By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings
…Sometimes, proposals before the AZ legislature communicate more with what they *don’t* say than with what they *do* say…
Note for readers who aren’t familiar with the personalities that are part of Arizona’s political scene:
“Ducey” refers to Doug Ducey, Arizona’s governor
“Douglas” refers to Diane Douglas, Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction
Sen. Judy Burges (R-Birther) has the honor of introducing the first striker, or strike-everything amendment, of the legislative session. It’s a rather dubious honor, as she uses the striker to declare her fealty to Doug Ducey, Arizona’s governor.
Arizona’s executive line of succession (basically, how a vacancy in the governor’s office is filled) is specified in the Arizona Constitution.
Article 5, Section 6 of the state’s constitution (emphasis added) –
Death, resignation, removal or disability of governor; succession to office; impeachment, absence from state or temporary disability
Section 6. In the event of the death of the governor, or his resignation, removal from office, or permanent disability to discharge the duties of the office, the secretary of state, if holding by election, shall succeed to the office of governor until his successor shall be elected and shall qualify. If the secretary of state be holding otherwise than by election, or shall fail to qualify as governor, the attorney general, the state treasurer, or the superintendent of public instruction, if holding by election, shall, in the order named, succeed to the office of governor. The taking of the oath of office as governor by any person specified in this section shall constitute resignation from the office by virtue of the holding of which he qualifies as governor. Any successor to the office shall become governor in fact and entitled to all of the emoluments, powers and duties of governor upon taking the oath of office.
In the event of the impeachment of the governor, his absence from the state, or other temporary disability to discharge the duties of the office, the powers and duties of the office of governor shall devolve upon the same person as in case of vacancy, but only until the disability ceases.
This year, Sen. Burges introduced SB1156, relating to, but not changing, the order of succession.
From the bill (emphasis added) –
Section 1. Title 38, chapter 2.1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 38-387, to read:
38-387. Absence of state elected official during official state events
A. By choice of the governor, either the secretary of state, the attorney general, the state treasurer or the superintendent of public instruction shall be absent from the vicinity of the seat of government during the inauguration of state elected officials, the annual governor’s state of the state address or any other state address by the governor where members of the executive department participate or are in attendance. The excused elected official shall remain at least thirty-five miles away from the seat of government during such an event.
The bill is scheduled for consideration by the Burges-chaired Senate committee named “Federalism, Mandates, and Fiscal Responsibility” (Tuesday, 9 a.m., SHR3).
Now, the content of the original bill seemed pretty straightforward, if a little redundant – basically, it legislated a practice that is already in place (though I’m not sure about the “thirty-five miles away” part) and is not a violation of existing law.
Then Burges introduced a striker, proposing to change her proposal.
The striker (emphasis added)-
Strike everything after the enacting clause and insert:
“Section 1. Title 38, chapter 2.1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 38-387, to read:
38-387. Absence of state elected officials during official state events
A. Either the secretary of state, the attorney general or the state treasurer, on a rotating basis, shall be excused and absent from the vicinity of the seat of government during the inauguration of state elected officials, the annual governor’s state of the state address or any other state address by the governor or gubernatorial event where members of the executive department participate or are in attendance.
B. At least three hours before an event described in subsection A of this section, the excused elected official shall be transported by a protective detail established by the department of public safety to a safe and secure location that is at least twenty-five miles away from the seat of government. The excused elected official shall remain at the safe and secure location for the duration of the event.
C. The protective detail shall cease at the successful conclusion of the event described in subsection A of this section and on the successful return of the excused elected official to the seat of government from the safe and secure location.
Sec. 2. Section 41-1755, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
41-1755. Protection for governor
The director of the department of public safety shall provide transportation, security and protection for the governor and security and protection for the governor’s family, including establishing a protective detail that shall care for and protect the governor and the governor’s family, to the extent and in the manner the director of the department of public safety and the governor deem appropriate and adequate. Security and protection shall be extended to the secretary of state, the attorney general and the state treasurer to the extent and in the manner the director of the department of public safety deems appropriate and adequate on consultation with the secretary of state, the attorney general or the state treasurer and that individual’s chief of staff.”
Amend title to conform
Notice what’s missing?
Hint: Maybe Diane Douglas should start watching her back.
No matter what the legislature calls this bill (“absence of state officials”), with this striker (assuming the bill is amended in the way proposed), the bill should be renamed the “Please lay down and die Diane Douglas” bill.
Now, I understand that Doug Ducey dislikes Diane Douglas (and, to be fair, she probably doesn’t like him any more than he likes her), but that personal animus doesn’t justify the crafting of poor public policy.
For the record:
I don’t have a dog in this particular fight –
But where Diane Douglas is just woefully out of her depth, in terms of the temperament and the professionalism needed for her job, Doug Ducey seems to have ill intent toward best interests of the people of Arizona…though not toward the Koch brothers.