The Legislative session doesn’t start for another week and a half and I’m already tired of the bad ideas being proposed. I previously wrote about HB2002 Rep. Mark Finchem’s (R-Oro Valley) proposal, which would “allow the state to fire teachers who discuss politics, religion, or racial issues in classroom settings.” Yesterday, Newsweek picked up on Phoenix New Times reporting that nine of the points in his bill were “lifted directly from the Stop K–12 Indoctrination campaign, which the David Horowitz Freedom Center sponsors. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes David Horowitz as ‘a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-black movements.’” Not to be outdone, Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) submitted HB2015 which covers the same territory.
Now, we have “a self-proclaimed ‘tax activist’ who wants to excuse anyone 65 or older from paying property tax. Her name is Lynne Weaver and she is working with a former state GOP chairman to permanently ban property taxes on AZ home owners 65 and older.
What a ridiculous idea! As a Capitol Media Services article points out, if the initiative passes, homeowners under 65 would be left to make up the property tax burden the elderly were relieved of. This tax money after all, funds public education, emergency services and other community programs. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t rely on property taxes to fund these programs because it inevitably results in winners and losers. But the funding for these essential services has to come from somewhere and for now, that’s property taxes. Continue reading
First, Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) introduced HB2002 directing creation of a code of conduct that would prohibit teachers from discussing politics, religion or race at the risk of violators being fired. Now Representative Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) proposes HB2018 which would,
“expand a 2016 law that allows any state legislator to ask the attorney general to investigate an ordinance, regulation, order or other action taken by a municipality or county to determine whether it is in compliance with state law.” Her bill would require “the attorney general to investigate any policy, procedure or other official action taken by a school district governing board or any school district employee that lawmakers allege violates state law. If investigators find the law has been broken, the superintendent of public instruction would be directed to withhold up to $5,000 per violation from offending districts’ state funding.”
So, let me get this right. School employees or governing board members are already liable for an up to $5,000 personal fine for using public school resources to influence elections. In fact, two teachers were fined this year for violating the law. But, that’s not enough for Townsend. She now wants to threaten school districts for the potential actions of their governing board members and employees. Not only that, but she wants to withhold funding for students if violations occur. Continue reading
LD 16 Democratic State House Candidate Sharon Stinard
At the Starbucks at Broadway and Power in Mesa, second time State House Democratic Candidate Sharon Stinard offered a pragmatic progressive vision for the residents of LD 16 as she prepares to go potentially against out of touch reactionary zealot Kelly Townsend and another Republican (to be determined after the primary) because the other current incumbent decided not to run in the November elections there is an “open seat” opportunity in November. In a district that includes parts of Maricopa and Pinal County, Ms. Stinard is running on a platform that emphasizes education, healthcare, infrastructure, and strategic economic development (including tax reform) and job growth.
LD 16 includes parts of Eastern Maricopa county and Northern Pinal. Parts or all of Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, and Youngberg are within its boundaries. The district has been reliably Republican in recent elections. Ms. Stinard and Cara Prior lost to incumbents Kelly Townsend and Doug Coleman in 2016.
Believing that local politics is the “foundation of our republic” and we cannot let “one side have all the oxygen in the room,” Ms. Stinard believes LD 16 voters deserve a strong voice in the legislature to advocate for economic opportunity and an equitable share of available resources,” Ms. Stinard believes, with the open seat and Ms. Townsend becoming increasingly radicalized with her positions (opposition to Invest in Ed and Medicaid Expansion) and out of touch with the people of the district (she rarely interacts with them according to Ms. Stinard), that there is an opening for her pragmatic progressive vision for LD 16.
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Tagged Kelly Townsend, Sharon Stinard