What did the Arizona Legislature really get done in the 2012 session? - Tucson Local Media: Columns

What did the Arizona Legislature really get done in the 2012 session?

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:00 am

The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from the legislative session that just ended is this: Republican legislators think nothing is more important to Arizona than teaching the Bible in public schools and restricting women’s access to contraception and abortion. Jobs? Education? The economy? Not nearly as important.

Jobs, according to Senator Al Melvin, are his number one priority. Well, as Vice Chair of the Senate Economic Development and Jobs Creation Committee, he had the opportunity to make good on his commitment. But when the smoke cleared at the end of the session, nine of the committee’s ten scheduled meetings had been canceled. So much for job creation – and Melvin’s endlessly repeated campaign promise.

The Budget? If you blinked, you missed the public discussion and negotiations, because there weren’t any. Governor Brewer and Republican legislators hammered out the details behind closed doors. The budget bill was presented to the legislature at the end of April and approved days later. We still don’t know exactly what’s in there. We know a tiny fraction of the money taken away from our school children was returned this budget, while prisons got an additional $70 million. (We’ll need more prison beds to house all those undereducated children, right?) Money meant to help people battling foreclosure – $50 million – was swept up and added to the general fund. Businesses will get tax breaks, and the rest of us will pay for them.

Remember when we passed a one cent sales tax in 2010, the one Republicans said we didn’t need? Well, this year they socked almost half of it – $450 million – into a “rainy day fund.” Otherwise, they say, we’ll run short of revenue when the sales tax expires.

If the legislators didn’t spend their time on jobs or the budget, what did they do all session?

They debated, then passed a Bible in the Classroom bill. Never mind that teachers were already free to discuss the Bible and other religious topics in public school classrooms, and schools, if they wished, could already offer Bible as Literature classes, so long as they made sure they were teaching, not preaching. Now we have a bill directing the Department of Education to create a Bible class to be used in public schools, with the “teaching not preaching” restriction still in place.

Legislators proposed a bill restricting bullying in schools but decided against it because the bill included restrictions against bullying gays and lesbians. Conservative groups feared that might lead to pro-gay education, so it was killed.

Then there are the War on Women bills.

Federal funds disbursed to organizations providing women’s health services – services like screenings for breast and cervical cancer – can’t go to Planned Parenthood because, along with offering a wide range of women’s health services, the organization uses money from private donations to make abortions available.

Abortions are banned once a woman is 20 weeks pregnant. Actually, it’s more like 18 weeks. According to the law, pregnancy begins at the end of a woman’s last period, as much as two weeks before conception.

But restricting abortions didn’t go nearly far enough. Arizona joined other extreme Republican legislatures in the fight against women’s access to birth control. Employers, simply by claiming they have religious objections, can remove contraception coverage from employee health care.

Want to fire women for using contraception? Now it’s legal.

There’s not room enough to list all the damage the Republicans unleashed on the state. They added more money for private school vouchers. They took protections away from government workers, meaning they can be fired if their managers don’t like their work, their looks or their political affiliation. And they submitted a constitutional amendment to voters that would allow Arizona to take over federal land.

And they prayed – yes, “prayed” is in the language – that the federal government will dump nuclear waste in Arizona.

I’m praying too, praying voters will toss out the scoundrels who foisted this abominable legislative session on the people of Arizona.

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3 comments:

  • vet66 posted at 2:58 pm on Wed, May 16, 2012.

    vet66 Posts: 18

    Mr. Safier; thanks for giving us a glimpse into intellectual life on planet Safier. Your post is more clueless than usual. Where to start?
    Government does not create jobs. Government provides a business climate where businesses want to set up shop, not regulated out of business, not burdened with tax laws that takes their capital and doesn't penalize the business for creating new jobs or keeping existing ones.

    As for contraception, there is absolutely no excuse for folks to obtain contraception over the counter for about the price of a sandwich at retail. Contraception is available over the counter and cheap. The real question is why is it important to you that the rest of us pay for the contraception of a stranger? Are they looking for validation of their lifestyle or is this just a way to rub the noses of people of conscience into the the liberal lifestyle? As for planned parenthood, the last time I checked they don't provide MRI or CAT scans for dealing with breast cancer. They take their cut for referral after palpating the lump, which the patient can do themselves, sending them to a radiologist. If there is a war on women it is a war by the liberals on women who think for themselves and believe in taking responsibility for their personal lives with "Big Daddy" government patting their hands and buying their votes with phony promises.

    As for bullying, you have nobody to blame but yourself. This is a direct result of the liberal philosophy of each person is a "victim" a la Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren playing the Indian card with nothing to back it up. The bully is rewarded for his/her behavior due to some perceived slight most of which were created by the state. This is tied in with contraception which is a by-product of single women having children which provides financial support from the nanny state or what amounts to Eugenics through abortion for population control. Talk about the devil's alternative.

    GOD forbid we put some budget money away for a rainy day. I have mixed feelings about that one because any money laying around for said rainy day would vaporize the first time the liberals and the usual union cabal controlled the budget process. Speaking of which, Burying nuclear waste in Arizona would be a good idea since Nevada apparently doesn't want it anymore. Lots of money in that business which would support Palo Verde and other nuclear power generators who are having difficult getting rid of it. Or are you against that also while we presume you are typing your screeds in an air conditioned office somewhere powered by TEP, enclosed in a structure with wood while you extol the virtues of the Spotted Owl or some other "endangered" species.

    You represent a group of hypocrites who complain about everything while enjoying the fruits of our productive citizens then demonize for their efforts. You want to demonize someone? Try the democrats who held control of the House and Senate from 2006 to 2008 and did nothing. The Republicans took control of the House and generate budgets that the democratically controlled Senate ignore. We are heading to a budget cliff just like Greece and the rest of the PIIGS in Europe. We are broke as a country to the tune of 16 trillion dollars and counting. The interest on that debt will soon devour what little money is left for social security and medicare. I would say Deal With It but your answer would be to raise taxes on the few remaining workers and borrow more money from China. that is the definition of bankruptcy/default.

     
  • scratchbaker posted at 10:03 am on Wed, May 16, 2012.

    scratchbaker Posts: 6

    When I have to give my address to someone on the phone, I always say "Arizona, unfortunately" and the other person often says "I know what you mean." Arizona is an embarrassment to the United States of America. I am ashamed to tell someone I live here. This column just reinforces how awful this place is. If the Republican legislators got everything they wanted, there would be even fewer reasons to live here. They can't legislate away the climate. But they can legislate away the future of the state.

     
  • Scooper posted at 7:48 am on Wed, May 16, 2012.

    Scooper Posts: 13

    So lets see--a balanced budget for the second year and putting some money in the bank. When the Conservatives took over in AZ, our debt per capita was worse than CA. Where is AZ today and where is CA. CA just reported a 16 Billion short fall. I am expecting an announcement that Mr. Safier will be moving soon to this land of milk and honey. AZ is 7th in jobs creation!

    If that is the only thing accomplished it would be great. But wait--Bibles in schools, Capital gains tax reductions(you know, for the people that pay for all the takers), a creative tax change to get more money into private schools where real education takes place (not like TUSD).

    Mr Safier, the Legislature is only 2 hours away. You really should go at least once so that you don't embarrass yourself with this constant blabber of which you know nothing about.

     

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