Howdy, Friends O'Farley…
Here's the State Senate campaign briefs:
1--> Join us on joint walks with Ron Barber 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.
2--> Please CONTRIBUTE $25, $50 or even $100 and VOLUNTEER on our website TODAY, and share our website with your friends & colleagues.
3--> Please SIGN my nominating petition ONLINE by clicking the link at:
And now the latest from the Capitol…
--> Budget: The Governor continues to stick with her overly optimistic revenue projections and fund sweeps, which leave a $700 million deficit for the year she leaves office. Legislative Republicans are giving it until this Thursday to try to do a deal with her. Which means that they could come knocking at House Democrats' door soon after to start negotiations on our fiscally sensible budget that also invests in education at all levels, CPS, hospitals, KidsCare, and true job creation. If we get 40 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate, we won't need the Governor at all -- yes, it could happen!
Alternately, there is some talk that House Majority leadership may go to Plan B: Finish up bills this week or next, adjourn Sine Die, then call a Special Session once the budget is ready. I don't really see this working for them, however, because often Speakers and Senate Presidents have used their control over the progress of member bills as leverage for budget votes -- a powerful tool for motivating their caucus. Hopefully we will know a lot more next week.
This week's bill tracking briefs:
--> First, more progress to report: My long-term care bill to help middle class families and the seniors they love, HB2713, passed through Senate Caucus yesterday, and is on the Senate COW calendar for tomorrow. Nearly there!
--> 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", has threatened to come back on reconsideration after last week's defeat, but was skipped over each time it was calendared. The sponsor Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale) is still looking for two senators to change their votes on reconsideration, and has promised that she will amend it to cover only religious-affiliated businesses and institutions, if it is voted through to conference committee. There are no takers as yet, but it will continue to be a threat until we adjourn Sine Die.
--> Things did not go well today for women's health, doctors' freedom to practice, and families' right to make their own decisions. HB2036, Kimberly Yee's (R-Phoenix) striker to ban all abortions after 20 weeks (making AZ the most restrictive state in the Union) and criminalize women's healthcare, passed a final vote in the House 37-22, and is now on the Governor's desk to await signature or veto.
The debate was long and dramatic, with many majority members expressing that they want to send doctors to prison for performing abortions starting at the moment of conception, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Other members, including a few Republicans who describe themselves as "pro-life", opposed the bill and pointed out that most severe birth defects -- the ones that threaten the viability of the fetus and the mother's health -- are not yet detectable at 20 weeks.
The bill would mean that once a family is able to determine that their child will be born without a brain, for example, it will be too late to consider legally ending that pregnancy -- a doctor performing the procedure would be sentenced to 6 months in prison.
Sadly, many of the Members who spoke movingly about the sacredness of life at conception and the importance of defending the vulnerable unborn are the same members who have consistently voted for budgets that cut funding for vulnerable developmentally disabled kids after they are born. Because of this bill, and its substitution of legislators for parents in the role of family decisionmakers, there will be more severely disabled kids that will need that care.
--> On a better note, a bad bill for credit-card users went down 12-18 in the Senate today. Rep. Jeff Dial's (R-Chandler) HB2664, would make it easier for out-of-state credit card companies and credit card debt buyers to collect debts from Arizonans that have already been paid, dismissed, or forgiven. This type of business practice has actually been legislated against in many other states. Luckily, this time a majority of senators agreed that we should be protecting Arizona consumers from predatory lenders, not serving them up on a platter.
I have one final exciting note for those of you who have been working hard alongside me for the past eleven years to build high-quality, economy-growing, job-creating, community-building rail transit in Tucson. Please join me this Thursday at 11am as U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other honored guests come to town to kick off the construction phase of the Tucson Modern Streetcar. We will be celebrating at 1657 E. Helen Street near the BIO5 building on the UofA campus. I hope to see you there!
Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.
Paid for by Friends O'Farley