UPDATE 3/28: In the alternative to contacting Sen. Leach about his shenanigans described below, which he will probably ignore anyway, I have been reminded that we have a wonderful alternative to Sen. Leach’s clueless leadership in JoAnna Mendoza, whom you can read about here in an interview with our own David Gordon. Please visit her campaign website and consider donating to her campaign to help remove this Leach from the body politic.
Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans wants to protect her community from spread of the Coronavirus, so she has ordered non-essential businesses to closed during the epidemic, including hair salons and beauty parlors. However, Governor Ducey has recently issued an executive order defining essential businesses that are not to close during the epidemic, which included “personal hygiene services”.
State Senator Vince Leach (R-Saddlebrooke) (which is nowhere near Flagstaff, you might notice) has threatened to use SB1487 to lodge a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General against Flagstaff because he believes there is a conflict between the Governor’s Executive Order and the Mayor’s order.
You might remember SB1487 being used by the GOP to quash local ordinances they don’t like, like Phoenix’s ride share fees for airport pickups, or Tucson’s police policy to destroy unclaimed guns instead of selling them back into the community.
The effect of SB1487 is to suspend state shared revenues to a local government that fails to comply, blowing a serious hole in a city’s budget while that city is facing an unprecedented crisis.
Now Senator Leach appears to be carrying the water for Ducey in his quest to impose the GOP’s dangerous slow-walking of a serious response to the Coronavirus epidemic in Arizona. Make no mistake: this is an ideological power play, not a serious legal dispute.
There is no state interest in Prescott’s salons and beauty parlors staying open during a public health crisis. This is merely a couple of ideological bullies pissed off because a strong local leader is taking a stand to protect the citizens who elected her to lead and protect them.
There is no precedent of SB1487 even being used to quash a local ordinance that conflicts with a executive order. The law itself specifies only state laws and the state constitution, so Leach’s threat is a serious legal reach, and a potential power grab by the Governor.
Leach and Ducey need to back off now before people get hurt by their bullshit power games. How about you call Senator Leach and tell him what you think of him trying to bully a local mayor who’s just trying to protect her citizens?
There is a growing gap between the seriousness of this epidemic on the ground, and the GOP’s ideologically-blinded responses to it at every level of government. This local controversy is just one small example of the Right Wing’s willful blindness, and their desire to impose their twisted version of reality on the rest of us. More people may die in this crisis because of their denial of reality in favor of wishful thinking. The GOP is swiftly becoming the party of human sacrifice to the god of Mammon.