Howdy, Friends O'Farley…
Before we get to the legislative scoop, here's what YOU can do to help us bring common sense back to the Arizona Legislature this November:
--> You can help give Southern Arizona a strong voice in both Phoenix and Washington at the same time! Ron Barber and I will be holding joint walks starting this weekend out of the Barber headquarters, 3400 E. Speedway, Suite 114 (the same space that Jonathan Rothschild used last year for his campaign).
We will be walking at 10am and 1pm on Saturdays and 1pm on Sundays. Volunteers will be gathering nominating signatures for Barber for CD2 and Farley for LD9. Please join us! If you can come, call or email my campaign manager Daniel Hernandez, 520-248-7432 or daniel@FriendsOFarley.com.
--> Rick Grinnell, the lobbyist for Rosemont Copper who lost to Jonathan Rothschild in the Tucson mayoral race last year, told me last week he was considering entering the race against me for State Senate in LD9. Help us send a strong statement that he will have a very large hill to climb if he decides to run. Please CONTRIBUTE and VOLUNTEER on our website TODAY, and share our website with your friends & colleagues.
--> And while you are on our website, if you live in the current LD28, don't forget to click "Sign Petition" to sign my online nominating petition. This is a new program from the Arizona Secretary of State's office this cycle. The way the system is set up, it will only accept signatures from the current LD28, not the parts of the future LD9 that are outside the boundaries of the current LD28. But you don't have to worry about that -- the website will offer you the petitions that are right for you, no matter where you live. Try it today:
On to the latest from the Capitol…
--> Just like last week, we are not doing nearly the amount of legislative work we could be doing at this point in the waning weeks of session. For instance, today we finished at noon, when we could have been processing bills through Committee of the Whole, third reads, or final reads all afternoon as well. Slowing down the process is not a bad thing if it means that a lot of bad bills might never get enacted. The sooner we get out of here, the better off we all will be. Luckily, members of both parties are already practicing the wording of the Sine Die motion that ends session.
--> Not much is happening outside of the closed-door Republican-only budget negotiations between the Governor's office and Legislative leadership, which do not appear to be going terribly well. I hear that the Governor's folks are hopping mad that the most fiscally responsible budget proposal out there is the one we House Democrats introduced a couple of weeks ago which spends less money than either of the Republican proposals, but does invest in job creation, schools, hospitals, and Child Protective Services. That puts Gov. Brewer in a pretty awkward position of trying to defend her deficit-growing tax-and-spend budget…
This week's bill tracking briefs:
--> The House Rules committee is supposed to review bills for constitutionality. That is its primary purpose. But too often, political considerations trump legal ones. Yesterday afternoon it finally did what it should do -- it killed an unconstitutional bill for being unconstitutional. Senator Al Melvin (R-Saddlebrooke) in SB1332 tried to make the U.S. Government hand over all federal lands in Arizona to the state of Arizona before December 31, 2014.
Usually bills like this pass right through the Legislature, only to be struck down by courts as unconstitutional after millions of dollars in taxpayer money are fruitlessly spent on lawyers' fees. Perhaps those bills could be considered a stimulus package for conservative attorneys. But in this case, common sense triumphed with a 3-6 vote to kill SB1332.
--> My long-term care bill, HB2713, was held without comment in Senate Rules yesterday, but many colleagues and supporters from all political backgrounds are working to get it through Rules and keep it moving forward. I hope to have more good news next week.
--> HB2416, the bill that would force the City of Tucson to provide water to a Dallas investment firm so that they could build homes on a stunning saguaro forest near Painted Hills in westside Tucson, is still not scheduled for a final vote on the Senate floor, and I am still hearing that it may never be. Keep watching though!
--> HB2625, the attack on women that would allow your employer to deny birth control coverage to you if they had a "moral or religious objection", is now ready to be heard on the Senate floor, and is said to have a "hefty amendment" coming, presumably removing the section that would require women to prove to their employers that they are not using their birth control to have sex. You can't make this stuff up. More on that next week.
--> Speaking of wedge issues, HB2036, Kimberly Yee's (R-Phoenix) striker to ban all abortions after 20 weeks (making AZ the most restrictive state in the Union), just passed out of the Senate and is returning to the House this week for a final vote. Even though it is scientifically impossible to determine the gestational age with any certainty, doctors who perform a procedure on a fetus that is 20 weeks and one day from conception would be sentenced to up to six months in jail, even if they thought the fetus was 19 weeks and six days from conception.
This concept of criminalizing medical care had huge opposition from the medical community, and even many members of the majority party were opposed to the bill when it was originally introduced as HB2838, which was killed in committee. I'll be watching to see if it meets the same fate in the House this time around.
--> HB2757, the big billboard companies' attempt to place electronic billboards anywhere they like -- destroying our astronomy and optics industry -- is still on the Governor's desk, but must be signed or vetoed by tomorrow. There is still time for you to call the Governor at 1-800-253-0883, or comment online at:
Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.
Paid for by Friends O'Farley