Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Arizona legislature gets sneaky in its embrace of a nuclear future for Arizona's public schools

An agenda for a meeting of the Senate Rules Committee for Tuesday has been posted, with the committee scheduled to meet upon adjournment of the Senate floor session.

There are two items on it:

1.  Permission for the late introduction of 13 budget-related bills.  Given yesterday's news that Senate President Russell Pearce wants to push through a proposed annual budget tomorrow, this isn't really a surprise (though his bills are sure to be garbage.)

2.  Rules committee consideration of a bill was assigned to two committees, but that only made it through one (Commerce and Energy).  So instead of pushing to get it on the second committee's agenda (Appropriations), where it would face public scrutiny and testimony, something that, in light of recent events in Japan, could be problematical for supporters of the measure -

SB1548, tying public education funding to the establishment of a nuclear fuel recycling facility in Arizona.

Now, to be fair to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Al Melvin, this was introduced long before the disasters in Japan hit.  It was merely bad then.

However, the sneakiness of removing this bill from a committee to avoid public testimony removes any "benefit of the doubt" that might have otherwise been merited.

This process is a betrayal of the principles of government tranparency and public trust.

This bill is a triumph of ideology over reality.

If you have set up an account on the lege's "Request To Speak" system but can't make it down to the Capitol on short notice (and most of us cannot, which is one of the advantages of a move like this), visit the lege's site to weigh in on the Rules Committee agenda.

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