Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Time once again for the Farley Report from Rep. Steve Farley (D-LD 28):
Bear down, Arizona. Tomorrow most of the 357 bills passed by the Legislature will go into effect.
Unfortunately there were no laws heard or passed that help people who are unemployed or have homes in foreclosure. Laws were passed to kill jobs, but none to create them.
Thanks to the legislative majority, here are some of the new laws of the land:
--> We now have a State Gun (which is manufactured in Connecticut),
--> Single women and LGBT people can now legally discriminated against if they want to adopt a child,
--> We can use our guns to hunt varmints within city limits at night,
--> We can contribute to a new Build the Border Wall fund,
--> Public education gets a $500 million cut while out-of-state corporations get $500 million annually in tax giveaways.
--> Single childless adults in poverty are no longer eligible to apply for AHCCCS health care if they lose their coverage and want to get it back,
--> Arizona's special license plate options grew by one third (including a Tea Party plate administered by the government they say they want to shrink), making it even more difficult to identify a plate on a car used in commission of a crime,
--> We can fly a Tea Party flag at our home even if our homeowners' association bans flags.
Speaking of the Tea Party, I want to ask some questions to the Tea Party members who have recently been shouting out their anger at the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) for showing their independence.
Let's review how redistricting has gone so far. Senate President Pearce and House Speaker Adams each made their choice of Republican-registered commissioners, Senate Minority Leader Schapira and House Minority Leader Campbell chose Democratic-registered commissioners, and those four IRC members then chose an independent-registered chair, all as proscribed by the law enacted by voters in 2000 in an effort to stop incumbents from drawing their own districts to ensure their re-election.
So far this year. a number of decisions have been made to hire an executive director, staff counsel, and a mapping consultant. The independent chair -- a very strong, intelligent, and dedicated woman from Tucson, Colleen Mathis -- has sided a few times with the two Democrats on the committee, and that has caused Republicans to go apoplectic with fear that the IRC might actually be independent this cycle and may draw districts that take away the unfair advantage Republicans have always had in this state.
Democrats don't expect or want districts that give us the edge like Republicans have had -- we just want a level playing field of more competitive districts so candidates that work hard have a chance of getting elected, no matter what their party. Right now we have maybe three to four truly competitive districts out of the 30. What could be wrong with boosting that number up to 10 or 12? Sounds like a pretty reasonable small-d democratic ideal, right?
The Republicans say "wrong." Apparently, fair isn't fair in their way of thinking. They want to keep their decades-long unfair advantage, and they have been threatening all sorts of mayhem in order to get their way once again. This tantrum is particularly outrageous because the preliminary maps haven't even been drawn yet.
Rep. Terri Proud (R-Oro Valley) is heading up a petition drive that seeks to oust the IRC Chair because Ms. Mathis didn't vote her way on a couple of issues, but she doesn't stop there. Proud also wants to force the Legislature into another Special Session (we know how those go), in which Republicans would vote to place an emergency measure on the ballot in November to end independent redistricting and let the Legislature draw its own districts again.
Yes, you read that right. Rep. Proud believes Arizona citizens will vote to allow entrenched politicians to create their own districts custom-designed to keep them in office so they can ignore most of their constituents and sleepwalk through their assured re-elections. I don't need a poll to tell me that with the voters, her proposal has a snowball's chance in Phoenix.
Another funny thing about this is that Tea Party activists are so aggressively taking the side of Proud and her Phoenix Republican bosses. In the past I have talked to Tea Party folks who told me that they were sick and tired of politics as usual, they think both parties are out of touch, and they want to hold all politicians accountable.
The thing is, Arizona House Republicans have not given up power since 1966. They are the definition of entrenched and out of touch. In the majority of districts, Republican legislators do not have to campaign in the general election at all, so they don't have to listen to any of their constituents -- even the Tea Party. They simply sleepwalk to re-election, provided they are far right enough to win a party primary. They are not accountable to anyone.
So here are my questions to the Tea Party: Why are you screaming so loudly and angrily in favor of keeping entrenched, unaccountable politicians in power for the foreseeable future? Aren't you in favor of making your political leaders work to earn your vote rather than take you for granted? Shouldn't you be screaming for fair, competitive districts?
A truly independent redistricting commission should create fair districts that make all politicians work for our votes, so that citizens everywhere can hold our elected officials accountable. This IRC is seeking to do just that, and Chair Mathis is bravely leading the way.
She is taking a huge amount of heat for standing up for those principles, and needs our support. The Governor's Office needs to hear from you that you support Colleen Mathis to remain as the chair of the Independent Redistricting Committee. Republicans have been calling in large numbers. You need to call, too, so the Governor knows the strength of support for Ms. Mathis and the rest of the commission. Tell her to resist any efforts by the Legislature to mess with the Commission and the redistricting process. Tell your friends to do the same. We must stand up for true independence.
Here are the numbers for the Governor's Office. Please call right now:
Tucson Office: (520) 628-6580
Phoenix Office: (602) 542-4331
In-State Toll Free 1-800-253-0883
From the political to the personal, I know that many of you have been plagued by robocalls from collection agencies asking for a false name. I have received many of these calls asking to speak with a "Tommy Floyd", and constituents have called me with similar stories. The recording tells you to call back at another number to have your number removed, which may be an attempt at phishing for personal information.
I am preparing to ask the Attorney General to take action against some of these companies that are making these calls. If you have been similarly afflicted, please email me the phone number that comes up on your caller ID, and any details you may have, and I will submit all the complaints together to the AG so we can get something done.
If you prefer to file the complaint yourself, you can find the instructions online at: http://www.azag.gov/consumer/MailInInstructionsEng.html
and the form at: http://www.azag.gov/consumer/complaintform.html
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Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.