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BISBEE WIRE #46/ supes spend our shekels/council agenda/scads of odious bills at the Lege

editor: fred miller February 6, 2023 #46/February 2023



Hello,


The actual cost of the two CC supervisors fiasco over vote counting and dereliction of duty is now about $113,000 give or take. That does not include hourly wages paid to those county employees taken away from their normal tasks to work on the bogus issues brought forth by Crosby and Judd. Nor does it include the hundreds of unpaid hours that residents spent imploring the board to count votes or to not count votes or to get lost or not get lost.

Said supervisors + supe Ann English were in executive session on Feb 2 to deal in secret with Lisa Marra's resignation. No word what happened.

There was supposed to be a meeting of the supes to discuss changes in the election department and elections duties, but nothing has been posted on the supes agenda page as of this morning. https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=26244&mt=BOS,BOE,FCD,LIB,LIGHT,PUBNTC,EXEC,SPCL,WKS,RAC,EMRGCY

There have been election director resignations in Yuma, Cochise, Pima, Yavapai, Santa Cruz and Pinal counties (twice in Pinal), six out of 15 counties. Do you think the conspiracy spouters, internet trolls, hate mongers, and election deniers are being successful?

Work to oust Crosby through the recall petition, drop a word of support to Ann English, and urge Peggy Judd to quit. Find a candidate to run for Recorder to oppose the fellow traveler, David Stevens.


Two of my favorite events in Tucson are now happening. The largest and best Gem and Mineral show in the world will continue every day through Feb. 12. It is actually many different shows under the one name. Several are wholesale only to buyers with a bona fide business license. Others are a combo of open and wholesale. And then there are the two main areas open to the public and free; the Kino Sports Complex and the motels-used as 'store' fronts on west frontage road from Cushing St. to 22nd st.

You are likely to hear lots of different languages from the business people because the Tucson show attracts people from all over the globe. Although a bewildering array of gems, mineral, and fossils are the focus, there is also scads of finished and unfinished jewelry of all kinds, beads, and oddities.

The best deals often can be had during midweek but best of all is the last weekend where dealers want to sell in order not to pack and ship merch back home. I have found interesting stuff to incorporate in my yard and if I had a truck and about 10 grand, my yard would be a showcase of rocks, fossils, and minerals. But alas I have neither. Last weekend I bought Anita a cool pair of earrings. However some of my buys haven't been so good. I bought a 60lb/2 foot tall ammonite (snail fossil) likely over 25 million years old, for $275, that looked great in my yard for two years before cracking due to changes in the weather. (Who knew being outside was not good for a fossil?) And a box of really small Ammonites that I have not figured out what to do with in 8 years. Anita now requests that I send a photo to her before I buy anything. Sigh!)


African village is at about 22nd and frontage road. There is a range of antiques, weapons, furniture, carvings, paintings, and drums. (the painting over the bed in the Warren room at Copper City Inn came from the African village.)

The Kino complex has free parking. The motels on the frontage road are the staging area for hundreds of dealers. Easiest parking is at the convention center for $10 and walk under the freeway at Cushing st.


THE NAGS ARE RUNNING

Horse racing has returned to Rillito Park every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 through April 1.Usually an 7-9 race card, mostly quarter horses, but there often are 4 or more races devoted to thoroughbreds. I've been following the horses for many years and have laid bets at many wonderful tracks, (it woulda paid better if I followed them with a shovel!) but the small tracks are the best. You can see, smell, and feel the horses because you're close to the action, all the while smelling hot dogs, popcorn, tacos, beer and of course, horse poop. A good look at the horses as they brought to the ring for saddling. As post time draws near the lines at the parimutual windows get longer as bettors finalize their decisions. The trumpet heralds the start of the race, the crowd urges on the horses as they are near the finish line. Very fockin exciting! The throng is very diverse, from swells to stoopers (guys usually, who look at the betting tickets discarded after the race in hopes of finding a good one overlooked by someone), and at Rillito, particularly on Sundays, Mexican families are there in force. While I dwell on the stats of past races, what tracks, what jockey/trainer combos, Anita likes to bet-infrequently-on looking at what the horse itself looks like. Take a few bucks with you to bet and It's a great way to spend an afternoon.


fred



...............COUNCIL................
Regular Council Meeting Tuesday February 7, 7:00 915 Tovreville Rd

Background here:


Of Interest:

This is a 23 item agenda!.

#6-14...Nine of the items are about event permits and four of the permits are for the same space, Howell avenue in front of the Copper Queen Hotel, requested by the Copper Queen Hotel (2), and Bisbee Pride (2). Interesting...

#15, 16... Update of development standards for the historic district

#19 request for fees to supplement an engineering report on OB sewer laterals

#20 request to apply for grant to expand the recycling program

#22 Utility easement request to install two public EV chargers

#23 Exec session to discuss Hillcrest Apts and PSPRS bond issues?????



THE LEGE

The legislative arena is the place for focus and action. The state legislature has more direct effects on our lives than than most federal legislation with the exception of medicare and social security. As you can see below the sheer number of bills trying to make elections more difficult for voters, invade voter privacy, and monkey with the election system (such as hand counting every vote, or abolishing early voting) is far more than irritating; it is a direct assault on democratic underpinnings. It's not limited to bills either, there are attempts to make it more difficult for citizens to get initiatives on the ballot by allowing one county in the state to essentially veto it. Repugnicans are attempting to 'govern' borne out of fear of losing control-the bane of authoritarian politicians. The Repugnican party has nothing to offer rational voters any longer. (a reader took me to task about using the term 'repugnican', but what else describes party leaders that espouse repugnant legislation action?) The party has been taken over by repressive politicians with few scruples, and loony but dangerous ideas. Look at many of the bills pre-empting local decision making on many issues. For instance see; HB2288/roundabouts, SB1063/food tax, SB1184 & HB2067 /prohibiting taxing SRTs, among many others. There are not many true conservatives and fewer still moderate politicians in the party; they have been kicked out. This is really at odds with many individual Republicans, as well as independents, that want to have a frugal, responsive government that actually works to build our state and look out for residents, let local governments handle their affairs, while espousing common sense values that are flexible and account for a changing society.

Those chickens are looking for a place to roost and democrats would be wise to pay attention. The bill tracking below is taken direcly from CEBV weekly. Go to their website for more info and how to request to speak on any of these bills. https://cebv.substack.com/p/cebv-weekly-february-6-2023?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Attend one of their Request to Speak trainings every Monday at 6:30 pm. Register HERE

"This week, we need to help that arc, and do some justice to the quality of bills in committee. If you feel outraged, now is the time to step forward and testify against some of these infuriating attacks on democracy, freedom, equality, and justice.


Spotlight Issue 1: Keep Our Voting Info Private

SB1324 and HB2560 would require copies of our digital ballot images to be publicly posted online after every election. This bill is being fast-tracked: duplicates are being heard in Senate Elections on Monday and in House Municipal Oversight & Elections on Wednesday. More disturbing, we’ve heard this terrible idea may have bipartisan support, both statewide and at the Legislature.(Nearly every one of their allegations was found to be misleading, inaccurate or false.)Violating voter privacy by publishing a list of names and ballot images was one of the ideas from the Cyber Ninjas’ failed ballot review. It does already happen a few other places; Georgia and some Colorado counties are doing it to try to quell conspiracy theories. But voting conspiracy theorists have never had the mechanism for mass challenges of early ballots, and this would enable them to do that. The bill also carries obvious privacy concerns: for example, publishing a list of voters who choose early ballots may spur armed vigilantes — a real issue in Arizona — to shift their attention from drop boxes to private homes.

And despite proponents who say this is a “transparency measure,” it may only generate more mistrust in our democracy. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer says not all ballots can be made public, so there's no way a random person could replicate the results of an official election count. So, then, what’s the point of doing it?

We can’t say it strongly enough: We must not compromise the safety or integrity of our elections in order to placate election deniers whose suspicions aren’t based in logic and can never be quelled. Those who were elected on promises to protect our freedom to vote must not "pre-concede" to ridiculous demands, especially when our current process isn’t broken. Just as with school vouchers, these so-called small incremental changes comprise an orchestrated long-term attack.

Call and email your representatives and senator ASAP — all of them, regardless of party — to blow the alarm on this ridiculous bill. We urge voting rights advocates to stiffen their spines. We’ll be watching closely, and we’ll hold them accountable.

Spotlight Issue 2: Strikers (Yes, Already)

This week we’re already seeing lots of strikers: gut-and-replace amendments that don't even have to be related to the original bill. All of these are scheduled to be heard Wednesday morning. It’s early in the year for them, but then, very little about this year has gone according to the norm so far. All we have regarding these bills so far is the short titles, which give a hint on what they may address. Once we’ve got actual bill language, we’ll share more information on what to do. Check back here Monday after 6pm for details.

SB1117 - Steve Kaiser (R-2) - striker, “housing; infrastructure”

SB1131 - Warren Petersen (R-14) - striker, “property rights; zoning ordinances” Buckle up: there are over 60 bills below. But take heart: a strict calendar there are over 60 bills below. But take heart: a strict calendar dictates that bills must be heard in committee in their originating chamber by Feb 17 (that’s why there are so many now), and RTS ends entirely on March 24. This week, consider doing your RTS day by day.

A number of these were held last week and are reappearing on agendas now. Your bill position will hold over, but if you want the committee to see your comments, you must re-enter them.

Monday

SB1122, sponsored by David Farnsworth (R-10), asks voters to extend a longtime Maricopa County half-cent sales tax. This funding is crucial for freeways, roads and public transit across metro Phoenix. The legislature passed a similar bill last session to extend the tax for 25 years, which then-Gov. Ducey vetoed. This bill would extend the tax for 15 years. However, it also slashes the funding for public transit from one-third of the total to just 5%, and specifically excludes commuter rail, light rail or streetcars — a provision that prevents the bill from truly addressing transportation needs in Arizona’s largest metro area. Note in your RTS that you oppose this exclusion. Scheduled for Senate Transportation & Technology Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1140, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would mandate that counties return to precinct-style voting. The voting center model has numerous benefits, including voter convenience, financial savings, and increased turnout. Lawmakers should be making it easier, not harder, for us to vote. See duplicate bill HB2304. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1141, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would require anyone who turns in an early ballot at the polls to show ID, and if they turn in more than one ballot, to sign an affidavit. Violators would be subject to a class 5 felony. The claim that people dropping off multiple ballots is somehow proof of election fraud is patently false. The only case ever prosecuted in Arizona is a 66-year-old grandmother who collected four ballots in 2020. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. SB1143, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would ban anyone except political parties and election officials from distributing early ballot or early voting request forms to voters. It would also ban the signature on a “non-official elections form” from being the sample signature used to check early ballots. Why shouldn’t regular people be able to help their neighbors register to vote the way they want to? Would this ban the checkbox to sign up for early voting at the DMV? Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would ban “electronic vote adjudication,” or the process of resolving ballots that may include things like write-in votes, overvotes or marks in the margins. Currently the process is used sparingly, and there’s no good reason to say elections officials can’t use it. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1170, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would ban unmonitored drop boxes. These are accessible, convenient, reliable, secure, and hugely popular, yet some lawmakers continue to insist without evidence that they increase election fraud. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1213, sponsored by Anthony Kern (R-27), would mandate that Legislative Council, not the Secretary of State, create the official elections procedure manual. The manual became politicized when former Attorney General Brnovich, a Republican, unsuccessfully sued former Secretary of State Hobbs, a Democrat, to try to get her to produce a manual that was more to his liking. Now that both officials are Democrats, it’s unlikely anyone will sue AG Mayes on behalf of Kern’s hurt feelings — hence this sore loser bill. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1235, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), would make bitcoin legal tender in Arizona. Cryptocurrency is a bubble that is already popping and a playground for the mega-rich. It's incredibly environmentally destructive: each Bitcoin transaction consumes enough electricity to run an American home for 6 weeks. Even the Wall Street Journal says crypto should be banned, calling it “a gambling contract with a nearly 100% edge for the house.” Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1236, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), would ban cities and counties from charging taxes or fees on blockchain technology, a form of crypto. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1240, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), asks voters to exempt "virtual currency" from taxation. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1243, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-13), would eliminate the "individual" and "switcher" categories for STO (School Tuition Organization) vouchers, roll them into a single category, and increase the maximum contribution amount. This would reduce tracking, make it easier for STOs to take in more money with less administration cost, and circumvent requirements that students attend public schools first. In other words, it's a way to bolster profit. While CEBV supports the amendment from Sen. Mitzi Epstein (D-12) to prevent double-dipping in both STO and ESA vouchers, the overall bill is ill-advised. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1245, sponsored by David Farnsworth (R-10), would ban cities and counties from using vehicle license tax monies for anything except transportation. The state has no business telling cities and counties how they can use their revenues. Scheduled for Senate Transportation & Technology Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1260, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-13), would accelerate tax cuts on Arizona “small business” income to 2.5% for tax years, starting in 2023. Arizona already gives away far more in tax loopholes and carve-outs than it spends in its state budget every year. Meanwhile, most corporations in Arizona pay only the minimum tax of $50. State revenues are already forecast to crater over the next two years; this is no time to further cut taxes. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1263, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-13), would exempt all class 1 and 2 commercial business property from state taxes. This includes golf courses, shopping centers, utility and agriculture. Currently, these classes are taxed up to a maximum amount of $207,366 and by all rights should contribute to Arizona’s public services and maintenance. Arizona doesn’t need more tax loopholes and carve-outs. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-13), would ban any elections officer from forming a PAC. This “sore loser bill” is clearly motivated by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer doing just that to back pro-democracy Republicans. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1265, sponsored by Anthony Kern (R-27), would ban the use of ranked choice voting in Arizona. Ranked choice voting, similar to an automatic runoff, would open up partisan primaries to all voters regardless of party registration, and tends to result in more centrist, less polarized victors. A coalition of center-right Republicans is discussing a 2024 ballot measure — so, naturally, the MAGA faction is terrified of it. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1273, sponsored by Ken Bennett (R-1), would require early ballots to include a warning that it is a class 6 felony to knowingly collect voted or unvoted early ballots from another person. Driven by false claims that people are dropping off multiple ballots to create fraud, this is a scare tactic that will only intimidate people from legally returning their family’s ballots. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1276, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-13), would accelerate tax cuts on class 1 property, which includes golf courses, shopping centers and utilities. Arizona already gives away far more in tax loopholes and carve-outs than it spends in its state budget every year, while most corporations in Arizona pay only the minimum tax of $50. State revenues are already forecast to crater over the next two years; this is no time to further cut taxes. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1287, sponsored by Steve Kaiser (R-2), would force the postponement of an official election canvass, or certification of results, if returns are found to be "in question." This is likely based on fabricated reports that have claimed without evidence that Arizona’s elections should be redone due to “lost votes” and “ghost votes.” A bill in search of a nonexistent problem. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1312, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would ban government from setting goals to reduce vehicle miles of travel. Reducing vehicle miles burns fewer fossil fuels and extends road life, which is good for the state. Scheduled for Senate Transportation & Technology Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

SB1324, sponsored by Ken Bennett (R-1), would require copies of digital ballot images to be made publicly available online. This was recommended by Cyber Ninjas after their failed ballot review; nearly every question they raised has been found to be misleading, inaccurate, or false. Georgia and some Colorado counties have put ballot images online in an attempt to calm conspiracy theories. But, other than the obvious privacy concerns, this may only generate more mistrust in our democracy. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer says not all ballots can be made public, so there's no way a random person could replicate the results of an official election count. Part of a continued wave of efforts to restrict and undermine Arizonans’ freedom to vote. See duplicate bill HB2560, sponsored by Ben Toma (R-27), also in committee this week. Scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

HB2284, sponsored by David Livingston (R-28), would create state-funded “tent cities” for individuals experiencing homelessness, and bans unhoused people from camping or storing property outside those areas. It would also ban “unauthorized sleeping” on state land, even as rising rents are pushing more people toward that option. Arizona has one of the worst homelessness crises in the nation. This would segregate and criminalize people without addressing the root causes, “a vicious mix of inflation, stagnant wages, limited housing, and skyrocketing rent.” Why not invest in the Housing Trust Fund instead (HB2256) or prioritize another, better option? Opposed by the AZ Public Health Association and the City of Phoenix. Scheduled for House Health & Human Services Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

HB2316, sponsored by Rachel Jones (R-17), is an alarmingly broad anti-science bill that would make it a "discriminatory practice" for anyone in the state to withhold employment, facilities, "advantages or privileges" from an unvaccinated person. It also bans vaccine requirements for schools and child care. Scheduled for House Health & Human Services Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

HB2332, sponsored by Selina Bliss (R-1), would require public district and charter schools to provide students with firearms training between grades 6 and 12. Training would focus on safe handling of firearms, identifying danger signs or careless handling of firearms, and proper storage. Parents or a student's IEP team would be allowed to opt children out. Disturbingly, the bill also allows schools to accept in-kind donations of materials, equipment or services to be used in the trainings from any person or legal entity, with no safety provisions. Nearly identical to a bill from last year. Scheduled for House Military Affairs & Public Safety Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

HB2467, sponsored by Steve Montenegro (R-29), would require the Arizona Medical Board to grant a medical license to international graduates who have not completed an accredited US residency. Currently, this is not allowed anywhere else in the US. While some doctors’ groups feel the bill has sufficient guardrails to ensure public safety, others oppose the bill as a safety and quality issue. Libertarians in Arizona have long degraded professional standards in the name of “cutting red tape”; Koch-backed libertarian Americans for Prosperity is supporting. See duplicate bill SB1249, sponsored by TJ Shope (R-16), also moving this week. Scheduled for House Health Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.

Tuesday

SB1250, sponsored by Janae Shamp (R-29), would force employers to allow employees to claim a religious exemption from the COVID or flu vaccines, or any vaccination FDA-approved for emergency use. Employers would not be allowed to question an employee's religious beliefs, or to “discriminate” against an employee based on vaccination status. Currently the bar is “sincerely held religious belief.” Scheduled for Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.

SB1254, sponsored by Janae Shamp (R-29), would remove the requirement that prescribed opioids must have a red cap. This requirement was first proposed by those recovering from opioid addiction as a tool to help curb the opioid crisis. The color of the cap is meant as a clear warning, like a red flag, that helps patients make more informed decisions about the medication they choose to take. Arizona passed the law as part of Gov. Ducey’s 2018 opioid special session. Scheduled for Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.

HB2108, sponsored by David Livingston (R-28), would force unemployment recipients to submit documentation of at least 5 work search actions each week. If someone refuses a “suitable” job offer or fails to appear for a scheduled interview, the prospective employer would be required to report them to DES. The punitive bill leaves no room for correcting misinformation, instead carrying automatic criminal penalties. At a weekly maximum of just $320, Arizona ranks in the bottom 5 nationally for unemployment benefits. Currently people must lose their job through no fault of their own or acompelling personal reason in order to be eligible for unemployment. Scheduled for House Commerce Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.

HB2303, sponsored by Cory McGarr (R-17), would ban private companies within Arizona from asking about an employee's vaccination records as a condition of employment. Currently, companies can require employees to be vaccinated, and if someone doesn’t want to work for a business that requires it, they can work somewhere else. This free-market right is especially important in health care and other industries. Scheduled for House Commerce Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.

HB2523, sponsored by Barbara Parker (R-10), would require every K-12 student at a public or charter school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily. Waivers would only be available for students over 18 or at parental request. In 1943, the US Supreme Court ruled that no school or government can compel someone to recite the Pledge because forcing them violates the First Amendment. Scheduled for House Education Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.

HB2535, sponsored by Austin Smith (R-29), would exempt wells on private property from municipal regulation if they’re on unincorporated land that is later annexed. Researchers warn that Arizona is rapidly depleting its groundwater, in large part due to lack of regulation, and that “our own survival is at stake.” Scheduled for House Natural Resources, Energy & Water Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.


Wednesday

SB1022, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), would ban pedestrians from soliciting donations, or begging on a painted or raised traffic island or median. The penalties escalate, with a third offense carrying a penalty of up to six months in jail. Panhandling bans may purport to be about safety, but in actuality, lead to the criminalization of homelessness, aiming to simply make the problem less visible rather than tackle the underlying social issues. It would be more productive to fund social housing or shelter beds instead. Held, but once again scheduled for Senate Military Affairs Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1024, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), would ban sleeping or sitting on sidewalks and other public rights of way unless there’s a medical emergency or a parade. In 2019, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging homeless people’s right to sleep on the sidewalk if no other shelter is available. A clear attempt at revisiting this issue, the bill is so broadly written that children who sit to play marbles on sidewalks in front of their houses could be subject to six months in jail. Previously held because David Farnsworth (R-10) shared that he was once homeless and expressed concerns. Scheduled for Senate Military Affairs Committee, Wednesday 1/18. OPPOSE.

SB1026, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), threatens school funding by prohibiting organizations that receive state tax dollars from hosting “drag shows” to entertain people under 18. Violators would lose state funds for 3 years. The definition of “drag show” in the bill is broad enough to include school plays (such as Shakespeare) or football players who dress up as cheerleaders for pep rallies. Identical bills have been introduced in several other states, prompting concerns of model legislation drafted by a hate group. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1030, sponsored by Anthony Kern (R-27), would mandate that counties change their zoning laws to define business that hold “drag shows” as adult-oriented, and would also ban the beloved Sunday drag brunch. The goal seems to be to mislead the public, intimidate LGBTQ people by perpetuating false, offensive narratives, and marginalize or force out of business dozens of restaurants and bookstores statewide. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1114, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), would appropriate $3.64 million to the existing hyperbaric oxygen therapy fund for military veterans, currently comprised of private donations and grants. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is primarily used to treat decompression sickness from scuba diving but can also be used for serious infections, making it likely this is an attempt at state funding for fraudulent COVID treatment. Last year, lawmakers wrapped an identical bill into the state budget; Ducey used his first line-item veto on it, citing a "lack of public support." Scheduled for Senate Military Affairs Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1167, sponsored by Steve Kaiser (R-2), would tie length of unemployment relief to Arizona’s unemployment rate. This would disproportionately harm rural areas and people of color, who typically have higher rates of unemployment compared to the state average. Reducing weeks of assistance will force some people to accept jobs that do not match their skill sets and pay less than their prior earnings, which is bad for both workers and the economy. Scheduled for Senate Commerce Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1231, sponsored by Christine Marsh (D-4), would repeal Arizona's inequitable "results-based funding" program and redirect the money to early childhood education. Results-based funding is centered on test scores, which go hand-in-hand with wealth — reinforcing the achievement gap in public schools instead of narrowing it. By contrast, early childhood education has been proven to increase student achievement throughout K-12 and beyond. Low-income and disadvantaged kids would reap the biggest benefits. That's the very population results-based funding purported to, but did not actually, help. Also assigned to Appropriations; not yet on an agenda. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. SUPPORT.

SB1234, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), would ban the use of photo radar. Numerous studies have found both speed and red-light cameras offer many safety benefits. Conspicuous, fixed cameras reduce traffic crashes and injuries by up to 35 percent. Nobody likes a ticket, but Arizona has had speed cameras since 1987 for good reason. Repealing photo radar will lead to more dangerous roads and more collisions. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1249, sponsored by TJ Shope (R-16), would require the Arizona Medical Board to grant a medical license to international graduates who have not completed an accredited US residency. Currently, this is not allowed anywhere else in the US. Doctors’ groups are opposing the bill as a safety and quality issue. Libertarians in Arizona have long degraded professional standards in the name of “cutting red tape”; Koch-backed libertarian Americans for Prosperity is supporting. See duplicate bill HB2467, sponsored by Steve Montenegro (R-29), also moving this week. Scheduled for Senate Health Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1305, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-13), is an “anti-CRT” bill fueled by anti-public school culture wars. This would ban teaching “controversial topics” in district and charter schools (but not ESA taxpayer-funded private schools) and drive further distrust of educators. Teachers could be disciplined up to losing their teaching certificate, and school districts would face penalties of up to $5,000. Students need to know both the good and bad of our history so they can learn from the mistakes of our past. We should support critical thinking which teaches kids to interpret and analyze ideas on their own, not censor classroom conversations. This bill is identical to one from last year which did not pass. See duplicate bill HB2458, sponsored by Beverly Pingerelli (R-28). Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1323, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would make it a felony for any public school employee (but not an employee at an ESA-funded private school) to violate last year’s prohibition on referring students to or using any “sexually explicit” material. This has already essentially frozen the teaching of books like “The Color Purple,” “The Canterbury Tales” and “Atlas Shrugged,” preventing Arizona's students from getting a well-rounded education. State law already makes it a felony to show pornography to children. Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1331, sponsored by Janae Shamp (R-29), would ban school governing boards from restricting or prohibiting the parent of a student from carrying or transporting a firearm on school property if the parent possesses a valid concealed weapons permit. Getting a concealed-weapons permit in Arizona is ridiculously easy. Meanwhile, angry parents are disrupting school board meetings and threatening school staff. Do we really want to arm them? A federal law, the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990, protects nearly every school as a gun-free zone. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1500, sponsored by Frank Carroll (R-28), would require state retirement funds to evaluate their investments solely based on finances. Similar to other bills this session that crusade against “pro-abortion, pro-sex-ed” banks. This culture war against an imaginary problem could create real consequences for those who depend on Arizona’s retirement system. An ill-considered blanket mandate such as this could leave half a million teachers, municipal workers and other government employees with retirement accounts that are unable to invest in most major companies, and may create a minefield for investors and pension fund managers. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1564, sponsored by Steve Kaiser (R-2), would mandate that students at small private schools or who use ESA vouchers must be allowed to try out for interscholastic activities at public schools. Athletics should be something parents consider when choosing a school for their student. ESA vouchers siphon dollars away from local public schools; it is unreasonable to require them to cover non-attendees’ costs for extracurriculars. When parents opt out of local schools, they opt out of extracurriculars. This bill places an unreasonable burden on public schools, who would be expected to include voucher students without any additional funding. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1657, sponsored by Ken Bennett (R-1), would reinstate statewide testing to graduate from high school. In 2015, when Republican lawmakers overwhelmingly chose to repeal the requirement, they stated that "the test has no meaning behind it" and that "placing all the responsibility and stress on individual students for the success of our educational system is unfair." Other states that have repealed their high-stakes test requirements caution against conflating a measure of learning with “a meaningless hoop to jump through.” This bill contains no exceptions for students with many forms of special needs who struggle to pass standardized tests. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SCR1011, sponsored by Steve Kaiser (R-2), would ask voters to allow the Housing Trust Fund to be used to fund state-funded “tent cities” for individuals experiencing homelessness, which would have to be prioritized before any permanent housing solution. Any city with higher homeless rates than the state average would face penalties, encouraging them to simply evict people. It would also ban “unauthorized sleeping” on state land, even as rising rents push more people toward that option. Arizona has one of the worst homelessness crises in the nation. This would segregate and criminalize people without addressing the root causes: “a vicious mix of inflation, stagnant wages, limited housing, and skyrocketing rent.” Why not invest in another, better option? Scheduled for Senate Commerce Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2058, sponsored by Lupe Diaz (R-19), would raise “unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle” to a class 2 felony. This would make it a crime on par with first-degree burglary with a firearm or sexual assault of a child. Unnecessarily extreme. Scheduled for House Judiciary Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2078, sponsored by Lupe Diaz (R-19), sets up a mandatory election audit process that candidates, political parties and PACs could exploit. Have we learned nothing over the last two years? Despite eight failed lawsuits over the 2020 election and a clownish ballot review led by Senate Republicans, there is no evidence of fraud in Arizona. Under the wrong Secretary of State, this could become an even bigger circus than the failed Cyber Ninjas audit Arizona recently suffered. Scheduled for House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2231, sponsored by Liz Harris (R-13), would ban nearly all early voting. The bill contains exceptions for physical inability (illness, hospitalization, incarceration), travel, or visual impairment. Mail balloting is safe and secure; despite wild claims, there’s no evidence it increases fraud. Arizona is a leader in voting by mail; voters have cast ballots this way for nearly 3 decades. Reversing course makes no sense. Scheduled for House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2411, sponsored by David Cook (R-7), would punish the Scottsdale mayor and city council for refusing to sell water to roughly 500 residents of Rio Verde Foothills, a high-priced unincorporated area near Scottsdale. The bill mandates that the city either resume sales or assume liability for any fire damage, health problems or attorney fees in Rio Verde, along with seeing the mayor’s and city council’s own personal water services cut off. For years, Scottsdale sold water to private haulers to truck to extravagant homes without city services or working wells. Due to the extreme drought, in 2021, Scottsdale notified Rio Verde that they would begin restricting water sales only to homes within city limits. This bill is a punitive measure that lacks any actual solution to larger water issues. Scheduled for House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2415, sponsored by Leo Biasiucci (R-30), would further restrict early voting by stripping voters from the early voting list if they fail to vote their early ballots in all elections within a single election cycle. The current law requires voters to participate in two back-to-back primary and general elections before being dropped. Scheduled for House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2517, sponsored by Barbara Parker (R-10), would require state documents to identify people as either male or female. This narrow, unscientific belief that there are only two genders has infected our politics and culture, and is often used by nonscientists to claim a scientific basis for dehumanizing those they don't understand. The truth is, biological sex and gender are complicated. Over a third of Americans in their teens and early 20s know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, and one out of every 100 Americans is intersex. Nonbinary people have existed across history and cultures, and deserve identification that matches their identities. Nineteen states plus Washington DC already recognize this by issuing identity documents with nonbinary gender markers. Scheduled for House Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2546, sponsored by Rachel Jones (R-17), would force any school district with at least 35,000 students to call an election to decide whether to split the district into two or more. This is "educational gerrymandering": in some areas of the nation, especially those with scarce state funding, wealthier areas are choosing to break away from poorer ones, leaving kids with fewer resources behind. Arizona ranks 47th in per-student funding. The bill contains no appropriation to pay for the required elections. Scheduled for House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HB2560, sponsored by Ben Toma (R-27), would require copies of digital ballot images to be made publicly available online. This was recommended by Cyber Ninjas after their failed ballot review; nearly every question they raised has been found to be misleading, inaccurate, or false. Georgia and some Colorado counties have put ballot images online in an attempt to calm conspiracy theories. But, other than the obvious privacy concerns, this may only generate more mistrust in our democracy. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer says not all ballots can be made public, so there's no way a random person could replicate the results of an official election count. Part of a continued wave of efforts to restrict and undermine Arizonans’ freedom to vote. See duplicate bill SB1324, sponsored by Ken Bennett (R-1), also in committee this week. Scheduled for House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

HCR2033, sponsored by Austin Smith (R-29), would ask voters to enshrine our current direct primary system into the state Constitution. This would make it extremely difficult to ever institute meaningful reforms such as ranked-choice or top-two primary voting. If passed by both the House and Senate, this resolution would go directly to voters, without Gov. Hobbs having the chance to veto. Scheduled for House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

Thursday

SB1323, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would make it a felony for any public school employee (but not an ESA-funded voucher school employee) to violate last year’s prohibition on referring students to or using any “sexually explicit” material. This has already restricted the teaching of books like “The Color Purple,” “The Canterbury Tales” and “Atlas Shrugged,” preventing Arizona's students from getting a well-rounded education. State law already makes it a felony to show pornography to children. Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.

SB1428, sponsored by Justine Wadsack (R-17), would ban cities from prohibiting or regulating gun shows within their boundaries. Unregulated gun shows can be a magnet for traffickers to obtain large quantities of weapons without background checks. Guns purchased at gun shows are much more likely to be used in criminal activity. Last year, California became the first state to ban the sale of guns and ammo on state property, which will put an end to gun shows at county fairgrounds. Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE

HB2071, sponsored by Laura Terech (D-4), would finally ban corporal punishment in schools. How is this still a law? The subject is even more relevant in light of new Supt. Tom Horne’s recent eyebrow-raising comments regarding “discipline.” Contact House Education Chair Beverly Pingerelli (R-28)(bpingerelli@azleg.gov / 602-926-3396) and House Judiciary Chair Quang Nguyen (R-1) (qnguyen@azleg.gov / 602-926-3258) to ask that the bill be placed on an agenda. SUPPORT.

HB2137, sponsored by Athena Salman (D-8), would expand eligibility for the Children's Health Insurance Program (KidsCare) to low-income working families who earn under 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $69,000/yr for a family of 4). KidsCare is a critical need. Right now, Arizona has one of the lowest eligibility thresholds, and accordingly, also the 4th highest rate of uninsured children in the country. 30,000 Arizona kids don’t have health care. The federal government will match Arizona’s investment 5-to-1. Contact House Health Chair Steve Montenegro (R-29) (smontenegro@azleg.gov / 602-926-3635) and House Appropriations Chair David Livingston (R-28) (dlivingston@azleg.gov / 602-926-4178) to ask that the bill be placed on an agenda. SUPPORT.

HB2141, sponsored by Athena Salman (D-8), would require Arizona's Medicaid program to provide comprehensive dental care for pregnant women ages 21+. Dental care for pregnant women is essential for the health of women and babies, and the state's investment would be met with federal dollars. This is at least the sixth consecutive year this proposal has been introduced. Time to pass it already! Contact House Health Chair Steve Montenegro (R-29) (smontenegro@azleg.gov / 602-926-3635) and House Appropriations Chair David Livingston (R-28) (dlivingston@azleg.gov / 602-926-4178) to ask that the bill be placed on an agenda. SUPPORT.

HB2154, sponsored by Keith Seaman (D-16), would cap School Tuition Organization (STO) administration costs at 5%. STOs are a type of private school voucher funded by dollar-for-dollar tax credits, and are currently allowed to keep 10% of donations for administration. This means these lucrative businesses are allowed to pocket $25 million (and growing) in Arizona taxpayer funds each year. Other states cap administration fees at 3-5% maximum. Former state senator Steve Yarbrough helped design Arizona’s STO program for his own personal profit. Contact House Speaker Ben Toma (R-27) (btoma@azleg.gov / 602-926-3298) to ask him to assign the bill to a committee. SUPPORT.

HB2256, sponsored by Andrés Cano (D-20), would increase Arizona’s investment in the Housing Trust Fund to $150 million. The fund provided $10 to $20 million a year for housing for people experiencing homelessness. The money was diverted to the state's general fund during the Great Recession; lawmakers reinstituted it last year. Arizona desperately needs more affordable housing. Metro Phoenix led the nation in rent increases in 2021, and now ranks in the top 10 nationwide for the most severe shortages. Housing analysts have been asking for more investment in the fund for years. Contact House Speaker Ben Toma (R-27) (btoma@azleg.gov / 602-926-3298) to ask him to assign the bill to a committee. SUPPORT.

HB2351, sponsored by Patricia Contreras (D-12), would ban health care professionals from using the abusive, widely discredited practice of LGBT “conversion therapy” on minors. These methods can include electric shocks, induced vomiting, or elastic bands snapped against the skin to create negative associations with same-sex attraction; hypnosis; masculinity workshops; and spiritual counseling. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and other national organizations oppose this "therapy” as destructive and unprofessional. Contact House Health Chair Steve Montenegro (R-29) (smontenegro@azleg.gov / 602-926-3635) and House Judiciary Chair Quang Nguyen (R-1) (qnguyen@azleg.gov / 602-926-3258) to ask that the bill be placed on an agenda. SUPPORT.

............... WORD...............

These were inadvertently left out of the last issue

In an office: WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN. In an office: AFTER TEA BREAK, STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD. Outside a second-hand shop: WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN? Notice in health food shop window: CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS... Spotted in a safari park: ELEPHANTS, PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR. Seen during a conference: FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR. Notice in a farmer's field: THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES. Message on a leaflet: IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS. On a repair shop door: WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK.) AND WHAT ABOUT THESE HEADLINES? Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife And Daughter Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over Miners Refuse to Work after Death Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant War Dims Hope for Peace If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group Kids Make Nutritious Snacks Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors And the winner is... Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

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