Perusing next week's committee schedule and agendas at the AZ lege, I came across this gem. Normally, I would wait until the weekly schedule post to cover this, but this one is worthy of a post of its own.
There's a bill, SB1466, on two separate Senate Government Institutions Committee agendas (they must *really* want to push this one through!) with the rather innocuous-sounding title of "council on efficient government."
That couldn't be too bad, right?
At least, that's what I thought at first.
Then I saw the names of the sponsor (Pam Gorman) and cosponsor (Jack Harper).
Those two don't merely drink far-right wingnut Kool-Aid; they mainline it.
Note: for those of you who aren't up on the latest writing techniques, that "mainline it" reference is a metaphor. I do not mean that Gorman and Harper inject actual substances into their bodies.
Turns out the title is the only "innocuous" thing about it.
SB1466 would create a Council on Efficient Government, an entity whose function would be to drive the privatization of government and public services.
This bill starts ugly and goes downhill from there.
...It defines the composition of the council as 1 government agency head appointed by the Governor, and six private business people, with the Governor, President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House appointing two each.
Nothing like stacking the deck there, folks.
...It requires the council to review privatization of a good or service at the request on a government agency head or a private enterprise.
...What it doesn't require is for the council to hold public hearings on privatization proposals, using the word "may" (as opposed to "shall") in regard to public hearings.
...The council will always work from the perspective that government providing a service or good is bad, and that private enterprise providing a service or good is always good.
...The language of the proposed law would define any government agency competition with a private enterprise as a violation of the act. At least in regards to complaints from private businesses about government agency competition, public hearings are required ("shall" instead of "may.")
...Requires state agencies to support a proposed outsourcing with a business case, and that business case cannot be protested or challenged.
Must stifle dissent. Must stifle dissent. MUST STIFLE DISSENT.
...Sets a sunset date for the council of July 1, 2019.
Apparently, Gorman and Harper plan that within 10 years, there won't be any part of Arizona's government left to privatize.
Of course, if we don't elect some responsible people to the lege (i.e. - not the Gormans and Harpers of the state), there won't be any Arizona left to govern.
What's sad here is that this could have been a decent bill - efficient government actually is a laudable goal.
A more balanced council (perhaps three agency heads appointed by the Governor, and four private business folks, one each to be appointed by the Speaker, Senate President, House Minority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader), tasked to look into the best way to provide a good or service, not to reflexively privatize, would be a good start.
However, given the nature of this year's lege, "good" is something we shouldn't expect in anything the lege produces.