The Farley Report: 4-2-13

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Time once again for The Farley Report from Sen. Steve Farley (D-LD 9):

Ack, there is so much to talk about today, it's hard to figure out where to begin. 

I might as well start with the Daily Show.  

For years now, I've been telling folks that one of my goals was to
get the Arizona Legislature off the front page of the Daily Show
website. Sadly, this appears not to be the year we regain respect from
the rest of the country.  

If you missed it last night, check out
this episode featuring Tucson's own voice for promoting the rights of
guns ahead of the rights of people, Citizens Defense League founder
Charles Heller, as he calls Steve Kozachik "Hitler" for promoting the
gun buyback program: 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-1-2013/standing-up-for-guns 

Just yesterday, we debated on the Senate floor the one gun bill that
has come up for debate, Rep. Brenda Barton's (R-Payson) bill HB 2455. Rather
than proposing a law that would help reduce gun violence and the toll
on people, Rep. Barton, like Charles Heller, wants to reduce the toll
people cause to guns.  

She proposes to ban the destruction of firearms by law enforcement
agencies, and force police to sell unclaimed firearms in their
possession, include those used in felony crimes. This would outlaw gun
buybacks of the sort Councilmember Kozachik led. It would do nothing
about the proposed shotgun giveaway that another Friend of Heller says
will be carried out in Southside Tucson neighborhoods Pueblo Gardens and
Midvale Park later this month. 

Sen. Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix) proposed 17 different common-sense
amendments that would have: Limited the size of ammunition magazines
like those used by Jared Loughner; protected domestic violence victims
against their abuser; shored up our prohibited possessor database; and
much more. All of these ideas were introduced as standalone bills but
were never allowed to be heard in committees by Republican chairs. All
the amendments went down on party lines, until Republican leadership
used parliamentary maneuvers to cut off debate entirely.  

It would appear that Charles Heller has many friends in the Arizona
Legislature who believe that the well-being of guns are more important
that the well-being of people.  

If you want to do something to express your displeasure at this clear
disregard for the rights of everyday Arizonans and our increasing
demands to bring common sense back to the gun debate, please join a Best
Friend O'Farley — local hero Daniel Hernandez — and other powerful
speakers at a Tucson press conference tomorrow, April 3, at the infamous
Safeway parking lot at Ina and Oracle at 11:00am.  

The Center for American Progress will be releasing a new report
detailing Arizona's performance on 10 measures of gun violence, the link
between weak state gun laws and high levels of gun violence, and what
you can do about it. Read the press release here for more details. 

Floor action continued this afternoon, as I sought to amend two
significant pieces of legislation to germane bills in the Committee of
the Whole (COW).  

Farley Report readers know that I was the first legislator in the
country to introduce a bill to ban Driving While Texting in January
2007. I have worked every year since then to get that law into place.
I've collaborated with Senators and Representatives from both parties,
both quietly in the background and loudly out front, in order to try
everything I could to get this totally nonpartisan bill passed into law.
One man has stood in the way each time: Senate President Andy Biggs
(R-Gilbert).  

Once again, it was me vs. Senator Biggs, leading debate on opposite
sides when I brought the bill to the Senate floor as an amendment to
HB2312 a few hours ago. If you have 20 minutes free, the video of the
debate is well worth watching – it is now posted on YouTube here. 

I explained that this is not about politics, it is about saving
lives. I am not introducing this for me, but for the victims of texting
drivers who have called my office over the years, sharing their personal
pain and hopes for change:  

–> A widower whose wife had been killed in Peoria by a texting
driver who crossed over the center line and ended both their lives in
one careless moment, leaving two children motherless. 

–> An 80-year-old constituent rear-ended by a texting driver who
spent a month in the hospital fighting for her life — she sent me
pictures. 

–> 17 teenagers from the West Valley who came to my office
wanting to do something to end the devastation that accidents caused by
driving while texting had wreaked upon their friends. 

–> A Paradise Valley man whose brother was T-boned by a texting
driver on Scottsdale Road — when the car burst into flames, he was
burnt over two-thirds of his body. 

Studies have proven that you are 2300% more likely to get into an
accident if you are driving while texting. You are more incapacitated
than when you are drinking and driving. Since my first bill was
introduced, 44 states now have laws against DWT. Somehow, Republicans
and Democrats found a way to come together in those states — why not
Arizona? 

I heard no legitimate arguments why we should not have this ban. Very
few arguments were even offered, and those few were easily debunked. In
the end, the vote went down along party lines: 12-16. The good news was
that several Republicans came up to me afterwards, offering to help
next year. I hope we do not have more tragedies in the meantime. Next
year is a long ways away while our constituents remain at risk on our
roads.  

My second amendment (no, not that one) of this afternoon's COWs
sought to attach my Animal Abuser Registry (basically a
sex-offender-style registry for those convicted of animal cruelty) to a
Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) bill HB2521 that would prohibit
those convicted of animal cruelty from possessing animals. While Rep.
Kavanagh had signed on as a cosponsor to my original bill (SB1161), he
had not yet fully committed to supporting the amendment when the bill
came up in COW, so I was not able to express that to the members of his
caucus.  

My amendment actually responded directly to agricultural lobbyists
who had registered their opposition on the grounds that it a) might
affect agriculture (not true — agricultural activities were clearly
exempted), and b) it was "unenforceable". The registry would have made
the prohibited possession clearly enforceable, since there would then
exist a public registry where all those transferring animals —
shelters, pet shops, etc.– would be able to look up anyone seeking to
acquire an animal.  

Without the clear support of the sponsor of the underlying bill, my
amendment went down, and without the shoring up of my amendment, the
underlying bill went down by an embarrassing 4-23 vote. Again, this
should be an issue with broad bipartisan support. Hopefully, Rep.
Kavanagh can work with me from the beginning next time, and we can make
sure that animals do not end up in the hands of abusers in Arizona.  

A few brief updates:  

–> TPT sales tax simplification is proceeding with the Cities and
the Governor in virtual agreement over all aspects except the
construction contracting portion. 

–> Increasing numbers of county boards of supervisors are voting
to endorse the Governor's Medicaid restoration efforts, even as Koch
Brothers money is now being spent on mailers to the constituents of
Republicans who support the restoration, slandering them. 

–> There are no signs of progress on the budget, even though we
are 20 days away from the traditional 100-day end of session. 

Finally tonight, Arizona Republic columnist just posted a sadly
entertaining column about the legislative session so far, featuring the
fate of my bill to force disclosure of dark money in politics. It will
be published in the Republic tomorrow, but you can read it here now.  

Thanks for your faith in me as your Senator. 

Steve Farley

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