Arizona House Democrats call the Governor’s gun safety plan a “missed opportunity” at meaningful reform to curb gun violence and the loss of innocent lives.
Since the Parkland High School massacre a few weeks ago, students across the country have been demanding that elected officials do their jobs and protect them against gun violence in schools and other public places.
Last week, 75 students visited the Arizona Legislature and the Governor’s Tower to ask for legislation on universal background checks, banning bump stocks, and more counselors (not more guns) in schools.
Yesterday, Governor Doug Ducey revealed his plan to tackle gun violence in Arizona. It nips around the edges of what students and others have been demanding on social media, in our Legislative email inboxes, and in the streets, but it falls short of meaningful reform. For example, Ducey’s plan does include a small amount of money for more school counselors. Currently, Arizona has a ratio of approximately 1:920 counselors to students. The national recommendation is 1:250. Ducey’s bill would add ~120 new counselors– far less than needed. As with the opioid bill, Ducey met with a small group of Republican and Democratic Legislators to compile this plan, but this time, Ducey didn’t include any of the Democrats’ ideas. (Read the mainstream media’s take on Ducey’s plan here or read the Blue Meanie’s take here.)
What else could be done in Arizona? Below the fold, you’ll find a list of Democratic bills that never got a hearing.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, Civil Rights, Community, Ethics, Gun Policies, Justice, Legislation, Pamela Powers Hannley
Tagged Doug Ducey, Dr. Randy Freise, gun, gun violence, pamela powers hannley, Steve Farley
Rep. Isela Blanc welcomes the March for Our Lives students to the Arizona House.
More than 75 students took a day out of their spring vacation to visit the Arizona Legislature today, March 14, 2018, to advocate for safe schools and safe public places.
The students met with lawmakers in the morning and attended the Arizona House Floor Session in the afternoon. During the always-entertaining points of personal privilege, 24 Democrats stood up, introduced three or four of the students, read a short message to lawmakers from one of the students, and repeated their three demands: universal background checks on all gun sales, banning bump stocks, and more counselors not guns in schools.
After 24 introductions, 24 personal student messages to lawmakers and 24 re-statements of their three common and popular demands, Rep. Kirsten Engel (Dem #25) stood up and read a statement about today being the one-month anniversary of the Stoneman-Douglas High School Shooting and slowly read the name and age of each victim. At the end, she asked for 17 minutes of silence, one for each victim.
Speaker Mesnard said that there had been other tragedies, and every tragedy gets only one moment of silence. After a longish moment, Mesnard started the floor session, but the Democrats were still standing. When he realized that we weren’t going to sit, he recessed to allow the gallery to clear. The students all stood up and shouted “Never again!” several times. At the end, one young man shouted that lawmakers should do their jobs and protect them (paraphrasing). Why do Republicans shy away from common sense gun safety laws when they profess to be “pro-life”?
Posted in Activism, Arizona State Legislature, Civil Rights, Community, Ethics, Giffords, Gun Policies, IOKIYAR, Justice, Legislation, Pamela Powers Hannley
Tagged gun violence, March For Our Lives, pamela powers hannley
Author and historian John Nichols, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, and former Arizona Senate Minority Leader Phil Lopes at PDA’s John Nichols event in 2017.
The Tucson Festival of Books brings hundreds of authors to Tucson each year. For politicos, one of the hottest tickets at the Book Festival is author and historian John Nichols of The Nation.
If you want to hear Nichols speak in an informal setting– away from the Book Festival crowds, come to the IBEW Hall on Saturday night, March 10. Progressive Democrats of America (PDA Tucson) and the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF) are hosting their annual An Evening with John Nichols. I am proud to be the warm-up act for Nichols again this year. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Posted in Activism, Announcement, Arizona State Legislature, Books, Community, Economics, Education, GOP War On..., Healthcare, Humor, Pamela Powers Hannley, Political Events, Taxes, Tucson
Tagged John Nichols, pamela powers hannley, Progressive Democrats of America - Tucson
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.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, Constitution, Debates, Economics, Elections, Ethics, IOKIYAR, Legislation, Pamela Powers Hannley, Taxes
Tagged Arizona Legislature, Dr. Randy Freise, mitzi epstein, pamela powers hannley, Paul Mosley, Tony Rivero
There have been many lively debates in the Arizona House in 2018. This team of House Democrats fought for consumer protections and fought against risky financial deals in a “regulatory sandbox.” (Pictured are Reps. Mitzi Epstein, Kelli Butler, Athena Salman, Pamela Powers Hannley, Ken Clark and Isela Blanc.)
In the middle of each Legislative Session, there is a frenetic time period called “crossover week”. It is characterized by a flurry of debates and votes in a compressed timeframe. The purpose is to pass on as many wacky bills as possible in each chamber of the Legislature before successful bills are passed to the other chamber. (Hence, the name “crossover week”).
In the last two weeks, the Arizona House has voted on more than 100 bills. I think the House is up to ~250 bills that we have sent to the Senate. Of course, this list includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Below the fold are a few of the recent votes on gun violence, tax giveaways, mandatory sentencing, and drugs. All of these bills are still alive and have been sent to the Arizona Senate. If you don’t like these bills, tell your Senators and Representatives. (On the voting below, green = yes, red = no, purple = excused absence, yellow = absent.)
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, Civil Rights, Constitution, Drug Policy, Economics, GOP War On..., Gun Policies, Legislation, Pamela Powers Hannley
Tagged Arizona House, Arizona Legislature, gun violence, marijuana, pamela powers hannley, Todd Clodfelter
There were a lot of conversations going on in advance of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act.
January 25, 2018 was one of the most dramatic days at the Arizona Legislature, since I was elected.
Not only did we have ~75 Luchadores visiting their Legislators and five extremely aggressive anti-immigrant, pro-Trump protesters heckling them, we also had the big vote on the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (SB1001).
We have been working on SB1001/HB2001 for weeks. Unlike much of what we do in the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act was a truly bipartisan effort. The governor even gave the Democrats the bill language in advance and asked for our input. The Republicans included us in the bill development process because they needed our votes and because didn’t want us to blow it up on the floor with our speechifying, as we did with the stingy TANF and teacher raises in 2017.
As someone who worked in public health and nicotine addiction treatment for years, I was proud to serve on the Democratic Caucus team that reviewed the bill and offered suggestions for revision. It was very heartening that they included several Democratic ideas in this bill. Four of my suggestions were included: offering treatment instead of jail during an overdose situation, AKA the 911 Good Samaritan bill (HB2101), which has been proposed by Democrats for four years in a row; providing funds to counties for life-saving NARCAN kits (HB2201); providing a non-commercial treatment referral service; and offering treatment in a brief intervention after an overdose scare (when your doctor says, “You didn’t die this time. Maybe you should quit!”). The Democrats also suggested including the Angel Initiative (where addicts can drop off their drugs and ask for treatment, without fear of arrest) and $10 million for drug addiction treatment services for people not on AHCCCS (Medicaid) or private insurance.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, Courts, Crime, Drug Policy, Ethics, GOP War On..., Healthcare, IOKIYAR, Justice, Legislation, Pamela Powers Hannley
Tagged Arizona Legislature, democrats, opioid epidemic, opioids, pamela powers hannley, public health