Thursday, December 29, 2011

Early bill filings for the 2012 session of the legislature

It's early, but a number of bills have been pre-filed for the 2012 session of the Arizona legislature.

A large number are "technical correction" bills, or bills that exist mostly to serve as shells for strike-everything amendments late in the legislative session.

Some are head scratchers, meaning that either I don't really understand what they do, or do understand but don't see the point.  Most of those have names like Harper, Allen, or Seel attached as sponsors and so are presumed to be bad.  Very bad.

With the other bills, there's no doubt.  They're just plain ugly.

A few of the high/lowlights -

HB2022, Rep. Jack Harper's annual proposal to repeal the one year waiting period on former legislators coming back as paid lobbyists

HB2024, one of the head scratchers relating "waste of finite resource; repeal".  I think it has to do with a specific kind of speeding violation, which doesn't sound too bad.  However, it is sponsored by Sylvia Allen, Chester Crandell, Brenda Barton, Michelle Ugenti, and John Fillmore.  There are a few leaders of the lege's tin foil hat brigade on that list, so the bill is probably a bad one.

HB2035, Kimberly Yee's attempt to undermine the voter-approved medical marijuana law by punishing health care providers who prescribe medical marijuana for other than "an accepted therapeutic purpose."  That doesn't seem too unreasonable, until you realize she doesn't actually specify the definition of "accepted therapeutic purpose".  While the AMA concedes that medical marijuana has benefits, the federal government adamantly disagrees.

HCR2004, a not-quite-a-proclamation of secession in the form of a declaration of Arizona's sovereignty over the federal government, courtesy of Allen, Barton, and Crandell.

HCR2005, a proposed amendment to the AZ constitution to require periodic reauthorization of any voter-approved initiatives that affect state spending by requiring that certain things are funded.  Call this "the Legislature really hates having its hands tied by the voters" measure.

HCR2006, a proposed amendment to the AZ constitution from Jack Harper, Judy Burges, and Carl Seel.  It's yet another attempt to create school vouchers, this one geared to "helping" students in public schools with an average class size of 35 or more pupils. 

Interesting.  They force class sizes to balloon by making massive cuts to education funding to pay for tax cuts for corporations, and then turn around and try to use the large class sizes that they foisted off on public schools to justify taking more money from those schools and funnelling that money to private schools.

David Safier at Blog for Arizona has a write-up on the Rs plans to gut "reform" public education here.  This measure looks to be just one salvo in their ongoing war against public education.

And last (for now), but certainly not least is a bill that hasn't been filed yet.  Ron Gould is promising to bring back a "guns in schools" bill.  It passed the lege last session, but Governor Jan Brewer vetoed it (it may be her only wise act during her term as governor, but I'll give credit where it is due.  She was on the right side on that one.)

This is just the beginning, so this much is clear:  Russell Pearce may be gone, but the wild and insane ride that is the Arizona legislature at work will still be running at full speed...

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