Friday, March 09, 2012

Tea Party lawmakers block Ableser consumer protection bill

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Tea Party lawmakers vehemently protested against a consumer protection amendment Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe (District 17), introduced on Thursday.

The amendment to HB 2557 would have strengthened consumer protection for cell phone users and help raise money for schools. It would take 15 percent of overage fees that cell phone companies charge their customers for going over the minutes on their plan, and would have placed that money with the school district trust fund for use in schools.

After an antagonistic debate, Tea Party lawmakers defeated the amendment by a voice vote.

“We should not be engaging in this partisan bickering,” Ableser said. “This amendment would strengthen consumer protection laws and would have put money into Arizona schools. Instead, Tea Party legislators have chosen a rigid ideology over the needs of Arizonans.”

Ableser said the amendment was meant to prompt a discussion about the lack of competition and some of the exorbitant fees charged by phone companies.

“But rather than discuss the subject of consumer protection, they chose to argue with the same partisan bickering that they’ve used over the last three years,” Ableser said. “We should be working to protect middle-class families, not yelling across party lines."

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