The ‘Do as we say, not as we do’ Arizona Legislature


Last week I posted about Neo-Confederate nullification day at the Arizona Capitol:

Confederale SoldiersYear after year we wind up with “Confederate worldview” legislation that seeks to grab control of federal lands for private use, and to nullify any federal laws with which our lawless Tea-Publican legislature disagrees, from the regulation of firearms, to clean air regulations, to providing health care, food stamps and welfare, etc.

The latest iteration of this Neo-Confederate Tea Party insurgency against the U.S. government occurred on Tuesday, led by “Little Reb” Sen. Sylvia Allen from Snowflake. Allen wants Obama gun rule blocked.

You can add to the list from last week HB 2370, House panel OKs bill to block refugee resettlement cooperation:

A House panel voted to refuse to use state and local resources to cooperate with efforts to place refugees here unless the federal government meets certain conditions.

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, says if federal agencies want the state’s help they have to show the person has gone through a “thorough criminal history, terrorism and health background check.”

It also would require the federal government to fully reimburse the state for any costs.

You can put Arizona’s Tea-Publican Neo-Confederate deadenders in the House on record as supporting “interposition and nullification” of federal laws they dislike. House passes bill to block enforcement of federal policies:

The House passed House Bill 2201 on a 31-27 Thursday. Vote Detail.

Arizona Republicans annually push legislation to try and limit what they call federal overreach. Last year conservative lawmakers attempted to take control of the state’s federal lands.

Rep. Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff sponsored the bill that would prevent state agencies, cities and counties from cooperating with rules and regulations proposed by federal agencies or executive orders.

Thorpe says he wants Arizona to have the option to nullify rules and laws that are not affirmed by Congress or are unconstitutional. A similar measure failed in the Senate last year.

These very same Neo-Confederate Tea-Publicans who support “interposition and nullification” of federal laws, and dream of seceding from the United States, are the very same authoritarian Tea-Publicans who are trying to strip Arizona’s charter cities of their constitutional rights under the Arizona Constitution to govern themselves in a manner that these authoritarian Tea-Publicans also dislike. The unifying thread here is authoritarianism.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Senate Government committee votes to force cities to obey state (Senate President Andy Biggs does not understand irony):

Charging that cities are ignoring the laws they pass, lawmakers voted Wednesday to let the attorney general direct that their state aid be withheld until they comply.

“There’s nobody in this room who, if they disobey state law or the state Constitution, would not be subject to punitive measures,” Senate President Andy Biggs said. And he said local governments expect businesses and residents in their jurisdictions to obey their laws.

But Biggs told members of the Senate Government Committee there is a “growing disrespect for state law.” And he argued that some cities simply ignore mandates and restrictions figuring there’s little the Legislature can do about it.

“When we pass laws, we expect them to be obeyed,” he said.

Biggs said if cities and counties think the Legislature has acted illegally they have a remedy: sue.

“But when a subdivision of the state deliberately chooses to disobey a law … they’re still bound to obey that law,” he said. Biggs said SB1487 provides a mechanism to ensure compliance.

Under the terms of the measure approved by the committee on a 4-3 vote, any individual or business who thinks a local regulation is contrary to state law can complain to any legislator. That lawmaker, in turn, would require the attorney general to investigate.

If that inquiry concludes state law is being violated, the local government is given 30 days to comply. At that point, failure to do that would require the treasurer to stop providing state aid and redistribute those dollars to every other community.

Is there anyone as clueless as Andy Biggs? The Neo-Confederate Tea-Publicans who behave as if they are Sovereign Citizens who are above the law and entitled to disregard federal laws that they deem to be illegitimate (without a final ruling from any court), turn right around and tell the cities that they must obey state law or else (without a final ruling from any court). This conveniently eliminates the third branch of government, the judiciary, along with any due process.

Has it ever occurred to these anti-constitutional authoritarian thugs that disrespect for state law is something that they have fostered with their off-the-rails disrespect for federal law?

The Arizona Daily Star had a good editorial on Sunday on this topic. Arizona Legislature: Do as we say, not as we do:

A bill that would withhold state aid — aka our tax dollars — from municipalities that pass local measures the state attorney general decides are contrary to state law is a classic case of legislative “do as we say, not as we do.”

The proposed legislation, SB 1487, made it though the Senate Government Committee last week. It is ridiculous on its face, but that doesn’t mean it won’t end up on the governor’s desk.

“When we pass laws, we expect them to be obeyed,” Senate President Andy Biggs, a Republican, told the committee.

That’s probably what Congress thinks, too.

But this is the Republican-majority Arizona Legislature. While it’s busy trying to keep cities and towns from making local decisions about firearms and plastic grocery bags, it’s also considering, or has considered, bills that would make it illegal to follow federal law or orders on guns, immigration policy and environmental regulations.

The hypocrisy is rich.

The state legislation is aimed at municipalities, like Tucson and Bisbee, that have passed ordinances Republican lawmakers don’t like.

In Tucson the fight is over guns — the City Council approved a measure that requires a person who loses a firearm to report it to police. It’s a common sense rule that benefits public safety, and the council is holding firm. But the Legislature’s Republican majority has passed several laws that prevent localities from making their own decisions about gun policies within their jurisdictions.

In Bisbee, the council refuses to rescind an ordinance prohibiting plastic grocery bags, even though the Legislature passed a law against cities regulating plastic bags.

The Republicans are trying again, this time with a bill that would allow any one who thinks a local regulation is against state law to complain to any lawmaker, no matter their legislative district. That lawmaker would require the Arizona attorney general to investigate.

Once the attorney general makes a finding, the municipality would have 30 days to comply. And if it doesn’t, the local share of state-collected funding would be cut off immediately and sent to other communities.

The process, as outlined, would effectively cut out the existing remedy for disagreements between the state and municipalities – the courts. The bill would issue financial punishment by taking local money before an impartial court could hear the case.

It’s crucial to remember that while the state collects the revenue from income taxes, vehicle licensing, and most sales and other taxes, it by law distributes some of that money to local governments. The idea is that it’s more taxpayer-friendly and efficient for the state to collect tax money and then divvy it up with local governments that provide some of the services. Fundamentally, the local share is not a gift to be bestowed or held as extortion until the locals do what the Legislature wants.

But that’s the leverage the state has, according to Sen. John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills. He said he thinks the threat of losing tax money will be enough to prompt obedience.

The courts are the proper venue for disagreements between localities and the state, and that’s not uncommon, according to Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. But the Arizona Supreme Court has often sided with cities, including Tucson, which went to court after the Legislature tried to force nonpartisan elections on the city.

Bypassing the courts and moving to swift financial punishment makes it easier for the legislative majority to ignore Arizonans who disagree with them.

The Republicans often talk about “local control” when it comes to feuding with and resisting the federal government. Funny how they’re the only ones, according to this bill, afforded that privilege.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature is completely out of control. If you want to end the GOP culture of corruption in Arizona, you have to vote these Tea-Publicans out of office — before they also take away your right to vote.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.