Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Legislative Update - Sine Die planned for today

OK, so there is a reason that I'm glad that I blew off a trip to West Washington.

They're not going to do anything significant today.

Right now, the plan is to adjourn the third special session of the lege "sine die" in order to give the Governor 10 more days to deal with the package of budget bills that the lege sent to her last week (think: the classic prank of leaving a flaming bag of dog poop in front of somebody's door, ringing the door bell, and running away.)

After her sign/veto decisions, they plan to enter a *fourth* special session to "fix" the budget some more.

Ummm...this whole mess brings to mind one question.

Would it be possible to amend the state constitution to require the lege to pass a balanced budget by the start of the fiscal year, and in the event that they don't do so, build a holding cell for 91 (got to have space for the Governor) to hold them until they do so? Think Arpaio's Tent City without the creature comforts.

I'm pretty sure that after a week of finding out which one of their colleagues snores the loudest while trying to ignore the pervasive "eau de bank of porta-potties" wafting through the tents all day and night, most of Arizona's legislators will start thinking (and saying) "[bleep] Grover, I just want to go home," a balanced budget will get passed.

More later...


Eli Blake said...

Let's see,

In Arizona we have part-time legislature that supposedly works half the year and has a 'real' job the other half.

We pay them only $24,000 per year just to make sure they have another source of income.

And just to make sure, we have passed term limits, thereby guaranteeing that we have a legislature full of rookies and sophomores making decisions that affect all of us even though they are still learning on the job themselves.

There was a poll out not that long ago that showed the public thought that Congress was doing a better job than this legislature.

Anyone still think the 'citizen legislature' is such a great idea?

Linda said...

I agree Eli, I don't think (at least in AZ) that a citizen legislature is a good idea. I think that this only allows the wealthy to represent us, and we miss out on a lot of idealistic potential legislators who couldn't afford to run. Many jobs aren't conducive to a 1/2 year employee.

It couldn't hurt to get a professional legislature and a new caliber of individuals. Of course, the libertarians up there in Phx would oppose it...but they are part of the problem.

cpmaz said...

Eli, Linda -

The ideal of a "citizen legislature" is not a bad one. The problem is the way that the ideal is put into practice here in Arizona.

Too many of the current crop of legislators (and the future candidates for the same) view "citizen legislator" as a synonym "unprofessional ideological hack".

We can start by increasing the pay - $24K per year just isn't enough to attract people with the smarts to be effective political leaders.

In addition, we (as activists and citizens) need to support and encourage those candidates and officials who bring a sense of professionalism to the job. Would-be demagogues who are mostly concerned with shooting from the lip need not apply.

Arizona is no longer the wild, untamed West. It is the 14th largest state.

It's time we started acting like it.