Category Archives: Arizona State Legislature

Gov. Ducey starts killing hostages to force the legislature to meet his demands for his budget

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that Governor Ducey has impulsively started killing hostages, i.e., vetoing bills passed by the legislature and awaiting his signature, in order to extort a budget out of his GOP-controlled legislature which includes his deeply flawed and fiscally unsustainable plan for teacher pay raises in an attempt to placate Arizona teachers before they walk out on Thursday. Ducey goes on veto spree to push teacher plan:

Gov. Doug Ducey let legislators know today he wants a budget – now.

Ducey, playing hardball with state lawmakers to get his teacher-pay raise plan passed, vetoed 10 Republican-sponsored House bills in an attempt to force the legislature to finish the state budget.

The message included in each of the 10 veto letters reads the same.

“Please send me a budget that gives teachers a 20-percent pay raise by 2020 and restores additional assistance,” the letter reads. “Our teachers have earned this raise. It’s time to get it done.”

The vetoed bills were not particularly contentious. Among those struck down, the governor vetoed bills that would have codified provisions for electric bicycles, created additional protections for sexual assault victims and authorized the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family to work with various agencies to teach young children about the dangers of illegal drugs, alcohol and marijuana.

Ducey’s veto rampage comes a day after the Arizona Education Association and Arizona Educators United announced teachers will go on strike April 26. Lawmakers could pass a budget before Thursday if it is introduced in the Legislature on Monday.

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Can you hear us now?

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Many questions remain unanswered about how Governor Ducey intends to fund his $648 million school funding plan which would provide a 20% bump to teachers by the 2020 school year and give schools $100 million for discretionary “additional assistance” next year. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) however, projects the state will face a $265 million cash shortfall in FY20 and $302 million by FY21. Not surprisingly I suppose, the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning & Budgeting (OSPB), paints a rosier picture based upon “changing economic fundamentals.” They “note higher than expected job growth, and manufacturing growth that has accelerated to levels last seen before the Great Recession.”

Legislative Democrats however, aren’t buying the sustainability of the Governor’s plan and want it to be funded at least partly, with a tax increase. They also want to be brought to the table so consensus can be built. Gubernatorial candidate Steve Farley struck a moderate tone by saying “I’m willing to work with Doug Ducey. I’m running against him, but I want to get things done. We have an opportunity here that shouldn’t be missed.”

For some time now, education groups have been working on developing that opportunity with a couple of potential ballot measures. AEA favored an increase to income tax for high earners, while other education groups favored raising the Prop. 301 sales tax to a full cent, though they worried about the regressive nature of sales tax so they discussed options to mitigate. Now it appears, those potential solutions may have been sidelined. Continue reading

Arizona is #1 Worst State Where Dirty Money Infests Elections

Arizona at dark money epicenter“There is more dark money polluting the election process in Arizona than any other state in the US, according to the proponents of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign.

Arizona is the worst state for elected officials owing their office to dirty money,” says former Attorney General Terry Goddard. “There is more dirty money spent in Arizona than in California. I can’t tell you who’s behind the dirty money because they won’t tell us and our laws don’t require it.”

Terry Goddard of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign.

Terry Goddard of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign.

Goddard spoke at a forum organized by The Arizona Ground Game civic group. He and many progressive organizations are advocating an amendment to the state constitution that will require anyone that spends more than $10,000 on an election to disclose the original source of the money.

Corporations like the APS utility, super-rich donors like the Koch Brothers and dangerous groups like the NRA have teamed up to spend millions in Arizona, secretly funding Republican legislators who obediently pass anti-student, anti-consumer and anti-gun safety laws.

A notorious dark money stooge is Gov. Doug Ducey, who has attended Koch brothers summit meetings since 2011 and has secretly taken millions in dark money. Ducey has raised $500,000 for his re-election campaign since the beginning of the year, leaving him with more than $3 million on hand to spend on getting re-elected. That is 10 times more money than anyone else in the race.

“The people of Arizona have the right to know all the contributors who influenced our elections, ” Goddard says. “But our legislature has tried to make the state a safe zone for people who want to hide what they’re doing.”
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Gov. Ducey’s so-called school safety bill advances out of committee

The Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety voted 4-3 on April 19 to advance Governor Ducey’s so-called school safety plan, a plan crafted with and endorsed by the NRA. NRA endorses Arizona Gov. Ducey’s plan to prevent school shootings; bill passes committee:

The National Rifle Association, the country’s most powerful gun-rights lobbying organization, has endorsed Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to prevent mass shootings in schools.

Republican lawmakers in the Arizona Senate announced the NRA’s support Thursday during a committee hearing, where Ducey’s proposal cleared a crucial first vote.

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, the committee chairman, said legislation outlining the governor’s plan, Senate Bill 1519, respects Second Amendment rights while taking steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.”

“Arizona is listed by many as the No. 1 Second Amendment state in the country. I want to keep it that way,” Smith, who’s sponsoring the bill, said at the outset of Thursday’s hearing.

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Now it gets interesting…

Arizona Educators United (AEU) and the Arizona Education Association (AEA) just announced Arizona teachers have made the decision to strike. They reported that  57,000 of the state’s 60,000 teachers cast ballots with 78 percent voting for the walk out. When asked about timing, AEU leader Noah Karvelis said they wanted to give communities time to prepare, but would begin the walk out next Thursday.

When asked about the teacher’s demands, AEA President Joe Thomas referred to the two letters the groups have hand-delivered to Governor Ducey’s office (to which they’ve received no response), and said that they will definitely demand no tax cuts this year. He said it is time to start reinvesting in our schools and our state.

At least a third of our teachers were at my school board meeting tonight, and several of them spoke during the call to the public. They were respectful, realistic and real. One of the teachers talked about all the things she buys for her classroom and her students. She mentioned the items decorating her classroom walls, the snacks the students eat before they go out to recess and the tissues they use to blow their noses. She said it is a slap in the face to allow teachers a small tax credit so they can go out and buy their own supplies.

I agree. As former Vice-President Joe Biden said, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget.” That’s really the bottom line. Until Governor Ducey and our Legislature finds a dedicated funding stream, to adequately fund our district schools and their professional educators and staff, they are telling our teachers, our parents and worst of all…our students, that they aren’t the priority.

We have even more turbulent days ahead and I hope calmer heads will prevail and allow us to find the best solution that will lead to much brighter days for Arizona district schools. I predict though, that if all the efforts of education advocates and teachers (including the walk out) doesn’t get the job done, the voters will finish the work in November!

Tea-Publicans are trying to change the vacancy in office law to protect Senator John McCain’s seat

Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature are trying to change the long-established law on vacancies occurring in office for U.S. Senate in the event that Senator John McCain steps down or dies early, triggering a special election for his Senate seat this year.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports Arizona Senate moves to change rules for replacing McCain:

The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature is moving to ensure that ailing Sen. John McCain’s seat isn’t on the November ballot if he leaves office, but Democrats plan to block the effort.

The effort emerged Tuesday as the state Senate put an emergency clause on a bill, HB 2538, changing how members of Congress who die or resign are replaced.

U.S. Senate vacancies are filled by a governor’s appointee, with the seat on the next general election ballot. The secretary of state has interpreted that to mean that if McCain’s seat is vacated by May 31, it would be on the August primary and November general election ballot. The new proposal changes that to 150 days before the primary, or March 31 of this year. That takes McCain’s seat out of play.

McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer last summer and has been recovering in Arizona since before Christmas. He was hospitalized over the weekend for intestinal surgery needed to stem an infection and remains in a Phoenix hospital in stable condition.

The emergency clause requires a two-thirds vote, and Democratic Sen. Steve Farley said that won’t happen.

“They’re trying to make it really easy to appoint someone to two and a half years without an election to a U.S. Senate seat should the current holder of that Senate seat resign or no longer be able to hold office,” Farley said. “The thing is, we’re all going to vote against it as Democrats, so they won’t get their emergency. It’s silly for them to put it on and think we won’t notice.”

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