Category Archives: Legislation

AZ’s Worst Legislator: Vince Leach, not a Servant of the People in LD 11

State Representative Leach

State Representative Vincent Leach of Legislative District 11 and other reactionary zealots like him sure act like big government promoters when it comes to their reactionary and anti-democratic agenda.

Leach has sponsored ideas such as:

  • Protecting Dark Money contributors.
  • Overruling local election results and ballot initiatives, such as whether local towns can prohibit plastic bags in stores.
  • Opposing a woman’s right to choose.
  • Allowing taxpayer money to help students choose private religious schools.

LD11 spans from Maricopa in the north to the tip of Tucson in the south.

A self-described conservative, Leach has an A rating from both the Oliver North led National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union, yet poor marks with the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the Children’s Action Alliance. A SaddleBrooke resident, Representative Leach has been in the Arizona State House since 2015. He is now the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Resources and Vice Chairman of the House and Ways Committee.

He is planning to run against Democrat Ralph Atchue for the State Senate Seat in LD 11 being vacated by Steve Smith. The main issues he plans to run on are border security, the Second Amendment, job creation, healthcare, and “life.”

Favoring the privileged
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GOP Legislative Candidate Marilyn Wiles has an Anti-Tucson Agenda

This is part two of a two-part article on what the Republicans say behind closed doors. Part one is Pima County Republicans Cheer Kelli Ward, who Jeers McSally

Marilyn Wiles

Marilyn Wiles

Speaking at this week’s Pima County Republican Meeting, candidate Marilyn Wiles promised “to do something about Tucson and what’s going on locally.”

“I want to take a real hard at local government overreach. Why don’t we have a commission to look at local governments across the state, particularly here in Pima County, to see what we can do to make sure that our taxpayer dollars go to what best serves us as taxpayers.”

She did not explain what overreach she was talking about. Wiles spoke at a packed meeting on May 15 at the Murphy-Wilmot Library in Tucson, to a crowd of 75 to 100 Republicans. 

This office. No, that office!

At first, Wiles was running for Tucson’s CD2 congressional seat, but she abruptly changed her mind. She said she is now running for the state Legislature in District 10 (the East side of Tucson). “I will be running against Senator David Bradley. We need a very conservative person to get things done and get them right.”

She explained her fiscal policy this way: “I want a pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions and beans and gravy. They put everything in one big blender and stirred it up, it no longer tastes like pot roast and carrots and potatoes. I want to maintain the integrity of the pot roast, you get money for carrots, we know we’re spending it on carrots. When we get money for potatoes, we’re spending it on potatoes.”

“You want transparency and accountability where our money goes. And not these surprises we seem to keep getting,” she said, without elaborating.

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Oh, SNAP! GOP House Freedom Caucus revolt on farm bill may backfire with additional support for discharge petition on DACA

This morning the Washington Post reported, Spooked by discharge petition, GOP leaders scramble to kill House immigration rebellion:

House Republican leaders made a full-court press Wednesday to forestall a GOP immigration rebellion that they fear could derail their legislative agenda and throw their effort to hold the majority in doubt.

The effort began in a closed-door morning meeting where Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned that a freewheeling immigration debate could have sharp political consequences. McCarthy to GOP: DACA vote could cost us the House. It continued in the evening, when the leaders of a petition effort that would sidestep were summoned to a room with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), McCarthy and three other top leaders.

Their message, according to attendees, was that efforts were underway at the highest levels, including with the White House, to get immigration legislation on the House floor before the midterm elections.

Politico adds, “Two additional Republicans, John Katko of New York and David Trott of Michigan, signed on after McCarthy’s scolding, leaving the group just four signatures shy of their goal.”

“Clearly we have had a positive impact on our leadership and on this institution because this issue is being taken seriously, and people are thinking through how something can be achieved,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who filed the “discharge petition” that would set up votes on a series of immigration bills.

The House leaders presented no firm plan for action at the meeting, and the discharge petition effort will continue, Curbelo and others said afterward.

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#AZGOP Takes Another Stab at #CleanElections (video)

Clean ElectionsThe very last bill of the 53rd Session was a blatant attack on the Citizens Clean Elections Commission by the Republican majority.

The bill attacking a system that was created by the voters was rammed through after midnight. They want to protect big-money-based elections. Speaker Mesnard said this bill was necessary because Clean Elections needs “more oversight”, so what better place to put CLEAN Elections than under the control of Gov. Ditry-Money Ducey.

Clean Elections are governed by the Clean Elections Commission (as outlined in the law passed by the voters). What the Republicans aren’t telling you is that they really don’t like Clean Elections’ watchdog function over everybody’s campaign finance reporting, including the Republicans who run on dirty money.

Arizona needs a stronger campaign finance watchdog function not a weaker one. The GOP also is specifically targeting Progressive Clean Elections candidates with this bill because it says Clean candidates can’t make any payments to political parties— even to buy services like the VAN database.

Luckily, since Clean Elections was created through Citizens Initiative, any change that is not in the spirit of the original bill as passed by the voters must go back to the voters for approval. As the 2018 election approaches, expect heavy spin from the Republicans regarding Clean Elections because they have a vested interested in keeping the dirty money status quo.

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Who Wanted the State to Spend Tax Dollars on the UA and ASU Koch Centers?

When the Arizona Legislature concluded its 2018 legislative session, its $10 million budget increase for the three state universities (Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University) included $2 million for two schools:

  • One at the University of Arizona (Department of Political Economy and Moral Sciences)
  • The other at Arizona State University (School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership), the later school receiving $100,000 to develop K-12 Civic standards.

With each school receiving $1 million, the three universities had just $8 million in increased funding to spread out over the many programs offered at their campuses. What makes these two schools deserving of such targeted generosity by the State Legislature? Was there a grassroots drive by parent, student, faculty, or administrative groups calling for funding these centers?

No. There was no such movement.

Are these schools offering courses that are not readily accessible at other departments or schools like history or political science?

Not really.

Do the universities conduct nationally-competitive searches to staff these schools? Their recruitment apparently did not follow standard University hiring practices.

Is a  new K-12 “seal” of civic literacy necessary? Not when the Department of Education is in the process of finalizing new Social Studies standards that include civics and economics.

Preferential taxpayer funding

So, why do these two schools get such preferential taxpayer funding and staffing consideration if there is no need and there has been no grassroots desire from the university stakeholders? It is because these schools subscribe to the philosophical dogma and patronage of the Koch Brothers, that they receive the favorable consideration of conservative lawmakers in this and other states across the country at the expense of other funds that could go towards education or priorities like Medicaid and hospital care.

Since the 1970’s, the Koch Brothers, like other advocacy groups, have been utilizing their financial clout to promote their ideological agenda in the political, economic, and educational arenas. To that end, they have been subsidizing political candidates and “Freedom Schools,” and other educational programs at learning institutions like George Mason University, Florida State University, The University of Kansas, and Ball State. The University of Arizona and Arizona State University are recent additions to the Freedom School Ledger. Another university, Montana State, has voted not to join this network.

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals hears DACA appeal while new arrivals face family-separation policy

A three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Tuesday questioned the government’s rationale for terminating the DACA program that offered a reprieve from deportation to immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, with one judge inquiring whether officials had yet considered re-justifying the decision to make it more legally sound. Appeals court hears arguments on DACA — but offers few clues on how it might rule:

The 9th Circuit is the first appellate court to hear oral arguments on whether the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, can pass legal muster.

The judges — two appointed by President Barack Obama and one by President Bill Clinton — asked skeptical questions of both sides, and it was difficult to determine how they might rule.

The judges inquired about whether the judiciary could rightly second-guess what the government characterizes as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, and whether the government might — as one lower court judge suggested — consider providing more solid legal reasoning for coming to the decision it did. They also asked about whether the government might have violated the due-process rights of DACA recipients whose lives could be upended.

A federal judge in San Francisco — weighing bids to save DACA from the states of California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota; California’s university system; and individual DACA recipients — had blocked the administration from ending the program, at least temporarily. The ruling was largely based on the judge’s conclusion that the decision to end it was arbitrary and based on flawed legal reasoning.

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