It’s Tuesday morning, which means another edition of my weekly updates from the capitol!
I appreciate your support – please consider a contribution today as we get ready for the 2018 campaign. I’m already knocking on doors and working towards re-election – I need your help for what will be the most contested state senate race in Arizona!
Yesterday was an interesting day in the senate. We sometimes get fortunate as a caucus and defeat one or two bad bills in the senate a week, working with several of our Republican colleagues. Yesterday, we defeated SIX bills, almost all of them in a row!
Three of them are water bills, with even Governor Ducey potentially not supportive of them. They failed in a 15-15 tie (Senate bills need 16 votes to pass, no matter how many Senators are on the floor when we vote). Another bill we defeated was a Russell Pearce bill (remember him?), which involved the county treasurer’s office and liens on properties. The other fourteen county treasurers around the state were opposed, and despite constant lobbying from the Maricopa County Treasurer’s office, our caucus stuck together and defeated the bill 14-16.
Another bill was an attack on local control and occupational licensing, which would have prevented cities and towns from regulating particular occupations. We defeated it in a 12-17 vote; all four of my cities were signed in opposed to it, so it was important to me that we stick together as a caucus and work with several Republicans to defeat it.
Whenever we vote a bill down, a lot of the work we do behind the scenes is never mentioned in the media. Along with several of my colleagues, I’ve built relationships with senators from both sides of the aisle so that when one of these bills is before us, I can go to them and see if they are willing to vote no. Sometimes I’ll work with colleagues to support GOOD bills, and sometimes that means working with them to stop bad ones. This back and forth is one of my favorite parts of the job, and its days like yesterday where all that behind the scenes work really does pay off.
Many of you probably heard about the redistricting bill we debated in the Senate last week, SCR 1034. Arizona has one of the best redistricting processes in the country because the voters in 2000 created an independent commission to draw the lines for congressional and legislative districts. The process has worked well twice, but unfortunately, the majority party feels strongly that the process didn’t benefit THEM enough, so naturally they want to change it.
The bill was amended on the floor, and while it got better compared to the original version, it still is not necessary. The commission, while not perfect, works well and is a model system. The bill would take a commission of five and add four members, change the process required to select those members, giving more power to legislative leadership and less to the court system. It’s a solution in search of a problem.
Redistricting is an important issue for me. I followed the process very closely in 2011, and admit to being a full blown redistricting nerd. I want there to be more competitive districts across the state, and I’m not just saying that because I represent one of those competitive districts – I think more competitive races leads to better government and better policy at the state capitol.
We spent about two hours debating the bill on the Senate floor last week, which is an eternity for the Senate (unlike the House, we usually spend very little time debating bills and just vote). I very rarely speak on the Senate floor, usually content to let my more experienced and better spoken colleagues do the talking. But this time I did talk, and I spent about three minutes going through why I was opposed to the bill.
You can watch my remarks here. Unfortunately, the bill did pass along party lines, 17-13. The bill is now headed over to the House, and then it would have to be approved by the voters in November, since it is a constitutional change, and all constitutional changes have to be approved by the voters.
I have two public events coming up this Saturday in LD18, and I’d love for you to attend! The first is a Constituents and Coffee event from 9am to 10am at the Nosh Café at 48th St and Warner in Ahwatukee. These coffee events are a great way to support a local small business and also have 1-on-1 conversations with my constituents, all while enjoying some delicious coffee!
The second event is a public town hall at Changing Hands bookstore in south Tempe from 3pm to 4pm. I held one of these last spring and it was a lot of fun! I hope you can join us as I go over the important bills this session and answer questions from LD18 voters.
Lastly, I had a lot of fun participating in the Chandler Ostrich festival parade this past Saturday. It was great to ride in a classic convertible and see so many LD18 residents along the parade route! The weather was pretty ideal too.
Thank you for reading, and for your support – as always, the best way to show your support for the campaign is by helping us make sure we have the resources necessary to win again this November.
Yours in the fight,