Tag Archives: Arizona Legislature

January Contreras Campaigns for Consumer Protection in Attorney General Race

Former Prosecutor January Contreras is campaigning to restore protections for Arizona consumers, kids and seniors as she runs to be state Attorney General.

“Consumer protection is the core mission of Attorney General’s office,” she says. “This has not been on the agenda of Attorney General. We need an Attorney General who is willing to ruffle feathers when it involves going after these drug companies purposely making money off the opioid crisis.”

Contreras seeks to oust incumbent Republican Mark Brnovich, who has been A.G. since 2015, carrying out the agenda of Gov. Doug Ducey. She spoke recently at the LD9 Democratic party meeting in Tucson.

She was Ombudsman and Director for U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2009-2012, Arizona Health Policy Advisor from 2006-2008, Assistant Director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System from 2004-2006, and an Assistant Attorney General from 2000 – 2003. Prior to that she was a deputy Maricopa County prosecutor.

She plans to enforce laws against drug companies and distributors that have caused the opioid crisis by flooding Arizona with hydrocodone and fentanyl. More than 3,200 suspected opioid overdoses have been reported to state officials since June 15, with more than 400 of those deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Recently, 44 Attorneys Generals – Republicans and Democrats – took action to hold drug companies accountable. Mark Brnovich wasn’t one of them,” she says. “As this bipartisan group called on Congress to repeal legislation that weakens the DEA’s power to go after suspicious drug companies, Brnovich was one of six Attorneys General who looked the other way.”
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Victoria Steele Charts a Comeback with a State Senate Bid

Bruce Wheeler, candidate for US Congress, and fellow Democrat Victoria Steele, candidate for State Senate.

Victoria Steele (right), candidate for State Senate, with fellow Democrat Bruce Wheeler, candidate for US Congress.

Charting a comeback to the Arizona legislature, Democrat Victoria Steele asserts that ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment is a first step to improving the Tucson economy.

“Women are an economic powerhouse.  But if you are a woman of color, you make 54 cents for every dollar white man makes,” she said. “We need a constitutional amendment that guarantees wage equality. Until we have constitutionally guaranteed protection for women, we won’t have wage equality.”

She spoke at the hot new political gathering, the Over-60 Liberals Who Do Breakfast and Lunch meetup on Saturday at Monterey Court on Miracle Mile.

The 4 E’s

Steele is running for the state Senate seat in northern Tucson that opened up when Steve Farley launched a run for Governor. The economy is one of the four “E’s” that are guiding Steele’s return campaign: Education, economy, environment, and equality. Each is affected by the other.

“Nevada ratified the ERA this year,” said Steele, State Legislative Coordinator for the National Organization for Women and co-founder of the Tucson NOW Chapter. “I will work to push it over the edge in Arizona.”
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JFK, Where Are You Now That We Need You?

By Larry Bodine, Precinct Committeeman, Precinct #238, Tucson.

I remember when as a young boy, still in grade school, I shook JFK’s hand. JFK would be 100 years old this week, were he still alive.

The day was August 17, 1962, and President John F. Kennedy spoke at the opening of the Oahe Dam in South Dakota. It was a beautiful day in the summer, and cars from hundreds of miles around lined up in rows on a big hillside.

At the bottom of the hill was a podium with cloth fluttering in the wind. The hydroelectric dam is the second largest one on the Missouri River. It took 14 years to build.

JFK stood at the podium and spoke in that unmistakable accent. You can listen to his speech on Youtube.

I was so optimistic that I wanted to join the Peace Corps.

I felt so idealistic that I wanted to serve my country.

Before he left, he walked into the crowd of well-wishers and shook my hand.

Then he climbed into a black Lincoln Continental convertible with two American flags flying on the front bumper and rode off as thousands of people cheered. I have never forgotten that day, 55 years ago.

Where have you gone, Jack Kennedy?

As I look around the toxic Arizona legislative leadership and governor, I ask myself, “where are the political leaders who inspire us?”

I don’t see them. Certainly not in our state Capitol.

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Queue the Spooky Organ Music: It’s Budget Time in the #AZLeg (video)

FY2018 Arizona budget

Watching the budget discussion on Cap TV. This JLBC update will be archived on the azleg.gov website.

The much-anticipated FY2018 Arizona state budget was dropped yesterday. On Tuesday, just before 5 p.m. both the Republican and Democratic Appropriations Committees heard the JLBC review of the Republican budget.  Thus begins the mysterious whirlwind of the Arizona budget finalization process, which is scheduled to end in the wee hours of Friday morning.

As a citizen, I always scratched my head as to why the Arizona budget is always passed in the middle of the night. Obviously, the suspicion is that there is something the majority party wants to pass, and it doesn’t want you to know or to be there when it happens. There’s an element of that, for sure, because we have seen some scary stuff passed in the middle of the night by Republicans– like the voter suppression omnibus bill and blowing the doors off of campaign finance by dramatically boosting campaign limits. The majority party schedules the third day of the budget process just after midnight because they don’t want their members to go home between the debates in the Committee of the Whole (COW) and the 3rd Reading vote. If members go home, someone could say, “What are you thinking?” and change votes.

Check out the budgetary known knowns, known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns below.

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Arizona Legislature: Tax Cuts R Us

Arizona House

Taking our first votes of the 53rd Legislature

This week in the Arizona Legislature is crossover week, which means bills passed by one house will be heard by the other. The House began hearing Senate bills on Monday and vice versa. In advance of crossover week come two weeks of cramming as many bills into the pipeline as possible.

Last week the House passed the 200-bills-passed threshold and had two late nights– 7 p.m. on Tuesday and 11:30 p.m. on Thursday (the deadline to hear House bills). If you want to hear some late-night speechifying, check out the debate on the Citizens Initiative— which the Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce want to kill and the Democrats defended. (When you go to the video, the agenda of the debate appears below, so you can scroll in to the sections you want to view.)

There have definitely been some themes so far in this session. Besides the push for fingerprinting citizens, the jabs at environmental protection, and the elimination of oversight and transparency by cutting all citizen review boards, the big theme has been giving away tax revenue (AKA, tax cuts, tax credits, tax subtraction, tuition waivers, economic development or trickle down economics).

Ironically, on many of these giveaway bills fiscally conservative Republicans (who don’t like spending money) and the fiscally conservative Progressives (who don’t want to give away tax revenue as long as the schools are underfunded) voted together. In the past two weeks, there have been maybe as many as 10 bills where some combination of Progressives and Conservatives voted against spending money that we don’t have.

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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.)

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