Monday, March 19, 2012

Arizona graded as below average in the area of legislative integrity? Color me as not shocked.

From a story in the Arizona Daily Star, written by Wayne Parry of the AP -

State governments lack transparency and accountability to citizens, and remain at high risk for corruption, according to a new study of all 50 statehouses.

Not a single state received an A in the State Integrity Investigation ranking, a product of the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity.

Arizona received a D-plus.

The actual study is available here, but the upshot is that grades were issued in a number of sub-areas, and combined into an overall grade, and that the areas with the highest grades were those that have the least legislative influence.  The report card -

Yes, you read that report card correctly.  The only "A" grade is in an area that the lege has no real control over, redistricting, an area that the voters kicked the lege out of more than a decade ago when it created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC).

And the lege has been trying to usurp the AIRC and the will of the voters ever since.

...In a bit of (apparently) fortuitous timing, at the same time this report on legislative integrity is making the rounds, so is the story of how Sen. Frank "Don't Make Me Mad" Antenori had his driver's license suspended by a Pima County justice court but MVD (Motor Vehicle Division) claims that it never was notified and therefore hasn't actually suspended Antenori's license.

Not saying there is anything untoward going on here, but MVD's HQ is a short golf shot away from the Senate building, and there have been occasions in the past when political influence swayed the way that MVD did its job...


Ted McLaughlin said...

Texas also scored a 68% (D+) and tied Arizona with ranking 27th. Frankly, I'm shocked that both Texas and Arizona didn't get an F.

cpmaz said...

It's a sad commentary when as bad as AZ and TX are, there are states that are worse.

I would be interested to know how many of the states' individual "good" areas (graded B or better) are areas that are out of the control of the legislature and other elected officials.

In AZ, two of the areas that we did well in (redistricting, judiciary) are protected by language in the AZ Constitution.

And the lege is constantly coming up with proposals for "improving" those areas...their idea of improvement being more legislative control.