13 Arizona Pre-Pandemic Problems To Remember When Voting This Year

July 8, 2020 0 comments

Things to think about:

1) In 2020, Republicans in the AZ State Legislature wanted to pass a bill to exclude all video from the House floor without the Speaker’s approval. 

Passing laws in secret is bad. Requiring all Arizonans to arrange their lives to attend legislative sessions in person is bad. Suppressing the voices of those in attendance, including elected officials, is bad.

2) If we didn’t have the Request to Speak system for the AZ State Legislature, we would have no way of voicing our support or opposition to the bills being discussed at the state legislature without being physically present.

A reminder that schedules change for the bills at the last minute and sometimes bill names don’t match the content. #StrikerBill

3) The Democratic Maricopa County Recorder, Adrian Fontes, wanted to mail ballots to all eligible voters for the March 17th Presidential Preference Election so voters could complete the ballots at home and just drop off the ballots in order to reduce personal interactions with poll workers and touch-screen machines.

The Republican Maricopa County Board of Supervisors rejected the proposal and the Republican Attorney General sued to stop the mailing of ballots. 

If Arizona had full Permanent Early Voting rather than opt-in, everyone would have a ballot to drop off at polling stations in case of an emergency like the Coronavirus pandemic.

4) In 2004, a bill was proposed to address price gouging following the 2003 rupture of a gasoline pipeline and some gas stations were charging outrageous prices for gas.

The Republican-controlled state legislature, despite complaining about the gas price gouging in 2003, refused to pass an Arizona price gouging law.

The AZ governor and AZ attorney are arguing over whether an executive order grants the power to prosecute price gougers in the middle of a pandemic where “capitalist” hoarding and price gouging are on the rise.

5) The Republican legislature has continued to put forward bills to defund schools and increase vouchers to move public school funding to private schools, including private schools outside the state of Arizona.

Now that schools are closed in an attempt to reduce the social spread of the Coronavirus, we need to be prepared for Republican arguments for completely closing public schools and moving education to private brick-and-mortar and private online schools… reducing children’s access to socialization and school lunches as well as parent’s access to local neighborhood schools and childcare so they can work.

Not to mention government oversight of schools related to discrimination, money use, what is taught, and state equalization standards.

6) Due to a voter-passed initiative, the living wage was increased as well as sick leave access to some.

Though the right to voter initiatives is named in the Arizona Constitution, the Republican state legislators are constantly trying to limit access through draconian regulation like “strict compliance” and notarized signatures – neither of which are required for candidate petitions.

The Republican controlled legislature has fought worker benefits – from sick leave to medicare/medicaid to Unionization to minimum wage – at every turn.

During the Coronavirus, the need for sick leave has become a major concern for the health protection of society and the financial stability of individual families. 

7) A bill signed into law this year, sponsored by a Republican Legislator and championed by the Arizona Republican Attorney General, takes effect only if the U.S. Supreme Court rules the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

Arizona Republicans traditionally have fought against pre-existing conditions protections on the grounds of “Free Market.”

Patients with pre-existing conditions consistently criticize the new Arizona law as doing nothing to stop insurers from charging them high premiums because of their conditions or refusing to cover the care they need.

8) Funny enough, such a ruling by the Supreme Court would likely come through a case brought by the same Republican Arizona Attorney General, and other Republican attorneys general, advocating for the US Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. 

The Court could decide as early as this fall.

9) House Republicans in the state legislature tried earlier this year to pass a bill to take away the right of citizens to file ethics complaints against representatives, allowing only fellow representatives to file ethics complaints.

That is a change from the current process, through which anyone can file a complaint as a sworn affidavit.

When the Arizona House of Representatives took the extraordinary move of expelling one of its own members following sexual harassment allegations two years ago, lawmakers also voted to create a code of conduct for themselves.

Yet, the House still doesn’t have such a code.

Citizens should not be blocked from filing ethics complaints against elected or non-elected officials conducting themselves in unethical manners. Elected officials are accountable to the public. It’s not a fraternity.

10) Earlier this year, a Republican Senate panel lead by an LD14 representative voted to erect some new hurdles in the path of those seeking to recall state and local elected officials through citizen initiatives – additional “strict compliance” – which doesn’t exist for candidate petitions.

Article 8 of the Arizona Constitution defines the authority to conduct a recall election in Arizona and applies to “Every public officer in the state of Arizona, holding an elective office, either by election or appointment.”

Arizona Republicans are intent on chipping away at Arizona Constitutional rights through legislation making it harder for citizens to exercise their rights.

11) The Arizona Secretary of State had issued a clear mandate for uniformly curing ballots in the state, at the request of all county recorders, but the Republican Attorney General vetoed it, which sent it to the state legislature to resolve.

The LD23 state senator wanted to ban attempting to contact voters at all.

Arizona Republicans in the state Senate pushed for a bill to permit, but not require, county election officials to reach out to voters who forget to sign the envelopes in which they return their early ballots.

All of this leading to continued inconsistent practices across the state, leaving voters at the mercy of each county recorder’s sole decision to effectively nullify any ballot with an accidentally unsigned envelope.

12) An LD6 Republican legislator [Flagstaff], submitted a proposal to designate November 7th as Arizona’s official and annual Victims of Communism Memorial Day.

You know, to remember the victims of communist foreign governments… or those from the 1940s era.

The bill was given to him by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as an important issue needing to be addressed. 

He also “sympathizes” with the atrocities committed against American Tribal Nations but suggested others could propose a Remembrance Day for them if they wanted. 

Note: LD 6 contains part of the Havasupai Reservation and Navajo Nation Reservation, while the Tonto Apache Reservation and Yavapai-Apache Nation Reservation reside entirely within the district. 

FYI: He won by less than 5k votes in 2018. #GOTV

13) Republicans in Congress, Arizona State Legislature, and the Arizona Governors office have been focused on reducing the economic effects of the Coronavirus through Stockmarket, large corporations, and optics programs while ignoring the people – to the detriment of societal health, small businesses, and working families.

We are beyond pumping money into the Stockmarket and reducing interest rates to reduce financial fears.

We are beyond people worrying about whether they can afford to miss work or pay for a doctor’s visit. 

People are worried about whether they will have a paycheck in two weeks, whether they will be able to pay their rent or mortgage and utilities, whether they will be able to buy food tomorrow or next month. 

Arizona has a history of being a state that was ahead of its time [we gave white women the right to vote right after becoming a state] and having 20-year plans that were both written and funded [airport and roadways].

We need to get back to that mentality during this crisis and especially after this crisis. 

It’s obvious Republicans are standing in the way of the betterment of Arizonans.

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