Legalizing Marijuana in Arizona Will Nullify Education Results

By Paul Boyer

Paul BoyerThe marijuana legalization movement in Arizona is relying on a specious study to make the case for recreational marijuana at the ballot next year. Their study says marijuana is 114 times safer than alcohol. Interestingly, it also says meth is ten times safer than alcohol, while heroin and cocaine are twice as safe.  On that logic, why not make meth, heroin, and cocaine like alcohol, as well?

Meanwhile, serious peer reviewed research regarding the effects of marijuana has been shown to increase high school drop outs, lower IQ, induce memory loss, and in some cases cause paranoia and psychosis – especially among adolescents.

For those of us concerned with the state of education in Arizona, this is extremely alarming. With considerable discussion about Arizona’s education funding, along with high school and college graduation rates, we should be working to improve our state of education, not exacerbate an already bad situation by legalizing a substance detrimental to every outcome we want for our children.  And make no mistake, legalizing this dangerous drug for adults will lead to more use by children, just as we see with alcohol.

States that have marijuana-friendly legislation have seen a dramatic spike in marijuana exposure to children.  The Journal Clinical Pediatrics found an over 600 percent increase in the amount of marijuana exposure to children six and under in such states. That study suggests, “the rate of marijuana exposure among children is associated with the number of marijuana users.” We don’t need that here in Arizona.

Nor can the toxic health, educational, and behavioral impacts to children be overstated. A 2014 New England Journal of Medicine study lists the damaging health effects of just short term marijuana use, including: impaired short term memory and motor coordination, altered judgment with an increased risk of catching and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, and paranoia and psychosis in high doses. And let’s not forget that today’s marijuana is much more potent than that of previous decades.  We are not talking about Woodstock and commonly grown marijuana anymore, we are talking about a high potency drug.

Similarly, long term or heavy use effects of marijuana include: addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcomes with an increased risk of dropping out of school, cognitive impairment with lower IQs among frequent users during adolescence, and diminished life satisfaction and achievement.

And who will have to address the consequences of legalization? All of us, including parents, teachers, and an already over-burdened healthcare system will have to pick up the pieces left in the wake of legalization’s destruction.

Given all our debates about funding education in Arizona, one is left asking what the point of all this would be if we introduce a substance into our society that will nullify, if not reverse, everything we have worked so hard to improve when it comes to our children’s education.  Whatever plan we settle on with education, adding marijuana into the mix will render this debate, and its result, essentially pointless.

State Representative Paul Boyer represents Legislative District 20, which includes Glendale and North Phoenix. He is the Chair of the House Education Committee, a member of the House Health Committee, and teaches 10th grade Humane Letters.

Rep Paul Boyer: Support the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act

By Rep Paul Boyer

Paul BoyerThe Iranian regime remains the United States’ greatest national security threat despite the recent efforts at diplomatic outreach. Iran continues to be the world leader in state-sponsored terrorism and provides significant support to terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hizbollah, and President Assad’s regime in Syria. It is a regime that has the blood of American soldiers on its hands.

A nuclear-armed Iran would further elevate the status of the regime that already finances terrorism around the world. It would allow Iran to continue its illicit activities with less constraints and its global influence would increase dramatically. A nuclear-armed Iran poses an existential threat to Israel since Tehran has continually threatened to eliminate our democratic ally.

The Obama administration inked an interim agreement with Iran over the status of the regime’s nuclear program last November, but concerns remain over the terms of the agreement. Under the interim agreement, Tehran is continuing to enrich uranium – the key step in the development of a nuclear weapon – and retains its current nuclear material and infrastructure. The agreement is also worth between $6 and $7 billion in sanctions relief to the regime in Tehran, which could be used for illicit purposes or to perpetrate terrorism.

That’s why a bi-partisan majority of the U.S. senate is supporting the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). The bill, which currently has 59 cosponsors in the Senate, legislates new sanctions on Iran should it violate the current interim agreement or fail to reach a final agreement on the status of its nuclear program. The bill provides U.S. negotiators with the needed leverage to achieve a diplomatic solution.

In order to achieve a final agreement with Iran, U.S. negotiators must be given as much leverage as possible. Should Iran violate the terms of the current agreement, or fail to reach a final agreement with Western negotiators, new and increased sanctions should be levied on the Iranians. This provides negotiators with an important diplomatic tool to convince the Iranians to negotiate in good faith. And should the regime not follow through on its commitments, increased sanctions provide the U.S. with an insurance policy to prevent Iran from rapidly developing a nuclear weapon.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) immediately cosponsored this important piece of legislation and should be commended for his commitment to stopping Iran’s nuclear program. I strongly encourage Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to also join the majority of his colleagues in the Senate and cosponsor this bill.

The U.S. must use all tools available to prevent Iran’s nuclear program from accelerating and to ultimately prevent a military response. All Americans agree that a diplomatic solution is far preferable to a military one. But in order to achieve a strong diplomatic agreement and prevent military action, we must provide our negotiators with the necessary leverage.

Arizona State Rep. Paul Boyer, a Republican, represents District 20, which covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale.

Rep. Paul Boyer: Budget Process Was Not “Democracy In Action”

As a legislative liaison for an agency of the executive branch, I witnessed numerous budgets from their initial framework through the finished product, including negotiations and committee hearings. I was also a House majority staffer, where I helped outline and communicate several state budgets. It was shocking and frustrating to have my first budget as a state legislator be the least transparent in recent memory.

It is unprecedented for the Legislature to pass a budget without an Appropriations Committee hearing and public input. That happened here. It is also unprecedented for a sponsor to refuse to answer a single question on budget bills in his or her name. That happened here.

Further, our Committee of the Whole, which includes all members, gathers to debate and shape bills. That did not happen here. In our case, the only debate that mattered convened behind closed doors with the governor and a handful of lawmakers who made a deal to pass the governor’s Medicaid expansion.

The Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative cadre consists of 24 Democrats and nine Republicans in the House. They passed what is arguably the largest federal takeover of Arizona’s economy in state history with her Medicaid-expansion plan. They accomplished this through suspending House rules, refusing to answer questions and prohibiting public testimony.

We repeatedly asked the budget sponsor, Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, to answer questions on the 654 pages of budget bills and amendments in his name. He refused to answer a single question, later saying he wanted to keep the budget process as short as possible.

The governor’s spokesman had the audacity to call these actions “democracy in action.” It’s unnerving to suggest suspending the rules, refusing public input, pushing a budget through without an Appropriations Committee hearing, passing amendments with no time to read them and refusing to answer questions, democracy in action.

Supporters argue this violation of the process was acceptable because they believe the Medicaid expansion is good policy. Regardless, we should always respect the process. We have three branches of government, not two.

While the legislative and executive branches may not always agree, it is critical we have mutual respect and honor the integrity of the process. That did not happen here.

The public still needs to know what impact this budget and massive government expansion will have on our economy.

Does this budget spend more than we bring in? For example, the governor said her budget spends $15 million less over three years than the conservative House budget. However, she does not include her hospital bed tax in this equation and actually counts that against new spending, which is actually $286 million higher than our budget.

If the state Capitol is truly the people’s house, then the people have a right to know what the Legislature is proposing before we pass it.

Arizonans sent us here to discuss and debate what we pass publicly so all Arizonans know how the Legislature is spending their tax dollars.

And that wasn’t all of it. The Governor’s legislative caucus was ready to push out her Medicaid expansion and her budget in one day until the Rules attorney told them couldn’t without 2/3rds (40 Members), an Arizona Constitutional requirement and they only had 33 votes.

They were also prepared to remove the Speaker and the President if Leadership didn’t do what they wanted. One freshman legislator was quoted as saying they would remove Speaker Tobin if “he didn’t play nice,” when the entire time we all knew they had a vehicle to get Medicaid expansion up to the Governor (SB 1057) and we just put our conservative House budget on the Appropriations agenda for that Thursday. Given they had 33 votes, they could’ve easily added whatever they wanted to what we passed out of Appropriations, i.e. none of this was necessary. They still could have pushed for everything they wanted without violating the process and giving Arizonans a chance to weigh in and know exactly what they were passing. Most of the Governor’s legislative caucus didn’t even know what they voted for.

Not to mention President Andy Biggs found out about the Special Session from a reporter as he was driving home. I was with House Leadership when we found out about the Special Session that began at 5pm on Tuesday after it had already begun.

Representative Justin Olson from his floor testimony was correct. The Governor and her legislative cadre have promised entitlements we will never be able to pay for. And the core, necessary services government is obligated to provide will suffer as a result, along with every other legislative priority.

~~~

Republican State Representative Paul Boyer, represents Legislative District 20, which covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Republican Primary Voters Weigh In on Medicaid Expansion for Arizona

Round two of a recent poll is now out and there are some revealing numbers on how Republican primary voters feel about Governor Brewer’s push to expand Medicaid in Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and several legislative districts. Here are those results:

This memorandum is an executive summary of an automated voice recorded survey of 718 likely Republican primary voters in six legislative districts in Arizona. The legislative districts surveyed were 13, 17, 18, 20, 25 and 28. The interviews were conducted March 27th and 28th, 2013. This survey has a margin of error of +/-­‐ 3.65% at the 95 percent confidence interval. This survey was weighted based upon past Republican primary voter demographics. The focus of this survey was to measure Republican primary voter opinions regarding the expansion of Medicaid, the implementation of Obamacare, as well as voter reaction to their state legislator’s support or opposition to Medicaid expansion. The survey toplines are also included with this document.

GOVERNOR BREWER IMAGE RATING

Among Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts, Governor Brewer has a very strong image rating with 69% of voters having a favorable opinion of her, 23% having an unfavorable opinion of her, and 8% being undecided or not having an opinion.

SENATOR FLAKE IMAGE RATING

Senator Jeff Flake also has a very strong image rating among Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts, with 70% of voters having a favorable opinion of him, 18% having an unfavorable opinion of him, and 12% being undecided or not having an opinion.

GOP PRIMARY VOTER SUPPORT FOR THE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID

Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts were asked if they support Governor Brewer’s proposal to expand Medicaid in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014. Among all respondents, 30% support the expansion of Medicaid, 51% oppose expansion, and 19% are either unsure or do not have an opinion about the issue. The following table shows responses by legislative district.

“As you may know, Governor Brewer has proposed the expansion of Medicaid in Arizona in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014. Knowing this, do you support or oppose the expansion of Medicaid in order to implement the federal government’s health care system?”

Medicaid GOP Primary 1

 

VOTER OPPOSITION FOR LEGISLATORS WHO VOTE TO EXPAND MEDICAID

To measure voter reactions if their state legislator voted to expand Medicaid, the following question was asked:

“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for the expansion of Medicaid?”

Medicaid GOP Primary 2

 

Not surprisingly, among Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts a majority, or 53% are less likely to reelect their legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid and only 22% would be more likely to vote for their state legislator. When looking at the results by legislative district, the percentage of voters that are less likely to reelect their state legislator ranges from a low of 37% to a high of 69%.

GOP PRIMARY VOTER SUPPORT FOR TAX INCREASE TO FUND MEDICAID EXPANSION

In addition to measuring Republican primary voter’s reactions toward their state legislators if they voted to expand Medicaid, the survey tested voter reaction to a tax increase on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid. Again, it is no surprise that Republican primary voters vigorously oppose this idea and do not want their legislators supporting a new tax on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid. Among all respondents in the six legislative districts, only 11% would be more likely to vote to reelect their legislator, and two thirds, or 68%, would not vote to reelect their legislator. In short, if an incumbent voted for such a proposal it would be toxic for their reelection. The following table shows the question responses by legislative district.

“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for a new tax on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid?”

Medicaid GOP Primary 3

 

CONCLUSION

Among the likely Republican primary voters surveyed in these six legislative districts, it is clear they oppose the expansion of Medicaid by varying degrees from a plurality of 42% to a large majority of 62%. Support for Medicaid expansion ranges from a high of 35% to a low of 26%. The survey also finds a plurality, or a majority, of Republican primary voters would be less likely to vote for their legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid in all six legislative districts. Finally, the information in this research should be of concern to incumbent legislators as they consider how to handle this issue.

View/Download the entire report including the topline results.

LD 20 Legislators Back Salmon’s Return to Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Deguire

McComish, Robson, Dial Become Latest East Valley Leaders to Support Salmon 

EAST VALLEY – Former Congressman and candidate for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District Matt Salmon announced today that his campaign has received the endorsements from all three state legislators in Legislative District 20:

State Senator John McComish (R-LD 20)
State Representative Bob Robson (R-LD 20)
State Representative Jeff Dial (R-LD 20) 

State Senator McComish stated, “As a longtime business leader in Arizona, I can speak with certainty that Matt Salmon has the right vision and experience to advance pro-business legislation in Congress that will get our employers hiring once again. Matt understands that growing our local economy and putting more Arizonans back to work begins by enacting federal policies that cut taxes and reduce burdensome regulation on businesses. I’m proud to join Matt Salmon’s team.”

State Representative Robson added, “I have been a longtime supporter of Matt Salmon and I know firsthand that his record is tested and proven to the core. Now more than ever, we need leaders in Washington who have the experience and courage to hit the ground running and make the tough decisions that are necessary.”

State Representative Jeff Dial said, “Congress has a spending problem and we need someone in Washington to hold them accountable. Matt Salmon is the right person for the job. Matt has experience on cutting our government’s wasteful spending, slashing our budget deficits and restoring balanced federal budgets. I’m excited for his return to Congress.”

Former Congressman Matt Salmon stated, “The constituents of Legislative District 20 are fortunate to have these three leaders as their state government representatives, and I am fortunate to have their support for my campaign. I continue to be humbled and honored to receive such strong support among East Valley leaders and I look forward to working with all of them as their representative in Washington.”

About Matt Salmon

Matt Salmon was first elected to the United States Congress in 1994 and served until 2000, honoring his term limit pledge. A proud conservative, Salmon was rated in the top five among all 535 members of the House and Senate by Citizen’s Against Government Waste for all six years he was in office. He is a lifetime member of the NRA with an A+ rating and also earned a 100% rating by the National Right to Life. He was also the proud recipient of the American Cancer Society’s “Top National Elected Official” award.

Matt Salmon has received endorsements from Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49) Mayor Scott Smith (Mesa), Mayor Jay Tibshraeny (Chandler), Mayor Hugh Hallman (Tempe), Mayor John Insalaco (Apache Junction), Mayor Gail Barney (Queen Creek) and former Arizona Congressman John Shadegg.