VIDEO: What is Arizona’s Prop 123?

The first video by supporters of Prop 123 has debuted. Watch as parents and teachers explain what Prop 123 is and why they are supporting it on May 17th.

SOS Michele Reagan Refers AZGOP Complaint to AG Mark Brnovich

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan has pushed forward a complaint to the Attorney General Mark Brnovich regarding a complaint filed by the Arizona Republican Party related to a political committee headed by former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson. The complaint alleges that Johnson’s political committee, “Open Nonpartisan Elections” or ONE, violated reporting requirements when it failed to report a $10,000 political contribution from Jeff Covill.

Secretary Reagan also did not find reasonable cause regarding other political contributions and expenditures received and made by a parallel 501(c)4 organization registered under the same name. That complaint alleged that the non-profit organization was involved in electioneering when it received a $100,000 donation from Open Primaries and hired the Phoenix-based political firm HighGround. Donations and expenditures $10,000 or greater are required to be reported within 24 hours of receipt.

The matter now proceeds to the Attorney General’s Office where it will be litigated.

To read Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s letter of reasonable cause, click here.

Sen Sylvia Allen: Common Sense is Needed! (On Refugee Policy)

Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen

These are dangerous times in Arizona and across the world. The terror in Paris and San Bernardino are reminders that evil can appear anywhere, and anytime. One of the terrorists in Paris entered Europe embedded in a group of Syrian refugees. One of the killers in California entered the United States under something called a “fiancé visa’, after being radicalized. No matter what precautions we try to take in the U.S. to keep our citizens safe, it seems there will always be criminals and terrorists able to avoid detection.

That’s why I support Governor Ducey’s effort to be sure that Arizona has a say in who is brought here.  It will be Arizona taxpayers who will need to help fund these refugee families, and it will be Arizona families who will be harmed if terrorists fall through the vetting cracks and end up in our state.    It is Governor Ducey’s responsibility to protect the health, welfare and safety of Arizona’s citizens.

America is a welcoming country, and it will continue to be, but we also must use vigilance and common sense when we determine who can enter our great country. When it comes to Muslim refugees, we should not only base our decision on what is best for us, but what is also best for them.

Many Muslims live under Sharia Law.  Islam is a political system as well as a religious system and Sharia Law is at the center of that system.  Our Constitutional form of government is in direct opposition.  Would they not be happier in a country that better reflects their beliefs?   Balancing compassion with common sense would tell America that we should help relocate these refugees in other Muslim countries.

Glenn Beck, through his charity Mercury One, has just relocated 149 Christian refugees from Iraq to Slovakia.  Thousands of Americans donated to Beck’s charity to fund the relocation.   Since the US is not allowing Christian refugees (why aren’t we???), Beck found a country who would take them. Close to 500 refugees had been planned for relocation, but the United Nations and the European Union put heavy pressure on Slovakia to stop taking the Christian refugees.

In 1980, my Tenney extended family sponsored a Hmong family.  That program required fellow Americans to take responsibility in finding housing, employment and all their other needs.   The family we helped was a father, mother, three girls and a grandmother.  They lived at my mother’s house, and I helped get the girls into school and found a job for the father.   These refugees were being targeted because the father had fought on the side of America in the Vietnam War.  The Communist governments that took over South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia swept through those countries, killing millions.  Today, this family lives in California, and the girls have all graduated and are good productive citizens.  It was very rewarding for me to help this family.  I am not against helping people in need.

Common sense is needed.   Our lives, as well as the lives of the refugees, depend on it.

Senator Sylvia Tenney Allen
President Pro Tempore, Arizona State Senate

Rep Warren Petersen: Punish Public Officials Who Abuse Taxpayer Monies

Warren PetersenIn case you missed it, Representative Warren Petersen held a press conference on Monday preempting a bill he plans to introduce that will punish public officials who wrongfully misallocate tax dollars and then try to grab pension, severance pay or other benefits on their way out of public service.

Petersen’s bill comes in response to Phoenix ValleyMetro’s CEO Stephen Banta resigning with an annuity of $265,000 after he was exposed using taxpayer dollars to for lavish expenses.

Representative Petersen released the following statement:

I want to thank you for coming out today.  Recently there has been a lot of coverage about the scandal that has occurred at Valley Metro.  Apparently an employee has misappropriated sacred taxpayer dollars.  While this has received a lot of attention, this is certainly not the first case of this in the state of Arizona.  There have been various incidents over the years of public officials using public funds to enrich themselves rather than serve the public good.  Clearly there is neither a sufficient deterrent nor oversight in place to prevent such malfeasance.  Worse we have learned all too often that those who are caught and terminated, leave with lavish payouts, annuities, pensions and other benefits.  

Termination from a high position in government should not be like winning the lotto.  Rewarding someone for bad behavior can only encourage more of the same.  This is unacceptable and the current way of doing things has change.  It is for this reason that I will be working with council member Dicicio and introduce legislation to prevent this from happening in the future.  What I will be proposing is that any public employee who is caught misappropriating tax dollars shall be ineligible for any severance pay, annuity, pension or other benefit.  Furthermore to add a layer of oversight and accountability I will make sure that any taxpayer will have standing in such an event.  The problem with the oversight of a 30 member board is this.  When 30 people are responsible for something, nobody is responsible.  All too often a watchdog citizen or journalist will do a much better job than a 30 member board.  We believe this will be a strong deterrent for malfeasance and a merited penalty for those who violate the law.  

We only hear about the people who are caught.  There is no doubt that there are many who go unpunished.  If there is no punishment we are just going to have faith that people will do the right thing for the sake of doing what’s right.  And there are plenty of people who are doing the right.  This legislation is not for them nor anything they need to worry.  However those who are engaged in illicit behavior will soon have something to cause them to think twice before they squander taxpayer funds.

Petersen was also joined by Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio during the press conference. DiCiccio has been a longtime reformer fighting and exposing corruption in city government.

Dial “D” for Disappointing

Jeff Dial D

Dear Arizona Taxpayer:

You may not know Arizona state Senator Jeff Dial.  But his disappointing record on fiscal policy issues affects you and your family. CONTACT DIAL NOW to TAKE ACTION.  Or join AFP-Arizona’s field teams (info below) as we go door-to-door in Dial’s district, letting taxpayers in his district know about his record:

— Senator Dial voted against Governor Doug Ducey’s fiscally conservative balanced budget.  His failure to support the budget almost caused the state to spend millions of dollars we can’t afford.

— Senator Dial single-handedly blocked passage of the Truth in Spending budget transparency bill, by not even allowing the bill to be heard in his committee.

— Senator Dial scored 47 percent on AFP-Arizona’s 2016 Legislative Scorecard, earning him the designation of “Friend of Big Government.”

— Senator Dial’s cumulative score on the Legislative Scorecard is 51 percent, earning him the designation of “Needs Improvement.”

The 2016 legislative session that begins in January will give Senator Dial another chance to get it right and vote for fiscally conservative policies.   Tell Senator Dial to stop listening to the teacher unions and the Big Spenders and start listening to the hard-working taxpayers in his district.

Use THIS LINK to TAKE ACTION and contact Senator Dial.

To join our field teams for door canvassing action in Dial’s district (Ahwatukee/Tempe/West Chandler), contact Leslie White atlwhite@afphq.org

For Liberty & Prosperity,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
tjenney@afphq.org

Paid for by Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest free-market grassroots organization.  To get on our email list and help us encourage Senator Dial do the right thing, contact us at infoAZ@afphq.org or (602) 478-0146.

AG Mark Brnovich Files Petition to Remove Commissioner Bitter Smith From Office

Brnovich

Phoenix, AZ – Attorney General Mark Brnovich today filed a Petition for Special Action to remove Arizona Corporation Commissioner (“Commissioner”) Susan Bitter Smith from office. The Petition filed this morning in the Arizona Supreme Court is the result of an ongoing investigation regarding an alleged violation of a conflict of interest statute. The Attorney General’s Office alleges Bitter Smith is ineligible to hold office because of her conflict of interest as a registered lobbyist and executive for a trade association of cable companies regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”).

“Arizonans deserve fair and impartial regulators,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We filed this case today to protect the integrity of the Commission and to restore the faith of Arizona voters in the electoral process. Arizona law clearly prohibits a Commissioner from receiving substantial compensation from companies regulated by the Commission.”

On September 2, 2015, the Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) launched an investigation into Bitter Smith after receiving a formal complaint against her. The AGO investigation found Bitter Smith receives over $150,000 per year for her trade association work, on top of her $79,500 salary as a Commissioner.  Arizona State Statute 40-101 prohibits Commissioners from being employed by or holding an official relationship to companies regulated by the Commission. The law also prohibits Commissioners from having a financial interest in regulated companies. Section 40-101 promotes ethics in government and prevents conflicts of interest.

Bitter Smith is the executive director and designated lobbyist for the Southwest Cable Communications Association, a trade association for cable companies in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. She is also registered as a lobbyist for two affiliates of Cox Communications. The other members of the trade association regulated by the Commission are affiliates of Comcast, Suddenlink, and Time Warner.  Bitter Smith’s salary constitutes 40-percent of SWCCA’s budget. She works as a “CEO” over all of SWCCA’s operational aspects and as its designated and only lobbyist.

The Commission regulates many public utilities in Arizona, including local telephone providers. Because cable companies or their affiliates offer telephone service, often as part of a “bundle” with television and Internet, they are regulated by the Commission. Commissioners are representatives of the people, elected to office with specific constitutional and statutory duties. They must be free of conflicts both at the point of election and during tenure in office. Bitter Smith’s conflicts existed at the time of her election in 2012 and continue to exist today, therefore, she cannot remedy them and must be removed from office.

For a copy of the Petition for Special Action, CLICK HERE.

For a look at the exhibits attached to the Petition, CLICK HERE.

Senator Carlyle Begay Joins Republican Party

Monday, Senator Carlyle announced his evolution to the Republican Party.

The former Democrat senator from Ganado, Arizona made the switch “with a clear mind and heart” because families in rural Arizona are in a crisis with unemployment as high as 80% and infrastructure is “wasting away.” Many native Americans are without electricity and clean running water. Native American teens have the highest high school drop out rate and sadly, one of the highest suicide rates.

Democrats have done nothing to alleviate or fix these problems.

In his video statement, Begay asserts, “change must happen now.”

Senator Begay joined the Republican Party because he sees it as the party of progress and opportunity. Republicans have done more to offer solutions and build a positive future for those Begay represents.

This short video describes Begay’s evolution to the GOP and reinforces the idea that Republicans are about addition and multiplication and not subtraction and division.

Congratulations Senator Carlyle Begay! Welcome to the Republican Party!

Gov. Ducey’s Republican Education Plan Earns Support of AZ Democratic Party Leader

AZGOPBanner
Ducey Plan Solves One of Arizona’s Oldest and Most Politically Controversial Issues: Education Funding
PHOENIX – This morning Chairman Robert Graham of the Arizona Republican Party congratulated his counterpart, Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron, on her announcement yesterday of her support of Gov. Doug Ducey’s Education Funding Plan. The measure, Proposition 123, will be on the ballot in May of 2016. If approved by voters it will increase K-12 funding by $3.5 billion over the next ten years.
 
“Governor Ducey is a true leader, and he’s put together a plan to address one of Arizona’s most difficult and controversial issues without putting more pressure on hardworking taxpayers,” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham. “Even the Democrat leadership knows a great leader with a great idea when they see one, and we’re happy to see more and more Democrat Party leaders acknowledge the hard work of our Republican legislature and Governor Ducey, and saying publicly they’re voting for it.”
 
“I want to thank the Chairwoman for publicly announcing her support,” Graham added.
 
Governor Ducey’s plan highlights are here:
 
 
Governor Ducey’s remarks upon signing the legislation to refer the plan to the ballot are here:
 
 
Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Cameron’s remarks, broadcast on 12 News’ “Sunday Square Off” on November 8th, will be available here:
 

OpEd: Colorado’s problems reveal danger of legal pot

By Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk

As Arizonans prepare for a public debate on legalizing marijuana, we encourage a close look at Colorado — the first state to fully legalize recreational use and sale of marijuana – and Ohio, the most recent state to defeat it.

Ohio—a key bellwether state—defeated legalized marijuana this week by a margin of 28 points. What Ohio made clear is that when the facts about today’s more potent and dangerous marijuana are aptly communicated and exposed, there are no good reasons left to make it both legal and more widely available – and it loses.

Perhaps recent news in Colorado is what informed Ohioans. For example: legalization advocates claimed it would help put an end to the black market and illegal sales. In just the last month in Colorado, however, we witnessed the contrary. To wit:

October 28: Officers find 6,400 illegal marijuana plants in southern Colorado forest.

October 9: 32 busted in big Colorado illegal marijuana cultivation crackdown.

October 6: DHS suspends 7 cross country runners.

October 8: Manitou Springs police: Mustangs boys’ soccer marijuana issue handled by school.

As Chief John Jackson of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs said on 60 Minutes earlier this year, “I can resoundly say that the black market is alive and doing well.”

The largest of these raids, also last month, found 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed, and more than 30 guns. Among those arrested were Honduran, Mexican, and Cuban nationals. Clearly, instead of putting an end to the black market, legalization in Colorado has created a magnet for it as legality and availability drive sales and consumption.

As just this one month in Colorado also reveals, the notion that we can solve an international drug cartel program by legalizing a dangerous product that harms our youth is, quite simply, a fraud.

As noted above, high-school marijuana use—including by those on athletic teams—is also a major problem and growing concern. Why? As explained in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors just last month: “[A]s marijuana has become more accessible and adults have become more tolerant regarding marijuana use, adolescents perceive marijuana as more beneficial and are more likely to use if they are living in an environment that is more tolerant of marijuana use.”

Legalizing an intoxicating substance for adults will not keep it out of the hands of our youth—which is why 77% more of Arizona’s youth use alcohol than marijuana today. Making marijuana like alcohol means more adolescents will use more marijuana…just like they do alcohol. And it’s critical to note that today’s marijuana is not the same as it was in decades past—it’s at least five times more potent, practically an entirely different drug.

One month in Colorado is, of course, not the whole story; we recommend reading September’s Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This report documents that, since legalization in Colorado, marijuana has been associated with such social fallout as increased homelessness, school suspensions and expulsions, and traffic deaths.

It couldn’t be clearer: Arizonans should not want this for its families and communities, and we certainly do not need it.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show on 960am/KKNT. Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney. Respectively, they are the Chair and Vice-Chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Governor Doug Ducey: Our Money. Our Kids. Our Success

This special message was sent out from the Office of Governor Doug Ducey today:

Doug Ducey

Who says you can’t make government work?

We just did it here with the most far-reaching, high-impact education funding bill in our state’s history. News like this is too good not to share, so spread the word by forwarding this message along!

We’ve just passed, signed, and are ready to go with a bill that:

  • Puts $3.5 billion into education to dramatically improve our schools.
  • Increases per-student funding to $3,600 each year and gives educators the resources they’ve been asking for.
  • Doesn’t raise taxes while maintaining our balanced budget.
  • Provides relief from lawsuit abuse so funds go into classrooms, not attorneys’ pockets.
  • Maximizes the State Land Trust by drawing a modest amount as a shrewd investment in our kids.

I’ll never forget the good friends and strong, loyal supporters who gave me this job and the accompanying charge to solve problems and get results. Your support was, is, and will always be a source of tremendous inspiration.

Thanks so much,

Governor Doug Ducey

P.S. Help me share our fast-breaking news. Tell your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues that we got something great done for Arizona’s future. And we’re not done by a long shot. In fact, we’re just getting started!