Howdy, Friends O'Farley…
Three quick election items before we get to the news...
1--> Join us on joint walks with Ron Barber at 10am and 1pm on Saturdays and 1pm on Sundays. Volunteers will be gathering nominating signatures for Barber for CD2 and Farley for LD9. Please join us! If you can come, call or email my campaign manager Daniel Hernandez, 520-248-7432 or daniel@FriendsOFarley.com.
3--> Please SIGN my nominating petition ONLINE by clicking the link at:
On to the latest from the Capitol…
--> Budget business: Negotiations between the Governor and the legislative majority are not going well. Yesterday, Brewer vetoed a bill for some Rio Nuevo reforms (HB2647) seemingly only to send a letter to the Speaker and the President that she was going to continue to veto bills until they made her a budget offer that she liked. She rejected her latest offer yesterday, and still insists on revenue projections that many -- especially the economists at the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee -- feel are dramatically unrealistic and will leave a budget deficit of between $600 and $700 million by Fiscal Year 15.
In fact, I was told by a knowledgable source that the Governor has instructed the House and Senate leadership that she does not want them to even mention Fiscal Year 15 and that big deficit in any budget because she wants to claim that her budgets were balanced when she leaves office after Fiscal Year 14. Unfortunately for Arizonans, pretending we don't have a problem doesn't make it go away.
We House Democrats are ready to talk as soon as the House and Senate majority leadership decide that they would like to enact our truly responsible budget, which invests in education (including K-12, adult literacy and job training), job creation, Child Protective Services, and much more, and yet has a lower FY15 deficit than even the Legislative Majority budget. The door is open.
This week's (unusually happy!) bill tracking briefs:
--> One of many victories: Sponsor David Stevens (R-Sierra Vista) announced that HB2416, the bill that would force the City of Tucson to provide water to a Dallas investment firm so that they could build homes on a stunning saguaro forest near Painted Hills in westside Tucson, is officially dead. A creative win-win deal was struck trading the land for a parcel of land in Downtown Tucson that the City wants to be developed. The city will then sell the Painted Hills property to Pima County for conservation purposes. Thanks to Rep. Stevens for seeing that sometimes backing down from your own bill is the best choice.
--> Speaking of conservation, SB 1118, an attempt to raid $40 million from the voter-approved Land Conservation Fund went down on House floor with the unusually lopsided vote of 18-40. This money is currently used to match local funds to purchase state trust lands for open space and wildlife habitat preservation, to the great benefit of Pima County and our Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Not only does that money pay for better quality of life, it is paid to the State Land Trust, which benefits our public schools. Talk about a win-win -- conserve wild lands while investing in our kids' education. It is refreshing when a two-thirds majority of this legislature does the right thing.
--> My long-term care bill, HB2713, passed through Senate Rules yesterday, I have been told it will be placed on the Senate Caucus calendar for tomorrow. Onward & upward!
--> In another triumph, HB2625, the attack on women that would allow your employer to deny birth control coverage to you if they had a "moral or religious objection", was defeated 13-17 on the Senate floor, thanks to the votes of several Republican senators who realized that voting for such an extreme bill might make them less electable in their newly moderate districts. The sponsor Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) is looking for two senators to change their votes on reconsideration, so it could be back, but those votes will likely be difficult for her to find.
--> HB2036, Kimberly Yee's (R-Phoenix) striker to ban all abortions after 20 weeks (making AZ the most restrictive state in the Union) and criminalize women's healthcare, has not yet been scheduled for a vote on the House floor -- a good sign.
--> And in a huge success for our economy and the world’s astronomy community, HB2757, the big billboard companies' attempt to place electronic billboards anywhere they like -- and destroying our world-renowned dark skies -- was vetoed by the Governor, thanks to your phone calls and emails urging her to do so. The next day I was honored to host a celebratory press conference with the leaders of our largest observatories -- you can read the article about that here:
Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.
Paid for by Friends O'Farley