The Farley Report from Phoenix #268: 3-7-17

Things are calming down considerably around here after the frenetic action of last week, but there’s still plenty going on.

But first, the Farley Report Pledge Break…

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A few weeks ago at a community event in Tucson attended by nearly 300 people, an audience member asked whether I would be announcing a run for governor in 2018. My answer and the audience reaction was captured on video. 

Click to watch and share. If you think I should run, please contribute today. I want to know if you are with me on this journey — it’s going to take all of us pulling together to move our state forward again.

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—> Here are a couple of updates in the wake of the defeat by the people of SB1142, the bill that would have allowed the government to seize the property of the organizers of peaceful protests if some outsiders lit a trashcan on fire.

Last Friday, Bernie Sanders posted the Arizona Republic article about Speaker Mesnard’s decision to withdraw the bill from consideration after fielding hundreds of passionate phone calls from across Arizona and the country following my appearances against 1142 on Fox News and Sunday Square Off. Bernie congratulated us all, saying: 

“The people of Arizona stood up, fought back and won. The Arizona House Speaker withdrew the bill after receiving hundreds of phone calls. Across this nation we are seeing young and old people, white people and people of color, gay and straight people come together to resist an agenda that aims to silence them. Congratulations to those in Arizona who stood up for their fundamental rights to free speech and organized demonstrations.”
The post has 123,000 likes, 2,300 comments, and nearly 25,000 shares. When we work together — in this case even across party boundaries — we can do anything.  

On Saturday, the New York Times editorialized about the bill with the headline, When Statehouse Politics Embarrass the Nation. Under a photo of Governor Ducey with Scott Walker outside a meeting with President Trump, the editors write:

“Fortunately for the Constitution, Arizona’s Republican House leadership was soon bombarded with public complaints that the measure was a low-road, outrageous attempt to chill free speech. 'The people need to know we are not about limiting people’s rights,' the House speaker, J. D. Mesnard, hurriedly announced, killing the bill in an attempt to spare his party further embarrassment.” 

Stay woke, folks — together we have a lot to do to reclaim our state and country from those who would dim our bright light of democracy. 

—> Speaking of Governor Ducey, today I received an invitation to his Annual Prayer Breakfast on April 26. 

GovPrayerBfastLR2.jpg

Instead of choosing a speaker who would unite us all in a message of love and inclusiveness in this divisive time, the governor decided to feature Steve Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, the company best known for refusing to offer contraceptive coverage to its employees for religious reasons and which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep it that way. Way to send a message of welcome to all your constituents, Governor!

—> Here’s an update on the cynical maneuvering by Governor Ducey regarding the restoration of TANF funds to families in crisis. He is refusing to alter the bill in any way, no matter how many kids get hurt. You’ll recall that last year the governor slashed these payments (70% of which go to children in poverty) from 24 months to 12 months of eligibility. This January in a show of magnanimity, but without apologizing for the cuts he spearheaded, he announced that he was restoring the eligibility to 24 months. Last week the he unveiled the bill to do that, but it is loaded with strings that would make the restoration unpalatable.  

House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios and I appeared live on Channel 8’s Horizon last week to explain the details to host Ted Simons — here is the video. Our segment starts at 1:50 and lasts till 15:00.

Today, we found out that the Governor’s lobbyist is telling advocates for the most vulnerable that there will be no compromise and no amendments. The governor is demanding that kids be punished for the mistakes of the parents or else he will refuse to restore the funding. 

Please call the governor’s office TODAY and politely demand that he support a clean restoration of TANF to 24 months. We won with SB1142. For the sake of these kids, let’s win with HB2372 as well. You can call the Governor's Office at 602-542-4331 or fill out the email form at: http://azgovernor.gov/engage/form/contact-governor-ducey

—> There’s still no sign of budget negotiations, but today in Senate Appropriations Committee — the committee that is supposed to create the budget — we spent a couple of hours talking about sending legislators to Dallas to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.  

Yep, this is the Article V Convention that has been touted by many (but not all!) on the right as being the one thing we must do to rein in Washington and end their free-spending ways.  

This bill has usually been stopped in its tracks by my old friend former Senate President Andy Biggs. He felt so strongly about the risk of a runaway convention where our sacred founding text is shredded by those without the wisdom of the Founders that he wrote a book called “The Con of the Con Con.” In it, he writes, 

“People ask me why I oppose altering the U.S. Constitution through a process initiated by the States. When time is short I respond with just a couple of questions.

“ ‘Do you believe that the U.S. Constitution is the cause of the problems in America today?’ Most people say no. I then ask why they would tinker with something that isn’t the problem instead of addressing the real issue. Their approach is like overhauling an engine to fix a flat tire. 

“Some people say that the Constitution is the problem. I then ask them to identify the provision that causes America’s ills. They try to identify language that is troubling. If time is short I say: ‘You have indicated that a portion of the Constitution is problematic. Since you take the position that the Constitution is fallible, how do you know that the remedy you rely on, Article V, is not flawed as well?’ ”

I don’t agree with Congressman Biggs on most things, but he’s right on the money here. For these positions, Sarah Palin once accused him on national television of being “to the left of Nancy Pelosi.”

Biggs is now away in Congress, so his caucusmates will play. Speaker JD Mesnard is running a set of bills (HB2226 and HCR2022) that would create a compact with other states and a set of rules for punishing delegates (who must be sitting legislators) if they don’t do exactly what the legislative majority wants. Each state sends one delegate, so Wyoming has the same voice as California regardless of the difference in population. 

According to the bills, the two things the delegates would have to do in the rewritten Constitution would be to take away the power of the federal government in any given year to spend more than it takes in, and to require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. This was cooked up by former Goldwater Institute staffer Nick Dranias, the same person who created the idea for the anarchist utopia Prosperity Districts described in the Farley Report a couple of weeks ago.

Constitutional experts who testified said that the rules of the convention would be made by the delegates themselves, so anything could happen regardless of the legislation’s intent — a runaway convention that could endanger some of our most sacred rights. I argued in the explanation of my No vote that we cannot compare our current intellect and wisdom to those of our founders, and to do so would involve risking the integrity of our country. In good and bad times, our Constitution has been our rock, a model for the world of how to maintain stability in tempestuous times.  Altering it now, and in such a flawed way — as we face a government headed by a man with no respect for any rules — courts utter disaster for us all. 

29 states have already approved such laws. If only five more (including Arizona) pass the compact, this could actually happen. That would be bad.   

—> In today’s good news, my SB 1073 – license plate covers; prohibition that bans the use of license plate covers intended to block identification of the vehicle passed 6-2 out of the House Transportation Committee with the support of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Associated Highway Patrolmen. These covers can especially obscure plate numbers from law enforcement and witnesses to crimes in low-angle sunlight. It is now awaiting House Rules, Caucus and Floor.

—> Finally tonight, you may want to tune in tomorrow to Senate Finance Committee at 9am at azleg.gov — Former Presidential candidate Ron Paul will be flying in to testify in favor of this year’s Legal Tender bill, which has dropped its facade of helping folks who believe that cash is doomed and now simply calls for a massive tax break for coin collectors. Should be fun.

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!

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