AZ Senate President Steve Pierce Endorses Jonathan Paton

April 4, 2012

As Senate President, I’ve worked hard to fight for the needs of rural and Northern Arizona in our Legislature, especially as the federal government continues to pass down policies that hurt our businesses and trample on our 10th Amendment rights.

But there’s only so much we can do here as long as Washington remains out-of-touch.

That’s why today I’m endorsing Jonathan Paton in Arizona’s new Congressional District 1. I hope you will join me in working hard to make sure he’s our next Congressman.

Jonathan is a good friend and a solid conservative, who will be a check-and-balance on Washington’s ways. 

A lot of politicians get elected and forget where they come from. Jonathan won’t.

Please join me in not just supporting Jonathan, but working together to get him elected.

Many thanks,

Steve Pierce
President
Arizona State Senate
(R – Yavapai, Coconino)

Arizona to Ban “Annoying” Behavior on the Internet

by Rachel Alexander
Townhall.com

You and I may not use profanity in our Facebook posts, but what about that crazy relative who puts up the funniest posts that sometimes cross the line? Almost no one approves of swearing, but with the exception of broadcasting during daytime TV and radio, it is not illegal. Now new legislation in Arizona would effectively make swearing on the internet a crime.
Sponsored by Democrats and liberal Republicans, Arizona House Bill 2549 passed both the House and Senate almost unanimously last week, and has gone back to the House for a minor change before being sent to Governer Jan Brewer to sign. The relevant part states:
It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.
It expands Arizona anti-harassment laws beyond telephones and to the internet. The problem with this is that one person specifically telephoning another person is not the same thing as an anonymous comment on the internet. This kind of behavior goes on all the time on the internet. Every day on political blogs and news sites, some commenters get a little out of hand, and most website editors handle the problem by stepping in and deleting the offensive comments or leaving a comment warning people to tame their comments.
Words like “annoy” and “offend” are vague and could be interpreted broadly to prevent someone from simply engaging in political debate. What one person considers profanity another might not. Is the word “sucks” a swear word? What about “b.s.?” Plenty of families find those acceptable, while others do not. Even anonymous commenters could be liable, if an internet provider produces records tracing their IP address.
There is no way this legislation will survive a First Amendment challenge in court. The government cannot flat out ban all swear words, which is effectively what this legislation does in the internet realm. The courts have already carefully decided when and under what circumstances the FCC may prohibit swear words on broadcast TV and radio, and even those restrictions are now being reconsidered. Consider all the swear words on TV and in movies. Then think of what a mammoth task it would be policing the entire internet for swear words that reportedly annoy or offend someone, and to come up with the additional resources necessary to prosecute them. Anyone could get into a political debate with someone on a political website, use one swear word in their comments, and be considered violating the law. My own political website, IntellectualConservative.com, is technically full of violators. This is troubling since political debate is the bedrock of our country, Constitution and the First Amendment.

Arizona needs to take a comprehensive look at the tax code

By Stephen Slivinski

Tax policy is often like looking at a pointillist painting – stare closely at only a section, and you don’t have a sense of the whole picture. But when you back up, the picture comes into a focus.

Governor Brewer recently signed into law HB 2123 which will help policymakers and the public stand back and take a much-needed look at all the elements of the tax code at once.

The law creates a tax reform commission for Arizona that will be required to issue a report by October. The commission will take a look at how well or poorly the current system works overall relative to desired economic outcomes and the need to fund the government.

I know what you’re thinking, “oh good; another government commission.” But, other states, such as Georgia, have convened a similar sort of commission, and in many cases, the committee hearings and the resulting reports have motivated a healthy debate about the best sort of tax system the state should have. And that’s a good thing.

Too often, tax changes are made on an ad hoc basis or by voters at the ballot box based on political whim. Additionally, tinkering in one part of the tax code – usually by making exceptions for certain types of businesses – can lead to unintended consequences and pressures to keep taxes high on other business and industries.

Fundamental tax reform necessarily starts with a broad approach. The piecemeal fashion the Legislature and voters pursue now leads to relatively high tax rates and a narrower tax base. In other words, high taxes on some, low taxes on others, and a growing constituency of beneficiaries – whether it be special interest lobbyists, tax accountants, or legislators hoping to woo a certain type of business or industry – entrenches the current tax system and might even make it worse.

The first step in reforming the tax code is to view it in its entirety. Commissions are a common way to do that and they also help policymakers and the public understand what’s broken and – perhaps most important – whether any taxes should be substantially reformed, reduced, or terminated to help create jobs and raise family incomes.

Stephen Slivinski is senior economist with the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Arizona must choose the right path on tax policy

Goldwater Institute: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Forces: States Can Spark Business Creation, Attract Venture Capital Investment, and Increase Job Growth by Eliminating Taxation of Capital Gains

Goldwater Institute: Investing in Arizona: How the Legislature Can Get Arizona’s Economy Moving Again by Reducing the Barriers to Investment and Job Creation

Senate President Steve Pierce Endorses Jonathan Paton in CD-1

As Senate President, I’ve worked hard to fight for the needs of rural and Northern Arizona in our Legislature, especially as the federal government continues to pass down policies that hurt our businesses and trample on our 10th Amendment rights.

But there’s only so much we can do here as long as Washington remains out-of-touch.

That’s why today I’m endorsing Jonathan Paton in Arizona’s new Congressional District 1. I hope you will join me in working hard to make sure he’s our next Congressman.

Jonathan is a good friend and a solid conservative, who will be a check-and-balance on Washington’s ways.

A lot of politicians get elected and forget where they come from. Jonathan won’t.

Please join me in not just supporting Jonathan, but working together to get him elected.

Many thanks,

Steve Pierce
President, Arizona State Senate
(R – Yavapai, Coconino)

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City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton Expands Efforts for LGBT Agenda

An article appears in the Arizona Republic this morning describing Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s latest drive to expand city authority in the area of  “sexual orientation” discrimination.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s aides and a group of attorneys are working to draft ordinances that could outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. 

The aides and attorneys believe that if rewritten, city laws would also give victims of such discrimination in restaurants and other businesses an opportunity to file complaints with the city’s Equal Opportunity Department for investigation — an option they currently do not have.

The effort comes as the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel near Van Buren and Third streets tries to recover from threats of boycott by the gay community over a decision by the manager of the hotel’s District American Kitchen & Wine Bar to expel a lesbian couple in late February. 

The hotel is owned by the city and managed under the Sheraton brand through a contract with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. 

Despite the incident at the hotel restaurant, the city’s Equal Opportunity Department, tasked with investigating discrimination complaints by workers or customers at businesses, has received no complaints of discrimination over sexual orientation or gender identity at downtown hotels. 

The department cannot investigate or respond to such complaints anyway because the city has not outlawed discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders. Such protections exist for the disabled and for ethnic minorities in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodations like hotels and restaurants. 

Stanton’s policy adviser, Brendan Mahoney is leading the mayor’s charge to address any gaps in the city’s human-rights protections. 

He has convened a group of attorneys — some from gay-rights organizations — who are analyzing the city code to determine how the laws could be amended to ensure equal rights for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Mahoney said that, while the incident at the hotel restaurant “certainly brought the issue to the forefront,” the timing of the city effort is coincidental.

“This issue was on the mayor’s agenda,” he said.

“This issue was on the mayor’s agenda,” he said. (read entire article)

A few items for discussion here:

Should this even be considered an issue, let alone, a high priority issue for the City of Phoenix and Mayor Stanton? Is this even a serious problem for the City of Phoenix or will it be perceived as an effort to promote LGBT issues?

Was the Arizona Republic article fair or even necessary?

Any sound minded critical thinking person can argue the position that any property or asset the city owns is controlled by the City Council. (He who pays the piper, calls the tune.) But should this effort extend to non-governmental stakeholders or private property owners?

Would these efforts extend to segments of the faith-based community such as Evangelical churches, orthodox Jewish or Muslim mosques? For example, would these faith-based communities be prohibited from using city parking or other assets unless they adopt policies that codify sexual orientation into their bylaws?

Don’t get me wrong. I am sensitive to this issue (family members) and actually prefer that the government stay entirely out of this arena, but is this issue forcing itself to center stage unnecessarily? Is the LGBT community overextending their efforts on this? It’s no secret that Equality Arizona invested itself into the Phoenix Mayor’s election in 2011. Was that on purpose in order to use the City of Phoenix as a platform to push its agenda?

Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. Please be respectful.

Senator Pat Toomey Endorses David Schweikert For Congress

(Scottsdale) Today, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) endorsed David Schweikert for reelection to Congress in Arizona’s CD6.

“Congressman Schweikert is one of the great defenders of liberty in the U.S. Congress,” Senator Toomey said.

“In his first term in office, I have worked closely with him to help craft legislation that will create jobs, reduce burdensome regulations and cut wasteful federal spending. I am supporting him for reelection because we need people like David in Congress fighting for Arizona and the country.”

Rep. Schweikert made the following statement after Senator Toomey endorsed his campaign for Congress.

“From his work in the House of Representatives, to the Club for Growth, to the U.S. Senate, Pat has been a role model and champion for limited government and personal freedom.

“Perhaps one of the greatest honors I have had in my short time in Washington is serving alongside Pat in the fight for a balanced budget, economic growth, and capital formation.

“I am proud to not only consider Senator Toomey a supporter, but to call him my friend,” said Congressman David Schweikert.

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