Monday, January 10, 2011

Notes and scenes from the opening of the 50th Arizona Legislature

...First, a report (via Facebook) from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire: "President Obama will go to Tucson, AZ on Wednesday"  No details at this time, but will post as they become available.

...Committee schedules are in flux this week because of Saturday's massacre.  Some are expected to meet, but the schedule may change.

...However, one thing that won't be heard in committee is any bill to restore transplant funding to AHCCCS.  According to a Facebook update, the chair of Senate Appropriations (Sen. Andy Biggs) told Sen. David Schapira (D-LD17) that the committee will not hear such a bill "under any circumstance. (quoting Schapira's posting; not sure if that is a direct quote of Biggs).

...Possibly getting it - Speaker Kirk Adams and (possibly) Governor Jan Brewer.  Adams' remarks today were heartfelt and moved many people, including many Democrats (even this one).  I have a copy of them, and may post it later.  Jan Brewer's remarks were a little less moving, but she hit the right notes, and I'll cut her some slack on this one - she was reading from a teleprompter today, and she seemed genuinely upset at her press conference on Saturday.

....Probably not getting it:  Russell Pearce, President of the Arizona Senate, and (apparently) new Senator Lori Klein.

Where the House, led by Adams, cut back on its opening day pomp out of respect for the victims of the massacre on Saturday, cancelling a speaker and not allowing "points of personal privilege" to minimize the political rhetoric today, Pearce went ahead with Buzz Aldrin telling jokes and Senators talking about things like who the next chair of the AZGOP will be.

Sen. Lori Klein was apparently packin' some heat in her purse while she was on the House floor for Brewer's speech. (I've got a call out to verify this one)

Update on 1/11 -

Senator Klein graciously returned my call today and indeed confirmed that she "always carries" a weapon for personal protection, and had it with her yesterday.

End update...

...Probably never going to get it:  ...Rep. Jack Harper (R-Surprise!) is God's gift to writers - stick a microphone in front of him, and he's going to give any writer plenty of topic material.

From the Arizona Republic, written by Ronald Hansen -

While her doctors sounded an optimistic tone on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery, the political discourse is growing harsher.

State Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, partly blamed the shooting on Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who has himself blamed caustic political rhetoric and lax gun-control as contributing to the massacre.

"If he would have done his job, maybe this doesn't happen," Harper told USA Today on Monday. "Sheriff Dupnik did not provide for the security of a U.S. congresswoman."

"When everyone is carrying a firearm, nobody is going to be a victim," Harper continued. "The socialists of today are only one gun confiscation away from being the communists of tomorrow."

Good freakin' God...

Pics from the day -

Jan Brewer during her address to the joint session

Impromptu tribute to Gabrielle Giffords
Random crowd shot from the House floor

Demonstrators outside the Capitol

Post-speech press conference - Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, Rep. Tom Chapin, Sen. David Schapira (speaking), Rep. Albert Hale, Rep. Ruben Gallego in pic
Rep. Steve Farley, speaking about Saturday

Daniel Hernandez, one of the heroes of Saturday's tragedy, speaking to the crowd

Flags at half mast

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