For the past 18 months, Arizona's economy has taken a nose dive, jobs have been lost, and schools have been starved of funding. Have the Republicans who control the state Legislature fixed these problems? No. But they have kept themselves busy!
Here are 10 of the most outlandish things Arizona Legislative Republicans spent time and taxpayer resources on in the past year:
1) Invoked the U.S. Constitution in an attempt to protect (wait for it) ... light bulbs ... from federal energy requirements. (But only the bulbs made in Arizona, of course.)
2) Eliminated the requirement for training and a permit to carry a concealed weapon. (Driver's license tests are still around, in case anyone is concerned about public safety)
3) Passed legislation banning human-animal hybrids in Arizona. (Our state is now safe from mermaids and centaurs.)
4) Voted to deny more than 47,000 children access to KidsCare health insurance. (They're kids, they're young, they're plenty healthy, right?)
5) Allowed guns in bars. (Bar owners, for some strange reason, did not support this legislation)
6) Increased property taxes and asked voters to tax themselves, but refused to close tax loopholes for the rich. Their country club memberships, spa treatments and pet grooming are exempt from the sales tax. Middle-class folks buying clothes and school supplies, however, are subject to the tax. (Darling, we already tip the help ... isn't that enough for you people?)
7) Made it a crime for teachers to talk to students of color about their own history and heritage. (There's only one version of history - duh!)
8) Based environmental policies on the belief that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, as cited by a state senator. (The Hohokam people apparently migrated to Arizona on the backs of dinosaurs.)
9) Cut off services to 36,500 seriously mentally ill patients, allowing those individuals to wander Arizona's communities homeless, untreated and unmedicated. (Shhh, just let the Democrats worry about this one.)
10) Jumped on the "birther" bandwagon, pushing legislation that would require presidential candidates to show proof of U.S. citizenship to be on the Arizona ballot. (Hey, don't call it a fringe movement - we don't want to offend the Tea Party now do we?)
Arizona has seen 40+ years of a Republican-controlled Legislature, but this absurd list is from only the past two years! And though my blog may sound a bit tongue-in-cheek about the ideas listed above, it is only because of the seriousness with which I view the impact these policies are having on my native state.
We can no longer afford political games and rhetoric aimed at diverting the attention away from the critical issues facing our state. Arizonans need to elect leaders who will get serious about fixing our budget, bringing jobs back, and making us competitive once again.
Democrats are outnumbered in Arizona, but we want everyone to know we're working hard to win key races in November and get our state back on track -- and off of The Daily Show.
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