In regards to the article, “Commissioners eye free mapping software, say it could be used differently than creators intended” Arizona Capitol Times, May 8, we offer the following to address concerns noted by some of the members of Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission.Read More »
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Records from the past three legislative sessions point to a simple truism of the citizen-legislature model: The shorter the session, the better the attendance.
By keeping a 100-day session — the length prescribed by legislative rules — 27 of the Legislature’s 90 members voted on every bill that was brought to the floor, and only one lawmaker missed more than 20 percent of floor votes.
The January shooting in Tucson, which occurred just two days before the 2011 legislative session began, inspired soul searching among rattled and emotional lawmakers, who pledged a new era of civility across the partisan divide. Others vowed drastic changes to Arizona’s laws on guns and mental health in response to a mass shooting carried out by a man with documented-but-untreated mental health problems.
But while some lawmakers say the lessons of Jan. 8 stayed with them through sine die, most have seen few changes.
The Senate minority announced an audacious goal this year — to put the spotlight on Republicans and their legislation. That task fell to a young father to articulate his party’s positions in a year when Republicans, who are control both chambers, don’t even need a single Democratic vote to pass emergency legislation.
The immediate challenge for Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, a Tempe Democrat, and his caucus was to avoid being relegated to irrelevance.
With a mere third of the House of Representatives being Democrats, Minority Leader Chad Campbell knew it was going to be an uphill battle trying to put a dent in the Republicans’ agenda this past session.
Predictably, the Democrats couldn’t get their proposals for tax reforms into the budget, nor could they stop a torrent of conservative legislation. But Campbell said that they did manage to get some of their goals accomplished, even if it was just keeping the public eye on the Legislature.
If this unfortunate legislative session has to be remembered in years to come, it will be recalled as a time that politicians put sideshows ahead of seriousness. Birther bills, birthright citizenship, and tea party license plates are great at getting partisan activists riled up.Read More »
Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commissioners split along party lines Friday over who will serve as the group’s legal counsel, with the commission’s independent chair siding with the Democrats to select the firms Ballard Spahr and Osborn Maledon.Read More »
With more than three tumultuous months under their belt, House and Senate greenhorns have been property initiated. And looking back, some of them seem a little shell-shocked, while others appear to be having the time of their life.Read More »
The most outstanding quotes of the whole session.Read More »
Lacking the numbers to block Republican-backed bills, Democratic legislators billed themselves as watchdogs whose main task at the Capitol was to highlight legislation they considered to be harmful to the state.Read More »