By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
During the current session of the legislature, the Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives have been leading the way in terms of "punchline" legislation (as in the kind of proposals that ensure that Arizona maintains its status as the nation's punchline). The Senate has been a bit of an
afterthought when writing about the hot mess that is the AZ legislature.
I was beginning to worry that the turnover in the Senate roster, particularly the "loss" of luminaries such as Russell Pearce, Sylvia Allen, and Frank Antenori had created a "loony deficit" in the Senate's informal-but-oh-so-real competition with the House to see which chamber is the nuttiest.
Shouldn't have worried though – not with nuts of long standing like Al Melvin, Gail Griffin, Don Shooter, Judy Burges, and more taking up the slack left by the not-so-dearly-departed Pearce, Allen, and Antenori.
Recent additions to the list of proposals before the lege this year –
SCR1012 – A resolution whereby the lege would tell the EPA to stop efforts to craft policy to combat "haze" in the air over Phoenix (haze, aka – "air pollution"). Already assigned to the Government and Environment Committee. I expect it to pass, but don't expect it to have any impact on the EPA – they aren't known for following the policy directives of the Arizona legislature (and speaking as someone who likes to breathe clean air and drink clean water, thank you EPA!)
SCR1013 – A resolution urging the US Congress to dilute the Endangered Species Act. Assigned to Natural Resources and Rural Affairs. Even if passed, probably not likely to have a serious impact on the feds.
SCR1016 – A proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution declaring that Arizona can nullify and ignore any "federal action" that the people of AZ, by a vote on a ballot question, deem a violation of the US Constitution. Not assigned to a committee as yet. Neo-secessionism running amok. May pass the lege; if it does, might be passed by the voters; probably won't withstand a legal challenge if it is enacted.
SB1285 – Requiring that the AZ Department of Education publicize charter schools, home schooling, and other education "options" designed to remove public funding from public schools. In a nice touch, the measure mandates that federal funds be used to pay for the publicity, funds dispensed to states to help with the education of children from low-income families. Assigned to Education, and Appropriations. Nasty toward public education and vindictive toward the poor – the Republicans in the lege will trip over themselves in their enthusiasm to pass this bill.
SB1274 – Attacking early voting by requiring that early ballots be returned to the county recorder/elections department by one week before the election. The bill removes the option to drop off ballots on election day at any polling place in the relevant county, and I think it requires that mailed ballots reach the county recorder/elections department by the same deadline (not sure about that; the phrasing and context make it a little unclear; this particular provision may apply only to mail elections). Not so much "crazy" as it is a blatant part of a national R effort to stack election laws in their favor. Assigned to Elections.
SCR1009 – Sen. Al Melvin's annual love letter in support of slave prisoner labor. Assigned to Judiciary.
To be fair, the House hasn't slacked off on "da crazee" (still proposing bad bills), but the Senate is in the game now.
Good for the Senate, but bad for the people of Arizona.