Monday, March 18, 2013

House Republicans too focused on bills that promote extremist agenda

House Republicans too focused on bills that promote extremist agenda
House Democrats call for more work on issues that will move Arizona forward

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Some Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives insist on wasting time on extremist legislation that promotes an ideological agenda focused on undermining the federal government instead of working on what matters most to Arizonans – creating jobs and improving education.

“House committees only have a few more days to meet and hear bills,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said.  “Instead of working on things that will move Arizona forward, Republicans are choosing to focus on foolish bills that seem designed to do little more than challenge the federal government. We actually have real work to do. We have a budget to pass and should not be wasting time on irrational legislation because the extremists here just want to make a point.”

Campbell specifically identified SCR 1016 as an example. This is a Senate Concurrent Resolution that would create a ballot measure for the voters of Arizona to amend the state’s constitution to allow the Legislature or voters to decide if certain federal laws are unconstitutional. It would negate the need for a court system, and would undermine the checks and balances system. The Senate already passed this bill, as did the House Committee on Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility.

“Apparently the Republicans at the Legislature have decided to do away with the checks and balances system,” Campbell said. “They want to expand the powers of the State Legislature so that the extremists here can cherry pick which federal bills they don’t like, and try to prevent them from being enforced. It would basically make courts useless. Aside from being ridiculous, it’s a blatant power grab.”

Rep. Lydia Hernandez, D-Phoenix (District 29), said the House Committee on Financial Institutions is scheduled to hear SB 1439 Monday afternoon. This is a bill that would allow people to use gold and silver, instead of money, in financial transactions in the state.  

“This is a clear example of ideology being put ahead of common sense,” Hernandez said. “If this bill becomes law, it would create a huge bureaucratic nightmare. There is no plan for how to implement this. How are local businesses going to have the equipment to determine the value of gold and silver? How will it be stored? Does this mean that I can use a silver fork or a gold earring as legal tender? Is there a public demand for this? Issues of currency should be handled by the Federal Reserve, so this is yet another attempt to undermine the federal government. There are just too many questions that remain unanswered to even consider this legislation credible.”

Rep. Lisa Otondo, D-Yuma (District 4), points to HB 2318 as another example of legislation designed to support an extremist agenda. This bill would exempt charter schools and district schools that do not receive federal funding from some federal and state regulations. If this bill becomes law, education funding across the entire state would be in danger.

“If we release one school from its federal requirements, then we jeopardize about $1 billion in federal funding for all schools in Arizona,” Otondo said. “When it comes to federal education funding, it is all-or-nothing, meaning either everyone agrees to play by the same rules or no one gets the federal money. The people supporting this bill are undermining federal funding for education during a time when our schools are being starved of resources. The Tea Party extremists want to put education funding on the line so they can take a shot at the federal government. It makes no sense.”

Campbell added that if the Republican ideological extremists want to usurp power from the federal government and from the judicial branch they should just be up front about it.

“All of this legislation is absurd,” Campbell said. “If the extremist faction here wants to secede from the union, they should just do that instead of forcing the rest of us to consider bills like this when we should be working on Medicaid expansion and the budget.”


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