Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Phouls in Phoenix plans for the Phuture

Howard Fischer writing at Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that Lawmakers plan assault on voters’ right to make laws - among other atrocities planned by the Phouls in Phoenix.

Can you imagine? Those pesky voters actually write laws and get them passed? As in by-passed the legislature? Well, slap! Take that you pesky voters. Our authoritarian patriarchal Republican-dominated Lege knows what’s good for you - but it ain’t good for you.

State legislators are planning an assault on the constitutional right of Arizonans to enact their own laws unfettered by legislative interference.

A series of measures being proposed would change everything from signature threshold to imposing new requirements on the ability to use paid circulators. But the biggest would ask voters to repeal the measure they approved in 1998, which specifically bars lawmakers from tinkering with what the public approves at the ballot.

That’s not to say there won’t be other issues consuming lawmakers’ time when the session begins Monday. Those issues range from how to divide up the more than $9 billion in revenues to who gets tax cuts, especially because Gov. Doug Ducey vowed during his 2014 campaign to propose a tax cut every year he is in office. And he told Capitol Media Services he remains committed to that.

The big issue, obviously, is school funding. But don’t underestimate the political fighting that will occur over initiatives and who gets to write – and repeal – state laws.

The Arizona Constitution spells out that citizens are the ultimate lawmakers. More to the point, it permits them to write their own statutes, even to override their elected officials.

… it was the more recent 58–42 percent approval of Proposition 206 – the law that hikes the minimum immediately to $10, takes it to $12 by 2020 and mandates paid time off – that has angered members of the business community. They want new registration requirements on those who collect signatures for money, as well as make it easier to challenge those signatures.

And there is more.

Guns: “One proposal would allow buildings to be declared gun-free zones only if the operators also install metal detectors and have guards to ensure that no one in the building is armed.”

Abortion: So far, Arizona lawmakers have approved – and courts have upheld – a 24-hour waiting period, a requirement for an in-person appointment with a doctor and an ultrasound. But other rules, like banning abortions after the 20th week and limiting the use of certain drugs to induce an abortion, have been struck down. … That, however, is unlikely to keep abortion foes from trying measures that have been used by their counterparts in other states. … Aside from the 20-week ban – the point at which some argue a fetus can feel pain – there have been efforts to require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. And Texas is pushing ahead with a law that requires the formal burial of fetal remains. … Ducey, who has previously signed various abortion-related measures, suggested anything else that reaches his desk this year will get similar approval."

Other potentially controversial measures include:
– having the legislature legalize recreational use of marijuana, rather than leaving it for another ballot fight;
– revamping who sits on the state Board of Education;
– funding more than $20 billion in needed road construction and repairs;
– restoring the criminal penalties for violations of campaign finance laws that legislators repealed last year;
– barring texting while driving;
– creating a new post of lieutenant governor who would run as a ticket with the governor;
– making it a felony to steal a U.S. flag;
giving income tax breaks when people make a profit off the sale of U.S. gold coins;
allowing officials to deny “unduly burdensome or harassing” requests for public records;
– authorizing a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget;
expanding laws that protect private individuals and companies from having to provide services to people whose religious beliefs they find objectionable;
– providing more immunity to state and local governments from lawsuits over road design;
– limiting the ability of cities to issue ID cards to those not legally present in this country;
– reducing the kinds of notices that government agencies must publish in newspapers;
– revamping how lawsuits are filed over violations of statutes to protect the disabled;
– altering the state retirement systems to preserve their financial solvency.

You can track what the Lege does at the Farley report. See my previous post on How to get the inside scoop on the Phouls in Phoenix (aka the AZ State Legislature).

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