Ducey Wants to Flatten the Curve, Not Shutdown the Great Outdoors

By Calamity June

On Monday, March 30th, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order suggesting Arizonans “stay home, stay healthy and stay connected.”  Governor Ducey went on to state Arizonans should “limit their time away from home and if they do go out, to ensure social distancing.”  Finally, Arizonans are “staying home because it’s the right thing to do.”  Governor Ducey remarked, “when you use words like shelter in place, that’s what happens during a nuclear attack.”

This means our state’s hiking trails and parks can remain open for people to enjoy and get some exercise as long as we all practice physical distancing.  

During his news conference, Ducey listed off “essential services,” and stressed how the grocery store’s shelves would remain stocked and drug stores would remain open.  Restaurants would still be open for takeout and delivery.  Furthermore, he encouraged people to only purchase a week’s worth of groceries. As President Donald Trump and others have noted, the supply chain is operable and there is no reason to hoard anything.  Don’t be greedy. 

This means our state’s hiking trails and parks can remain open for people to enjoy and get some exercise as long as we all practice physical distancing.  

US Senator Kyrsten Sinema had a phone call earlier in the day on Monday 30th with a lot of the liberal mayors in Arizona pushing them to defy Governor Ducey and issue their own “shelter in place” order. After the mayors’ call, the mayor of Phoenix issued her own directive to close all of Phoenix’s hiking trails.  

Fortunately, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio embodies the duty to present the calm during COVID-19.  God Bless Councilman DiCiccio for pushing back against Mayor Gallego every time she has pushed to shut down anything in Phoenix.  

Listen to Councilman DiCiccio on Seth Leibsohn’s March 31st radio show.  As you will hear, Councilman DiCiccio remarked how the city isn’t sanitizing the light rail or the buses. Why aren’t they closing public transportation? Why does the mayor want to close our parks and hiking trails?  It doesn’t add up.

On April 1st, City Hall is scheduled to vote on closing the city’s parks, including its hiking trails.  Also, according to the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation’s website, the mayor has decided unilaterally to temporarily close the city’s playgrounds, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and sports complexes in its public parks effective Tuesday, March 31st at 5pm until further notice.

Being on a hiking trail in the Phoenix sun is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy.  Practice safe social distancing. Being outdoors is good for one’s health and wellness. It even states as much on Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation Department’s website. Be sure to call City Hall and let them know you want to keep our parks and hiking trails open during COVID-19.

Goldwater Institute: The Arizona Department of Education’s Latest Epic Fail

Matt Beienburg, Director of Education, Goldwater Institute

Last week brought news that the Arizona Department of Education had inadvertently released the personal information of the nearly 7,000 families who make use of Empowerment Savings Accounts (ESA). And it’s not the first time the Department has mishandled the ESA program, a program that helps so many children—many of them with special needs—get the customized education they need to succeed.

On Monday, it was revealed that the Department released a spreadsheet that included the account balances of every ESA account in the state, along with the names, email addresses, and other personal information of the nearly 7,000 parents with ESA accounts. Not only was the spreadsheet containing the sensitive information sent to the Yellow Sheet Report, but it was also shared with Save Our Schools, a group that has been an outspoken opponent of ESAs.

Unfortunately, this latest epic fail on the part of the state Department of Education is part of a pattern of poor management of the ESA program. Earlier in January, the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Education’s long delays in supplying needed funds to which ESA families are entitled—delays long enough to force parents to pay out of pocket for tutoring and teaching tools that their ESA should cover without the possibility of reimbursement. While requiring families to follow its ESA rules to the letter, the Department of Education’s handling of the ESA program has still resulted in unpredictable and arbitrary outcomes for families—for instance, some families have been rejected for certain ESA expenses while others have been approved for the very same expenses.

“Mistakes do happen, but I don’t think that’s good enough as an excuse. That doesn’t undo the damage, the harm to these families,” Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg said of the privacy breach on KJZZ’s “The Show.” “These are families with deeply personal life circumstances, these are kids with special needs diagnoses, and this information is now essentially made available to be dragged out into the public.

“For the Department to have treated these families this way saying ‘we have zero tolerance for any misstep’ and to then make a massive blunder like this is really revealing.”

Listen to the interview here: https://theshow.kjzz.org/sites/default/files/ade-data-breach-show-sg-mb-20200129.mp3?uuid=5e3b8ffd9e654

Matt Beienburg is Director of Education at the Goldwater Institute. You can read his bio here.

Rep. Petersen Introduces Bill to Stop Rollovers of K-12 Funding

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-12) issued a statement today regarding legislation he has introduced for the 2020 session that would amend the state constitution to prohibit K-12 rollovers, ensuring that education funding is delivered to our schools on time, and in full. A rollover represents a deferral of the payment from the year in which the obligation was incurred to the next fiscal year.

Rep Warren Petersen
Rep. Warren Petersen (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

“In the mid-2000s, Arizona implemented budget gimmicks like K-12 rollovers to counter poor fiscal decisions and a faltering economy,” said Representative Petersen.  “Fortunately, under conservative leadership, Arizona has righted its fiscal ship and the economy is strong.  But we need to be prepared for a future downturn.  Arizona has taken some excellent decisions like paying off debt and amassing a billion-dollar rainy day fund.  Now it’s time to eliminate the K-12 rollover and prevent future utilization.  A statutory change would be too easy to go around.  That’s why I have introduced a constitutional amendment to prohibit the deferment of K-12 payments from one budget year to the next.”

OHPI: Trump Impeachment – A Closer Look

Impeachment is a hot-button issue with high engagement among Arizonans

PHOENIX (Nov. 14, 2019) – Arizona’s registered Hispanic voters want to see Trump Impeached but the president’s main base, white male voters, are sticking with him a new poll shows.

A majority of Arizona’s Hispanic voters would like to see the president impeached and removed with 57% in favor, 37% against. Among non-Hispanic voters, only 39% favor impeachment and removal and 49% are against impeachment.

“Hispanics make up nearly one-third of Arizona’s total population and they are becoming more engaged at the ballot box,” said Mike Noble, Chief of Research and Managing Partner of Phoenix-based research company OH Predictive Insights. 

When it comes to gender, the divides are less clear. A slim majority of male registered voters in Arizona believe that Trump should not be impeached — 51%. While women are evenly split with 44% of female voters thinking that Trump should be impeached and removed and 44% thinking he shouldn’t be.

There are also differences among Arizona’s electorate on the impeachment question by age. By a 5-point margin, voters aged 54 and under believe that Trump should be impeached and removed. On the other hand, by a 17-point margin, more voters 55 and older think that the president should not be impeached and removed from office than think he should be.

Another constituency key with which Donald Trump will need to do well to win reelection in 2020 are voters who live in Maricopa County. Nearly 6 out of every 10 votes that are cast on election day comes from this county and in 2016 it voted for President Trump over Hillary Clinton by roughly 7 points. According to this poll, 46% of registered voters in Maricopa County would like to see Trump impeached and removed from office while only 42% would like him to stay in office.

Among regions in Arizona, Maricopa County has the highest level of support for impeachment. In Pima County, 51% of voters do not want President Trump to be impeached and removed compared to 41% who do. The president is viewed more favorably in the rest of Arizona, voters are against his impeachment by a 2-to-1 margin.

On another note, many Arizonans are engaged in the impeachment issue. For example, 43% of respondents have discussed the issue with someone else, 39% have watched more news on TV, and 30% have researched the issue online.

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MethodologyThis survey was conducted via an online opt-in panel. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights between October 31, 2019, and November 8, 2019 with respondents self-qualifying as registered to vote in Arizona. The sample is weighted to accurately reflect Arizona voter registration by region, party affiliation, gender, and age. The sample size was 900 completed surveys, with an MoE of ± 3.27%. Numbers may not total 100%, due to rounding.

Stephanie Grisham, the silent spokeswoman

Having been with the administration from the beginning and a significant portion of the campaign, one would expect that Arizonan Stephanie Grisham would have understood what she was getting her self into with Donald Trump and Company. But since relieving Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the post, the new White House Spokeswoman has been unusually quiet.

In a recent Politico article, Grisham is said to be mulling over changes to the White House communications team and, catching up on the huge array of policy positions and affixing her nameplate to her office door.

Why Grisham has chosen a strategic silence is political journalistic speculation. Since her arrival, the President has escalated his unconventional hands-on messaging to a new and offensive level. Grisham is wise enough to know its not in her best interest to try and control the messaging of someone who thrives on having their ego front and center.

Rep Bob Thorpe Deserves Better

The Republican Primary in Arizona’s LD-6 Senate race has taken some unconventional twists and turns. Turns, because State Senator Sylvia Allen, drawn to spend more time with her children and family in Snowflake, decided not to seek re-election earlier this year but then suddenly changed her mind, some say not by choice and under a lot of pressure by operatives. Twists, because GOP “leaders” and self-appointed kingmakers in the district are rumored to have issued primary support and endorsements to keep Allen in the race.

In the House, Representative Bob Thorpe is term-limited and planning to seek the Senate nomination and seat in 2020. The primary was already set between Thorpe and Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers until Allen did an about-face.

State Representative Bob Thorpe

According to reliable sources, Republican donors and activists met in Payson on June 15th behind closed doors where they decided to intervene in the primary against all Republican standards and practices. During the meeting led by Sedona Republicans Dwight and Andrea Kadar, Thorpe was asked to leave the room while Allen remained. Under tremendous pressure, Allen was told to get back in the race as she fought back tears.

What emerged was an endorsement of Sylvia Allen; a dictate not to support Thorpe through money and manpower; and likely, State Senate and House leadership support to help Allen win the primary (probably through a rare employed primary PAC committee). Thorpe’s political consultant even bailed on him and is probably expected to run (and benefit) from the leadership PAC against Thorpe.

Apparently, party leaders are trying to clear the field for Sylvia Allen in order to make it easier for her to keep the seat.

State Senator Sylvia Allen (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

What is ironic in all this is Sylvia Allen (who this blog is actually a fan of) and her promoters should remember how party leadership treated her back in 2010 when a handful of Eastern Arizona “kingmakers” tried to run her out of the Republican Primary in LD-5. At the time, Allen who had replaced the late Jake Flake and won the seat in 2008, was challenged by Bill Konopnicki. Party leadership wanted Allen out and Konopnicki in but the voters saw things differently. After her two-year term, Allen returned to local government as a county supervisor while rancher Chester Crandell ran and won the seat in 2012.

In August, 2014, State Senator Chester Crandell died suddenly in a horseback riding incident. Allen was chosen to replace Crandell on the ballot where she was once again elected to the Arizona State Senate.

But this post is not about Sylvia. It’s about Bob Thorpe and how he has every right to run for the seat without party leadership’s heavy-handedness. And while this blog has been critical of Thorpe’s legislation, the self-appointed LD-6 political kingmakers should back off, stop pressuring Sylvia to stick around and to let the race play out. Bob Thorpe deserves better and a shot at the nomination. We hope he stays in the race.

Vote NO Against Bob Thorpe’s Amendment to HB2269

Rep Bob Thorpe
Rep Bob Thorpe

Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe has snuck in a bill that would limit who could serve in the Arizona Legislature. The Flagstaff Republican used a strike everything maneuver to scrap a bill that would have provided funding for DPS officers who live in remote areas.

Now the strike everything amendment, HB2269, will impose serious limitations on who can serve in the Arizona Legislature based on “physical domicile residency.”

Thorpe’s “striker” bill states that anyone seeking to serve in the Arizona Legislature must physically be domiciled in the jurisdiction for 75% of the year preceding the filing date to seek the office. In other words, 274 days before a candidate files for the legislature, he/she must be physically living in their address within the district.

This is bad public policy and anyone who holds a decent understanding of constitutional law knows physical domicile requirements are absurd and won’t hold up in court.

Imagine a teacher from Prescott who returns home to Legislative District 1 from an overseas mission trip where she taught English for a year and was able to vote as an overseas registered Prescott voter. Although she has been registered to vote for three plus years and meets the residency requirements to serve, Thorpe’s law would automatically disqualified her to serve in the Legislature.

This bad public policy would disqualify many good and qualified individuals. Here is a brief list of who could be affected:

  • Missionaries
  • Members of the military
  • International NGO Aid workers
  • Airline workers
  • Maritime workers
  • Long haul truckers
  • Border Patrol employees
  • Overseas contractors
  • Wildland Firefighters
  • Exchange students
  • Business travelers
  • Individuals who take extended vacations

The list goes on…

Several years ago, my friend Jonathan Paton ran for the legislature in southern Arizona’s LD-30. Jonathan had also volunteered for the Army Reserves in 1999. In 2006, Uncle Sam finally came calling activating 2nd Lt. Paton for duty to Iraq. He left in August for six months but still won re-election and returned to the Legislature in February, 2007. Leading up to his activation, Jonathan had to prepare and train and that took him outside of his district. The same is the case for many military reservists who balance serving in the military against serving in the legislature.

Last week, Thorpe’s amendment to HB2269 received a do pass recommendation from the Senate Appropriations Committee with a 6-3 vote. Unfortunately, the bill advanced and is scheduled for further action and more votes in the House and Senate.

There is still time to contact your state senator and representatives and tell them to vote against Thorpe’s amendment to HB2269. The legislation is bad policy and it disenfranchises and disqualifies highly qualified people from seeking a seat in the Arizona Legislature.

Call your legislators today and tell them vote NO on Thorpe’s striker amendment to HB2269.

Babies deserve every chance at life!

Stop the shameful repeal of their protection!

The time to stop the latest move by pro-abortion advocates is today. Last week, 17 members of the Arizona House introduced HB 2696. The bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday morning.  HB 2696 would repeal lifesaving measures for babies born alive during an abortion attempt, a law that has been on the books for 44 years.

Pro-life lawmakers learned two years ago of real life situations where babies born alive during attempted abortions were left to suffer and die. Legislators took action to strengthen the 1975 law, requiring updated reporting and equipment standards.

Now, some Arizona lawmakers want to do away with the entire law dating back 44 years. This would free abortion providers from their obligation to use all available means and medical skill to save the life of a baby born alive during an abortion attempt.

Please stand with us in protecting babies who survive abortions.

We’ve made it easy for you to contact your legislator and affirm that every baby born alive deserves every chance at life.

Your Representatives will soon have to make a decision on HB 2696!

We need your help! Click here to contact your lawmaker today to voice your opposition to this shameful repeal.

Action Needed:

  1. Click here to contact your two state representatives today. Ask them to oppose the HB 2696 in order to protect women and their babies.
  2. Forward this email to a friend and invite them to also contact their lawmakers.
  3. Pray! Pray that state legislators stop the ratification of the ERA.

Representative Mark Finchem Introduces Bill to Create Teacher Code of Ethics Prohibiting Political Advocacy in the Classroom

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Mark Finchem (R-11) has introduced legislation (HB 2002) that requires the State Board of Education, in coordination with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to create a code of ethics for teachers that prohibits political, ideological, or religious advocacy in the classroom. While the practice is already prohibited in Arizona State Statutes, there is no code of conduct or code of ethics.

“HB 2002 is a response to many calls from parents to end political activity in the classroom,” said Representative Finchem. “I respect the important role that teachers play in society, but this is a parental authority matter. If parents want to shape the political views of their children, that is their right. However, it is not the proper role of the state and, by extension, teachers.”

“I have good friends who are teachers and they tell me that although they do not promote political agendas in their classrooms, some of their peers do.A code of ethics prohibiting political activity in the classroom shouldn’t be an issue if that behavior isn’t presently happening. But where it is, it needs to come to an end.”

Latest Poll Shows Martha McSally Narrowly Leads in US Senate Race

Democratic Surge in Early Ballots has Tightened the Race

PHOENIX (Nov. 5, 2018) – The latest poll from OH Predictive Insights and ABC15 Arizona (ABC15/OHPI) shows that Martha McSally, Arizona’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, has a one-point lead over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, with 49 percent of the vote. Green candidate Angela Green receives zero percent of the vote, down from one percent since our last poll. Since dropping out, Green no longer has the Election Day Independent voters, who we saw her take more of in a previous OHPI poll(8%).


The survey was conducted November 2 to November 3, 2018 with a sample of 631 respondents qualified as likely voters. All live-callers were used to collect the sample, yielding a +/-3.9% MOE.

“Arizona is seeing a historic midterm election turnout and Democratic voters are defying past historic early voting trends,” said Mike Noble, Chief Pollster and Managing Partner of Phoenix-based research company OH Predictive Insights. “The race has tightened and it’s fitting that the winner will be decided based on who can best turn out out their voters on Election Day.”

Since our last poll, conducted on October 22, the largest change has been the late return of a surge of Democratic ballots in Pima County. This is done by a bloc of Democratic voters who we were unsure would turn out in the general election: Steve Farley Democrats. This group is considered new primary voters who voted for Farley and not David Garcia in the Arizona primary election: OHPI analyzed them in September.

Farley Democrats started returning their ballots en masse within the last two days of early voting, especially standing out in Pima County with a ten-point Democratic advantage of 43 percent. In Maricopa County, the largest county in the state with 60 percent of the electorate, Republicans also have a ten-point lead with 43 percent. This indicates a lagging Hispanic turnout with engaged white Democrats, which is a trend OHPI was looking for and did not see materialize until recently.

The key comes down to Sinema’s voters being more energized, while Republicans need to turn out their voters on Election Day. OHPI found that 88 percent of Sinema’s voters have already turned in their ballots, while only 70 percent of McSally’s voters have done the same. This is ultimately a breakdown by region, where 86 percent of Pima County’s voters have already voted. Only 74 percent of those in the rural areas have done so, with more being Democrats.

A Republican turnout operation will be crucial to combat Democratic excitement. While many more of the votes for Sinema are already cast and guaranteed, McSally needs to pin her votes down and solidify them.

Methodology: This all live-caller survey was conducted via 50% cell and 50% landline poll. The poll was completed by OH Predictive Insights on November 2, 2018 and November 3, 2018, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, gender, region, and age. The sample size was 631 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 3.9%. Numbers may not total 100%, due to rounding. Poll report for the General Election poll can be viewed here.