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CEBV Weekly: April 24, 2023
If you're not at the table, you’re probably on the menu
Inaction. The Legislature remains recessed, awaiting the restoration of their Republican majority, until Tuesday. That means, at least officially, they didn’t do a blooming thing all week. What was that we said at the beginning of the year? No bills means no harm?
Budget talks. Whether the legislature is gaveling in each day or not, budget talks continue behind closed doors. This “fog of secrecy” holds real dangers for everyday Arizonans. As the saying goes, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu. Your voice continues to be critical — see the “What Can I Do?” section below for information on how to speak out.
New lawmakers. When the Legislature reconvenes, it will do so without a full complement of Republicans. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, tasked with choosing a replacement for expelled conspiracy theorist Liz Harris, meets Monday to consult with legal counsel. The board also plans to “conduct background checks and interviews prior to taking any action” on the three names from Republican activists in Harris’s district (a list which includes Harris). This has led some to question whether the board intends to reject all three nominees.
Meanwhile, MAGA activists are accusing Freedom Caucus leader Joseph Chaplik (R-3) of abandoning them by aiding Harris’s expulsion. (Who could have predicted the face-eating tigers would eventually eat his face?)
Lawmakers behaving badly. Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-7) convinced a judge to issue a restraining order against a reporter who had the temerity to simply ring Rogers’ doorbell. Attorneys and journalism leaders are calling it “offensive to the First Amendment” and “an outrageous violation of press freedoms.” The reporter was working on a story about whether Rogers is violating the Arizona Constitution (which explicitly specifies that lawmakers must live in the county they represent) and racking up thousands more in per diem payments ($12,600 more for a 100-day session) than a Maricopa County lawmaker would get. Rogers owns three homes, one (just barely) in LD7 and two in Maricopa County, and recently signed a property deed that said she was "currently residing" in Tempe.
Veto count. This past week, Hobbs broke the record for most bills vetoed in a single session. (The previous record, set in 2005, belonged to former Democratic governor Janet Napolitano.) The 63 bills Hobbs has vetoed since taking office are incredibly extreme: attacks on public schools and teachers, elections conspiracy theories, attacks on public health and safety, and bills the Legislature’s own attorneys warned them were blatantly unconstitutional. It underscores how out of step this legislature is with the overall electorate, even compared with last year’s — and how fortunate Arizonans are to have someone with common-sense views in the governor’s seat.
The spin machine. Republicans hold control of the entire legislative process, from the Republican House speaker and Senate President who decide whether bills will be heard, to Republican committee chairs who decide to advance them, to a voting body comprised of a one-vote Republican majority in each chamber. And yet, incredibly, Republicans are peevishly trying to label Hobbs’s vetoes a sign of “weakness and lack of leadership.”
Let’s take a look at the bills that have made it to the governor’s desk so far: 153 come from Republicans, 3 from Democrats. Three out of 156 works out to a “bipartisanship rate” of less than 2%. So, in the immortal words of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez, we call BS.
As political strategist Stacy Pearson said this week, “This (vetoing) is exactly what the voters elected her (Hobbs) to do. She is successfully stopping tinfoil-hat wackos from passing increasingly extreme policy.” And with over 100 CEBV-tracked bills awaiting final passage and extremist lawmakers seemingly doubling down on their worst impulses, we’re certain more vetoes await.
⏰ If you have 15 minutes: Since nothing has changed since last week, our calls to action haven’t either. Please contact your senator and representatives with your budget asks: stop cutting taxes, hit pause on the wildly irresponsible ESA voucher program, and find some new sources of revenue. If you’ve already done it, please do it again. Save Our Schools Arizona has a form that makes this easy!
⏰⏰ If you have 30 minutes: Also contact the governor’s office and House and Senate leaders.
⏰⏰⏰ If you have 45 minutes: Also write a Letter to the Editor about the state budget. Visit our LTE Hub for templates, messaging advice, submission links and more:
⏰⏰⏰⏰ If you have 60 minutes: Join us on Zoom at 4pm on Sunday for our next CEBV Happy Hour. We’ll have a panel on the twin crises of affordable housing and homelessness, including speakers AZ Director of Housing Joan Serviss and AZ Rep. Cesar Aguilar.
2023 Session Timeline
Legislative majority leadership can change bill deadlines at any point. The budget deadline, however, is set in stone because it is tied to the state’s fiscal year.
Saturday, 4/22 100th Day of Session (must be extended every 7 days) Friday, 5/12 120th Day of Session (lawmakers' per diem gets cut in half) Friday, 6/30 Last day to pass a budget before the government shuts down
Use Request to Speak. Our elected officials need to know what we think!
Attend our Happy Hours. At this week’s Zoom RTS Happy Hour, we’re featuring a panel on the twin crises of affordable housing and homelessness, including speakers Joan Serviss and Cesar Aguilar. As always, we’ll also have legislative info and Q&A with Melinda. We’ll meet every Sunday at 4 PM through the end of session; sign up in advance here.
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