Friday, October 15, 2021
NEW, BREAKING THE BANK: Sinema Fundraising Juggernaut Continues, Raises $1.1M In 3rd Quarter, Cash On Hand $4.5M (REVIEW Report)
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
The mainstays of both Arizona's Law and Arizona's Politics for the past 11 months have been legal wrangling about the 2020 election, the State Senate's subsequent subpoenas and "audit", and the Legislature's new laws limiting voting options (without balancing increases in election accuracy). Those are also among the key reasons why I am announcing today my candidacy for the State House of Representatives.*
As readers of these two news blogs know, I have been dedicated to reporting news as objectively as possible. This reflects my previous life as a news reporter (primarily in Tucson) and my ethos to add some straightforward coverage to issues that I believe to be important.
I moved from journalist to being an honest advocate for my clients, and in recent years have spent time pursuing both of these passions. Since 2010, I have worked to deliver reporting that people would view as credible no matter where on the ideological spectrum they may currently rest; my conversations with R's, D's and everyone in between leads me to believe I was close to that mark.
Today's announcement will not make it more difficult for me to write non-partisan articles on these news blogs, but it will make it more difficult for some readers to view them as factual, honest articles.
I will continue to report on legal and political news as time permits, and will fully disclose my candidate status as warranted. I will also be looking to others to assist with coverage of Arizona legal news - and will label that as "news analysis" or "commentary" where appropriate. (Let me know if you are interested.)
Thanks to everyone who has read and/or shared our articles to date, and I hope you will continue to find them worthwhile. (And, a special thanks to those who have provided feedback - positive *or* negative.)
Although my campaign website (and, Twitter account) will be up and running within the week, if you are interested in receiving updates, you could contact me here, or you could email me at "Paul Weich 4 AZ @gmail.com" (no spaces)
P.S. h/t to the sharp-eyed @KC_Haas at Yellow Sheet Report for "breaking" this story yesterday!
* I reside in the Ahwatukee portion of the current Legislative District 18. The boundaries of the new legislative district are not yet known, but I will be running in whichever district encompasses my address.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
NEW: Double the Fun(ds) - Sinema Sets Up Joint Fundraising Committee To Ease Increased Contributions (SINEMA-TIC)
Monday, August 23, 2021
NEW, TAKING BIPARTISANSHIP TO THE BANK: Sinema Chips In To Pay GOP Colleague's $490K Legal Fees For Pre-COVID Stock Selloff Investigation (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)
The $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill “is a historic win for our nation’s everyday families and employers and, like every proposal, should be considered on its own merits,” said Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard. “Proceedings in the U.S. House will have no impact on Kyrsten’s views about what is best for our country - including the fact that she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion.”
Monday, August 9, 2021
BREAKING: Maricopa County Supervisors Calls Meeting Tomorrow Afternoon To Discuss Election "Audit" Subpoenas; 20th Snap Meeting of the Year
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Referendum definition – Arizona Is one of only 23 states where voters have the right to *refer* a law (after the Governor signs it) to the ballot. The law does not go into effect unless the VOTERS pass it. (It only goes to the ballot IF enough valid petition signatures are collected.)
Initiative definition – Arizona voters can collect enough valid signatures to place a proposed law onto the election ballot.
(The referendum petitions each need 118,823 valid signatures turned in before September 28, 2021. The initiatives need 237,645 valid sigs before July 8, 2022.)
1. “PEVL Purge”, SB1485. Sponsor: Arizona Deserves Better
The best known of the passed/signed voting suppression bills, it turns “PEVL” into “Evil”.
Overview: "This petition seeks to refer SB1485 to the ballot for a vote. This bill substantially changes the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL), now used by most Arizonans to vote. It renames the list and purges it periodically. Government notices would be sent to people based on their frequency of early voting. People who are mailed notices would be required to respond to stay on the list. If enough people sign this petition, the people of Arizona will be able to vote to prevent this bill from becoming law and keep the Permanent Early Voting List. "
Summary: SB1485 is trying to fix a non-existent problem. The effect is to make it more difficult for citizens to participate in the election process… for no valid reason. For example, if a person is an infrequent voter (votes only in presidential elections) and misses one presidential election, they can be taken off of early voting/PEVL. NOTE: There are laws already in place to clean up the PEVL list of people who have moved (etc), and there is no “fraud problem” this law would fix.
2. HB2569. Sponsor: Arizona Deserves Better
This referendum would allow counties to receive private grants to help with voter registration or early voting efforts. The Legislature does not always provide requested funding.
Overview: "This petition seeks to refer HB 2569 to the ballot for a vote. HB 2569 stops elections officials from receiving private grants to help them run elections or register voters, even if the Legislature provides inadequate funding for elections administration and voter registration. Election officials have used grant funds to purchase equipment used to provide timely and accurate election results. If enough people sign this petition, the voters will decide whether election officials should be allowed to accept private grants. "
Summary: In the last election cycle, grants were given to counties to support early voting. For example, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave grants supporting early voting efforts in Maricopa County (i.e. providing more drop box locations, etc.). The grant – with non-partisan conditions - was approved by the County Board. This new law would prevent grants being accepted in the future. The referendum’s purpose is to continue allowing grants to be accepted to fund early voting (etc) efforts in the future.
3. SB1828 (Sxns 13, 15). Sponsor: Invest In Arizona
This is one of the three measures passed to try to un-do the Invest In Ed initiative passed by voters. It is the “flat tax” law.
Overview: "This petition seeks to refer sections 13 and 15 of 2021 Laws, Chapter 412 (SB 1828). Sections 13 and 15 together create new income tax brackets and rates that apply when state general fund revenue exceeds certain amounts."
Summary: This massive budget bill reduces state revenues by $1.9B/yr. It gives wealthiest Arizonans the biggest tax break by making flatter tax brackets. This referendum would prevent the legislature from circumventing the will of the people to fund our public education.
4. SB1827 (Sxn 4). Sponsor: Invest In Arizona
This is the 2nd anti-Invest In Ed law pushed by Gov. Ducey. It cuts K-12 spending by $250M+/yr.
Overview: "This petition seeks to refer Section 4 of 2021 Laws, Chapter 411 (SB 1827). Section 4 creates a maximum combined individual income tax rate of 4.5%, inclusive of the regular income tax imposed by A.R.S. § 43-1011 and the 3.5% income tax surcharge imposed by A.R.S. § 43-1013 (which was approved by Arizona voters in 2020 as Proposition 208). If a taxpayer's total tax rate exceeds 4.5%, the regular income tax rate imposed by A.R.S. § 43-1011 would be automatically reduced to cap the taxpayer's total tax rate at 4.5%."
Summary: This budget bill would prevent our state from collecting money from the wealthiest Arizonians – to fund education. It would shrink the general fund by almost $500M/yr and cut K-12 spending by $250M+/yr. This referendum would prevent the legislature from circumventing the will of the people to fund our public education.
5. Anti-voting omnibus bill. SB1819 (Sxns 4, 5, 21, 25, 33). Sponsor: Arizona Deserves Better
This picks out several of the worst election measures thrown into a budget bill. Many of these had failed to pass the Legislature earlier under regular procedures. Here’s a summary:
1a) Ordering Arizona Game & Fish Department to conduct voter registration efforts;
1b) allowing the Legislature to designate an individual or company to have access to voter registration databases and make sure that registrants who do not provide proof of citizenship can only vote for President and Congress;
2) calling for ballot paper to contain watermarks, bar codes and other *possible* anti-fraud measures;
3) spends $500,000 to investigate social media platforms and search engines to see whether they help some candidates and/or hurt others;
4) tasking the Auditor General to report on voter registration and outreach events attended by the Secretary of State and the Maricopa County and Pima County Recorders (item one also would require those elected officials to publicly report their event calendars);
5) removes Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ authority to defend court cases about elections, and gives it to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich. (Really! It shifts back after they leave those offices!)
6. “Small business” tax credit bill. SB1783. Sponsor: Invest In Arizona
This clever effort to un-do Invest In Ed redefines “small business” to include nearly every wealthy individual, and allows them to take a “small business tax credit” for the amount that would have gone to education funding.
Overview: "This petition seeks to refer 2021 Laws, Chapter 436 (SB 1783). The principal provisions of this bill would: (a) allow "small business taxpayer[s]," as defined in the bill, to elect to report certain forms of income as "small business income" and pay taxes on that income at rates set by the bill and (b) establish new income tax brackets and rates for trusts and estates."
Summary: This bill would stop more than $290M/year from K-12 education – one-third of the Invest In Ed funds.
7. Initiative: Voters’ Right To Know. Sponsor: Stop Dark Money
Overview: "This Voters' Right to Know Act secures for Arizona voters the right to know who is trying to influence Arizona elections using paid, public communications. It eliminates dark money barricades. Any person spending over $50,000 on statewide campaigns or $25,000 on other campaigns must disclose the original sources (people or corporations who actually earned the money) of contributions over $5,000. They must also disclose their largest donors on campaign materials. The Act will also protect local policymakers' ability to require additional disclosures. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a non-partisan, voter-established body, will enforce this Act. Violations could incur substantial penalties."
8. Initiative: Predatory Medical Debt Collection Protection Act. Sponsor: Healthcare Rising AZ
Overview: "Caps interest rate on "medical debt," as defined in the Act; applies this cap to judgements on medical debt as well as to medical debt incurred. Increases the value of assets -- a homestead, certain household possessions, a motor vehicle, funds in a single bank account, and disposable earnings -- protected from certain legal processes to collect debt. Annually adjusts these amended exemptions for inflation beginning 2024. Allows courts to further reduce the amount of disposable earnings subject to garnishment in some cases of extreme economic hardship. Does not affect existing contracts. Does not change existing law regarding secured debt."
--To read full texts of any of these laws or initiatives – as well as the others on file – use this link to an updated page of the Arizona Secretary of State’s site:
--Sponsoring organizations: ArizonaDeservesBetter.com, InvestInAZNow.com, StopDarkMoney.com, HealthCareRisingAZ.org
-- Explanatory Articles: Election omnibus referendum: ; PEVL Purge referendum: ; Invest In Ed referenda: ,
--Prepared by Marion and Paul Weich (Questions/suggestions 602-908-9132)
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
WE HAVE LIFTOFF: Mark Kelly Simultaneously Upholds Senate's Tradition and Arizona's Tradition In 1st Floor Speech; Starts New Leadership PAC (WATCH/READ)
"His legacy, it's something that cannot be matched, but it's what inspires me serving in the Senate seat, and it's his example of bipartisanship, or independence, that continues to demand more of us. So, I'm going to continue focusing on delivering results, on beating this virus, and reinventing our economy for the future so that hard-working Arizonans have every opportunity to succeed. Arizonans sent me here to have their backs, and that's what I intend to do. Thank you and I yield the floor."
Now that he's delivered the maiden speech, Kelly can now abide by another Senate tradition and be as long-winded as he wants to be.
Earlier this week, Kelly registered his new Leadership PAC with the Federal Election Commission. "Liftoff PAC" is, of course, a clever nod to his Space Shuttle captaining past. But, it will also give him another opportunity to not take money from corporate PACs, even though they are often the primary funders of such entities.