Category Archives: Arizona State Legislature

Our lawless TeaPublican legislature seeks to avoid accountabiity for failing to adequately fund the capital needs of school districts

I posted about the latest school funding lawsuit against our lawless TeaPublican legislature and governor back in April. The other show drops: Lawsuit against our lawless Tea-Publican legislature for unconstitutionally underfunding capital needs of school districts.

This case is back in the news this week. Our lawless TeaPublican legislature and governor are asking the court to dismiss this lawsuit, arguing that the plaintiffs have no standing to sue to hold them accountable for their unconstitutional underfunding of the capital needs of Arizona school districts.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports State asks judge to dismiss legal challenge to school finance scheme:

Saying challengers have no right to sue, lawyers for the state want a judge to throw out a challenge to the state’s school funding scheme.

In legal papers filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, attorney Brett Johnson does not directly address the contention by education officials, taxpayers and others that the lack of cash from the governor and Legislature has left schools with hundreds of millions of dollars of unmet construction, maintenance and equipment needs.

Instead, Johnson is telling Judge Connie Contes she has no authority to decide if the state is providing enough money. He said whatever they decide to provide in cash is a “political question” beyond the powers of the courts.

“Whether and how much money can be paid out of the state treasury is clearly committed by our constitution to those acting in a legislative capacity,” he wrote.

This “political question” doctrine defense is complete bullshit. The present lawsuit arises out of a prior lawsuit, and alleges that the state of Arizona is in violation of its previous settlement agreement in the long-running school capital funding case of Roosevelt Elem. School Dist. No. 66  v. Bishop (No. CV-93-0168 1994), in which the Arizona Supreme Court held that the statutory financing scheme for public education violated the Arizona Constitution, Article XI, § 1.

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Phoenix Anti-Hate Rally Draws 1000s: Video the News Didn’t Show You (video)

Reps. Sally Ann Gonzales and Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales and I were interviewed by NBC News out of Los Angeles at the downtown Phoenix rally outside of President Trump’s speech.

On August 11, a white supremacist protest against removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent, and a young woman, who was a counter-protester, was killed. This sparked anti-hate/anti-fascism/anti-Nazi marches across the country, including an estimated 1500 people who marched through downtown Tucson.

President Trump’s claim that there was “violence on both sides” in Charlottesville ran counter to what many Americans saw in the news and on social media.

Presidential comments that appeared supportive of white supremacists, the rumor that Trump would soon pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (which did happened), Trump’s threat to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t fund the border wall, and the potential end of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)– all made Trump’s August 22 campaign rally in Phoenix a potential powder keg.

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‘Kochtopus’ funded lawsuit to challenge school ‘vouchers on steroids’ referendum

Last week the Save Our Schools referendum for school “vouchers on steroids” bill, SB 1431, survived its first hurdle with the Secretary of State’s office. Referendum on school voucher survives first hurdle:

The referendum to kill expansion of Arizona’s school voucher program survived its first hurdle despite efforts of the lawyers who don’t want it on the ballot.

State Elections Director Eric Spencer concluded there are more than enough signatures on petitions calling for a 2018 vote, even after he disqualified some of them. That sets the stage for county recorders to do their own verification.

Spencer rejected efforts by attorneys of pro-voucher supporters to strike even more names from the more than 110,000 submitted to call for the referendum on the new law.

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In doing the initial screening, Spencer’s office discarded 216 petition sheets because the required sworn affidavit of the circulator was unsigned or otherwise incomplete. Others were disqualified over problems like not having the required notary seal or the failure to have attached a copy of the measure being referred.

And more than 1,900 individual signatures were disqualified for things like missing information.

But Spencer said some of the complaints by those who want an expanded voucher program have no basis.

For example, attorney Kory Langhofer argued that Spencer should not count anyone whose signature looks like their printed name. Langhofer, who represents Americans For Prosperity, a group funded by the Koch Brothers [and the American Federation for Children] who support vouchers, argued that a signature must be significantly distinguishable from a printed name to be considered a true “signature.”

Spencer rejected that argument.

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Donald Trump to darken Arizona’s doorway again

Donald Trump is under intense political fire for his defense of Neo-Confederate and Neo-Nazi white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

When in trouble, Trump sets up a campaign rally in a state that he won so he can appear before his cult followers and bask in their unquestioning adulation.

So naturally, Trump is coming to Phoenix where former Governor Jan Brewer defends President Donald Trump’s Charlottesville remarks, and Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature have uniformly voted in favor of Neo-Confederate and “Tenther” legislation for years, as we have documented at this blog. These are his people.

President Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign-style rally in downtown Phoenix next Tuesday, making his first presidential trip to the West as his administration confronts an uproar over his tepid response to a deadly white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Donald Trump makes it official: He’ll hold a downtown Phoenix rally:

Trump will take the stage at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m., according to an announcement Wednesday morning. Attendees must register to obtain tickets.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wrote in a statement Wednesday he was disappointed to learn of Trump’s visit so close to the violent events in Charlottesville. The mayor called on Trump to delay the visit.

“If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation,” the statement said.

Break out those Confederate and Nazi flags! As the “Unite the Right” alt-right protestors in Charlottesville chanted, “Heil Trump!” Show us your true colors. Trump has made it acceptable for you to come out of the shadows and to let your freak flags fly.

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Jared Bernstein: The whys of increasing inequality

I posted about this chart last week, Inequality in One Chart, and our “usual suspects” posted their utterly nonsensical defenses of faith based supply-side “trickle down” GOP economics in the comments.

Today, economist Jared Bernstein weighs in at the Washington Post, The whys of increasing inequality: A graphical portrait:

The graph below, based on the work of economists Gabriel Zucman, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, has been receiving considerable attention since it appeared in the New York Times last week. It shows the rate of annual income growth for adults at each percentile in the income distribution — from those who have the lowest incomes to those who have the highest incomes — over two time periods: the mid-1940s to 1980, and 1980 to 2014. Over the first period, post-tax income growth was fastest at the bottom, about 2 percent per year for the “middle class” (the 40th to the 80th percentiles), and a little slower among the wealthy.

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The growth pattern over the second 34-year period looks very different: The richer you were, the faster you got ahead. Incomes grew less than 1 percent for the bottom 50 percent and less than 2 percent for the next 45 percent. They then took off for the richest Americans, with the growth rate for the richest adults ending up about six times that of those in the middle.

The chart is a clear, intuitive way to show the increase in income inequality over the past few decades, and an important reminder that growth for the rich cannot be expected to trickle down to everyone else.

But it doesn’t show why inequality has grown. What explains this portentous change, one that has had profound effects on our society, our living standards, and our politics?

In fact, there are many perps, each of which is captured in the “Inequality’s Causes” slide below. They do, however, share a theme: Many of the factors that enforced a more equitable distribution of growth in the earlier period have been eroded. Moreover, that erosion is neither an accident nor the benign outcome of natural economic evolution. It is often the result of policies that have reduced workers’ bargaining power and supported the upward redistribution of growth.

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Now comes the attempt to prevent the Save Our Schools Arizona referendum from qualifying for the ballot

I mentioned in a comment that last week the right-wing Public Integrity Alliance was claiming that the Glendale Elementary School District personnel and Save Our Schools Arizona violated rules regarding the use of public resources to influence political campaigns in their referendum campaign against the “vouchers on steroids” bill passed by our Tea-Publican legislature, and signed into law by our Koch-bot Governor Ducey. Non-profit alleges campaign volunteers, school district violated election laws.

Now the big guns of the right-wing are rolling out their attacks to try to prevent the referendum from qualifying for the ballot. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Voucher expansion on hold as effort to kill campaign begins:

School voucher expansion legislation is on hold after Save Our Schools Arizona delivered, by the group’s count, 111,540 signatures today to refer the law to the 2018 general election ballot.

A yellow school bus decked out in SOS Arizona banners carried the signatures to a loading deck below the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Volunteers in red SOS Arizona shirts loaded wagons full of petition boxes, and children dressed as professionals carted them to the building.

Beyond the spectacle, spokeswoman Dawn Penich-Thacker (above) was clear that the effort to quash the expansion of the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program was far from over.

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