Sunday, January 23, 2005

AZ Legislative Brief: HCR 2020 & 2024

We might call it the hundred days from hell. It is time for the 47th Arizona legislature to meet, and I don’t expect much positive news. The slash and burn school of government is firmly in charge of the state legislature, and only the power of the veto pen will keep its worst instincts in check. I’ll be writing a series of articles outlining some of the major and interesting legislation to be considered this session.

Even Napolitano’s mighty pen will prove ineffective against some the referendum revenants that the legislature will be disinterring this session. Two such Concurrent Resolutions, which lead to ballot referendums if passed by a majority of both houses, are today’s subject.

Not content with the voters’ solid defeat of the GOP’s effort to overturn the Clean Elections System, GOP legislators are putting a new red-herring before voters: HCR 2020, which they are likely to call ‘The Family Stabilization Fund.’ In concept, it’s much like stabilizing a Sequoia with a toothpick. This bit of nastiness conceals it’s intent to gut Clean Elections beneath the fig-leaf of putting the fairly paltry amounts that fund elections free of corporate influence into a fund to provide ‘health related’ and ‘educational’ programs to Arizona’s families instead. How touching.

Better is the far more honest effort of HCR 2024 sponsored by Chuck Grey to simply repeal the Clean Elections System. I guess some Republicans really do lack the ability to detect hypocrisy, as one of Concurrent Resolution 2024’s sponsors, Doug Quelland, was elected using the $39,156 provided him by the Clean Elections Commission. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Of those who sponsored the idea of stripping Clean Elections of funds in favor of ‘Family Stabilization,’ Ray Barnes took $35,827.28, Steve Yarbrough took $18,095, and Lucy Mason took $28,300.

Here’s a suggestion, perhaps these fine public servants should pay the citizens of Arizona back out of their own pockets before they put their names on bills seeking to destroy the very system that put them in office. Better yet, maybe they ought to listen to voters who spoke quite clearly in the last election that we like Clean Elections and we intend to keep them, instead of wasting taxpayer money and time, forcing us to say it again and again. The last thing we need is legislators who prove themselves incapable of listening to voters.

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