Howdy, Friends O'Farley…
First a brief word from the campaign:
Thanks to your support and work, the Farley for State Senate Campaign filed the maximum number of signatures with the Secretary of State's office yesterday -- 1,220! We are now officially on the ballot in the new District 9.
I am so grateful to all our volunteers for your help so far. We still have a long ways to go in order to win in November, and I will continue to need your help to persuade voters by phone and door-to-door, and I will need your financial contributions to get the word out to all the voters in the new district.
Furthermore, your support will help me work for other Democratic legislative candidates throughout Arizona -- we have a great chance of taking an outright majority in the Senate for the first time in decades if we all work together.
Here's how you can help:
1--> Come to our joint walks with Ron Barber at NEW TIMES: 9am and 4pm on Saturdays, and 4pm on Sundays and Wednesdays. Volunteers will be gathering nominating signatures for Barber for CD2, Carmona for U.S. Senate, and passing out literature for Farley for LD9. Please join us! If you can come, call or email my campaign manager Alma Hernandez, 520-302-0623 or Alma@FriendsOFarley.com.
2--> Please CONTRIBUTE $25, $50 or even $100 and VOLUNTEER on our website TODAY, and share our website with your friends & colleagues. Every dollar counts in our newly competitive district!
3--> Host a house party, if you live in the new District 9, so I can meet your neighbors in person. See if you are in LD9 by checking out the Google Map here. Email Alma if you want to sign up: 520-302-0623 or Alma@FriendsOFarley.com.
And now, some really big news…
--> Yesterday -- the day after Mothers' Day -- the Governor signed my bipartisan bill HB2713, inspired by my experiences with my mom. It enacts a tax break for middle-class families trying to figure out a way to pay for long-term care for themselves and the seniors they love -- without driving themselves into poverty along the way.
Even in this charged partisan climate, the success of 2713 proves it is possible -- with persistence and leadership -- to enact groundbreaking legislation authored by a Democrat in a Republican legislative supermajority. You will recall the House passed it 60-0, and the Senate 28-1, sending it to the Governor's desk. For those of you intense policy geeks, I have included at the end of this email the full story of the journey of HB2713 as summarized on the legislative website.
The bill will officially become law on this session's Enactment Date of August 2, after which Arizona families will be able to claim a tax deduction for two different options: 1) long-term care insurance premiums (even if you do not itemize deductions), and 2) money contributed to a long-term care health savings account (LTC-HSA) for the care of yourself or a member of your family.
I am already talking with Area Councils on Aging and banks and credit unions who may house the LTC-HSAs. We plan to spread the word to the public on the benefits of the law and how we can implement the policy so that the maximum number of families can benefit. I will be doing some public events later this summer and into the fall in this regard, so stay posted.
The next step is to take this idea to Washington, DC. A federal tax deduction would additionally incentivize savings for long-term care. If we don't act soon, our economy will be facing a $500 billion hit annually for long-term care costs within 30 years -- out of our families' pockets.
In a future Farley Report, I plan to tell the whole story about how this bill became law -- all the behind-the-scenes drama that Schoolhouse Rock never shared with you. To whet your appetite, you can watch the ebb and flow of the final May 1 House vote in video form here.
As you watch the video, it helps to know a couple of habits of the House. When a member has a bill on the board, other members often tease the sponsor by voting no (red) at first. In this case, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) also rose to explain his vote, tongue firmly in cheek.
Another rule of thumb is that the sponsor should never rise to explain his vote if the bill is passing. I rose anyway, because I wanted to thank my colleagues for their support on behalf of my mom. Consequently, most members playfully switched their vote to No in an effort to get me to sit down. Once I explained that the previous Thursday had been the first anniversary of my mom's death, they all went back to Yes (green), and there was a round of applause. I was forgiven for breaking the informal rule - whew!
Thank you all so much for your support on 2713. I know that many of you called and emailed the Governor, and that made a difference in her decision. I am so honored to represent you -- all of you, even if you do not reside in my district.
--> Session Wrap: As you likely already know, the session ended on Thursday, May 3, two days after the budget debacle was adopted, ignoring 120,000 kids needing healthcare, ignoring thousands more adults needing literacy training and GEDs, ignoring hospitals teetering on the edge, ignoring public schools' needs for textbooks and lab equipment, and ignoring fiscal responsibility -- while giving away tens of millions more in corporate bailouts. For a complete rundown on the busted budget, see the May 1 Farley Report here.
A whole lot of bills were shipped to the Governor on May 2 and 3 in a frenzy of last-minute action before adjournment Sine Die. One particularly astonishing moment came when a majority of Republicans voted to kill Republican Attorney General Tom Horne's bill to hand over law enforcement power from the Warren Jeffs-controlled Colorado City police department to the County Sheriff. In the course of the debate, Doris Goodale (R-Kingman) actually asserted that the FLDS concept of "Celestial Marriage" was not illegal, it was just an "alternate lifestyle". This is the same institution that has led to repeated instances of child rape, incest, and polygamy in Colorado City for decades. Sometimes all you can say is, "Wow."
Here are a few of the bills that passed, and what the Governor did with them:
Signed into law:
--> Nancy Barto's (R-North Phoenix) bill to make birth control harder to get even for married people, trampling on the privacy rights of private employees.
--> Kimberly Yee's (R-Phoenix) bill to charge physicians with a crime for performing abortions after 20 weeks, and declaring that life begins two weeks BEFORE conception.
--> Justin Olson's (R-Mesa) bill to eliminate civil service protections for state employees, paving the way for a return of the Spoils System of hiring political cronies.
--> Debbie Lesko's (R-Sun City) bill to allow more than 200,000 students to take our public education funding and give it to a private or parochial school, regardless of their families' level of wealth. This is the Step Two in the Goldwater Institute's efforts to eliminate public education in Arizona -- they admit this publicly.
--> Bob Robson's (R-Chandler) revised bill to allow electronic billboards. This is not all bad news, thanks to the hard work of many citizen activists like Mark Mayer: The bill enacts a hard ban on the billboards in most of the state -- including all of Southern Arizona and Northern Arizona -- to protect the astronomy and optics industries, and even in the strip where they are allowed, local municipalities can ban them.
--> Nancy McLain's (R-Bullhead City) bill (which was my bill for the previous two years) to require booster seats for children in vehicles under age 9 and under 4'9". This should provide dramatic decreases in the seriousness of kids' auto-related injuries. Yahoo! There are bright spots!
--> Frank Antenori's (R-NotTucson) bill to widen the definition of an intersection in an effort to allow more people to get away with running red lights.
--> Al Melvin's (R-Saddlebrooke) bill to instruct the state to summarily seize all federal land in Arizona.
--> Sylvia Allen's (R-Snowflake) bill to make it a state crime for state or local law enforcement officials to enforce Federal law, including the U.S. Constitution. Note also that her bill to create a Special Missions Unit untrained all-volunteer paramilitary force never was brought up for a final vote, and thus died.
--> Steve Smith's (R-Maricopa) bill to limit state spending to increases in inflation -- his version of TABOR, the right-wing gimmick that nearly bankrupted the state of Colorado.
That closes the book on the 50th Arizona Legislature, although we may have a few special sessions in the offing just to keep the supermajority alive for a last hurrah. I don;t know about you, but I'm really looking forward to the 51st.
Since session is over, the off-session monthly schedule for the Farley Report will return so as not to overburden your emailboxes. I may send you brief campaign newsbits from time to time, but will remain respectful of your time and only communicate when it is really important.
Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.