Thursday, March 17, 2011

A glimmer of sanity: Five nativist bills go down to defeat in the Arizona Senate

I really enjoy the idea of having a new job (and I really enjoy the job itself, but that's irrelevant to this post), but it does have one downside - I miss all the good stuff that happens during the day.

And today, there was some actual good stuff going down at the Senate.

Five, count 'em - FIVE - of Russell Pearce's pet nativist measures went down to defeat in the Senate today, Thursday, March 17, 2011 -

SB1308, an interstate compact/new Confederacy bill "birther" bill went down 12 - 18, with all nine Democrats joined by nine Republicans in opposition.  One of the Republican "no" votes is Sen. Frank Antenori, and given his heretofore absolute adherence to the Pearce line, I'm guessing that he is the R designated to "move to reconsider" the measure on Monday.  In addition to Antenori, Rs Barto, McComish, Driggs, Crandall, Yarbrough, Reagan,, (Steve) Pierce, and Nelson voted against the measure.

SB1309, a birther bill, went down 11 - 19.  Same list of Rs against the bill, with the addition of Bundgaard.  Another designated reconsiderer?

SB1405, turning Arizona's hospitals into immigration checkpoints, went down 12 - 18, with pretty much the same list of Rs voting no, except Antenori voted for it, while Linda Gray voted no.

SB1407, similar to SB1405 above, except it would have turned school teachers and administrators into immigration enforcement agents, went down 14 - 16, Gray remaining a "no" vote, but Barto, Yarbrough, and Antenori voting "yes."

SB1611, Pearce's attempt to out-SB1070 last year's SB1070, went down 11 - 19, with Sylvia Allen joining the same list of "no" votes as for SB1405, above.  She could be the designated "reconsiderer," but I think her "no" might be legit - she voted against the measure in committee, too.

Many of the "no" votes may have been influenced not by morality or public opinion, but instead by the fact that one of the biggest GOP benefactors, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, has *finally* weighed in on the goings-on at the Capitol, sending Pearce a letter advising him to cool it with the bigoted stuff - it's seriously cutting into their bottom lines.

There was other good news at the Senate today - Glenn Spencer, the leader of the hate group American Border Patrol, was "uninvited" from an appearance before the Senate Border Security, Federalism, and States Sovereignty Committee.  I wrote about this scheduled appearance last week, and this week, a number of MSM outlets also shed some light on Mr. Spencer and his nativist and anti-semitic acts and rants. 

Enough pressure finally mounted to force Pearce and his close friend, committee chair Sylvia Allen, to alter course.

Of course, these failed bills could come back as soon as Monday (move to reconsider) or could come back via a strike-everything amendment at any time before sine die (the end of the legislative session).

And Mr. Spencer could be invited back at any point in time when Pearce, Allen, and the others think that no one is paying attention.

However, for now, we all get to enjoy one weekend this spring - ASU baseball has a three game set against Oral Roberts University on tap, and the Cactus League is in full swing (and this late in the spring, some of the regulars are playing almost 2/3 of a game! :) ).  If baseball isn't your thing (for shame!  :)) ), the Arizona Renaissance Festival is still going strong this weekend.

And if you just can't stay away from politics, at least do something that will let you enjoy the weather - volunteer to join the effort to Recall Russell Pearce in Mesa.

Monday will be here soon enough.

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