One of the prevailing messages from the grassroots in 2018 was: no more tax giveaways until the schools are fully funded. Republicans didn’t get that message. They also didn’t get the Invest In Ed message that we — the people– think the rich could pay more in taxes to help fund education.
The Republican budget cuts income taxes, TPT and fees by $386 million and leaves education and other needs underfunded (or unfunded).
We started the year with a $1 billion surplus to invest in the People’s To-Do List: education, infrastructure, healthcare and safety and security. The Republicans have added bits of money to these areas — just enough to make it look like they’re doing something— but the need is much greater.
Republicans are ignoring multiple crises that are brewing in our state including unnecessary maternal and child death; rock bottom education funding; crumbling roads, bridges and school buildings; lack affordable and low-income housing; the shortage of teachers, doctors and nurses; too many people living in poverty; lack of access to affordable healthcare… need I go on?
Although we had a short floor calendar on May 1, we had some rousing debates. The highlight was a two-hour debate on SB1085, association health plans. (Watch the action here, beginning at 19:32 min.)
The Republicans have had three bills this year to lower healthcare insurance costs by encouraging people to leave the healthcare marketplace. I agree that the Affordable Care Act is too expensive, particularly for sole proprietors (like my husband who was offered a silver ACA plan for more than $1000 per month just for him.) This is why I voted for direct care contracts. I believe those are a better deal for sole proprietors than association health plans.)
I get that costs are too high, but the association health plans are not the way to go. They could, indeed, lower costs for business owners, but they could be risky due to limited coverage. There are reasons why these plans will likely be cheaper. Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for”. If sole proprietor business owners want to take a risk with their own insurance and their own health, I have a mind to let them take their own risk. (Just don’t ask me to help you later with a Go Fund Me Request if it turns out I was right on limited coverage under cheap junk insurance plans.)
Where I object is when businesses are making these risky insurance decisions for their employees— just to save money.
If you often scratch your head at the bad bills that the Republicans pass in Congress and in the state legislatures and wonder what their end game is, you should read Democracy in Chains by Nancy McClean.
What you may think are random bad ideas that have somehow gotten into law are actually part of a grand scheme that has been playing out since Brown versus the Board of Education attempted to desegregate public schools in the United States.
An academic, McClean has studied the articles, books and letters of James Buchanan, the economist not the former president. Buchanan was the primary theorist of public choice theory. In the 1950s, public choice theory was used as a rationale to close all of the public schools in the state of Virginia (rather than comply with desegregation) and is being used today to support state-funded vouchers for private and religious schools. In Virginia in the 1950s, the state gave money to white parents for private school vouchers and allowed hundreds of black children to go uneducated for years. Needless to say, this was a travesty of justice.
Maternal and child health is in crisis in the state of Arizona. Too many infants die. Too many new
Maternal and child health is in crisis in the state of Arizona. Too many babies die. Too many new Moms die. Too many babies are born prematurely. Too many babies are born with birth defects. Too many pregnant women don’t get adequate prenatal care.
Some Arizona counties have been labeled maternal health deserts because of lack of medical care. Cochise, Graham, Gila, La Paz, Santa Cruz and Yuma are the worst off. Around 50% of the babies born in Arizona are born to unwed mothers (which makes them more likely to live in poverty with their Moms.) And around 50% of the live births are funded by AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program).
Arizona’s lack of attention to maternal and child health and our stingy social safety net policies have exacerbated the situation and cost the state lives and money. Each premature baby born under AHCCCS costs the state around $1 million. How many of these one-million-dollar babies are accidents due to lack of access to affordable birth control and the scarcity of women’s health clinics, particularly in rural Arizona? We should be funding women’s health and well baby clinics in rural Arizona and should be hiring community health workers to do outreach with pregnant women and new Moms. You can hire an army of community health workers for the cost of one or two premature babies.
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.
The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino, and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page. (Video after the jump.)
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.
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.
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.
The Supreme Court is in the midst of its 2016 decision season, when legal cases that have been winding their way through the system for years have their big day. Since the Republicans in Congress refuse to do their job and confirm a new SCOTUS justice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly, many recent decisions have been deadlocked 4-4, allowing the lower court’s decision to stand.
Today’s decisions were wins for women because both decisions will save lives.
Abortion Clinic Restrictions Shot Down
In a 5-4 decision, Supreme Court justices struct down Texas abortion clinic restrictions that would have closed all of the clinics in Texas, except a handful in the five major urban areas. This was the Texas law that catapulted Texas Legislator Wendy Davis to national prominence when she filibustered it in 2013. That year, Republican-controlled Legislatures across the country debated 300 bills to limit women’s rights and abortion access. Thanks to copycat laws pedaled by anti-abortion groups like the Center for Arizona Policy, today’s SCOTUS decision means similar restrictions in other states (like Arizona) are likely unconstitutional. (Check out the New York Timesmaps here.)