Governor Doug Ducey has called the Legislature into special session to address the seven fires raging across the state and their aftermath. This is obviously not Arizona’s worst fire season … yet … but this is the first special session to address fire. In fact, 2020 was our worst fire year on record. Why didn’t Ducey bring up fire suppression, mitigation and prevention during the budget process — or in his State of the State address? Arizona’s government doesn’t have to wait for homes, businesses, and hundreds — or thousands — of acres of farmland, ranchland, and desert to be destroyed before we act.
One bill will be heard in the special session, HB2001. If you want to read the one and a half page bill, it is on Request to Speak on the Legislature’s website. Pull down “55th Legislature, Special Session” to see it. There is not a lot of detail, beyond a list of dollar amounts and a general breakdown on how the proposed $100 million appropriation will be spent. For example …
Continue reading Budget Paused as #AZLeg Focuses on Fire (video)
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)
The House had only four bills to debate on Wednesday, and two of them were retained on the calendar. We spent most of our time debating SB1456 and SB1254.￼ Both of these bills are designed to limit public health information.
SB1456 is about sex education. You’ll remember that Arizona is one of the states that does not offer comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. (In fact, I have been proposing medically accurate sex education for years, and that bill doesn’t go anywhere.￼) SB1456 dictates what can be taught in sex education. It separates out information on HIV and AIDS and requires parental permission￼ be given separately for that subject matter. Why? Because Republicans believe that teaching kids about HIV and AIDS would include mention of how one can contract these diseases, including sexual behaviors that they don’t want their children to learn about.
Continue reading Republicans Put Ideological Guardrails on Health Information (video)
This is the last week for House committees to hear House bills and for Senate committees to hear Senate bills. Consequently, the agendas are very long on almost all committees. There is a lot of opportunity on Request to Speak (RTS). The groups like Civic Engagement Beyond Voting, Sierra Club and others do an *amazing* job of telling you what’s going on, and we sincerely appreciate all of your comments and votes on RTS and their hard work.
Unfortunately, because of the sheer volume of BS bills proposed in the Legislature, volunteer groups can’t keep up with everything.￼ ￼
I have many constituents in Midtown Tucson who are upset with the preemption Bill regarding four and 5G towers that was passed by the legislature in 2017. There are two more telecom industry preemption/tax break bills in the House now.￼ These bills are not on any of the popular distribution lists.
Continue reading More 5G Preemption & Tax Break Bills in #AZHouse (video)
As of today, June 8, 2020, there have been 7 million cases of COVID19 worldwide and 402,555 deaths. The US has the worst COVID19 track record with 2 million cases and 110,514 deaths. Although the US has 4.25% of the world’s population, we have had 28% of the cases and 28% of the deaths.
Why does the US have such a dismal track record in fighting the novel coronavirus? I thought we had the “best healthcare system in the world.” We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but when you look at our public health data and our response to COVID19, we definitely do not have the best system in the world.
The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have a national health plan that guarantees care for all residents. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a nice try, but its efficacy and affordability have been whittled away by Republicans in Congress.
Why is the US response to COVID19 so disorganized and inadequate? Before the pandemic, we had an over-priced, inequitable system based upon profit and a just-in-time supply chain of personnel, equipment and beds. The novel coronavirus turned the spotlight on inadequacies and inequities of our health care system. In the United States, the health care you get depends on your income and your ZIP Code– not your needs. If you’re a resident of the United States you should have access to the same healthcare across the country. A person living in Chinle should have the same access to care as a person living in Paradise Valley. Now the person in Chinle not only does not have adequate medical care, they may not have running water or passable roads.
Continue reading #COVID19 Shines Spotlight on Inadequacies of Profit-Driven Health Care (video)
Two black men– George Floyd of Minneapolis and Dion Johnson of Phoenix — died on the same day at the hands of law enforcement officers. In the video, Floyd says he can’t breathe as a white officer pins him to the ground with his knee. Why is that even an approved tactic for police?
There is no video of Johnson’s death. We may never know how a man who was asleep in his car ended up dead after a state trooper stopped to check on him. Neither of these officers was wearing a body camera. We have structural racism in our country. It’s not just systemic; racism is baked into our laws and how those laws are enforced.
Here is a case in point. Last August after the Elizabeth Warren rally in Tempe, my husband and I were driving home to Tucson on I 10 after dark. You’ll remember that I 10 was under construction at that time, and the speed limit went up and down in the interior of the state. Jim and I had had a pizza in Tempe before we hopped on the freeway. I had a glass of wine with the pizza, but he had no alcoholic beverages. He was studiously following the speed limit changes on I 10 when we saw DPS flashers and heard the siren behind us.
Continue reading #BlackLivesMatter Protests Call for End to Structural Racism…Again (video)