Speaking Truth to Power in the #AZLeg (video)

Arizona House

Taking our first votes of the 53rd Legislature

This has been an action-packed week in the Arizona Legislature. We returned to work on Monday– just a few days after immigration restrictions and the Muslim travel ban and related protests unfolded at airports (including Sky Harbor).

This week I was proud of the Democrats in the Legislature. I am particularly proud of my Sisters who are also first-time Legislators: Representatives Athena Salman, Isela Blanc, Kelli Butler, Winona Benally, Mitzi Epstein, and Kirsten Engel.

Yes, we’re the minority, but we’re a fiery bunch with a lot to say. Thirteen of the 25 Dems in the House are new, and several of the newbies are unabashedly Progressive (like me) or Progressive-leaning, depending upon the issue.

Often, the people who spoke truth to power this week included some or all of the women listed above. But don’t take my word for it. Watch the videos.

Jan 30: Democrats made statements about the Muslin travel ban.

Jan 31: Democrats spoke out against snake shot and rat shot in the city. (The vote broke along party lines, see below.)

Arizona Legislature

The bill to liberalize shooting within city limits broke along party lines with all Republicans voting for the use of snake shot and rat shot.

Feb 1: A lively debate ensues regarding states rights and Donald Tump’s executive orders. Unnecessary fingerprinting which could disproportionately affect the poor also debated. (This video should be up later today. Here is the archive list.)

More action today with a full calendar of votes. It’s TV worth watching; all of the meetings are live-streamed, videotaped, and archived. Archives are here. Live streaming link here.

Floor action begins daily at 1:30 p.m. Committee meetings are at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. (or after Floor). Republican and Democratic Caucuses meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. All of these meetings are Monday – Thursday, so out of town Legislators can be home on the weekends with family and constituents.

 

 

 

One Response to Speaking Truth to Power in the #AZLeg (video)

  1. John Huppenthal

    There are over 10,000 pages of state laws. Many of these laws create problems for citizens not because they are liberal or conservative, but because they are ineptly written. Instead of acting as though these meaningless floor speeches have meaning, identify a problem with a state law, put together a team of people who are familiar with the statutes in question and rewrite the bad code.

    In other words, be a legislator.

    If you can’t identify a problem based on feedback from your constituents, go talk to a legislative council analyst and ask them what changes they would make if they were a legislator and why would they make them.

    Go meet with a supreme court justice, a superior court or appellate judge who has recently heard a case and ask them identify the flaws in the laws that they had to apply and how they would rewrite the laws. These judges are acutely aware of flaws in the statutory construct.

    When Jefferson helped design our system, he envisioned separation of powers, not separation of people. He had the white house and supreme court architecturally integrated right into the capitol. These people have to live with the laws – they know them better than you ever could even though they are created by the legislators.

    Go meet with small agency heads and find out how statutes might be creating problems for them.

    This is what Independently registered voters want, someone who is solving real problems.

    In the end, this approach is both liberal and conservative. It gets the job done for society more effectively and with fewer resources.

    But, it is hard work, hours of grinding to get the language right to solve one problem without creating more.

    Using this approach, I did 212 pieces of legislation. Number two in Arizona history is 167. More bills passed by a majority of both parties than any other legislator. More bills passed unanimously than any other legislator. More bills signed into law by Napolitano than any other legislator.

    I noticed one legislator who used to exercise her lungs on the floor. Not a single bill in a decade. And, nobody cared a whit about what she was saying.

    Its a republican legislature, get a a republican to cosponsor it with you once you get the language jelling and get them to buy into it by having them do more than sign the sheet, engage them in the problem. There are many legislators who would be glad to help you, believe it or not.

    You are a brand new legislator, its scary doing legislation, you are on a tightrope without a net, sometimes the development process for a piece of legislation can take several years, you have to start planting the seeds now. As a democrat, you could easily do 4 to 6 bills a year that could save millions of dollars over time as you get more experienced.

    And, don’t do bills that cost money – they won’t go anywhere.