Sunday, January 08, 2012

Bundgaard's out, but the fun at the lege never ends...

...It just reboots...

...The coda to the 2011 session of the Arizona legislature took place just three days before the convening of the 2012 session.  The Senate Ethics Committee held its inquiry into the actions of Scott "Fists of Fury" Bundgaard relating to his February assault of his then-girlfriend.

After witness after witness gave damning testimony against him, Bundgaard chose to resign from the Arizona State Senate rather than take the stand himself.  The resignation effectively ends any further inquiry into the events in February as the worst punishment that the Ethics Committee could have recommended was Bundgaard's expulsion from the Senate.

It should have happened months ago, but Bundgaard spent those months trying to blame everyone but himself for his actions when he had no one to blame but himself.

He never should have assaulted his girlfriend, and once he did, he should have stood up, 'fessed up, and then shut up.

He didn't.

Good riddance.

...On Monday, or "today" as many people will be reading this,  the legislature will open its 2012 session to great pomp and circumstance...ok, a lot of handshaking and picture taking.  And the Governor's annual state of the state address.

They won't get much work done this week, which may be a good thing, as Bundgaard's resignation leaves the Senate down two members, as Kyrsten Sinema submitted her resignation shortly after the beginning of the year.  She left the Senate so the work there doesn't distract from her campaign for a seat in Congress.

Others who may join Bundgaard and Sinema in resigning in the near future include Sens. Frank Antenori and Ron Gould (likely, as both are "exploring" runs for Congress) and Paula Aboud and Rep. Matt Heinz (less likely, but they have been the subject of speculation regarding possible candidates if Gabrielle Giffords passes on running for reelection).

Of course, if Giffords doesn't run, *every* southern AZ legislator, past and present, will be the subject of rumors surrounding that seat.

And then there's northern AZ where incumbent Congressman Paul Gosar has chosen to move to Prescott to run for a different district than the one he currently represents.  His current home of Flagstaff is now in a more competitive district and rather than face a stiff general election fight from Ann Kirkpatrick or Wenona Benally Baldenegro or any other Democrat, he has decided to move to a district that is safer for Rs.  There he will face the above-mentioned Gould and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (and possibly others, but those look to be the three big names in the race).

Gosar's relocation of his carpetbags to the south opens up that district's Republican race for legislators from northern and rural AZ, as well as perennial candidates like mining lobbyist Sydney Hay.  Others, like Gary Pierce, current chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission, and Bill Konopnicki, a former legislator, are also rumored to be interested in the seat.

It's safe to expect more resignations before the session is done, perhaps even before the month is done.

Aside from the conjecture about which people who are members of the lege right now but won't be around when the session ends, there is also speculation about possible bill proposals this year.

Gould has already vowed to bring back "guns in schools" legislation, plus the Arizona Citizens Defense League is pushing a proposal to allow hunters to use silencers.  More in this Arizona Republic story from Alia Beard Rau and Mary Jo Pitzl.

Bills that have already been filed for the 2012 session can be found here.

1 comment:

virgnbul said...

I'm wondering if any resigning senator gets to retain any type of benefits?