(Update) Election ‘reform’ bills still stalled in the Arizona legislature

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I posted about this a couple of weeks ago. Election 'reform' bills stalled in the Arizona legislature. The election 'reform' bills are still stalled in the Arizona legislature, and now the Tea-Publicans are looking for creative ways to get around the logjam. The reforms under consideration are unnecessary or counterproductive. As I detailed in an earlier post, the Arizona legislature fails to consider real solutions to the problems with our elections.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports today, AZ election reform bills face further problems:

Lawmakers attempted to push through a set of bogged-down election bills in a comprehensive 43-page amendment in conference committee Wednesday afternoon, but the committee was called off minutes after the amendment began circulating at the Capitol.

The lengthy amendment proposed to HB2305 includes essential portions of four election-reform bills – Sen. Michele Reagan’s SB1003, SB1261 and SB1264, as well as Rep. Michelle Ugenti’s HB2527 – that have languished at the Capitol.

Conference committees are held after a bill has passed both chambers, but a change has been made in the second chamber. A group of lawmakers from the House and Senate meet to resolve the difference if the sponsor of the bill does not wish to concur with the changes.

Reagan’s measures make sweeping changes to Arizona’s early voting system and initiative and recall petition process. Efforts to remove voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List have drawn fierce criticism from Latino groups. Ugenti’s bill would change rules to allow municipalities to consolidate election days.

The portions of each bill included in the amendment represented essential reforms in the eyes of election officials, said Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who’s assigned to the conference committee for HB2305.

“There are some election bills that are stalled for one reason or another, but there are certain provisions that are must-haves – based on what the secretary of state and other election officials have said – and the idea was to take those, the must-haves, and put them in the bill,” said Mesnard, R-Chandler.

But lawmakers in the House and Senate and on both sides of the aisle were stumped as to why the committee was canceled at the last minute, moments after the amendment began circulating at the Capitol.

"Stumped"? Who are the GOP whips responsible for rounding up votes and taking a head count? I don't even have to be at the capitol to tell you that the reason the amendment was pulled was because they could not count enough votes to pass an amendment thrust on lawmakers at the last minute, asking them to vote for something they did not have adequate time to review.

It’s the fourth time a conference committee for Rep. Eddie Farnsworth’s HB2305, which details requirements for political committees filing initiative petitions, has been canceled.

* * *

Jen Sweeney, deputy director of the Arizona Association of Counties, said the amendment was a backup plan for the measures. Sweeney is pushing SB1261, a measure supported by all 15 county recorders that would allow voters who don’t use the early ballots they’re sent to be removed from the list, better known as PEVL.

Sweeney was equally stumped as to why the committee was canceled and why Reagan’s measures have stalled in the House.

Here's a clue, lady. Read my two posts linked above. These are bad bills that are unnecessary or counterproductive. Pull these bad bills, then bring together all the stakeholders — not just like-minded election directors — and work out a compromise bill that all parties can agree upon for next year. There is no rush for these supposed "reforms." Sen. Michele Reagan running for Secretary of State next year is not a legitimate policy concern.

Reagan had a similar backup plan in place for SB1003 and SB1261 when it appeared that Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, wouldn’t release the bills from the House Government Committee. Reagan had an amendment prepared for a House bill in her own Senate Elections Committee.

But the amendment was never used, and Ugenti eventually relented and released Reagan’s bills.

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, an outspoken opponent of Reagan’s election reform bills, said it’s possible the House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, is blocking the measures from reaching the House floor.

Which brings me back to my earlier question, "Who are the GOP whips responsible for rounding up votes and taking a head count?" Andy Tobin is not going to schedule a vote if he knows that he does not have the votes to pass the measure. The same goes for Andy Biggs in the Senate.

0 responses to “(Update) Election ‘reform’ bills still stalled in the Arizona legislature

  1. I think the House Rules Attorneys didn’t have enough time to review the substantive amendment for constitutionality & proper form – if they were given it at all. I also believe that initiative filing requirements (which are filed with the Secy of State)have NOTHING to do with the rest of the crap they’re trying to tie to 2305 – early voting list deletions,(county recorders).
    PEVL has too many problems – usually due to the inefficiency of the county recorders.