Daily Archives: March 2, 2018

#TaxCuts & Deregulation: How Did Your #AZHouse Rep Vote?

Arizona House

Speaker J.D. Mesnard visits the desks of Republican members who have not voted yet.

The volume of bills heard in the Arizona House this past week was down significantly from the crossover week flurry, but we still voted on some doozies.

Tax cuts, sales tax giveaways, deregulation on the edge of risky business, “efficiency savings,” and miscellaneous wacky bills abound.

The capital gains tax cut, which benefited only the wealthiest Arizonans, was a party line vote, with all of the Republicans voting for tax cuts for the 1%. Other than that, the tax giveaways have passed with bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. Votes shift here and there depending upon the cost of the tax giveaway and the stated beneficiary, but the most consistent votes against giving away taxes are cast by Progressives and Libertarians– the same people who killed several tax giveaway bills in 2017. Several of these votes can be seen below the fold and in my Marijuana to Bump Stocks to Tax Giveaways: How did your #AZHouse Rep Vote? blog post from last week.

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The Special Counsel focuses on the heart of the Russia investigation (updated)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is beginning to ask direct questions about whether Donald Trump knew about the stolen Democratic emails from the 2016 presidential election before their theft became public knowledge — as well as whether he was in any way involved in how they were released during the campaign. Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.

Mueller’s investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.

The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia.

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AZ Senate approves evil GOP plan to undermine the AIRC

Last month I warned you the Evil GOP bastards are trying to negate the AIRC so the legislature does redistricting maps again.

Yesterday the evil GOP bastards in the Senate approved their amended but still flawed plan on a party-line vote. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Senate passes redistricting overhaul on party-line vote:

On a 17-13 party line vote, the Senate advanced an amended version of Senate President Steve Yarbrough’s proposal to alter the structure of the Independent Redistricting Commission, an effort Democrats charged was politically motivated.

Voters would have to approve the plan, though.

As amended, SCR 1034 (.pdf) increases the size of the commission from a five- to nine-member body, with an equal split among Republican, Democrat and independent commissioners. Yarbrough, R-Chandler, argued that the effort will better represent the roughly one-third of Arizona voters who aren’t registered with a political party and will dilute efforts by either party to “hijack” the redistricting process in their favor.

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Know your First Amendment rights for student walk outs

With the March For Our Lives and other student walk outs planned in coming weeks, there are two ways for Arizona school districts to respond to this student-led protest movement.

I suggested that “the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and our 15 County Recorder’s offices, along with voter registration organizations such as the League of Women Voters and many others, could coordinate with Arizona’s school districts to make voter registration tables available at every Arizona high school for seniors participating in these extraordinary events to register to vote. High school civics teachers should see this as a golden opportunity to teach their students about civics.” Register high school students to vote at March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain events.

My suggestion is similar to the view expressed by the ACLU of New Jersey in an open letter (PDF) to New Jersey school administrators, educators, and government officials concerning the rights of students to express themselves politically, in school and out. ACLU-NJ OPEN LETTER ON STUDENT WALKOUTS AND SPEECH TO EDUCATORS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OFFICIALS: “A student movement has arisen in response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland last month, and young New Jerseyans are raising their voices here. The ACLU of New Jersey asks you to support student efforts to engage in the issues of the day and encourage a spirit of civic participation in the various forms it may take.”

It would be great if our political leaders were proactive in their support of political engagement and participation by our high school students.

But I also warned you that “There are more likely to be partisan school boards that will not permit their students to participate in these walkouts — First Amendment rights be damned …” This has now occurred in Arizona. School suspends students after walkout over gun violence:

Dozens of students at a Phoenix-area middle school were suspended for leaving campus during a walkout to protest gun violence and to support victims of the Florida school shooting.

More than 100 students from Ingleside Middle School participated in the Tuesday protest, which lasted 17 minutes — a minute for each person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.

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March For Our Lives: ‘The Arizona Agenda for Our Lives’

Last week, two Arizona teenagers announced they are organizing a march on March 24 to advocate for gun control, in solidarity with survivors of the recent mass shooting in Florida.

This week, they announced their specific agenda, focusing on passing four bills in the Arizona Legislature. Phoenix ‘March For Our Lives’ organizers demand local gun-control measures:

After survivors of the Parkland shooting announced that they are organizing an event in Washington D.C. called March For Our Lives on March 24, Samantha Lekberg, 16, of Surprise, and Jordan Harb, 17, of Mesa, paired up to plan a sister march at the state Capitol.

More than 11,000 people have expressed interested in their “#MarchForOurLives Phoenix, Arizona” event on Facebook. This week, they released a statement through their PHX March For Our Lives page.

“High school students across the State of Arizona are standing in solidarity to say something so simple, even bought and paid for politicians can understand it: It’s time to Save Our Lives.”

Focusing on four Arizona bills

Their proposal, which they called “The Arizona Agenda for Our Lives,” calls on the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey to pass four bills this year “or risk the wrath of voters in November:”

  • House Bill 2299 would require a person on probation for a domestic-violence offense to hand all their firearms over to a law-enforcement agency for the duration of their probation.
  • HB 2023 would ban bump stocks and other devices designed to make semi-automatic weapons fire similarly to fully-automatic weapons.
  • HB 2024  would require universal criminal background checks for people buying firearms. It would close the so-called “gun show” or “private sale” loophole by requiring a private person selling or transferring a firearm to go through a licensed firearm dealer, with some exceptions. Licensed dealers are required to run background checks.
  • Senate Bill 1347 (and the identical HB 2140) would create a process where immediate family members or a police officer can petition a judge for an injunction to prohibit someone with mental-health issues from possessing a gun.

They also released a petition for people to sign in support of their demands.

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