Category Archives: Arizona State Legislature

GOP authoritarians are engaged in a coup against democracy (Updated)

Two years ago after authoritarian Tea-Publicans in North Carolina lost the governorship, we witnessed outrageous Tea-Publican tyranny: a GOP legislative coup against democracy in North Carolina (excerpt):

Daily Kos reports, North Carolina Republicans execute legislative coup against democracy itself:

Last month, Democrat Roy Cooper unseated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, while Democrats also gained a majority on the state Supreme Court, breaking the Republican stranglehold on North Carolina’s state government. Now, though, Republicans have used the pretext of a lame-duck special legislative session—ostensibly convened for disaster relief—to advance a slew of measures that radically curtail the authority of the governor and even the high court itself. This nakedly partisan plot is unprecedented in modern state history. Indeed, you have to go back to the 1890s to find a parallel, when reactionaries violently introduced Jim Crowafter a multiracial coalition of progressives briefly won power.

The scope of the GOP’s war on democracy is stunning. In this special session, Republicans enacted a new law that removes the governor’s party’s control over all the state and county boards of election. That same measure also makes previously nonpartisan state Supreme Court races into partisan contests and requires state constitutional challenges to first go before the Republican-dominated state Court of Appeals. The legislature has passed another bill awaiting McCrory’s signature that would require state Senate approval for the governor’s cabinet appointees. This bill would also slash the governor’s number of executive branch appointees from 1,500 to 425 and eliminate the governor’s ability to appoint members of the state Board of Education and the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees.

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It is time for Racist State Rep. David Stringer to go

LD 1 Republican State Representative David Stringer

The People in Legislative District One (most of the area surrounding and including Prescott) are examples of the old adage “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me for letting you get away with it the first time.”

What did the people do when one of their state representatives, David Stringer, commented in June at the Yavapai Men’s Forum that “there were not enough white kids to go around” in our public schools?

Did they tell him it was time to go and resign from public life?

No, they reelected him on November 6 with a 35,000 vote margin over his Democratic opponent.

At the time Governor Ducey called on him to resign in June, saying “I don’t think there is any place for that kind of commentary in the public square. He has basically disqualified himself from leading at the state level.”

How did Representative Stringer reward the trust of the people in LD 1? By saying, at a forum with students at Arizona State University, African Americans, in contrast to immigrants from Europe, “don’t blend in.”

Newly elected state Senator Victoria Steele called for Stringer’s immediate resignation. “Diversity is what makes us strong and beautiful. How could you look at someone and say, ‘this person is less than me or less deserving’? This type of behavior should ever be tolerated by our leaders. Rep. Stringer’s behavior and his vulgar comments have brought dishonor to the to the entire Arizona Legislature. I do not want to serve with him when I start next month. He should be removed from his position as a lawmaker. I am calling for his immediate resignation. Should he refuse or hesitate to resign he should be publicly removed from office,” Steele said.

Steele is host of the Steele Report on KVOI radio 1030 AM, broadcast on Saturday mornings at 9 am.

Part of being a public servant is having the character, temperament, and moral compass to represent the people that are being served. With these two comments over a span of five months, Stringer has shown he lacks the character, temperament, and moral compass to represent the people in LD 1.

One can hope (actually expect) that the people in LD 1, most of whom do not share Stringer’s hostility to non white people, will heed the calls of other public figures like incoming Democratic State Senator Victoria Steele, Democratic State Representative Cesar Chavez, Minority House Leader Reginald Bolding, and Republican Governor Doug Ducey and tell Mr. Stringer it is time to go. It would be shameful if they did not.

UPDATE ON DECEMBER 4, 2018: The Prescott City Council in a 6 to 1 vote called for Representative Stringer to resign. Let us see if the other towns in his district call for the same action and if Mr. Stringer heeds their call.




Maricopa Democratic Chair Steve Slugocki on the End of One-Party Rule

Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Steven Slugocki

The 2018 Midterm elections were good for the Democrats in Arizona, especially if you were a woman in a state or citywide race whose first or last name began with a “K.” With the final results now determined, Kyrsten Sinema (United States Senate), Katie Hobbs (Secretary of State), Kathy Hoffman (Superintendent of Public Instruction), and Sandra Kennedy (Corporation Commission) emerged victorious in their statewide races. With a first-place showing in the initial round of the Phoenix Mayoral Race, Kate Gallego seems well positioned to win the runoff election in March over Daniel Valenzuela. Democrats also gained four seats in the Arizona State House making that chamber the closest between the two parties since 1966. Many Democrats also performed well in races for local school boards, judgeships, justice of the peace, and local constables.

Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Steve Slugocki, in the middle of preparing for the annual reorganization elections for the county party, offered his perspective on the 2018 election results and where the party will go from here. The questions and responses are below:

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Republicans lose their minds over Arizona election losses

The political parties are once again headed in opposite directions on the right to vote. Democrats want to make voting easier to increase participation, and Republicans want to make voting more difficult based upon unfounded conspiracy theories of voter fraud.

Even the slow counting of ballots, because of the time it takes to verify signatures on early mail-in ballots, has engendered new conspiracy theories among Republicans.

Here in Arizona, GOP lawmakers are already opening bill folders to take aim at the slow counting of ballots, the chain of custody of ballots, and emergency voting centers. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Slow vote count spurs talk of changes in election laws:

Arizona’s prolonged vote count has borne a batch of proposed law changes designed to speed up the process and instill more confidence in the system.

It took a week in Arizona for a victor to be declared in the U.S. Senate race, which garnered national attention both for its competitiveness and the ensuing frustration of being unable to determine a winner for nearly seven days. And Arizona’s final legislative race wasn’t declared for a full 13 days after the election.

That slow count is at the core of voters’ frustration with Arizona elections, since the lengthy process naturally invites skepticism about results, Republican lawmakers say. [Skepticism created by President Trump and other Republicans who falsely claim that elections are rigged, and voter fraud is rampant without any evidence to support this baseless claim.] But GOP concerns extend to questions about the use of emergency voting centers and ballot curing, a process by which voters can assure their mail-in ballots count toward the final tally.

Democrats have accused their colleagues across the aisle of playing a key role in fanning suspicion in the election process – chiefly by accusing Democrats of “stealing the election,” in the words of top officials with the state Republican Party.

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Arizona Supreme Court sides with GOP voter suppression of citizens initiatives

While you were distracted by the long Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, the Arizona Supreme Court finally issued its opinion in the “Outlaw Dirty Money” initiative case. Arizona Supreme Court ruling supports legal tactic used to keep initiatives off ballot:

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a legal tactic used by those seeking to keep voter-proposed laws off the ballot. [“The only issues we must decide are the constitutionality of §19-118(C) and the propriety of the trial court’s exclusion of the non-appearing subpoenaed circulators’ petition signatures.”]

The Court’s opinion is narrowly tailored. “As our decision does not turn on whether the Committee strictly complied with § 19-118(C), we need not determine the constitutionality of the strict compliance requirement of § 19-102.01(A).” The “strict compliance” constitutional challenge is left to another day.

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the justices reaffirmed the right of people to craft initiatives and seek to have them approved.

“And we are reluctant to impede such civic efforts,” they said.

But Justice John Lopez, writing for the court, said there is nothing unduly burdensome about requiring paid circulators to register and provide an address where they can be subpoenaed. Lopez said throwing out the signatures collected by those who don’t show up in court does not impair the constitutional rights of people to propose their own laws.

This is fundamentally anti-democratic, and wrongly decided. The valid signatures of voters who legally signed the petition in good faith are disenfranchised if the circulator cannot be located or fails to appear in court, for any reason. This legal tactic invalidates the otherwise valid signatures of voters given in good faith through no fault of their own.

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