Tag Archives: discrimination

Arizona House recesses rather than debate the Equal Rights Amendment

I posed the question the other day, Illinois Senate takes up the ERA today, whither Arizona?

Now we know the answer.

In the same way that our authoritarian Tea-Publican legislature has sought to shut down the voice of Arizona citizens by rendering their constitutional right to citizens initiatives an impossibility through a byzantine set of new rules, the same authoritarian Tea-Publican legislators shut down the voice of Democratic minority legislators who represent over 40 percent of the voters in Arizona.

Rep. Pamela Powers-Hannley (D-Tucson) complained during legislative floor action on Thursday that her bill to put Arizona on record in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment never even got a committee hearing. So she made a motion that the measure be brought to the full House for an immediate vote. GOP lawmakers stymie bid to vote on Equal Rights Amendment (Arizona Capitol Times):

The maneuver, which is legal under House rules, caught GOP leaders by surprise.

But rather than simply allowing a vote on her motion, Speaker J.D. Mesnard made a procedural motion to instead have the House recess. That was approved along party lines, denying Democrats the vote they sought — and effectively keeping Republicans from having to go on the record on whether they support or oppose the amendment.

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A parade of Democrat lawmakers urged colleagues in the Republican-controlled House to quash the motion to recess and allow a vote.

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Texas racial gerrymandering, Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering headed to SCOTUS

Slate has a good summary of the decision of the federal district court for Texas on Thursday that, once again, struck down the district lines drawn by the Texas legislature for intentional racial discrimination. Federal Court: Texas Intentionally Gerrymandered Its Districts to Dilute Minority Votes:

On Thursday, a three-judge federal court ruled that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing its state House district map in 2011. The decision follows a similar ruling by the same court in March holding that Texas also drew its federal congressional districts in an effort to dilute minority votes. Thursday’s ruling marks the third time in recent weeks that the federal judiciary has found Texas to have intentionally burdened its Hispanic voters.

The majority attached a 151-page findings of fact to its already lengthy opinion, reflecting careful analysis of Texas’ gerrymander that will be difficult for the Supreme Court to ignore on appeal. In short, the court found that Texas legislators drew multiple House districts that diluted Hispanics’ votes, a violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court also found that the legislature had engaged in race-based gerrymandering, which similarly runs afoul of equal protection and the VRA. Finally, the court concluded that the House map violated the one person, one vote principle by creating districts within unequal populations, another Equal Protection infringement.

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U.S. District Court for Hawaii issues nationwide restraining order against Trump’s revised travel ban

Second verse, same as the first” . . .

Donald Trump’s revised travel ban from earlier this month, issued after he dropped court appeals of his first badly flawed travel ban, faced immediate legal challenges in multiple courts.

Today the U.S. District Court for Hawaii issued a nationwide restraining order against implementation of the revised travel ban hours before it was to go into effect. Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide:

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order (.pdf) Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a political blow to the White House and signaling that proponents of the ban face a long and risky legal battle ahead.

The ruling was the second frustrating defeat for Mr. Trump’s travel ban, after a federal court in Seattle halted an earlier version of the executive order last month. Mr. Trump responded to that setback with fury, lashing out at the judiciary before ultimately abandoning [an appeal from] the order.

He issued a new and narrower travel ban on March 6, with the aim of pre-empting new lawsuits by abandoning some of the most contentious elements of the first version.

But Mr. Trump evidently failed in that goal: Democratic states and nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced into court to attack the updated order, alleging that it was a thinly veiled version of the ban on Muslim migration that he had pledged to enact last year, as a presidential candidate.

Administration lawyers argued in multiple courts on Wednesday that the president was merely exercising his national security powers and that no element of the executive order, as written, could be construed as a religious test for travelers.

But in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, Judge Derrick K. Watson appeared skeptical of the government’s claim that past comments by Mr. Trump and his allies had no bearing on the case.

“Are you saying we close our eyes to the sequence of statements before this?” Judge Watson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, asked in a hearing Wednesday before he ruled against the administration.

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Filling the swamp at the Arizona legislature

There was a lot of talk this year about “draining the swamp” of lobbyists and special interests in government during the election.

Our Tea-Publican controlled Arizona legislature has decided to go in a different direction, putting right-wing lobbyists and special interests firmly in control of the swamp that is our Arizona legislature.

To parahrase Betty Davis in All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, its going to be a bumpy ride!

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, New Arizona House speaker hires anti-abortion group’s lawyer:

swampThe incoming speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives has hired the top attorney for a powerful anti-abortion group as general counsel for the legislative chamber, one of a string of staffers with deep conservative resumes chosen by Rep. J.D. Mesnard.

The hiring of Josh Kredit as the chamber’s top lawyer comes after Mesnard chose Goldwater Institute vice president Michael Hunter as his chief of staff following his election as speaker by majority Republicans last month.

Kredit is currently general counsel and vice president of policy for the Center for Arizona Policy, a group that opposes gay marriage and abortion and promotes religious freedom. The group has written anti-abortion, school choice and other legislation in recent years and is a powerful force among Republican lawmakers.

Mesnard said Tuesday that he’s building a conservative staff to support a conservative Republican caucus.

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear ballot collection appeal today (Updated)

The AP reports today that the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court to consider blocking ballot-collection law:

VotersA federal appeals panel that rejected a Democratic effort to block a new Arizona law barring groups from collecting early ballots from voters now has expedited a full hearing on the request.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for Wednesday. Last week, a panel summarily rejected an emergency injunction request. But late Friday, the three judges on the panel decided to expedite a full hearing on the Democrats’ request. The previous schedule called for hearings well after the Nov. 8 general election.

Appellants’ Emergency Motion Under Circuit Rule 27-3 For Injunction Pending Appeal And for Expedited Appeal(.pdf), Feldman v. Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, (No. 16-16865) 10/18/2016.

A different three-judge panel is set to hear the case.

The new law signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year means people who collect mail-in ballots in most cases face a felony charge.

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The color of accountability

Cross posted from RestoreReason.com.

I wasn’t surprised by The Republic’s recent findings that during the 2015-16 school year, the vast majority of funding ($20.6 million) for vouchers was taken from public schools rated A or B, but only $6.3 million was taken from schools rated C or D. I’d previously seen a statistic that in 2012, about 92 percent of students taking advantage of the voucher (Empowerment Scholarship Account) program would have attended private schools anyway regardless of voucher availability. Let’s face it; this was never about helping the poor, disadvantaged minority child. The reality is that vouchers were never for poorer Arizonans who can’t cover the average private-school tuition costs of $10,421 when a voucher provides only $5,200.

And yet, the AZ Legislature is pushing two bills to fully open the floodgates on voucher availability, making every student in Arizona eligible for vouchers for homeschooling, tutoring, private school, or to save for college. This, despite the fact that there is little accountability in the program. Yes, recipients must provide quarterly reports of their spending, but DOE staffing for oversight is reportedly insufficient and the schooling options that vouchers pay for have no responsibility for reporting any kind of results. The taxpayer then, has no way to determine return on investment.

Here’s where I start to get confused. The GOP nay, Teapublican-led Arizona Legislature, loves to tout the need for accountability of taxpayer dollars. They are great however, at picking and choosing their targets for applying this accountability. [Please read on, this post isn’t really all about vouchers.] Continue reading