The Farley Report from Phoenix #254: 7-12-16

I found out last week I was awarded Best Arizona Democratic Elected Official for 2016 by the reporters and readers of the Arizona Capitol Times.

I’m reserving judgment on Senator Don Shooter’s surreal but kind quote comparing me to Ronald Reagan, but regardless, the story on why I received the honor is really good. The reporter really seemed to get my philosophy of creative and determined public service.

While I am grateful for the recognition, the award that really matters to me is the trust I receive from the Arizonans I serve. Thank you for choosing me to represent you in the Senate. 

After a brief pledge break we’ll move on to the news…

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If you appreciate these reports and my representation as your Senator, please help out my campaign in these two ways:

—> 1) If you live anywhere in the U.S., please contribute what you can to my re-election campaign. Although I did not vote for these higher limits, you can now contribute up to $5,000 for the 2016 cycle. I am just as honored by $50 or even $5 donations. Whatever seems right for you is right for me. The more you give now, the less I have to ask of you later. Thank you for the support. CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE to Friends O’Farley.

—> 2) And to help elect a new Democratic majority in the Arizona THIS YEAR, please contribute to the ADLCC (Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee) and your investment will be spent in the most effective manner that will get us the majority. National groups have stated that the legislative chamber most likely in the country to flip red to blue is the Arizona Senate; we need the resources to help make that happen. Even Republican business leaders agree that we will have better state governance with at least one chamber in new hands. CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE to ADLCC.

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—> I serve on the Joint Committee on Capital Review. On June 16 over my objections the majority passed a plan for the Arizona Department of Corrections to buy back the Kingman private prison in order to save $8 million a year in financing costs. 

My chief objection (in addition to the $1.5 million loss in property taxes that otherwise go to tiny Mohave County) is that $2 million of that public savings will be kicked back to the private prison operator to give raises to their private corrections officers — the same employees the private management has decided to underpay in order to make more profits for their executives and shareholders. 

The state Department of Corrections financial officer admitted in testimony that this $2 million a year kickback was designed to "persuade" the private prison operator to keep performing their contract. Shouldn't they have to perform their contract as signed without a kickback? 

Arizona public prison corrections officers haven't had a raise in eight years. If we are using public money, we should prioritize our state employees, not those of a private company.

We should not use private prisons. Period. Until we get rid of them, we should not be using public money to pay off private prison operators, enabling them to keep their $162 million in annual profits rather than pay their employees a living wage.

The kickback plan passed on party lines. Read Laurie Roberts’ take on it here.  #‎RememberInNovember

—> Remember SB1516, the elections law rewrite authored by Secretary of State Michele Reagan's elections director (a former political dark money attorney), approved by the legislative majority, and signed by Governor Doug Ducey? One of its provisions removed any government entity in the State of Arizona from enforcing election laws broken by political committees, and gave that power to the Federal IRS.

Since I sent out the last Farley Report the other shoe dropped. The U.S. House approved a bill to forbid the IRS from revealing dark money donors or enforcing election laws broken by political committees like that of the Koch Brothers who pushed for the bill.

The result? No oversight of Arizona's anonymous dark money in politics by anyone. I pointed out the connection with AZ to a USA Today reporter who quotes me in this article.

If you want to do something about it, join me in signing and carrying the referendum petition for SB1516 to force it onto the November ballot where we the people can kill it ourselves. It's time to take control of our elections back from those who would enrich themselves at our expense. Visit StopCorruptionNowAZ.com to help us fight back.

—> I was one of only two legislators who voted last year against allowing an untested Silicon Valley startup to experiment with their lab testing product on Arizona citizens. That company, Theranos, is now in freefall as its technology has proven to be inaccurate and potentially dangerous. Read the full Newsweek story here.

Governor Ducey has been willing to give away whatever it takes to coax unproven companies to come to Arizona, regardless of the consequences. I'm not willing to use our citizens as beta-testers if it puts our health at risk. I think most Arizonans would agree.

If we want to get serious about growing our economy, we must fund our public schools, community colleges, universities, and transportation infrastructure NOW, instead of giving away the store in the form of huge corporate tax cuts and sweetheart deals to every insider business suitor that comes calling. #‎RememberInNovember

—> This New York Times story on the devastation felt by Britain’s youth over the Brexit vote, and their generation’s low turnout, is a warning for our upcoming general election. If you are young, or know someone who is, please read this article. 

Please. For the sake of our country's future, if you are 34 or under, register to vote, then in November vote your ballot all the way from President to dog catcher, filling it out completely. Do not let any obstacle get in your way.

British youth overwhelmingly supported staying in the EU, but most neither registered nor voted. Consequently, those whose lives are mostly past determined the future of those whose lives are just beginning.

In Arizona in November 2014, those aged 18-34 voted at a rate of only 11%. Those over 65 voted at a rate of 85%. That differential produced the current legislative majority and the current governor, and the current last-in-the-country level of investment in public education.

VOTE. Let nothing stop you. Get your friends to do the same. You don't want to wake up the day after this year's general election feeling like this young British voter: " 'Truly gutted that our grandparents have effectively decided that they hate foreigners more than they love us and our futures,' one young Briton, Dan Boden, wrote on Twitter."

And for the record, I am 100% in support of the push for Pokemon Go to place extremely rare Pokemon at polling places this November. That could be the boost to the youth vote that we have been waiting for.

—> Finally, if you like good journalism, don’t miss the Arizona Daily Star’s just-released package of excellent reporting demonstrating why we don’t need Donald Trump’s “great, great wall” on our Southern border. 

Policy should be made based on facts, not ideological beliefs, fear, or hatred. And this article makes it clear that enacting real solutions to our immigration issues will take courage and creativity, not angry soundbites and empty promises. 

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator. 

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

If you like my representation and want to keep me in office, CONTRIBUTE TODAY!