This week was not good for conservatives in Arizona. Both the executive and the legislative branches of state government played a role in making life miserable for conservative Republicans.
At the executive branch, our governor did what our governor does best, as he issued two executive orders purporting to open up Arizona.
The first order dealt with education, mandating that public schools go to in-classroom teaching following the Spring Break. This would have been a good order, had it not been so full of loopholes. The end result is that very few students and parents will see a significant change in the way schools conduct their business.
The second order was much worse, because it did absolutely nothing to alleviate the blight being experienced by small businesses throughout the state. Removing the occupancy mandate does nothing, unless it is accompanied by removal of the mask and distancing mandates. The only people who will be happy with this order are those who have ditched their rabbit foot in favor of a face covering as their preferred amulet for overall protection.
The legislative branch was not far behind. There were some bright spots in their actions, but their overall performance was rather dismal. Here are some highlights.
From a conservative Republican perspective, education suffered three severe blows.
This bill provides that persons without lawful immigration status are eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. If a native or legal immigrant residing in, for example, Utah wants to attend an Arizona university, he or she would have to pay non-resident tuition. If an illegal immigrant waltzes across the border, he or she will enjoy reduced, in-state tuition, subsidized by taxpayers. It cleared the full senate 17-13. It is easy to understand why all Democrats voted for this, but it is rather disheartening that three Republicans voted for this awful bill. They were Boyer, Shope, and Pace.
This bill is a prime example of the dismal state of our state. Back in the year 2000, the voters enacted, via Prop 301, a sales tax increase, promising that it would be temporary and containing some strict guidelines as to how the generated revenue could be spent. As passed by voters, this regressive sales tax would have expired in July, 2021. But last session, our legislature passed, and our governor signed, a 20 year extension. Now we have this insidious tax until 2041, but at least they kept the strict allocation of expenditures. It is that allocation of funds that is the target of SB1139. If passed, it allows school boards to use the funds any way they want.
This bill prohibits schools from imposing graduation ceremony dress codes if those codes prevent the wearing of tribal regalia and adornments. If this bill is narrowly and strictly interpreted as written, it is very racist, because it creates a right for one ethnic group and not for others. If it is interpreted more widely, it means that any graduate attending a graduation ceremony can ditch the traditional cap and gown in favor of whatever he/she deems appropriate. Under these circumstances it is not hard to imagine a graduation ceremony that looks more like a bar scene from Star Trek.
But there is more. This bill contains an emergency clause, which is defined within the bill itself as follows:
“Sec. 2. Emergency
This act is an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety and is operative immediately as provided by law.”
What is it about this bill that makes it “necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety”?
Bad bill, but in the house, 57 out of 60 representatives voted for it.
In the elections front, we had some narrow victories and one major setback
We are treating these two bills as one unit because they both deal with essentially the same subject, and both survived the House Third Reading along party lines, 31-28. HB2792 prohibits mailing early ballots to people that did not request it, while HB2793 prohibits registering people who did not request to be registered. Both bills are aimed at reducing election mischief, and true to form, both were vehemently opposed by the Democrats.
This is a common-sense bill that failed 15-15 as Boyer dealt yet another blow to conservative Republicans. SB1329 would have required that the elections procedures manual be reviewed and approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC). Another election integrity measure bites the dust.
We did make some progress in the way pandemics and pandemic related issues are handled in the future. All three bills passed their respective chambers along strict party lines.
This bill requires that courts conduct a probable cause hearing whenever a law suit claims damages arising from reaction to pandemics. It is intended to keep in check the inevitable rash of frivolous lawsuits that are likely to arise during periods of pandemics.
SB1430 – highly fatal; definition TOWNSEND
Common sense restrictions and modifications of the Governor’s powers during a state of emergency or state of war emergency in which there is a public health emergency or the occurrence or imminent threat of smallpox, plague, viral hemorrhagic fevers or a highly contagious and highly fatal disease.
Terminates a state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor after 90 days, unless extended by the Legislature. Aimed at the awful state of affairs created when the governor can, unilaterally and without a check or balance, keep the state crippled for months.
Those readers who wish to view complete reports on what activity has taken place, or will be taking place next week, with the bills we are tracking, may do so by going to: https://www.facebook.com/AZRRT or https://mewe.com/i/joseborrajero
Both sites provide opportunities for readers to make comments, including suggestions for bills to add to our tracking list.
Those not participating in social media may view the report by clicking on 2021-REPORT