Last week Craig McDermott told you about radio talk show host and freshman Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, who proposed adding “noncitizen” to DACA qualified (DREAMers) drivers licenses, apparently unaware that there are many other noncitizens qualified to receive an Arizona drivers licenses. Incoming state rep looking to write a sequel to “The Scarlet Letter”.
Lawrence was pilloried in the media for his obvious discriminatory purpose and intent. He reportedly has since backed away from his damn fool idea. He was the clear winner of last week’s douche-bag of the week award.
A strong contender for this week’s douche-bag of the week award is second term Rep. Phil Lovas, R-Peoria, who has a couple of bad proposals that come out of far-right think tanks.
Lovas is reviving a bill first filed in the last legislature to limit the right of Arizona citizens to pass laws by citizens initiatives and referendums, seeking to impose a 60 percent super-majority requirement for passage by the voters at the ballot box (as I recall, the previous version of this bill required 60 percent of registered voters, which would mean that no measure could ever pass in Arizona with our terrible history of voter turnout.) A super-majority threshold is anti-democratic, and it empowers a tyranny of the minority.
Rep. Lovas must have failed his American history classes. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism.” –Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817. ME 15:127.
Howard Fischer reports, Lawmaker proposes limiting public’s power to change constitution:
A second-term state lawmaker wants to make it harder for voters to approve changes to the Arizona Constitution.
HCR 2001 would require proposed amendments to get at least 60 percent of the popular vote for approval.
But even if Rep. Phil Lovas, R-Peoria, can get a majority of lawmakers to put the proposal on the 2016 ballot, he would still need to convince a simple majority of voters to agree to limit their own lawmaking powers.
Lovas said it should be more difficult to amend the document than simply getting one yes vote more than the other side.
(See Thomas Jefferson above.)
“If you’re going to amend the constitution, I think you need to have broad-based support, and not be able to run an advertising campaign that may have disinformation in order to barely sneak across the line,” he said.
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To even get a constitutional change in front of voters requires either approval by both the House and Senate, or for supporters to gather signatures equivalent of 10 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
For the 2016 election, the bare minimum is 226,963. And given the number of signatures that end up being voided for one reason or another, the more realistic goal is 300,000 or more.
The real abuse of putting measures on the ballot occurs in the state legislature, where it takes only a simple majority in the Senate (16) and in the House (31) — far less than the hundreds of thousands of signatures that citizens groups have to collect.
So a lobbyist like Jonathan “Payday” Paton can get a simple majority of his Tea-Publican pals in the legislature to put his blatantly unconstitutional Prop. 122, the so-called “Arizona Rejection of Unconstitutional Federal Actions Amendment” aka “interposition and nullification” of federal law on the 2014 ballot, and to get the legislature to piss away your tax dollars defending this unconstitutional amendment in court until the last court has finally struck it down. Rep. Lovas voted to put this unconstitutional measure on the ballot.
Rep. Lovas has a problem. Even if the legislature goes along and puts this measure on the ballot, fifty percent plus one vote is all it will take to defeat his measure, and this fool idea is opposed by a large number of groups across the political spectrum.
The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts addresses the second “super-majority” threshold this Tea-Publican totalitarian wants to impose, this time on the retention of merit selection judges. This is just the latest in the annual Tea-Publican assault on the independence of the judiciary. Should judges need 60 percent to get elected?:
Rep. Phil Lovas wants to change the Arizona constitution to require that judges get at least 60 percent of the vote in order to be retained on the bench.
The second-term House member apparently thinks voters would become more informed if they didn’t assume it was a “gimmie” that every judge would automatically win retention.
“Fifty percent plus one is a pretty low bar. It’s almost an automatic re-election,” he told the Arizona Capitol Times Yellow Sheets. “If somebody’s getting 50 something percent of approval, that’d generally be an F-grade in school… I don’t think 60 percent is too high of a threshold.”
That low bar also applies to the Arizona Legislature but I’m not aware of any plans to boost the threshold to snag a seat at the Capitol.
Then again, most legislators get easily more than 50 percent of the vote because their districts are so gerrymandered as to make it a “gimmie” that you’ll be re-elected if you’re a Republican in a Republican district or a Democrat in a Democratic district.
Anything that tinkers with Arizona’s model law for merit selection of judges should be rejected out of hand.
Finally, Rep. Lovas rounds out a “hat trick” of bad bills this week by reviving the long-settled issue of Daylight Savings Time in Arizona. No, seriously. This was a hotly contested issue back in 1967, but once it was settled that Arizona would not follow Daylight Savings Time, it has never been much of an issue since. I mean really, have you ever given it a second thought?
Howard Fischer reports, Peoria lawmaker wants Arizona on daylight saving time:
Rep. Phil Lovas, R-Peoria, wants to repeal the 1967 state law in which Arizona exempted itself from daylight saving time, saying a three-hour difference with government and financial centers back East for eight months of the year is bad for business.
Lovas acknowledged there are potential drawbacks of having Arizona spring ahead and fall back with the rest of the country.
For example, he said moving clocks an hour ahead from the first Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November would mean later sunrises and result in some months where children would end up going to school in the dark.
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A few weeks of kids going to school in the dark each spring and fall shouldn’t keep Arizona from making a move he asserts would be good for business — particularly those with dealings in the Eastern time zone.
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He acknowledged that after so many years of tradition, he may have an uphill fight getting approval for HB 2014.
Prior efforts to scrap the exemption have failed, but he said “it’s worth taking another look at.”
Such a lack of concern for your child’s safety and welfare.
I’m calling it early: Rep. Phil Lovas and his “hat trick” of bad bills earns him this week’s douche-bag of the week.