The Legislature Wednesday squeezed one more measure onto the fall ballot, approving a bill that asks voters whether the right to a secret ballot should be preserved in union elections.The votes were 18 - 11 - 1 absent in the Senate and 36 - 19 - 5 in the House. The final version passed was SCR1001.
The vote was almost entirely on party lines. Two Yuma Democrats broke with their party and joined Republicans to refer the matter to the Nov. 2 ballot.
The two Democrats who voted in favor were Sen. Amanda Aguirre and Rep. Lynne Pancrazi, both from Yuma (is there something in the water there?)
Sen. Aguirre received the primary endorsement of the Arizona AFL/CIO earlier this summer. I don't know if/how today's vote affects that.
It should be noted that neither Aguirre nor Pancrazi is likely to be hurt or helped politically by today's vote - Aguirre faces only token opposition for her seat (no D opponent, 1 Libertarian, and 1 write-in Republican) and Pancrazi is in a three-way race for the two House seats (1 other D, 1 R, and the R is an incumbent who voted for the measure too).
Silver lining time: As bad as this lobbyist-written (and -paid for?) measure is for Arizona's working families, there is one good thing to come out of it.
It's not an issue that will turn out the Republican base (witness the lack of supporters chiming in at the legislature).
It is, however, an issue that will turn out a significant part of the Democratic base, a part that may not have been totally energized before this blatant attack by Big Business and their pets, the AZGOP.
For that, we should all thank the AZGOP and their unswerving loyalty to their real constituents, corporate lobbyists and CEOs.
While the Governor, her staff, and the GOP caucus of the lege enthusiastically answered the call when the lobbyists called for a special session on the anti-union amendment to the AZ Constitution, thus far she and they have completely ignored the calls for a special session and hearings to looking into the security issues at Arizona's privately-operated prisons.
Brewer et. al. aren't even making public an already-completed security review (2nd-to-last paragraph of linked article.)
They're probably hoping that the remaining escapee doesn't kill anyone else and that the story goes away.
I sincerely hope that no one else dies for the Rs never-ending quest to siphon public monies into corporate coffers, but there is no way that they should be allowed to skate on this.
BTW - Terry Goddard, Arizona's Attorney General and a candidate for Governor, issued the following statement on this week's developments -
"Jan Brewer is wasting time and money on a special session that is nothing but a political sideshow. This special session will not produce one Arizona job or do anything to deal with a budget that is $1.7 billion out of balance. It does not fix our prisons. It does not fix our schools.Later...
Arizonans are reeling, our unemployment rate has gone straight up since Brewer assumed office. She should be focused on restoring lost jobs, not playing political games.
I call on Jan Brewer to start dealing with the real problems facing Arizona: a dangerous prison system, a horrifying budget deficit, a bottom-of-the pack educational system and a badly broken economy. There is too much serious work to do to be wasting the Legislature's time on this political game."