Friday, April 27, 2012

Whining, Posturing, And Wild-eyed Scheming: It's Silly Season At The Lege

The time for real work at the lege has passed.  All of the Democrats and most of the rank-and-file Republicans in the lege are spending their days (metaphorically) twiddling their thumbs.  On Thursday, the Senate didn't even have a floor calendar.  They met, prayed (Steve Yarbrough prayed that people be obedient to their rulers...hmmm...), pledged allegiance to the flag, and did a few short speeches (Sylvia Allen railed about the border with Mexico, claiming that it is controlled by drug cartels), announcements, and ceremonies.  And that was it.

They're waiting for the Republican leadership in the lege and the governor to negotiate a budget.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) and the Arizona Republic (no subscription required, and usually worth every penny), after a couple of weeks of threats to veto everything the lege passes until a budget deal is done (the governor, of course) and some huffy responses (the Rs in the lege saying that they'd work with the Democrats in the lege instead - like they would ever mean that; most of them don't even say "good morning" in the halls to the Democrats when passing each other), they're close to a deal.

Which is a good thing, in a way.

The governor and her Republican associates in the legislature are sure to craft a budget that is bad for Arizona's families and Arizona's future, no matter when they come up with one.

However, the longer that they're in session, the more damage that they can do to the state while helping themselves (check out KPHO's story, that ran Thursday night, on self-serving bills pushed by legislators, who are supposed to place the needs of the public before their own individual greed) or just seeing who can come up with the craziest s*** before sine die (leading right now: Steve Montenegro's scheme to get the Republicans in the lege to appropriate more than a quarter of a million dollars to give to former legislator Russell Pearce to pay for the money he spent fighting [unsuccessfully! :) ] his recall...even though none of the money spent was from his personal funds).

In short, the state will be better off if the lege passes a horrible budget now than if they pass a horrible budget after a few more weeks of legislative malfeasance and malpractice.

As if they knew my point in the above sentence and wanted to help support my position, the House has already posted its Third Read Calendar (final approval).

Four bills, three tea-publican "dog-whistle" bills -

- SB1231, appropriating $$$ so Tom Horne can sue the US Forest Service to force the USFS to allow more "forest thinning" activities (in other words, allowing logging of federal forests...actually, this one may be less "dog-whistle" than self-serving, but more on that in a few days)

- SB1275, stealthily imposing stealth TABOR limits on AZ (didja see that?  I got to use "stealth" twice in one sentence

- SB1507, barring any political entity in Arizona from enacting any "sustainability" measures

And if that isn't enough evidence, they've also posted Monday's COW (Committee of the Whole) Calendar

One bill, and one bill only.

- SB1083, creating and funding the Republicans' anti-Mexican (and Mexican ancestry) vigilante force Arizona Special Missions Unit

The consensus of the Capitol press corps (at least, as represented by Mary Jo Pitzl [AZ Republic], Dennis Welch {AZ Guardian], and Jim Small [AZ Capitol Times] on Friday's edition of Horizon on KAET) is that while there is a real chance that something could happen over the weekend to derail the budget deal, it is more likely to pass than not, and the lege should adjourn the session by  the 2nd week of May.

Personally, and this is mostly a guess, I think if the deal goes of without any significant hitches early in the coming week, they'll (the lege) will be out of town by Thursday.

I hope.

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