Friday, April 02, 2010

Strikers running wild on West Washington

The "strike everything" amendment, aka "striker", is a tool in the legislature where the text of one bill is changed (amended) by replacing it with completely new (and usually unrelated) text.

The official definition, from page 84 of the Legislative Manual (page 90 of the .pdf) -
Strike Everything Amendment: An amendment to a bill that begins “Strike everything after the enacting clause and insert:”. A strike everything amendment proposes a new version of the bill, sometimes changing the nature of the bill completely, by replacing the provisions previously introduced or adopted.
The striker is used for many reasons, some of which are even good.

It can be used to...

- revive a bill that died in committee or even failed to get a hearing

- introduce an emergency measure whose need wasn't foreseen early in the session

- introduce the budget and its related budget reconciliation measures (in years where the budget wasn't handled in a scripted special session, anyway...)

However, more often than not, it is used to introduce and pass a bad bill quickly, before opposition within or without the lege can organize.

Next week, most of the lege's committees are have agendized strikers, and some of them are doozys.

For instance -

Republican Rick Murphy (LD9) has introduced a striker to mandate how Maricopa County's Library District allocates revenue (all revenue from unincorporated areas stays there, while revenue from incorporated areas is split with unincorporated areas). That one will be heard in House Ways and Means on Monday.

- Republican Rich Crandall (LD19) has introduced a striker to mandate that all eighth graders in AZ take and pass a shortened version of the US citizenship test. House Education on Monday.

- Republican Chuck Gray (LD19) has one up that eases self defense rules as they relate to using deadly force and records of firearms. Senate Judiciary on Monday.

- Republican Al Melvin (LD26) is floating one that creates something called the "Arizona Border Security Commission." Senate Appropriations on Tuesday. Melvin is the vice-chair of Approps, and nativist extraordinaire Russell Pearce is the chair. This one will pass.

- Republican Jack Harper (LD4) has taken up the "let's remake college campuses as armed encampments" mantle and is proposing a striker to allow college faculty members to carry concealed weapons on campus. Senate Finance on Wednesday.

This list is far from comprehensive, and there are a few others with interesting subjects (clean elections, corporate taxes "reform" [my quotes], and so on), but the text of those hasn't been posted yet. You get the picture though - legislators have time on their hands and plenty of havoc to wreak between now and sine die (best guess on that date right now - end of April).

And their tool of choice when looking to engage in a little malicious mischief?

The strike everything amendment.

...Full details on next week's committee activity in this weekend's schedule post.



Elizabeth Rogers said...

I like the US Citizen test thing.

cpmaz said...

I don't actually have a significant issue with it either, except fot he fact that during a period when the lege is doing everything they can to dismantle the education infrastructure in AZ, they are still seeking to impose unfunded mandates on students and school districts.

Of course, it *is* an election year, and this will play well with their base, and most people won't actually oppose it.

They just won't look at the costs.