Category Archives: Arizona State Legislature

Thank God it’s sine die!

No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” –Mark Twain

One of the worst legislative sessions in recent years mercifully came to an end on Wednesday evening. Thank God it’s sine die! Now bar the windows and doors of the capitol before they can come back and do any more harm.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona Legislature ends session with tax, welfare bills on final day:

State lawmakers ended their 2017 session Wednesday with a tax-break flourish, approving two tax-credit bills worth millions of dollars aimed at spurring business development, and a revision of a controversial cash-aid program for poor families.

The 122-day session ended at 6:58 p.m., a rare daytime close from a Legislature that has extended debate late into the night and into the morning in recent years. Lawmakers applauded the daylight end as a sign of the more genial tone of this year’s Legislature.

Continue reading

One Big Ass Shell Game

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Governor Doug Ducey has pledged to reduce taxes every year he is in office and likes to tout he is doing just that. The GOP-led Legislature also seems to be totally on-board with doing less with less unless that is, they are handing out corporate welfare. At least that is, while they still need corporate donations to help fund their reelection campaigns.

Evidently though, once out of office, GOP “leaders” can see the error of their ways as with former Governor Jan Brewer who just told Capitol Media Services that, in hindsight, the tax cuts she approved were “a little bit too aggressive.” She went on to say that the result has been a reduction in revenues for necessary state services and that “sooner or later, you have to pay the fiddler.” Just like GOP leadership today though (who claim school boards, not they, are responsible for teacher salaries), she passes the buck by saying her approval of the cuts was a political compromise because “the boys at the Legislature…wanted more.” Continue reading

Save Our Schools Arizona referendum to overturn the ‘vouchers for all’ bill

For activists looking to channel their energy into something more productive than attending marches, their dance cards just got filled for the long hot Arizona summer. Time to get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Last week former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson formed “Voters of Arizona” (no web site yet) to file referendums against the Chamber of Commerce organizations’ bills to effectively strip Arizonans of their constituional right to enact laws by citizens initiatives in Arizona. Expect to hear more about this in coming weeks.

Now the long anticipated referendum to overturn the “vouchers for all” bill passed by anti-public education Tea-Publcans in the Arizona legislature is ready to launch as well. The Arizona Republic reports, Parent group will seek to overturn Arizona school-voucher expansion:

Public-education advocates are launching a referendum campaign to halt the controversial expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher-style program.

Members of the group “Save Our Schools Arizona” said they will file paperwork this week and begin gathering signatures to refer their proposal to the November 2018 ballot. The group has planned a rally and news conference on Monday at 5 p.m. at the state Capitol.

Continue reading

While you were sleeping, AZ legislature passes Ducey’s immoral budget

After a marathon session of back room deals and arm twisting among Tea-Publican legislators — to the exclusion of the Democratic minority who represent over 40% of Arizonans — Arizona’s Tea-Publican controlled legislature approved a budget in the wee hours of Friday morning when only a handful of reporters were left watching their dirty deed. This is how one-party autocracy works in Arizona.

“A budget is a moral document.” Ducey’s budget is immoral.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona lawmakers pass $9.8 billion budget:

Arizona lawmakers passed a $9.8 billion budget early Friday that provides 2 percent pay hikes for public-school teachers, a modest income-tax cut for residents and $1 billion in extra bonding authority for the state’s public universities.

The final spending plan for fiscal 2018 featured key elements Republican Gov. Doug Ducey outlined in January, as lawmakers began their work. But it also underwent significant changes at the hands of Republicans in the House and Senate. No Democrats voted for the budget.

“Arizona has passed a budget that prioritizes education, boosts teacher pay, and invests in our universities — all without raising taxes on hardworking Arizonans,” Ducey said in a statement minutes after the budget won final approval at 3:55 a.m. “For the first time in a decade, we are making significant and lasting investments to grow our state.”

Ducey won’t receive the budget bills until Monday, when the Senate is scheduled to send the final documents to his office. He is expected to sign them.

Continue reading

Referendum to reverse the Chamber of Commerce assault on your constitutional right to pass laws by citizens initiatives

The Chamber of Commerce organizations got their lickspittle servants in our Tea-Publican controlled legislature and our “Koch-bot” governor to do their bidding in making it damn near impossible for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to make laws by citizens initiative. Buying a legislature and governor to do your bidding is the exclusive provence of our Plutocratic corporate overlords, and you will obey!

But now that this no good horrible legislative session is coming to an end, Former Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson are heading up a referendum campaign to refer up to three pieces of anti-citizen initiative legislation to the 2018 ballot.

Laurie Roberts of The Republic writes, Group filing to block initiative laws:

Memo to Gov. Doug Ducey and all of our esteemed leaders who worked so diligently this year to undermine one of our basic constitutional rights:

Not so fast.

Next week begins the citizen drive to overturn your efforts to make it more difficult, if not impossible, for Arizonans to exercise their right to make laws via initiative.

Voters of Arizona, a group headed by former Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, are filing paperwork this week to block all three new laws from taking effect until voters can decide their fate in November 2018. The group also plans to file a lawsuit challenging two of the three bills.

Continue reading

Action Alert: budget to be debated in the Arizona legislature today

Over at the madhouse on Washington Street, i.e., the Arizona legislature, they have been teasing the possibility of a budget deal all week.

Their problem is that the budget is tied to Governor Doug Ducey’s unpopular bonding plan for the state universities to avoid having to rise taxes as the Arizona Constitution requires.  And that plan is in trouble. Lawmakers, governor move closer to a budget deal, including university bonding:

[T]he earliest budget bills could clear the Legislature and be sent to the governor’s desk for a signature is now Thursday. According to the Arizona Constitution, budget bills must be read in three calendar days. Budget proposal to be debated Thursday.

Budget documents used to brief GOP lawmakers, obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times, reveal a tentative deal that gives Ducey much of what he asked for, including a host of new initiatives to boost K-12 funding, new school construction and maintenance dollars, and money for a two percent teacher pay raise over two years.

It also appears that a deal struck that governor’s university bonding proposal, a sticking point, has ended the stalemate at the Capitol.

The university bonding plan was pitched by the Arizona Board of Regents as a mechanism that would allow universities to keep the sales taxes they would ordinarily pay to the state, which they would then use to borrow up to $1 billion. In Fiscal Year 2018, the sales tax was estimated to be $30.3 million from the state’s share, and nearly $7 million from the cities and counties’ share. Critics of the plan, who included several GOP lawmakers, questioned how much the pot of sales tax money would grow each year, and worried about its impact on cities and counties.

Continue reading