Prop 205 Warning! Marijuana Edibles Pose Danger to Your Children

Last week, a spokesperson for Yes on Prop 205 appeared on Prescott’s KYCA radio to propagate the myth that legalizing recreational marijuana will make our schools better and our communities safer. When confronted with the question of why their campaign signs fail to mention marijuana, he could not – or would not – answer the question. Listen here.

While it may be the pro-pot campaign’s purview to manipulate Arizonans, we believe voters should have as much information as possible when considering a policy with so many extreme and irreversible societal and public safety ramifications.

In that regard, No on Prop 205 has released new campaign signs to highlight the dangers posed by legalizing marijuana – specifically, edible forms of marijuana – to Arizona children.

Placed throughout Maricopa and Pima Counties, the signs feature pictures of edible marijuana that is virtually indistinguishable from popular store-brand, drug-free candy. Next to it, the question is posed: “Would you be able to recognize marijuana? Would your children?”

NO on Prop 205

NO on Prop 205

While there is no shortage of problems with Prop 205, one of the most troubling is that it would authorize the production and sale of highly-concentrated marijuana edibles – with NO limits on potency. It would also allow these products to be blatantly advertised and even sold near preschools and youth clubs. It’s no wonder the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix soundly opposes Prop 205.

In marijuana-friendly states, accidental pot ingestion by youth has increased by more than 600 percent. It’s no wonder; if YOU can’t tell the difference between gummy bears and ganja – how will your children?

When A Lie Travels: Comparing Alcohol To Marijuana

By Seth Leibsohn

Seth LeibsohnThis November, several states will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and the proponents of legalization have seized on a seemingly clever argument: marijuana is safer than alcohol.  The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, an effort of the Marijuana Policy Project (or MPP), has taken this argument across the country.  Their latest strategy is labeled Marijuana vs. Alcohol.  It is a very misleading, even dangerous, message, based on bad social science and sophistic public deception.

Citing out-of-date studies that go back ten years and more, even using that well-known scientific journal, Wikipedia, the MPP never references current research on the harms of today’s high potency and edible marijuana, studies that come out monthly if not more frequently.  Indeed, their Marijuana vs. Alcohol page concludes with a 1988 statement about the negligible harms of marijuana—but that is a marijuana that simply does not exist anymore, neither in mode nor potency.  Today’s marijuana is at least five times more potent, and sold in much different form.  And the science of marijuana and its effects on the brain have come some distance since 1988 as well.

So out-of-date is the science and knowledge of marijuana from thirty years ago, it would be malpractice in any other field to suggest that kind of information about a drug having any contemporary relevance at all.  One almost wonders if the MPP thinks public health professors still instruct their students on how to use microfiche to perform their research as they prepare to write their papers on 5K memory typewriters.

It is simply misleading in a public health campaign to cite dated research while at the same time ignore a larger body of current evidence that points in the opposite direction of a desired outcome.  At great potential peril to our public health, political science (in the hands of the marijuana industry) is far outrunning medical science.  But the danger is clear: with the further promotion, marketing, and use of an increasingly known dangerous substance, public health and safety will pay the price.

Consider three basic problems with the industry’s latest campaign:

I.  Comparisons of relative dangers of various drugs are simply impossible and can often lead to paradoxical conclusions.  It is impossible to compare a glass of chardonnay and its effects on various adults of various weights and tolerance levels with the inhalation or consumption of a high-potency marijuana joint or edible.  Is the joint from the 5 percent THC level or the 25 percent level?  How about a 30 mg—or stronger—gummy bear?  A glass of wine with dinner processes through the body in about an hour and has little remaining effect.  A marijuana brownie or candy can take up to 90 minutes to even begin to take effect.

Consider a consumer of a glass of wine who ate a full meal and waited an hour or more before driving and a consumer of a marijuana edible taking the wheel of a plane, train, automobile, or anything else.  The wine drinker would likely be sober, the marijuana consumer would just be getting high, and, given the dose, possibly very high at that.

True, marijuana consumption rarely causes death, but its use is not benign.  Last year, an ASU professor took a standard dose of edible marijuana, just two marijuana coffee beans. The effect?  “[E]pisodes of convulsive twitching and jerking and passing out” before the paramedics were called.  Such episodes are rare for alcohol, but they are increasingly happening with marijuana.

Beyond acute effects, the chronic impact of marijuana is also damaging.  Approximately twice the percentage of regular marijuana users will experience Marijuana Use Disorder than will alcohol users experience Alcohol Use Disorder—both disorders categorized by the Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM).[1]   Marijuana is also the number one substance of abuse for teens admitted to treatment, far higher than the percentage who present with alcohol problems.  In fact, the most recent data out of Colorado shows 20 percent of teens admitted for treatment have marijuana listed as their primary substance of abuse compared to less than one percent for alcohol.

Still, the Campaign persists in its deceptions—as if they have not even read their own literature.  One online marketing tool it recently deployed was the “Consume Responsibly” campaign.  Delve into that site and you will find this warning: “[Smoked marijuana] varies from person to person, you should wait at least three to four hours before driving a vehicle.”  And: “Edible marijuana products and some other infused products remain in your system several hours longer, so you should not operate a vehicle for the rest of the day after consuming them.”  Who has ever been told that they should not operate a vehicle for four hours, much less for the rest of the day, if they had a glass of wine or beer?  Safer than alcohol?  This is not even true according to the MPP’s own advice.

Beyond unscientific dose and effect comparisons, there is a growing list of problems where marijuana use does, indeed, appear to be more harmful than alcohol.  According to Carnegie Mellon’s Jonathan Caulkins: “Marijuana is significantly more likely to interfere with life functioning” than alcohol and “it is moderately more likely to create challenges of self-control and to be associated with social and mental health problems.”

Additionally, a recent study out of UC Davis revealed that marijuana dependence was more strongly linked to financial difficulties than alcohol dependence and had the same impacts on downward mobility, antisocial behavior in the workplace, and relationship conflict as alcohol.

II.  The marijuana industry pushes and promotes the use of a smoked or vaped substance, but never compares marijuana to tobacco.  Indeed, the two substances have much more in common than marijuana and alcohol, especially with regard to the products themselves and the method of consumption (though we are also seeing increasing sales of child-attractive marijuana candies).  But why is the comparison never made?  The answer lies in the clear impossibility.

Consider: Almost every claim about marijuana’s harms in relation to alcohol has to do with the deaths associated with alcohol.  But, hundreds of thousands more people die from tobacco than alcohol.  Based on their measures of mortality, which is safer: alcohol or tobacco?  Can one safely drink and drive?  No.  Can one smoke as many cigarettes as one wants while driving?  Of course. So, what’s the more dangerous substance?  Mortality does not answer that question.

Alcohol consumption can create acute problems, while tobacco consumption can create chronic problems.  And those chronic problems particularly affect organs like the lungs, throat, and heart.  But what of the chronic impact on the brain?  That’s the marijuana risk, and, seemingly, society is being told that brains are less important than lungs.  Nobody can seriously believe that, which is why these comparisons simply fail scrutiny.

This illustrates but one of the problems in comparing dangerous substances. As Professor Caulkins recently wrote:

“The real trouble is not that marijuana is more or less dangerous than alcohol; the problem is that they are altogether different…. The country is not considering whether to switch the legal statuses of alcohol and marijuana. Unfortunately, our society does not get to choose either to have alcohol’s dangers or to have marijuana’s dangers. Rather, it gets to have alcohol’s dangers…and also marijuana’s dangers.

Further, marijuana problems are associated with alcohol problems.  New research out of Columbia University reveals that marijuana users are five times more likely to have an alcohol abuse disorder. Society doesn’t just switch alcohol for marijuana—too often, one ends up with use of both, compounding both problems.

The larger point for voters to understand:  The marijuana legalization movement is not trying to ban or end alcohol sales or consumption; rather, it wants to add marijuana to the dangerous substances already available, including alcohol.  This is not about marijuana or alcohol, after all.  It’s about marijuana and alcohol.

We can see this effect in states like Colorado, with headlines such as “Alcohol sales get higher after weed legalization.”  And, according to the most recent federal data[2], alcohol use by teens, as well as adults, has increased in Colorado since 2012 (the year of legalization). If alcohol is the problem for the MPP, in their model state–Colorado–alcohol consumption has increased with marijuana legalization.  Legalizing marijuana will, in the end, only make alcohol problems worse.

III.  The legalization movement regularly cites to one study in the Journal of Scientific Reports to “prove” that marijuana is safer than alcohol.  But this study leads to odd conclusions in what the authors, themselves, call a “novel risk assessment methodology.”  For instance, the researchers find that every drug, from cocaine to meth to MDMA to LSD, is found to be safer than alcohol. (See this graph).  By the MPP standard, we should thereby make these substances legal as well.  But, seeing such data in its full light, we all know this would be nonsensical.

Further, the authors specifically write that they only looked at acute effects and did not analyze “chronic toxicity,” and cannot judge marijuana and “long term effects.”  Indeed, they specifically write in their study the toxicity of marijuana “may therefore be underestimated” given the limitations of their examination.  Yet, legalizers ignore these statements.  Always.  It simply does not fit their narrative.

What long-term effects are we talking about?  To cite the New England Journal of Medicine: “addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcomes, cognitive impairment,” and “increased risk of chronic psychosis disorders.”  Now think about what it will mean to make a drug with those adverse effects more available, and for recreational use.

Finally, the very authors of the much-cited Journal of Scientific Reports study specifically warn their research should be “treated carefully particularly in regard to dissemination to lay people….especially considering the differences of risks between individuals and the whole population.”  But this is precisely what commercialization is about—not individual adult use but making a dangerous drug more available to “the whole population.”

Given what we know in states like Colorado, we clearly see that legalization creates more availability which translates into more use, affecting whole populations—Colorado college-age use, for example, is now 62 percent higher than the national average. [See FN2, below].

And the science is coming in, regularly.  Indeed, the same journal the MPP points to in its two-year old “novel” study, just this year published another study and found:

“[N]eurocognitive function of daily or near daily cannabis users can be substantially impaired from repeated cannabis use, during and beyond the initial phase of intoxication. As a consequence, frequent cannabis use and intoxication can be expected to interfere with neurocognitive performance in many daily environments such as school, work or traffic.

That is why these comparisons of safety and harm are—in the end—absurd and dangerous.  In asking what is safer, the true answer is “neither.”  And for a variety of reasons.  But where one option is impossible to eliminate (as in alcohol), society should not add to the threat that exists:  One doesn’t say because a playground is near train tracks you should also put a highway there.  You fence off the playground.

That, however, is not the choice the MPP has given us.  They are not sponsoring legislation to reduce the harms of alcohol, they are, instead, saying that with all the harms of alcohol, we should now add marijuana.  But looking at all the problems society now has with substance abuse, the task of the serious is to reduce the problems with what already exists, not advance additional dangers.

If the MPP and its Campaigns to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol are serious about working on substance abuse problems, we invite them to join those of us who have labored in these fields for years.  One thing we do know: adding to the problems with faulty arguments, sloppy reasoning, and questionable science, will not reduce the problems they point to.  It will increase them.  And that, beyond faulty argument and sloppy reasoning, is public policy malfeasance.

[1] See http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2464591 compared to http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2300494

[2] 2011/2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health compared to 2013/2014.

Guest Opinion: Single Shot Syms

By Cactus Cantina Chats

With ten more days remaining until the August 30th primary election let’s focus on Legislative District 28 (LD 28).  Republican primary voters have a real chance to nominate a successful, well-educated female candidate to serve on their behalf in one of two legislative House seats for the next two years.  Maria Syms is the only candidate running in LD28 with the potential to win in November and serve honorably for the State of Arizona.  Please use your two votes to push her through the Republican primary.

Let’s take a look at Syms’ competition for the two House seats, and then evaluate Syms’ impressive background:

Ken Bowers, Jr. is the final candidate running for the Arizona House. It is quite difficult to know too much about who he is and where he stands on the issues because he has also decided to ignore candidate surveys issues by different associations and groups representing causes or industries throughout Arizona. He seems to only care about reforming Arizona’s correctional system and hasn’t given much thought to the broader issues facing Arizona’s future.

Alberto Gutier, III is an active PC in LD28.  Unfortunately, he has not taken the time to fill out any candidate surveys or set up a website sharing his viewpoints on the issues. Nice guys typically don’t finish first in a competitive legislative race.

Mary Hamway is an uber liberal Republican In Name Only (RINO) candidate who is a retread from the 2014 election cycle. Hamway has spent so much time as a Paradise Valley town councilmember raising taxes and cutting funding for cops that she single-handedly jeopardizes a prosperous future for Arizona.  Since Mary lacks the spine to vote publicly she and several of her other Big Government crony councilmembers rely on closed door executive sessions so they don’t have to truly make a public statement of town council matters.  Hamway talks out of both sides of her mouth if you can bear to listen to her speak.  Hamway has been an arduous proponent of Medicaid expansion and common core over the past several years.  Hamway self-funded her 2014 loser campaign to the tune of nearly $100,000. After she lost to Bolick, she had her husband make a $500 campaign contribution to liberal pro-choice Democrat Eric Meyer. It is not surprising Hamway has been endorsed by the former Mayor of Paradise Valley, Scott Le Marr, who once served on the Planned Parenthood board.

Matt Morales is a moderate Republican precinct committeeman (PC) in LD28 who has been a registered lobbyist on behalf of the vaping and gaming industries.  Need we highlight any more of his resume to illustrate that he is not a conservative choice.  Morales likes to tell his fellow Republican voters how he encouraged Kate McGee in 2010 to use her maiden name “Brophy” to get elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.  In 2014, Morales boasted of being Adam Driggs’ campaign manager.  At the same time Morales worked on an Independent Expenditure (IE) to benefit only McGee and Driggs in the general election.  Considering there was one additional Republican on the ballot for the other House seat this speaks volumes to Morales’ lack of character in electing Republicans to two House seats. One last point: it is laughable that Morales’ campaign signs say “conservative” and “personal freedom.”  He answered the Arizona Voter Guide’s survey which is sponsored by Center for Arizona Policy as supportive of a living Constitution.

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

Fortunately, LD28 has Maria Syms as their only conservative choice!  She has taken the time to thoughtfully share her views on the issues in support or opposition against many policy issues facing Arizona.  Syms has served honorably on her short time on the Paradise Valley Town Council.  There aren’t many city elected officials who don’t vote in lockstep to vote for a tax increase, but Syms is one who has encouraged thoughtful conversation while holding the line on tax increases. If she wasn’t running for the Legislature she would be a perfect addition to Arizona’s Justice system.  Her past job titles include: Assistant U.S. Attorney, Senior Adviser to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich plus she is a Mom of three children spanning the school choice spectrum so she fully grasps education and opportunity for all!

When you vote by early ballot, or vote in person on August 30th please only vote for Syms! She is the real deal and the only choice to represent LD28 honorably.

Was Congressman Matt Salmon’s Staffer Politicking on Taxpayer Time?

Every member of Congress and their staff is constantly reminded – especially during election years – that using official government time and resources for partisan politicking, is strictly forbidden.

It’s a simple rule. Don’t spend your time and don’t use taxpayer-paid computers, phones, etc to engage in election activities. Taxpayers don’t want staff working to elect or defeat while they’re on the taxpayer’s dime.

So why would a member of Congressman Salmon’s staff spend time politicking on official time?

The following screenshots were obtained from Facebook and show Salmon staffer Lee Huff making political posts in support of Salmon’s hand-picked successor, Andy Biggs.

In the first screenshot, we see Lee Huff on Facebook sharing a post to an Andy Biggs political event. The post was made Wednesday, July 27th at 12:28 PM. Lee Huff works for Congressman Matt Salmon, who works for the taxpayers of CD-5.

L Huff 072716The next screenshot shows a post from Thursday, July 28th at 10:14 AM from Gilbert, Arizona. Congressman Salmon’s office is located in the heart of downtown Gilbert. Lee Huff resides in Mesa. The content of the post is an attempt at a negative association of Christine Jones with Barack Obama. It is clearly electioneering at 10:14 in the morning from Gilbert, Arizona.

L Huff 072816

The final screenshot shows Lee Huff on Facebook posting on Tuesday, August 2nd at 2:29 PM from Gilbert. This time, the post is an effort to drive web traffic to a dark money-sponsored organization’s website that is trying to mislead voters about Christine Jones.

L Huff 080516

The question I have is who does Lee Huff work for? Is it Congressman Matt Salmon? Is it Matt Salmon’s heir-apparent, Andy Biggs? Or, is it the taxpayers who pay his congressional staffer salary?

Perhaps Lee Huff was off the clock? Maybe using a little vacation time? Maybe he frequents Gilbert coffee shops? I think he has some explaining to do to us watching this election and to his boss, the US taxpayers.

Guest Opinion: Recreational marijuana? The price is too high

Seth Leibsohn

Seth Leibsohn

Advocates say we need to regulate pot like alcohol in Arizona, but their measure doesn’t even do that.

If insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results, no word better describes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Arizona.

Colorado and Washington, the first states to do this, have seen increases in teen use of marijuana, traffic fatalities and emergency room visits (including of toddlers) — all tied to marijuana. In Denver, home of most of the pot shops, more than one in three 11th- and 12th-graders are now regular marijuana users, an increase of 20.5 percent from two years ago, according to the latest Colorado youth survey.

Big protections for pot industry

Sheila Polk

Sheila Polk

Arizona should expect similar results, especially since this 20-page initiative is chock full of protectionism for the marijuana industry. Written by out-of-state lobbyists and Arizona marijuana-business owners, it creates two new government agencies, including a seven-member commission with three members mandated to come from the marijuana industry so they can “regulate” themselves.

This initiative gives current medical-marijuana dispensaries a virtual monopoly on retail stores and cultivation. This is not simple legalization, but increased government protecting special interests to the detriment of everyone else.

The initiative would legalize hashish as well, opening the door to high-potency marijuana candies. The marijuana of the 1970s had potency levels of less than 1 percent. Colorado’s marijuana edibles have potency levels of 60 percent.

Stiffer penalties for alcohol than pot

The proponents’ claim that this initiative regulates marijuana like alcohol is disingenuous. The alcohol industry doesn’t dream of being treated as lightly as this initiative would treat marijuana. At every opportunity to advance public safety, the initiative protects marijuana use instead:

  • Using marijuana under the proposed initiative becomes a legal right. Someone who shows up for work drunk can be disciplined or fired based on an alcohol test. But under this initiative, showing up for work impaired by marijuana would be shielded from discipline until after the commission of an act of negligence or malpractice.
  • Any driver with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent is legally drunk. The Arizona law would prohibit a THC limit from ever being set.
  • Penalties for a minor using a fake ID to buy marijuana would be far lower than for his friend who uses a fake ID to buy alcohol. Same for someone selling marijuana to a minor using a fake ID.

The experiment in Washington and Colorado shows how disastrous this proposal is.

  • Fatal accidents involving drivers who recently used marijuana more than doubled in Washington in the year after legalization.
  • The rate of people going to Colorado emergency rooms with marijuana-related symptoms rose 44 percent from 2012 to 2014.
  • Employers there report having to hire out of state for a sober workforce.

No amount of cash can justify this

Just as in Arizona, marijuana’s apologists in Colorado and Washington said they wanted to keep marijuana away from children. It didn’t work out that way there and it won’t be different here.

And this is why that matters: Marijuana is “addicting, has adverse effects upon the adolescent brain, is a risk for both cardio-respiratory disease and testicular cancer, and is associated with both psychiatric illness and negative social outcomes,” according to the American College of Pediatricians.

At what cost? According to the Arizona legislative budget staff, expected revenue from legalizing marijuana could put $30 million into our education system, barely 0.33 percent of what Arizona now spends.

Now balance that minimal amount against the costs of treatment, tragic loss of life from traffic fatalities, workplace accidents, or the lost potential of young brains harmed by marijuana. No amount of money can justify that.

This law would contribute nothing positive to Arizona. Instead it exacts a tremendous cost, all to benefit a handful of marijuana-industry insiders. Arizonans do not need this and will not be able to afford it. The price is too high.

Seth Leibsohn chairs Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney and vice chair of ARDP. Email them at info@ardp.org.

Arizona Catholic Conference: Bishops’ Statement Opposing the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Arizona Catholic Conference
ARIZONA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE BISHOPS’ STATEMENT OPPOSING THE LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA

The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference oppose the campaign to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona because it is harmful to both children and families in Arizona.

Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana sends a message to children and young people that drug use is socially and morally acceptable. As people of faith, we must speak out against this effort and the damaging effects its passage would have on the children and families of Arizona.

Studies have shown that adolescents who use marijuana have significant differences in brain structure and cognitive functioning compared to those who do not use marijuana and experience up to an eight-point drop in IQ. Furthermore, based on what happened in just two years after Colorado legalized marijuana, it is estimated that if Arizona passes this measure, tens of thousands of additional 8th graders here will smoke marijuana for the first time.

Marijuana-related traffic accidents and other problems are also likely to dramatically increase if recreational marijuana use is legalized. In Colorado for example, marijuana-related traffic deaths dramatically increased after recreational marijuana was legalized. Additionally, Colorado witnessed similar dramatic increases in hospitalizations and emergency room visits related to marijuana usage after recreational use was legalized.

In states that have legalized marijuana, there has also been an increase in the use of harder drugs like cocaine and heroin since marijuana was legalized, which only further increased societal costs.

For the reasons mentioned above, and others, it is anticipated that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona will lead to more abuse by teens, more emergency room visits, more traffic deaths, and more societal costs. Accordingly, due to the detrimental effect it would have on children, families, and all of society, we strongly oppose this dangerous proposal.

Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix

Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas
Bishop of Tucson

Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup

Frank Schmuck: Fly Your Flag And Show Your Patriotism In The Face of Terrorism

Frank SchmuckISIS now admits responsibility for the massacre in Orlando, Florida. A Radical Islamic Terrorist did this.  He could have used a sword.  He chose to use a gun.  A terrorist used fertilizer in Oklahoma City. Radical Islamic Terrorists used box cutters and airplanes in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.  Banning implements is not the answer.

Americans need to be able to defend themselves, not have radicalized terrorists or the mentally unstable hold them hostage.  When governments make gun free zones the criminal does NOT suffer, the law-abiding citizen suffers.

ISIS does not and will not conform to a well-regulated militia. Hard working Americans can and will.

John Stuart Mill spoke this centuries ago. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war, is worse. . . . A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

War is in America – New York City, San Bernardino, and now Orlando. Who’s next? Let’s stand up and defend this great nation and ALL classes of people who live here against radicalism. Don’t let “political correctness” cause the loss of life again.  Speak up. This act of terror awoke an American sleeping giant spirit. Let us not forget freedom isn’t free. When you exercise your right to vote think about those who have experience with defending your freedoms. Without safety, rules don’t matter. This enemy doesn’t play by the same rules we do. Be vigilant. Be strong. Protect one another.

Today is Flag Day. Hang your flag proudly to show your patriotism.

Frank Schmuck, Captain
Persian Gulf War Veteran
Conservative Republican Candidate
AZ State Senate LD18

Senator Sylvia Allen: Just Say No To Obama’s Intrusive Federal Mandates!

Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen

By Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen

“The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other – until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.” – Ayn Rand

President Obama’s recent directive requiring schools to comply with gender neutral bathrooms and locker rooms with the threat of losing federal funding has caused schools unnecessary stress and turmoil and is another example of how out of touch progressive liberal Democrats really are.

You have got to be kidding!   Who uses which bathroom is the most important issue for the President of the United States to get involved in?  You would think that terrorism and the rising national debt would be enough to keep President Obama busy.

Obama LGBT DecreePresident Obama and his administration have once again injected the federal government into what is a state’s responsibility. With a stroke of a pen, President Obama thinks that the Justice Department can override commonsense. He does not have the authority to change hundreds of years of social civility by overriding and redefining natural biology. Again, President Obama is throwing our schools into an unnecessary conflict with the federal government and attacking our parents and families.  I’d like to remind the President of the other two branches of government and the 10th amendment, which he too often forgets.

I, along with other legislators, have been receiving emails from constituents troubled by this overreach of President Obama.  I signed on to a letter authored by Representative Robert Thorpe which was sent to Governor Doug Ducey, Superintendent of Schools Diane Douglas and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, stating our concern and asking them to make a constitutional finding concerning this and to help our state stand against this abuse of federal power.

Quoting from that letter Dated May 20, 2016:

“Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Congress has the sole Federal legislative authority. Due to our nation’s long established separation of powers, legislative authority cannot be exercised by the Executive, including the President, the Attorney General or any other member of the Executive branch. There are no Federal laws stating that schools must provide these accommodations for transgender students, and there have been no court rulings upholding the Obama administration’s current “opinion” concerning this matter.”

“Please understand that this is not a moral issue, it is a legal state’s rights issue, and as a sovereign state, Arizona is protected by the 10th Amendment and thus is under no legal obligation to provide these accommodations merely based upon the suggestion, or coercion, of the Obama administration.”

“Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, for example, for a law to be enacted requiring public schools within the states to provide these accommodations for transgender students, both Houses of Congress must first pass a constitutional law that is in pursuance of the

U.S. Constitution and does not exceed the limited enumerated powers of Congress, the President must sign it, and it must withstand legal challenges and judicial review.”

The answer is for the states to stand up and say NO!   Sorry, but you cannot tell us to make this change.  Our children have a right to their privacy, their safety and their normal modest sensibilities. I applaud recent actions of Superintendent Douglas and Attorney General Brnovich to join the lawsuit to fight back against the unconstitutional mandates from an ever growing and intrusive federal government!

===

Senator Sylvia Tenney Allen represents Arizona’s 6th Legislative District and serves as President Pro Tempore in the Arizona Senate.

Gov Ducey: Why Vote For Prop 123? Some Teachers Have More Kids Than Books​

Vote Prop 123

By: Governor Doug Ducey

This week, Arizonans will receive early ballots in the mail for one of the most important policy initiatives of this election cycle – the passage of Proposition 123 to increase funding for public schools in Arizona.

As many in our state know, there has been a dark cloud hanging over Arizona’s budget when it comes to funding education.

Our kids have needs today

Voting “yes” on Prop. 123 will settle a years-long lawsuit and put $3.5 billion into our K-12 public schools over the next 10 years without raising taxes. It’s time to stop paying lawyers and start paying teachers.

I’ve visited schools all across our state, and the message is clear. Our kids have needs today, and our educators need more resources to do their jobs.

Prop. 123 is a fiscally responsible, historic first step towards giving our students and teachers the resources they need. It puts money back in the classroom. And it doesn’t raise taxes. I know it sounds almost too good to be true: If this doesn’t raise taxes, how are we paying for it?

How it works

What many don’t know is that Arizona has a something called the State Land Trust – a fund with assets that have been set aside and invested for decades specifically to benefit education. This plan ensures we are managing the trust responsibly while putting the money to use for the purpose it was intended: funding our K-12 public schools.

So how does it work?

When Arizona became a state, the federal government granted our founders nearly 11 million acres of state land. Every time we sell a piece of that land, proceeds go into the Land Trust where the money is invested and earns interest. The trust has been growing rapidly in value – nearly doubling in the past five years. And now it is valued at more than $5 billion.

Currently, only 2.5 percent of the trust is distributed to schools every year. We can do better. A “yes” vote on Prop. 123 will increase the distribution rate to 6.9 percent for the next 10 years. That means we will be able to use more of this money for its intended purpose: funding our schools.

We haven’t ignored future needs

But this plan also takes into account the needs of future generations. An analysis done by the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows that even with the higher distributions if Prop 123 passes, there will be more than $6 billion in the Land Trust in a decade. That’s a billion dollars more in the trust after 10 years, even while we are increasing funding to education.

And let’s not forget: Arizona still has 9.2 million acres of land worth approximately $70 billion that are yet to be sold and fund the trust.

The bottom line is that passing Prop 123 ensures the long-term health of the trust, while injecting an infusion of resources into classrooms that have needs today.

When there are more kids than books

I’ve met with teachers and parents across the state, and they’ve made it clear — while reforms are important, right now they need resources to provide the excellent education all our children deserve.

Too often, I hear stories of teachers and parents spending part of their paychecks to ensure there are supplies in the classroom – even basic necessities like pens, pencils and paper. This is unacceptable.

Just a few weeks ago, I met a fourth-grade teacher named Maddy Sporbert who was volunteering for Prop. 123. She told me that she wants Prop. 123 to pass because right now she has 34 students in her class, but only 25 textbooks.

She was spending spring break — her vacation — getting out the vote for Prop. 123 to ensure her students have enough textbooks next year. She needs us to vote “yes.”

Good teachers are fleeing our state

Eighth-grade science teacher Paul Strauss told me that in his many years of teaching he’s seen countless dedicated teachers leave the profession because it is so hard to support a family on a teacher’s salary in Arizona.

We know teachers are fleeing our state or leaving the profession because of a continued lack of funding for education. Voting “yes” on Prop 123 will allow us to reverse that trend and start paying teachers what they deserve. In fact, school boards across Arizona have committed that boosting teacher salaries will be their number one priority if Prop. 123 passes.

Many districts even have two budgets: one if Prop. 123 passes, and one if it fails.

If it fails, that means more litigation and less certainty for our teachers and students.

Please join me, Mayor Greg Stanton, a bipartisan coalition of legislators, countless community and business leaders, teachers and parents in voting “yes” for Prop. 123 on May 17.

Sheriff Touchy Can’t Handle Mockery of his Pansy Logo

Guest Opinion by Sam Stone

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos is running for re-election after taking office a little over a year ago when his 79-year old boss – Clarence Dupnik – handed him the keys to the castle after 35 years at the helm. It was a apt promotion: Nanos had been reportedly running the office for his aging Sheriff for a number of years – proving conclusively that he could effectively maintain the bureaucratic bloat, insider favoritism, and mediocre results his predecessor had become known for.

Since taking office, Nanos has overseen at least one scandal: giving almost $20,000 to the niece of one of his detectives so she could buy the equipment to run for-profit cafes at their headquarters and the county jail.

He also defended the actions of deputies when they shot and killed decorated Marine veteran and father Jose Guerena – actions that resulted in a $3.4 million dollar settlement against Pima County.

All that, of course, while his Deputies get stiffed.

But none of that makes Sheriff Nanos mad. What really gets Chris Nanos mad? People mocking his pansy ass logo.

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After the first few, more people chimed in, including yours truly…

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That’s when Sheriff Touchy stepped in to regulate!

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I mean, good advice, I thought…

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And he did “like” it….

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But, no, Sheriff Touchy couldn’t let it go at that.

A couple of points:

  1. I think he’s referring (one sided-story) to the café. Maybe they had really, really good sandwiches. Or something.
  2. I wasn’t actually referring to his website, just his Pansy logo.
  3. If I was running his campaign, I’d probably be running for the hills right about…now…

Let’s hope Pima County voters do the same in November.

(In case you were wondering, Mark Napier, who narrowly lost to Sheriff Touchy’s boss in the last election, is vying for the office again.)