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 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)
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.
NEW INVESTIGATION: NAU Foundation Hides "Extraordinary" $5.5M Proposed Fine; Among Largest Penalties By Trump's FCC For Alleged Misuse of Educational Broadband Licenses
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
TEXTS DON'T LIE: Yes, Maricopa County, There IS Another Election THIS YEAR...For Most Of You (READ: list of local jurisdictions)
BREAKING: County Supervisors To Hold Special Meeting Wednesday To Discuss Response To Senate's "Audit" Subpoena (READ Subpoena)
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting tomorrow to discuss their response to the latest election audit-related subpoena from some Republican Senators.
At the 9am executive session, the Republican-dominated Supervisors will get legal advice from the (Republican) County Attorney's Office on several related matters: (1) compliance with the subpoena (below), (2) election administration and equipment, (3) "election-related public records requests", and (4) "election-related litigation". The two currently-active lawsuits related to public records requests do not involve Maricopa County, so the last two topics would appear to be forward-looking and/or requests that are not yet in the public sphere.
The new subpoena issued yesterday repeats some of the demands made in the previous one. Maricopa County turned over ballots, machines, voter registration records and more then, and that led to the recount/"audit" which began in April. The County did not turn over some items then, and the Senate has not tried to enforce compliance.
The new subpoena, signed by Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Committee Chair Warren Peterson, demands compliance by next Monday (August 2).
Monday, July 26, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
NEW: Key State Rep. Regina Cobb Plans To Run For State Treasurer, Setting Up GOP Battle With Colleague (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
BREAKING: Congressional Committee Investigating Arizona Recount/Audit Skips State Senate, Tracks Ninjas Instead (READ Letter)
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
BREAKING: New Invest In Ed-related Referendum Filed; And, Now There Are Six Petitions Hitting the Streets
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
BREAKING, HEAVY DUTY CLIPBOARDS A NECESSITY: New Referendum Petition To Attack Raft of Election-Related Measures In Arizona's Omnibus Budget Bill
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) a $500,000 fund to investigate social media platforms and search engines to see whether they help 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 legal authority from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and gives it to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
Friday, July 2, 2021
BREAKING: 3 New Referenda Applications Filed To Fight Flat Tax, Elections Measures; 2 Different Groups Collecting Petition Signatures (LET FREEDOM RING EDITION)
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
NEW: 3 of Arizona's 4 GOP Representatives Vote AGAINST Removing Statue Of Supreme Court Justice Who Authored Dreadful DRED SCOTT Opinion
Friday, June 18, 2021
BREAKING: Group files referendum application to keep the "P" in PEVL (Arizona Early Voting) (ARIZONA POLITICAL SHORTS)
11am: BREAKING: Group files referendum application to keep the "P" in PEVL (Arizona Early Voting)
A group calling itself Arizona Deserves Better filed an application Friday for a referendum aiming to keep the "P" in PEVL. PEVL is Arizona's "Permanent Early Voting List".
Governor Doug Ducey signed SB1485 into law last month (May 11), a measure that would stop mailing early ballots to people if they do not vote in four consecutive elections. Approximately 80% of Arizona's voters are on the permanent list, and there are already laws in place to keep the list accurate.
Eric Kramer, one of the group's leaders, tells Arizona's Politics that another referendum will be filed shortly on SB1003, and that additional ones may be filed if the Legislature passes any other "voter suppression" measures in its waning days.
Once the Legislature ends their regular session, the group will have 90 days to collect 118,823 valid signatures to place the law(s) on the November 2022 ballot. The laws would not go into effect unless Arizona voters approve of what the lawmakers passed (and Gov. Ducey signed into law).
8:30am: RELEASE THE KRAKEN...ATTORNEY: Alex Kolodin Plans To Run For State House Seat
The Arizona attorney who worked with Sidney Powell and the Trump team to bring several of the lawsuits claiming widespread fraud in Maricopa County's November elections wants to be on next year's ballot. Alex Kolodin last night filed a Statement of Interest to run for one of the State House seats in Legislative District 23.
Kolodin intends to run as a Republican and hopes to take the slot currently occupied by Rep. John Kavanagh (R). (Kavanagh is aiming to move back to the State Senate.) This is Kolodin's 2nd attempt to get to the legislature; he lost to Michelle Ugenti-Rita in the 2020 Senate primary.
Kolodin not only worked on several of the cases that unsuccessfully tried to un-do Donald Trump's loss in Arizona by alleging unsubstantiated fraud, but he briefly represented the Cyber Ninjas in the election audit case. Kolodin caused the first judge to recuse himself, unsuccessfully tried to keep his filings under seal, and was replaced (by Wilenchik & Bartness) on the second day of hearings. (The judge had to kick him out of the hearing after they tried to use the switch to delay the case.)
LD23 contains part of North Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and the surrounding area.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
4:55pm: BREAKING: AZ Reps. Biggs and Gosar among 14 OPPOSING setting Juneteenth as federal holiday
Here is the 415-14 vote total this evening. The majority of the "nay" votes were from Confederate and slave-holding states.
During debate, Republican Reps. took turns being upset that Juneteenth will be known as “JUNETEENTH National INDEPENDENCE Day” (and that they couldn't 1st be upset about it in committee). But, most were saying they would vote for it, reluctantly.
Here is the very short and sweet text of the bill. Juneteenth is observed as the date when many slaves learned of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation... two years later.
Here's a current list of federal holidays.
At the close of debate on the bill, California Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) "went there". She asked the GOP "patriots" who are upset about the use of the word "independence" where they were on January 6. Can't pick and choose.
It passed in the Senate by unanimous consent yesterday and is now headed to the White House for President Biden's signature.
1:50pm: NEW: Gov. Ducey gets promise of border backup from FL's DeSantis; "Details remain to be determined."
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Trump Administration/Allies Pushed DOJ For Pre-Jan.6 Supreme Court Action To Order "Special Election" In Arizona, 5 Other States (ARIZONA POLITICAL SHORTS)
Thursday, June 10, 2021
WATCH: FBI Director Chris Wray Questioned By Arizona Reps. Biggs, Stanton; FISA Courts, Murdered/Missing Indigenous Woman, Ransomware On the Table
NEW, LISTEN: Rep. Kirkpatrick Working On Infrastructure, Including Frequent Contact With Senators Sinema, Kelly; Conversation Also Re: Immigration, "Moms Fed Up"
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
"MOTHERS KNOW BEST": Outgoing Rep. Kirkpatrick Puts Her $400k+ War Chest Into New Effort To Put Young Moms In Congress
Thursday, June 3, 2021
NEW: Martha McSally Will Retake Her Senate Seat Representing Arizona This Summer --Donald Trump (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
NEW GUEST ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY: State Budget Bill Also Aims To Steal Power From Citizens Clean Elections Commission
Arizona's state budget bill was introduced yesterday, and it passed the House Appropriations Committee today on a 7-6 vote. Yesterday, we tweeted about the provision which temporarily takes power away from the Secretary of State and reassigns it to the Attorney General. This guest analysis and commentary from Tom Collins explains how it also grabs power from the voter-approved Citizens Clean Elections Commission. (Below the analysis is the current text of the budget bill.)
For those of you who don’t know, Clean Elections is Arizona’s bipartisan, voter approved, anti corruption and voter education law.
There is really nothing like it in the country.
We provide voter education, correctives for mis and disinformation, and access to information for voters in each corner of the state. We also provide financing for candidates who chose to set aside large private and pac donations and abide by strict spending rules, breaking the link between dollars and political favors.
So it’s no surprise the new budget bills take aim at clean elections.
First, Section 15
This section provides that GRRC, The Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, can reach out strike Commission rules on its own recognizance, rather than requiring a petition or any notice to the public.
In other words the Governor’s council could override Commission decisions at will. This is contrary to the Voter Protection Act.
Under Prop. 306 (2018) and Prop. 200 (1998) this is an amendment requiring a three-quarter vote as applied to the Clean Elections Act.
I have yet to hear any lawyer, including the legislators own, suggest that expanding GRRC's authority over the Commission does not constitute an amendment.
Notably, GRRC is entirely appointed by the Governor, while the CeC is appointed partly by the Governor and partly by the Secretary. So this provision is a double whammy.
Second, Section 24 is written so broadly that it appears to seek to amend or supersede the Clean Elections Act. It does this primarily by designating the Attorney General as " the. . . sole authority in all election litigation to direct the defense of election law." This section expires with the current terms of the AG and the SOS.
However, the language making the AG the sole authority directly contradicts the Commission's express authority to intervene in cases where the constitutionality of the act is in question, among other things. ARS 16-960.
While the bill may be aimed at Secretary Hobbs, it seeks to inflict clear legal damage on the Clean Elections Act. It does so by attempting to preempt the role of defending clean elections that the voters granted to the Commission.
Likewise, Subsection A. of Section 24, which alters the relationship between the AG and election officials, appears to usurp the Arizona Supreme Court's authority to determine the scope of conflicts for government law firms. See Ariz. Supreme Court Rule 42, Ethical Rule 1.13, cmt. 9 (stating conflict rules governing organization apply to government organizations.).
You might wonder why the AG needs to be relieved from these rules. One reason is they prevent him from advising clients one way then suing them.
Here, the bill provides the AG will not advise the SOS, leaving CEC as the agency that must rely on attorneys who reserve the right to sue their clients. This is troubling for anyone concerned about the independence of the agencies responsible for the 2022 election.
While these issues may not grab the headlines of some of the other provisions of these bills they are nevertheless serious legal problems that undermine the confidence of the public not only in elections, but in government ethics and transparency.
Tom Collins is the Executive Director of Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Arizona's Law/Arizona's Politics occasionally runs guest commentaries and analysis. If you would like to submit a column, please email to Paul . Weich . AZlaw @ gmail.com (without spaces).