Sunday, May 31, 2009

The coming week...

As usual, on info gathered from the websites of the relevant agencies and political bodies, and subject to change without notice...

...In the U.S. House, the agenda is getting back to normal. They've got post office namings to attend to. :)

Of course, as important as such namings are to our national well-being, there are other issues that they'll be considering this week too.

- H.R. 325, the Avra/Black Wash Reclamation and Riparian Restoration Project, sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7).

The CRS summary for H.R. 325 -
Avra/Black Wash Reclamation and Riparian Restoration Project - Amends the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior, in cooperation with Pima County, Arizona, to participate in the planning, design, and construction of water recycling facilities and to enhance and restore riparian habitat in the Black Wash Sonoran Desert ecosystem in Avra Valley west of the metropolitan Pima County area. Limits the federal share of the project's cost to 25%. Authorizes appropriations. Permits federal funds provided by this Act to be used only for the design, planning, and construction of water-related infrastructure.

The bill is on the suspension calendar, which means that the leadership expects to get the 2/3 support for the bill needed to pass it under a suspension of the rules.

- H.R. 2200, the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act. This one has a lot of money tied to it, so there will be a lot of debate over it. Jeff Flake has proposed an anti-earmark amendment to the bill.

- H.R. 626, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2009. CRS summary here. Expect some serious Republican bloviating over this one.

- Possible consideration of a conference report on H.R. 2346, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009. $$$ = arguments. 'Nuff said.

- And in the "keep in mind for future reference" category, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by AZ5's Rep. Harry Mitchell, will be holding a hearing on VA hospital mistakes that led to veterans becoming infected with diseases like HIV and hepatitis. The hearing is scheduled for June 16 in Washington.

From AP -
A congressional panel will question Department of Veterans Affairs officials about mistakes that put patients at risk of possible exposure to HIV and other infectious body fluids at three VA hospitals.

The VA recommended more than 10,000 former VA patients in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga., get follow-up blood checks. Five have tested positive for HIV and 43 have tested positive for hepatitis, according to an update on the VA Web site Friday.


The subcommittee chairman, U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell D-Arizona, said Thursday in a phone interview that veterans who are testing positive for HIV and hepatitis, "whether it came from these improper procedures or not, the VA has a responsibility to take care of these patients."

The VA's webpage on the issue is here.

...Back in AZ in the legislature, most of the *really* interesting action is budget-related and is taking place behind closed doors.

There is some public activity, though.

The House has what looks to be a fairly non-controversial Third Read calendar posted for Monday and a somewhat more controversial Committee of the Whole (COW) calendar posted for Tuesday.

The COW calendar includes HB2198, a bill to create a "full and final settlement of claims" provision in AZ law regarding workers' comp cases. Provisions in the bill shift the liability for long-term medical expenses from the insurance carrier to the injured workers.

Also on the COW calendar is HB2628, the bill name by the sponsors as "the Parents' Bill Of Rights Act." While there are a few reasonable clauses in this one, those clauses exist to serve as concealment for a bunch of "my rules are better than society's rules" clauses.

- In committee action, House Rules is meeting on Monday (1 p.m., HHR4) to consider a couple of very controversial bills including HB2099, which would make charter schools subject to the same zoning laws as public schools (in other words, make it much easier for the charter school operators to shoehorn their businesses into neighborhoods over residents' objections) and HB2203, which seriously harshens the penalties faced by recipients of TANF, or Temporary Assistance For Needy Families. Any sort of non-compliance with any of the rules of TANF, including simple paperwork glitches by parents, would result in an escalating series of suspensions of benefits received by the children. Brought to you by the same Nancy Barto who is soooo dedicated to protecting the profits of private health insurers.

Nice priorities there, Rep. Barto. Remind me again - whose interests were you elected to represent?

House Health and Human Services is meeting on Tuesday at 10:30 in HHR4.

Over in the Senate, no committees are scheduled to meet at this time.

...The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is going to have a busy week.

- On Monday at 10 a.m., they will be holding their "informal" meeting. It looks to be pretty simple and mundane, except for item #4, yet another executive session.

- On Wednesday at 9 a.m., they will be holding their "formal" meeting. It also looks pretty mundane, but *long*. Of course, there will be an executive session following this one, too. (According to the posting notice, anyway.)

...The Board of Directors of the Central Arizona Project will be meeting on Thursday, June 4 at 10 a.m. The agenda includes a number of items related to tax rates and other stuff to prepare for the coming fiscal year.

...The Scottsdale City Council will be meeting on Tuesday night at 5, and they have a very full agenda. Included items include the appointment of a new City Auditor (Sharron Walker), a Truth-In-Taxation hearing on the property tax levy for the coming fiscal year (city property tax rate: $0.79, unchanged from last year), and a second and final hearing on the city's FY2010 budget.

...The Governing Board of the Maricopa County Community College District, the Board of Directors of the Maricopa Integrated Health System, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, and the Tempe City Council are not scheduled to meet this week.



Jen said...

Man, you're my hero. How do you get all of that info and break it all down? And when are you planning to run???

cpmaz said...

Thanks for the compliment (and the ego boost :) ).

All I can say is that I'm a geek who enjoys digging through info. And since Sundays are my "crash" day, a day to recover from my workweek, spending a few hours on the computer is a good way to get caught up on my reading and research.

As for "how do I get that info"?

I've signed up for a lot of email updates (Google alerts and the like) and I've got the patience for culling through the text of bills and the like.

As for running for office, the better question is when are *you* running? With your intelligence, passion and doggedness, you'd be a good fit in any school board, city council, or legislative race.

Jen said...

I haven't the patience to read through some of those pieces of legislation. I would sign up for the news feed but it's far easier popping in here.

Me run?!? I'm flattered. Truly. But sadly, I haven't even a college degree. I was on my way, newly married, when the stork arrived unexpectedly. It would be a disservice to any school board, city council, or the state to throw in another uneducated clown to the fray.

How about you run and I'll help with research? There's a need for a sound voice and reasonable approach. I think you'd be a gift. Just saying...

cpmaz said...

As for the college degree, I don't have one either (other than a general AA). Of course, neither do Jan Brewer or (I think) Russell Pearce.

Intelligence, passion, and honesty are as important as formal education in an elected official.

"Uneducated" doesn't equal "clown."

Need I remind you that George W. Bush has degrees from two Ivy League schools, and look how bad he was, because of his lack of the other three qualities.

John Kavanagh (chair of House Appropriations) is highly educated (PhD) and is, in fact, highly intelligent. He's also proof that those two qualities alone don't make one a decent public servant.

One of the few good points about AZ government at all levels is that it is set up to encourage citizen participation. Yes, that means that sometimes the wingnuts make it to a position of influence, but it also means that Joe and Jane AverageShmoe can also make a difference.

Jen said...

See?!? Your response is a clear example of why you'd be PERFECT! Listen, you run...I'll gladly volunteer my time to your campaign...that is provided my district isn't in trouble.

You are absolutely correct re: education and what does or doesn't make a great public servant/officer. I suppose my "clown" comment was based more in my own insecurity about my lack of education and how it would appear to a larger audience. Mind you, my day dreams are made of sitting in a class or studying in a hushed whisper-filled library. I heart learning.

I meant no offense in my "clown" comment. I hope you know that. Of course citizens should be encouraged at every level to participate in shaping the state's future. Our legislature should represent the face and experiences of our citizens. I just want to feel like people who are there have an honest regard for education. Not just clowning that they care while they kick it down the road.

Having read your blog and your comments/responses to comments, I believe you should give some serious consideration to running. Maybe not until we can talk you into moving into LD 21 or LD 30. But I think any district would be pleased to have you on their side. And many across the state would be grateful for a sound and solid voice of reason.

Who knows where I'll end up. I'm in the middle of an unexpected current, though I've long felt a pull in this general direction. I've been told I have a bit of a justice complex. I've been labled with far worse. LOL For now, I'm letting the cosmos fill the sails on my ship and take me where it will. Let's hope it isn't straight off a cliff. ;)

Until you find that sail, keep up your work HERE. Your sifting skills are a godsend to the rest of us who are far too lazy to cut through legsilative language. And your ability to point out the absurd with wicked smart wit (not with mean take downs) is why I and many others check in daily.