The Arizona Legislature will be in the red zone of its session this coming week — this is the time that critical budget decisions are made and “strike-everything” amendments rear up without notice. “Strike everything” means bills that don’t really matter to the Republican majority get amended to strike all of their original language and new language on entirely different and dangerous topics can be inserted. The bills are then immediately voted upon before opposition can be mustered from the public.
So, watch carefully for legislative alerts this week. We may publish them here, but the most urgent ones may appear only through Facebook where a variety of groups — from the Arizona Education Association to the ACLU to Unions — will be on the watch and calling for your immediate attention. When we see those, we’ll share on our Facebook page as the quickest way to get the word out.
Things you might see in the Legislature this week: AZ LEGISLATURE WEEKLY UPDATE • WEEK OF MAY 13, 2019
We had some great trainers from The Arizona Ground Game at our Monthly County Party meeting on Saturday. They left some thoughts worth sharing here and now:
8 Reasons to Pay Attention to State Politics
- State laws directly affect our lives. From firearms regulation to DUI, from tax code to community property, the vast majority of laws that affect our daily lives are state laws. The feds get the media attention but its the state lawmakers that are in control of most of the laws that impact us.
- States lead the way when the feds don’t. State governments hold the reins on school funding, public health (vaccines anyone?), transportation, and water policy.
- State lawmakers are more accessible. Or they should be, we’ve got a problem with that in LD-6 with “Where’s Bob?” Thorpe who shows up for nothing in Flagstaff even though he says he lives here. Still, our U.S. Senators represent 7 million people while our State Senators each represent only about 200,000 — they should be easier to reach.
- Local politics shape national change. Many now landmark federal policies — like women’s suffrage, minimum wages, marriage equality, and environmental protection — all started at the local and state level.
- It’s easier to stop bad policies locally. When special interests tried to use Arizona as a testing ground for the nation’s largest school voucher experiment, citizens rose up to stop it with a successful referendum knocking out the law.
- States act as incubators for national policies. Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission has become a model for other states’ work to stop gerrymandering.
- When national politics are the problem, states can be a solution. The ideas that can’t succeed at the hyper-partisan national level have a chance in our legislature where the balance of power is tighter and compromise is sometimes necessary.
- Arizona’s Constitution protects us. We the People have safeguards in Arizona’s constitution: The right to overturn bad laws by referendum, the right to recall bad lawmakers, and the right to make laws by initiative. And, this isn’t just theoretical. Each has happened in recent years.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Arizona Legislature, we’re sponsoring a seminar next Sunday — Legislature 101.