I warned you earlier in the week that Now that the Super Bowl is over, time to pull the tarp off the crAZy in the AZ Lege. Sho’nuff…
The Neo-Confederate dead-enders of the tellingly titled House Federalism and States’ Rights committee approved on a 5-3 vote what has become an annual bill on behalf of the Old Glory Mint, HB 2173 (.pdf), this time sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), to make gold, silver and platinum legal tender in Arizona.
In previous years, this bill was carried by the late Sen. Chester Crandell on behalf of the Old Glory Mint, a Utah-based company that makes gold and silver coins. Last session’s SB 1096 (.pdf) purported to allow the state of Arizona to mint its own coinage because the U.S. dollar is “fiat money” and worthless.
I explained when this bill was being considered in 2013 and 2014 that this bill is unconstitutional:
Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the states from issuing “bills of credit” (paper or “fiat” money) or making anything but gold and silver coin legal “tender.” There is no corresponding explicit prohibition against the federal government, nor any explicit authorization. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution specifically gives Congress power to “borrow money” and also power to “coin money and regulate the value” of both U.S. and foreign coins. The federal government first issued paper money in 1861 in order to fund the Civil War by an act of Congress, the Legal Tender Act of 1862. The Legal Tender Cases, Knox v. Lee and Parker v. Davis (1871), and Juilliard v. Greenman (1884), upheld the constitutionality of the Act.
The Response from Teabaggers will be, “Oh yeah? Utah and Oklahoma recognize gold, silver and platinum as legal tender.” Those laws just have not yet been fully adjudicated in court. It does not make your point.
Fun Fact: Old Glory Mint was in receivership in 2012, accused of running a Ponzi scheme. Proponent of gold as legal tender in Utah accused of Ponzi scheme: “Utah citizens are the proud owners of gold and silver commemorative coins from a company now in receivership, its owner charged with running a $100 million Ponzi scheme.” Do we really want to go down this road?
Then there are the ammosexual gun fetishists and gun worshippers who are back with their annual bill to allow them to carry concealed weapons in any public building unless the building contains gun lockers for which they have no intention of paying for. Legislature seeks to block local regulation of guns:
State lawmakers are moving on two fronts to trim the ability of communities to regulate guns.
On a 5-3 vote Thursday, the House Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety voted to block any current or future local laws or regulations dealing with the transfer of firearms.
HB 227 (.pdf) is most immediately aimed at Tucson, which has adopted a requirement that anyone conducting gun shows at city-owned facilities must require a background check when a weapon changes hands — something not now required under either federal or state law.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, also would pre-empt any community from having rules on the transfer of firearms.
Still to come is a debate in the same committee on a more far-reaching measure.
It would allow any of the more than 228,000 Arizonans with a permit to carry a concealed weapon, or anyone with a permit from another state, to bring their guns into most public buildings. But backers of HB 2320 (.pdf) postponed action for a week while they work out some details.
That measure would overrule existing laws allowing government agencies to prohibit weapons in public buildings simply by putting up “no guns” signs and making lockers available to check guns and rifles.
Instead, governments would be prohibited from enforcing a no-guns policy in any building that does not also have metal detectors and security guards at each entrance.
In both cases, proponents want to curb the powers of government officials to regulate weapons.
The lobbyists of the Arizona Citizens Defense League keep coming back every year with this bill. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed previous versions of HB 2320 in 2012 and 2013. The lobbyists are banking on Governor Dicey Doug Ducey not vetoing the bill this time.
Then there is Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Kooksville) who has proposed SB 1435 (.pdf) which would do away with Arizona’s Open Meeting Law, and allow elected officials to hatch their plans in private, away from the prying eyes of the public and media. The Republic’s Laurie Roberts has a nice take-down of the always crazy Sylvia Allen and her bill. Legislator wants to legalize secret meetings.
Folks, the crAZy is just getting warmed up. I’ve only highlighted a few items this week. You need to watch your state legislators like a hawk, and hold them accountable for their actions.
I wish the backers of HB 227 and HB 2320 all the luck in the world with getting their Bills turned into law. It is very confusing when cities and towns pass their own versions of gun control regulations and ordinances. It is hard enough keeping up with State laws regarding guns…adding counties, cities and towns to the list makes it a Tower of Babel.
When these crazy bills appear in committee, who appears in person to oppose them? Seems like we need to get some people to show up at these public hearing & provide a reality check at least for the sake of the record.
Unfortunately the committee chair determines who gets to speak, and that is often only the lobbyists or the bill sponsor. A citizen can testify by signing up for the request to speak (RTS) system — you do not have to be there in person. How much weight the committee gives to the average citizen’s testimony is an open question. They do take notice when they get a lot of constituent comments on a bill.
That is generally not true. The only time speakers are limited is when the agenda is long or a large number of people have requested to speak.
Point taken. But on most bills, the general public rarely testifies. Bill sponsors and lobbyists do. At least that has been my experience over the years.
Counter-point taken. But most of the general public does not have the time nor the inclination to speak or even message in, which is why we have a representative form of government. The public does not speak but selects who votes in committee.