Cross posted from the Arizona Eagletarian
Anyone who consumes news in Arizona knows by now that Gov. Brewer has called the legislature into special session to begin Tuesday, after the three day weekend for Memorial Day, to address the child safety crisis in Arizona government.
Addressing the top priority highlighted in Governor Brewer’s 2014 State of the State policy agenda, this reform proposal statutorily creates and funds the Department of Child Safety – a new, stand-alone agency whose sole focus is the safety of Arizona’s children.
“There can be no higher priority for our state than the safety of its children, who for too long have been failed by a system plagued by a lack of transparency and accountability, a shortage of resources, a massive backlog of cases and a flawed focus,” said Governor Brewer. “If we do not act strategically – and soon – to reverse this damage, the crisis will only continue to worsen. It is time that we establish a new Department – with a mission focused on child safety, a culture conducive to fulfilling that mission , and the resources to do the job.” (emphasis mine)
This is the statement of a person who takes seriously what she has been charged by the people of Arizona to do in light of the problems that have surfaced time and again without the legislature or the executive branch resolving them, for decades. Here’s a link to Brewer’s proposal. A 36-page PowerPoint presentation about the proposal can be downloaded here.
It is not the statement of a politician looking to get elected or re-elected. But the legislators, who will meet on the day before the deadline for filing nominating petitions (which is Wednesday, May 28) for their re-election campaigns, will be put in a unique situation where the people of Arizona will be readily able to hold those lawmakers accountable.
In the PowerPoint, Brewer quotes Ronald Reagan,
It has fallen to us, in our time, to undo damage that was a long time in the making, and to begin the hard but necessary task of building a better future for ourselves and our children.”
Indeed, the problems surrounding child safety have been festering for decades. The root causes for family stresses that make this function of government necessary will not be resolved with this session or whatever the legislature passes.
Nevertheless, this IS a necessary function of government as the provider of last resort AND as the body to which the people delegate the power to maintain civil society. It IS a requisite function of the social safety net that must be maintained as a part of the Social Contract that gives American government legitimacy.
I wonder just how boldly resistant to spending state taxpayer funding our friend John Kavanagh, chair of House Appropriations will be.
Oh please, John, make it easy to scuttle your 2014 campaign. Oh, wait, you may already have done so.
Easy or not, your campaign, John, will be scuttled. It IS time for a revolution in political thinking in Arizona.