Monday, January 13, 2020, was opening day at the Arizona Legislature.
Opening day is always fun and full of political drama because there are protests, press conferences with multiple Progressive groups (labor unions, Planned Parenthood, teachers, and others), the House and Senate Democratic Caucus Press Conference, and a big party with great food hosted by House Dems on the 3rd floor.
Southern Arizona unionists filled two buses to come to the Capitol on Monday. Striking ASARCO miners were out in force. Recently, I have been seeing these guys on the strike line down at the ASARCO Mission Unit, when I am wearing a T-shirt, boots and jeans. One of them did a double take when he saw me in a dress, stockings, short high heels, and my power pearls at the Legislature.
Voter suppression and unnecessary tinkering with elections have been themes in the Legislature this session.
SB1154 was defeated last week but passed the House today on reconsideration. This bill changes the primary date from the end of August to the beginning of August.
At first blush, this doesn’t seem to be a very big deal. Having the primary at the end of August makes it very close to the general election. Having the primary at the beginning of August gives candidates more time to win the general election l, but it could artificially suppress the primary vote, in my opinion.
If the primary is at the beginning of August, mailed ballots will go out around the Fourth of July. What do Arizonans like to do in July? Leave town! Also, the vast majority of college students will not be in town to vote in July/early August.
We should be facilitating voting — not pass laws that will make it more difficult for some groups.
Many constituents have asked me where the budget is and what’s going on– after all, it is May. On the budget, the status quo of the past month still exists. All of the budget action continues to be behind closed doors, among a closed group of Republicans.
In addition to the Democrats, there are a significant number of House Republicans who are not part of the budget process, and they’re grumbling about it. This is a state budget– not the budget for a small town church. The deacons and the pastor don’t get to decide the budget on their own in the back room. The budget should be negotiated with all parties at the table– not just a handful of those close to power. Democrats make up 48 percent of the Arizona House. When more than 50 percent of the Legislature is kept in the dark and has to rely on rumors, that is not a fair process, and it ultimately hurts the people of Arizona.
Except for the Governor’s budget, which has been public for months, and some leaked details about the Senate Republican budget, little is known about the budget, beyond a few trial balloons. What we do know is that the Senate Republican budget is far more conservative and not even close to Governor Doug Ducey’s budget.
This chasm in the GOP has left an opening for Democrats. The House Democrats will unveil our balanced budget ideas on Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. We have been saying since January that we agreed with parts of the governor’s budget– like full tax conformity and more money for P-20 education. [Stay tuned for details.]
On the right, Senator J.D. Mesnard and other tax cut fans still want to zero-out the money the state could bring in from tax conformity (~$150 million) and Wayfair (~$85 million). There are multiple trial balloons about making the income tax rates flatter. One proposal is to have only two personal income tax brackets. This is a horrible idea– unless, of course, your goal is to return to austerity and Draconian budget cuts, while making your rich donors happy. Under the Republican proposals to eliminate or lower tax brackets, rich people would pay less, and the rest of us could pay more. (Think of the Republican tax bracket plan as Arizona’s mini-Me to the Trump Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Both significantly lower taxes for the wealthy by reducing the top tax rate.)
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.
House Incumbent Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley and former representative and current Senate candidate Victoria Steele handily won the August 28, 2018 Democratic Party Primary. In the November 6, 2018 General Election, Friese and Powers Hannley will run against Republican challenger Ana Henderson (who lost to them in 2016) for two House seats. Steele faces a surprise write-in challenge from Republican businessman Randy Fleenor.
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.
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
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.
I am honored to be a speaker at Women’s Equality: Courageous Conversations on August 26, the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment. I will be talking about the history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the struggle to pass it. Only two more states are needed to ratify the ERA. I filed a bill proposing ratification of the ERA in the Arizona House in 2017, and I plan to do it again in 2018. Event information here.
Standing Room Only at July 8 Townhall
Unlike some politicians who hide from their constituents, LD9 Senator Steve Farley, Rep. Randy Friese, and I held a constituent town hall in early July. At the time, Congress was wrangling with health insurance reform and was poised to knock 30 million Americans off of health insurance, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy, to big insurance and to big pharma.
As a result, our LD9 town hall drew a standing room only crowd at the Martha Cooper Library in midtown– despite 109 degree temperatures. My UA intern Antar de Sa did a Facebook live video, and you can watch the whole event here. I also posted my comments on my YouTube channel.
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.
Nov 8– Election Day– sounds far away, but it’s only 47 days away.
Oct 12– the day that early voting begins in Arizona– is only 20 days away.
Please help Randy and me stop the Tea Party from taking a foothold in LD9. Vote for two on Nov. 8 and help us cross the finish line victorious. Arizona doesn’t need another anti-choice, anti-access-to-healthcare, pro-gun, pro-school-vouchers-for-all, silent-on-the-issues Tea Partier in the Arizona Legislature. #VoteForTwo #VoteBlue
Leading up to Election Day, there are several events and volunteer opportunities.
Sept 24-25: LD 9 Canvasses Erin Burton, our wonderful ADLCC field organizer, has organized a weekend of LD9 Weekend of Action for this coming weekend for LD9 candidates (pictured above Rep. Randy Friese, Senator Steve Farley, and me). Jim and I will be at the canvass both days, and I hope some of our regular volunteers will also help out.
#PowersForThePeople CAMPAIGN T-SHIRTS will be available for volunteers at the weekend canvasses and at the Volunteer Appreciation Party (below).
Saturday, Sept 24– 10 a.m. start
La Madera Park (2700 E La Madera Dr., in midtown).
Sept 25: #PowersForThePeople Volunteer Appreciation Party
On Sunday, Sept 25, my good friend Merrill Eisenberg is hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Party at her home in midtown. The house party will be from 4-6 p.m. Please stop by for some great snacks, a cool beverage, and great conversation. The campaign t-shirts will be available to the first 48 people who volunteer this weekend. Please help me win! If you can’t attend, please consider volunteering. You can sign up to receive updates from my campaign here. (Don’t wory, since I am running clean, I won’t spam you with donation requests.)
Once the Secretary of State has decided who has enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, candidates are flooded with endorsement questionnaires from Political Action Committees (PACs) and informational questionnaires from media outlets and the Clean Elections Commission. For the most part, the goal of the PAC questionnaires was to determine which candidates would vote to allow that PAC to keep whatever tax breaks or favors it is currently receiving; to obtain new financial favors; to renew them; to secure votes on specific issues; and/or to determine who will receive PAC money. (When you see a long list of endorsement, rest assured there are promises behind each endorsement.)
I am proud to announce that I have received endorsements from five groups. These groups are aligned with my values of promoting public health and equality for women and other groups that are often discriminated against. Since I am a Clean Elections candidate, I have received their support but no PAC checks.
Arizona Nurses Association
National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter
Arizona Women’s Political Caucus
National Organization for Women, Arizona Chapter
Arizona List (on the list)
But this blog post isn’t about endorsements. It’s about candidate questionnaires. This week, AZCentral (AKA the Arizona Republic) has released its Voter Guide which contains candidate answers to their very lengthy and comprehensive list of questions. The guide is broken down by race, and it allows side by side comparisons of candidate answers which range from education funding to gun control to marijuana legalization to your favorite book or movie.
The LD9 race has three Democrats (who are running in the August primary): Randy Friese, Matt Kopec and me (Pamela Powers Hannley) and one Republican: Ana Henderson (who two of use will face in November). Unfortunately, many candidates– including most incumbents– didn’t take the time to answer AZ Central’s questions. Friese and Henderson are among the no-shows. Kopec and I did answer the questions, and there is a stark difference in how we answered and what we said. If you are undecided in the LD9 race, I encourage you to read our answers.
Here is a link to the LD9 match-up with our answers:
LD9 voters have had many opportunities to learn about the three Democratic Party candidates. There have been two debates/forums (Clean Elections and Nucleus Club), one TV interview, one radio interview, an interview in the Arizona Daily Star, public candidate questionnaires posted by the Capitol Times and AZ Central., and, of course, the printed voter guide that was mailed to everyone by the Clean Elections Commission.
Please take a few minutes to learn about us and please vote in August and in November! Thanks for your support.