First let’s start with the just-plain-stupid category of proposed bills such as: a bill passed allowing higher speed limits and lowering the fines; a passed bill designating gun shops as essential; and one that didn’t pass that would remove the mandate to vaccinate pets.
Why? Why? Why? Is there any evidence that Arizona roads and drivers can handle higher speeds safely? Guns are essential because the rise in murders and suicides is not yet high enough? And Senator Anti-vax Barto (R-LD15) obviously has not seen a rabid animal.
The 11 awful voter suppression bills that passed are disturbing similar. All passed with every Republican House and Senate member voting for them. All were sponsored by ALEC legislators though there is some evidence the other Koch-funded organization, the Heritage Foundation, supplied these. All passed with significantly more Request to Speak responses against them than for them.
Republicans ignore “Request to Speak”
HB 2308, which makes recalls (such as Rep. Mark Finchem’s (R-LD11) more difficult, had 105 for postings vs 1,089 against and still passed. Of course, just as they believe the Big Lie, Republicans believe the Request to Speak system is trolled by bots instead an indication their bills are not popular.
There are only two bills where their constituents logged in with almost as many pro votes and we posted con. Both bills “oddly” were about guns: 856 for vs 963 against a law allowing defiance of any federal laws restricting the second amendment; 874 for vs 972 against the law designating gun shops as essential. It seems only the NRA can get out support.
The slightly good news is that our three Republican stooges in LD11 (Finchem, Sen. Vince Leach, and Rep. Bret Roberts) had little legislative success. Finchem proposed 8 bills, of which only one received a hearing and passed. It transferred some public land to the VA. Roberts proposed 5 bills with only one receiving a hearing and passing. It started out as a bad bill to prevent municipalities from reducing funding for police, and ended up just as bad by giving the Attorney General the power to determine if a Presidential order is legal and the ability to undermine it at will. Leach proposed 3 bills, of which only one received consideration and passed. A “tort reform bill,” it relieved businesses that defied the CDC’s Covid recommendations of liability for sickness and death of employees. Leach deserves the Most Anti-Democracy Legislator award for his proposal to give the legislature the right to override voter initiatives.
These are the significant take-a-ways from this legislative session:
- The session is not over until it is over, so we cannot let down our guard. Bills that appear dead can be resurrected when legislators return on June 10th. SB2648 which gives “religious” organizations exemption from civil and criminal penalties was retained and could be revived
- Republicans are not swayed by Request To Speak, so we will need to physically be in their face. Read, write, and assemble. But do not stop using RTS, that way your opinions become part of the public record.
- We need to change the law that allows tax decreases to pass with 51% of the votes while increases require 66%. It’s time to do more than burn Grover Norquist in effigy.
- The S-1 Voting Rights Act sponsored by Senator Sinema must pass! Pressure on her to end the filibuster must be relentless. She had her chance to show her ability to win over 10 Republicans with the January 6th commission bill. She failed.
- The same perfidious legislators will be back for the next session in January 2022 (unless Finchem is recalled). We need to keep stay focused and attack eloquently.
- Redistricting has become more important than ever. Currently, there are 4 safe Republican, 2 safe Democratic, and 3 competitive Districts in Pima County. LD11 is a safe Republican district. There is now almost a 3-way split of registered voters between the parties and independents. We must ensure the new districts reflect the migration away from Republicans.