state agency suffers from this oppressive oversight. This is heavy-handed regulation aimed at suppressing the voices of candidates who choose to say no to big money politics.
If you backed the Outlaw Dirty Money Citizens Initiative, if you want to get money out politics and if you want your elected officials to answer to you — instead of answering to big money donors and lobbyists — just say NO to HB2724 on Request to Speak (RTS).
HB2724 is on the Regulatory Affairs Agenda for Monday, Feb. 18. Yes, this is the same committee that passed the sub-minimum wage last week.
You all stood strong on RTS against the sub-minimum wage. The RTS commenters helped LUCHA, who showed up in person, to speak against poverty wages. Let’s stand up for Clean Elections. Elected officials should answer to the people, not to corporations, lobbyists, or big money. HB2724 is being heard, but my bill to expand Clean Elections (HB2411) has been double-assigned to two hostile committees (Elections headed by Townsend and Government headed by Kavanagh).
My constituents have told me loud and clear that they don’t like the power of money in politics. Please go to RTS and say NO to HB2724 and YES to HB2411. Yes, I am a Clean Elections candidate. That means I am free of big-money politics.
There are many wild eyed right wing bills that will be heard in committee or on the floor in the coming week. Please stay vigilant in addition to commenting on agenda items. On RTS you can go to “my bill positions”, search for bill numbers, and enter multiple positions on bills even if they are not on an agenda.
In the Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday, Feb 14, we are hearing a long list of bills including two about health insurance.
HB2375 would extend short-duration insurance to three years. This insurance is currently capped at one year because it is seen as a stop-gap measure for people who are between jobs or disconnected from insurance for some reason.
HB2376 relates to association health care plans for small businesses and sole proprietors. This bill allows them to band together and buy insurance as a group. A concern with this idea is regarding the quality of insurance that will be purchased and how that will impact workers who will be included under these plan.
Will association health plans cover essential health benefits, like the Affordable Care Act does? Will they cover people with pre-existing conditions? Will they have lifetime insurance caps? Will coverage be determined by the employer’s “deeply held religious beliefs”?
These association health insurance plans will NOT be regulated by the Arizona Department of Insurance. I fear that this will be Wild West Health Insurance, which will be cheap but not comprehensive.
We still have a problem in this country with medical bankruptcy. People buy the insurance they can afford, rather than the insurance they need. Cheap plans don’t offer full coverage and can leave patients in dire financial straits.
On the macro-economic level, these plans could lure people out of the Healthcare Marketplace and weaken the system.
If you are on Request to Speak at the AZLeg website, please offer an opinion on 2375 and 2376.
HB2523 is on the agenda for the Regulatory Affairs Committee for Monday, Feb. 11. This is a terrible bill for younger workers who are under 21 years of age, employed in the gig economy, and full-time students.
This bill allows employers to pay you less than Arizona’s current minimum wage of $11 an hour. They can go as low as the current federal minimum wage which is $7.25 an hour.
You have until 2 o’clock on Monday to voice your opinion on the request to speak system. Tell the Republicans loud and clear that this is not fair to younger workers! Why are we saddling college students with enormous debt and then forcing them to work for slave wages?
Go to RTS as the AZLeg website. I am ranking member on the Regulatory Affairs Committee. We have heard many bills about dumbing down qualifications for professions and other bills that are bad for workers.
The Arizona Legislature waited until the last moment to tackle two big issues– the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) and tax conformity. We voted on both of these on January 31, 2019. The DCP, which was negotiated in advance, cleared the Legislature with 100% voting for passage. In contrast, the tax conformity vote sparked much drama and debate. Legislative Republicans dug in their heels over revenue-neutral tax conformity and insisted on a tax cut to benefit the richest Arizonans, while Governor Doug Ducey and the Democrats argued for fiscal responsibility and full tax conformity.
In the end, 100% of Republican Legislators bucked the governor’s wishes and passed a $150-200 tax cut. Ducey promptly vetoed SB1143 the next day and blasted Legislators on Twitter. Now we are at a standstill, due to infighting in the Republican Party. What side will win? Ideology or fiscal responsibility?
Here’s the rest of the story …
Continue reading Ducey & Dems Battle #AZGOP Over Conformity with Trump Tax Plan (video)
Arizona has a history of electing women to public office. In 1932, Arizona elected Isabella Greenway to the US House of Representatives. In 1972, State Senator Sandra Day O’Connor was the first female president of the Arizona Senate. In 1998, Arizona voters elected five women to run the state government— Jane Hull (Governor), Betsy Bayless (Secretary of State), Janet Napolitano (Attorney General), Carol Springer (Treasurer), and Lisa Graham-Keegan (Superintendent of Public Instruction). To this date, Arizona’s Fab Five remain the most number of women elected to state government at the same time. In 2017, the Arizona Legislature had the highest percentage of women (40 percent) of any state Legislature in the Country.
In 2018, Arizona elected its first female US senator and 41 other women to political office. Out of 108 races, women won 39 percent of them this year. After inauguration in January 2019, half of Arizona’s statewide offices (4/8), 27 percent of our Congressional delegation (3/11), and 39 percent of the Arizona Legislature (35/90) will be women.
Most of the woman who won are Democrats but not all. In the Congressional races, US Senate was won by Kyrsten Sinema (D), Ann Kirkpatrick (D) took CD2, and Debby Lesko (R) was re-elected to CD8. On the statewide level, women took: Secretary of State (Katie Hobbs, D), Treasurer (Kimbery Yee, R), Superintendent of Public Instruction (Kathy Hoffman, D) and one of the Arizona Corporation Commission seats (Sandra Kennedy).
Continue reading Arizona Women Win 42 Legislative, State & Congressional Races (video)
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) organizes and hosts debates for all elections in which at least one Clean Elections candidate is running. In Legislative District 9, three of the five people running for office are Clean candidates: Jim Love, Victoria Steele and me. The other two people who are running for house– Rep. Randy Friese and J.P. Martin– are running traditional.
Since early ballots for the August 28 primary election will be mailed on August 1, the CCEC has been hosting many debates in the past month. On July 19, the LD9 candidates had their debate. (The LD9 video link is here and the embedded video is below. To watch other CCEC debates go here.)
CCEC debates include some questions that are asked of all candidates and other questions that are asked of specific people. I have annotated the debate with time stamps– in case you want to focus on particular topics. Since there were several audience questions about guns in schools, the environment and prison reform, I have grouped those questions and answers.
Continue reading #ICYMI: Watch the LD9 Clean Elections Debate (video)
People in suits chat in the halls, meet behind closed doors, debate on the floor, talk on camera, and vote to change our laws and our lives. News happens everyday at the Arizona Capitol, and on some days there is a perfect storm of debates, votes, protests, and intrigue.
To capture the spirit of the action in my own way, I have started recording daily one-minute video updates from the Arizona Legislature.
To date, I have posted 18 one-minute video updates on individual bills or hot topics of the day from the Capitol. These daily videos have been so popular on Facebook and Instagram, that I am cross-posting the entire collection on YouTube, so links can be more easily shared. Check out my YouTube page here. (You can subscribe to my YouTube channel and receive update notifications automatically.)
Stay tuned on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and this blog for more video updates through the interim and the election. Thanks for your support. If you live in my district and have not signed my petition, please do so here. Thanks!
Here are a couple of sample video blog posts.
In 2016, I ran for the Arizona House on a platform of economic reform, equality, and tackling the opioid epidemic. I stood up to big-money politics and ran as a Clean Elections candidate, despite much advice to take the money and run.
I am honored that you elected me on Nov. 8, 2016. This year in the Legislature, I fought for fairness and stood up for your rights with my voice, my votes, and my bills.
I am running for re-election in 2018. As a Clean Elections candidate, I have pledged not to take big-money donations from special interests. This is my report card to you, the voters of Legislative District 9. It has been an honor to serve you.
Economic Reform & Public Banking
Continue reading 2017 Legislative Report Card
The much-anticipated FY2018 Arizona state budget was dropped this week. On Tuesday, just before 5 p.m. both the Republican and Democratic Appropriations Committees heard the JLBC review of the Republican budget. Thus begins the mysterious whirlwind of the Arizona budget finalization process, which is scheduled to end in the wee hours of Friday morning.
As a citizen, I always scratched my head as to why the Arizona budget is always passed in the middle of the night. Obviously, the suspicion is that there is something the majority party wants to pass, and it doesn’t want you to know or to be there when it happens. There’s an element of that, for sure, because we have seen some scary stuff passed in the middle of the night by Republicans– like the voter suppression omnibus bill and blowing the doors off of campaign finance by dramatically boosting campaign limits. The majority party schedules the third day of the budget process just after midnight because they don’t want their members to go home between the debates in the Committee of the Whole (COW) and the 3rd Reading vote. If members go home, someone could say, “What are you thinking?” and change votes.
Check out the budgetary known knowns, known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns below.
Continue reading Queue the Spooky Organ Music: It’s Budget Time in the #AZLeg (video)
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