Second Session Legislative Review
As the 2014 election draws closer, it’s important to remember that an election is a job review for legislators and elected officials. Let’s review.
The 51st legislature did almost nothing for a healthy, educated, prosperous Arizona. Instead, we got phony proposals, starved agencies, and bad legislation. This mess comes directly from the extremism of Republican majority. Some were zealots and some were too frightened to object.
How did the Republican majority spend its legislative time? Some of it was on a law to have government patrol the bathrooms of our state. Every Republican voted for it. Some of the time was spent trying to control women’s health care. They want the state to determine the decisions of doctors. So much for getting government out of our lives.
Let’s turn to education. After 30 years of Republican control, we spend the least on students and we remain at the bottom of national rankings. While Democrats pushed to restore K-12 funding to schools, Republicans pushed to put guns in them.
What about jobs? Each year, Republicans lower taxes and their result is “sub-par” growth. Tourism is at risk. Construction is stagnant. Transportation is scraping by. Elliot Pollack called our economic recover “anemic.” Republicans deferred needed transportation infrastructure investment. They laid-off state employees resulting in longer lines at the MVD and we’re paying more to use our state parks.
What about democracy? Republicans oppose it. Don’t forget that last summer Arizonans had to collect signatures for a “citizen veto”. Republicans passed HB2305, the “voter suppression bill”, which added more hurdles for seniors, rural residents, and minorities to register and vote.
What about Republican leadership? This last year has been a national embarrassment. We just found out that the School Superintendent has insulted Latinos and the poor as an anonymous blogger. This behavior has been going on for years.
Now for the Attorney General: Remember Mr. Horne’s unethical behavior got him banned-for-life from securities trading? Some people learn lessons, but not ol’ Tom. He hasn’t changed. Horne has been under investigation nearly his entire term and we hear constantly about FBI and state investigations detailing his violations of campaign finance laws and the mis-management of his elected office.
Brahm Resnik asked the State Treasurer if he would have supported the Medicaid expansion. That’s a reasonable question, right? He refused to answer. What kind of Governor will he be if he can’t answer tough questions? Maybe he needs a poll to give him his answer.
Then there’s SB1062, the “legalize discrimination bill” that earned Arizona national ridicule and scorn. At this point, there are two things you need to know about it: 1) Not a single Democrat voted for it. 2) Permanent reputational damage was done in spite of Brewer’s veto. Thousands of emails told us so. Unfortunately, they’re not done with that one.
In the Legislature, Republican members have been accused of child abuse (Senator Murphy), writing laws to pad their own pockets (Senator Yarbrough), and not even living in the district they represent (Representative Mitchell). These are not unique or rare occurrences. They seem to happen every legislature. Remember Scott Bungaard? Russell Pearce? These people don’t deserve their offices.
But not all legislation this last cycle was unethical or underwhelming. Remember the expansion of healthcare where we get our own taxes back from the feds? Thank the Democrats for passing that. Republicans would rather have given away your tax dollars to other states than accept the political reality that providing healthcare is morally and fiscally responsible.
Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, got grilled while testifying in support of the expansion. Why? Opposition to the expansion consistently boils down to the same source: ideology. Supporters of Medicaid always cite the same reasons: math. I know because I serve on the Appropriations Committee where Glenn testified. Math vs. ideology; which is best for Arizona?
Arizonans deserve public leaders who will use facts to lead by example. The voters are the jury of this courtroom and I am reminding them that Arizona Republicans are simple creatures: party and power are their masters. It’s not that Republicans think nobody is watching. It’s that they are confident that nobody is keeping score.