Thursday, April 04, 2013

Arizona Legislature: Silly season is here

At the Arizona legislature, most of the real work is done, well, "real" by legislative standards anyway.

Committee work is all but complete - there may be some presentations to hear or some executive nominations to consider, but not much else, at least until the budget comes down from the leadership and/or any part of the Governor's Medicaid expansion proposal becomes subject to legislative consideration.

There are still floor sessions every day, but the calendars for those are short or even nonexistent. 

On some days, the floor session consists of a pledge (of allegiance to the flag), a prayer (to a God, and given this is AZ,  that is rich, white, male, and Christian), and a point (of personal privilege, where individual legislators rise to speak about anything that strikes their fancy) and not much more.

However, while there is little going on at the lege, at least publicly, legislators still have to show up to the job.

Which means that they tend to be bored, and much as with, say, teenagers, "bored" leads to "mischief".

Today's example: freshman State Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-of course).

Courtesy columnist Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic -

In the wake of Newtown, the state of Connecticut on Thursday enacted what some are calling the strongest gun laws in the nation, including limits on the size of magazines, a ban on armor piercing bullets and universal background checks.
Meanwhile, in the state of Arizona, a legislator on Thursday offered a response to our own massacre.
“In the wake of Tucson shooting, I have been researching body armor in order to inform our members about the costs and options for those wishing to purchase a vest for their person use, for example, at town halls, parades and other public events,” Rep. Bob Thorpe wrote, in an e-mail to fellow legislators. “These vests have prices ranging from about $600-$800 and options that include their weight and comfort, bullet stopping ability and colors.”
You’ve heard of Tupperware parties?  Thorpe, a Flagstaff Republican, has invited members of the Arizona Legislature to a body armor party. Next Wednesday, a representative of AZ Tactical will be on hand in basement of the Arizona House to extol the virtues of various vests and take orders...

While this is highly mockable (hence this post), there is one silver lining -

With his proposal, Thorpe becomes the first Republican legislator in Arizona to admit that there is a gun violence problem in AZ.

His proposed solution may constitute a giant flipping off of civil society, but whether he intended it or not, Thorpe has started a discussion that needs to be started.

Having said all of that, expect more goofy proposals in the coming weeks, from legislators looking to entertain themselves.

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