Speaker Heather Carter???

Heather Carter

Heather Carter

I guess I’m a little behind in the rumor mill but this just crossed my input lines. I’ll toss it out to all my legislator friends to confirm.

The rumor is that State Representative Heather Carter has her sights on the House speakership.

How would she accomplish this one may ask?

The first step is to obviously get re-elected to her seat.  Next, she needs the votes of all her Obamacare Republican seatmates. Chances are, a deal was cut sometime ago to whip those votes into place. Carter would then cut a deal with House Democrats to make sure the Republicans (note: these are the majority Republicans who did not vote for Obamacare expansion) don’t hold a majority when it comes to selecting leadership. That deal with Dems would likely include handing over committee chairmanships to Democrats.

The icing on the cake would be all the Brewer-endorsed Republican challengers who defeat the traditional conservative Republican incumbents in the Primary. If all these planets fall into alignment – and it’s not too unrealistic – Heather Carter would have the votes to become Speaker of the House.

This would be a HORRIBLE turn to the left that would take Arizona deep into the purple zone.

For those of you new to the politics of legislative leadership, this is nothing new. Every election, the backroom game is all about who will help who (sharing donors, etc) during the Primary election so that the helpee owes votes to the helper who wants into leadership. The last example of this occurred in 2012 when Steve Pierce used Republican “leadership” PAC money to attack conservative John Fillmore who was in a primary with liberal Rich Crandall. Pierce’s PAC money was successful and Crandall won – only to see him bail on his senate seat for a School Superintendent position in Wyoming (which he  ended up losing later – karma).

What’s the lesson in all this?

Obviously the first major takeaway is to make sure Heather Carter loses her primary race. I’m working on defeating her and I know others are too. But her defeat will be tough because the Governor, Chamber of Commerce and all the corporate cronyists have poured over $150,000 into her race. (You bet they want her as speaker!) Cut her off in the Primary and she is no longer a threat to taking Arizona public policy left.

The other big picture voters should see is that these primaries have become very personal to the Governor and those who supported her Obamacare expansion. For over a year conservatives have said Republicans and Governor Brewer would make Obamacare the litmus test for the 2014 election (Common Core later entered the debate). Well, its happening now. If the supporters of the Governor and her new recruits (challenging her opponents) win, the State of Arizona will take another horrible turn to the left as the rest of the country apparently turns to the right. So this election is about fulfilling promises to the Governor and protecting her legacy in bringing Obamacare expansion to Arizona.

My appeal to readers is this. Defeat the incumbent Obamacare Republicans and the Obamacare challengers in the Primary Election.

Put an end to the agenda of liberal Republicans who would drive Arizona leadership to the left.

More Political Backlash from the Arizona Medicaid Expansion Vote

A Maricopa County delegation from Arizona’s first legislative district recently voted to condemn their state senator for his vote on Medicaid expansion.

In a unanimous vote, the LD-1 Republicans precinct committeemen issued the following strong rebuke:

On June 17th, Republican Precinct Committeemen at Legislative District 1 MC voted unanimously to condemn Senator Pierce’s actions regarding the Medicaid Expansion, a vote of “No Confidence” as follows: 

We move that LD1 express a vote of no confidence in our LD1 Senator Steve Pierce who overwhelmingly and completely voted with Democrats regarding the Medicaid expansion and amendments (some are saying up to 50 times) in opposition to his fellow Republican senators, constituents, and party platform.

In total, five state senators and nine state representatives aligned with big government Democrats to vote for the Obamacare provision of Medicaid expansion.

Don’t be surprised if more Republican grassroots officials and organizations issue condemnations of these 14 legislators and the governor.

At the same time Sonoran Alliance encourages these same organizations to issue praise and appreciation to those legislators who voted against the Obamacare provision of Medicaid expansion.

Update on Obamacare-Medicaid Expansion in Arizona

Here’s a brief update on the push to expand Medicaid in the Arizona Legislature.

Rumors are circulating that Senator John McComish is attempting to orchestrate a coup d’état on Senate President Andy Biggs as former Senate President Steve Pierce looks on with plausible deniability. Why a coup? Because Senate President Andy Biggs is the one individual holding firm against a vote on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in the State Senate. Both McComish and Pierce are supporting Governor Brewer and trying to pave the way for her Medicaid plan. But you should also know that McComish and especially Pierce took thousands of dollars from higher-ups in the healthcare industrial complex during the last election cycle. (Biggs did not.) We are compiling the names and amounts of all the donations received by Medicaid proponents with the goal of connecting the dots. Just another example of the corporate-political incest (yes, it happens on both sides.)

Meanwhile in the State House, Governor Brewer does NOT have the votes to pass her Medicaid expansion. Proponents of Medicaid expansion are short the votes needed to require both a simple majority and two-thirds vote (Prop 108 requirement). House Speaker Andy Tobin is also holding back a vote on the legislation so you can imagine he is under tremendous pressure to let the legislation move for a vote.

At the same time all this is taking place, Democrats are getting very irritated with an effort to amend any legislation to prohibit our tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood. (We all know that giving money to Planned Parenthood is an accounting game that allows them to free up other funds for abortions.) Democrats want the Medicaid bill to remain silent on tax dollars to abortion providers because they know Planned Parenthood would be feasting off the same steady stream of tax dollars “returning” from the federal government. In fact, House minority leader and likely Democrat gubernatorial candidate Chad Campbell sent an email out today expressing frustration, covering for abortion providers and urging individuals to call their legislators. His rhetoric has heated up calling social and religious conservatives “extremists,” “right-wing” and “special interests” all because they oppose using tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood.

Keep your eyes on the players in this whole exercise of corporate cronyism and who stands to gain the most “free” tax dollars.

Senate President Steve Pierce – Vote NO on Proposition 204

I strongly oppose Prop. 204. Placing a permanent tax on a state still under economic duress is not good public policy. While it may sound like a solution for funding education and creating jobs, it circumvents the mechanisms that the public relies on to ensure that their hard earned dollars are well spent.

This sales tax will hinder job creation. With the temporary tax in place, impact studies found that in the private sector, over 4,000 jobs were lost. Multiplier effects estimate a reduction of approximately 7,383 jobs. The unemployment rate in this state has not dropped significantly to demonstrate a strengthened economy. The rate has only decreased 2% in two years. That is hardly encouraging.

Vote No on 204

Vote NO on 204!

This proposed tax, coupled with freezing the current tax rate, is a job killer. The tax can never be lowered. Any effort to reduce it is virtually impossible. Consumer confidence has guided our recovery, and in my estimation, they are not buying it. We are not there yet.

Hiding behind its title, Prop. 204 creates new funds for infrastructure, healthcare and welfare. There is no spending flexibility whatsoever. While the proponents could have given excess revenue back to the citizens, they chose not to. That is simply offensive.

Funding education is a wise investment. However, when it goes unchecked, and there are schools that do not perform to a competitive standard, the people will have no input. Like the sales tax, funding is frozen in time. There can be no change in spending priorities.

You can’t be all things to all people. Prop. 204 attempts to do so by casting a large net to lure in more votes. It will fail the public by overreaching in its mission and not allowing any budgetary discretion. Please oppose Prop. 204.

Steve Pierce, President of the Arizona State Senate

Sine Die – Finally!

The Arizona Legislature adjourned last night, ending one of the most significant and successful sessions for Arizona families. Our CAP Team is grateful for the leadership shown by Governor Brewer and our pro-life, pro-family legislators. Next week, we will release the Family Issues Voting Record, which recaps how each legislator voted on CAP-supported bills, and the final tally of CAP-supported bills that were signed into law.

On the Governor’s Desk

Before adjournment, the legislature sent four CAP-supported bills to Governor Brewer. Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood (HB 2800), protect employers from being forced to violate their religious beliefs (HB 2625), protect professionals licensed by the state from losing their certifications for the free exercise of their faith (SB 1365), and expand the Empowerment Scholarship Account Program (HB 2622) are all awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and education establishment have continued their campaign to encourage Gov. Brewer to veto these bills. If you haven’t yet, please take a minute today to send her a quick note in support of these four bills! And, take a few minutes to pray!

A Team Effort! A Time of Thanksgiving!

I live by the Proverb that we are to be prepared for the day of battle but victory belongs to the Lord.  The victories this legislative session indeed are by God’s Hand.   Thankfully, however, He has blessed our efforts with a team that includes allied organizations committed to foundational values including Arizona Catholic Conference, Alliance Defense Fund, Bioethics Defense Foundation, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and our school choice allies. I am incredibly grateful for everything they do to join us to stand for foundational values.

If space permitted, I would also thank each and every legislator who stood with us this session.  Alas, I will ask each one of you to do so when you receive the voting records next week for your two state representatives and state senator. For now, I do want to thank Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin for their leadership in making sure CAP-supported bills made it through the legislative process.  Take time to send those two leaders a quick thank-you email for their support – click on their names above to send them an email.

Finally, THANK YOU! It’s because you turned out to vote your values in the 2010 elections that we were blessed with the pro-life, pro-family majority in the state House and Senate.

National Day of Prayer
Our nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer yesterday. In conjunction with the National Day of Prayer, Governor Brewer once again declared yesterday the Arizona Day of Prayer, despite the ongoing legal attack against her from the “Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
Thank you, Gov. Brewer, for refusing to be pushed around by this out-of-state organization that is determined to rewrite our country’s history and First Amendment.

Praying Strategically

In recognition of the National Day of Prayer, CAP’s new Church Relations Director, Pastor Terry Anderson is writing a 3 part blog series on the Foundations blog about “praying strategically.” Terry shared this message with our staff last week and greatly blessed the CAP team. Click here to read it.

ICYMI: War on Women? The Undeniable Roots of Pro-Life Feminism

Our friends at the Susan B. Anthony List wrote an editorial in response to two pieces in the Arizona Republic.

On the Foundations blog, we share their editorial, but also point out that today’s pro-life movement is stronger – and more diverse – than ever before. This legislative session is an awesome example of women and men coming together to defend life, vulnerable women, and preborn children.

Senate President Steve Pierce Endorses Jonathan Paton in CD-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks,

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

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Statement by Senate President Steve Pierce Regarding President Obama’s Visit to Arizona

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2012
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

“I welcome President Barack Obama to Arizona today. His short visit is a nice opportunity for him to see firsthand an example of the Arizona economic comeback. Our state is one of the country’s leaders in job growth, and the Intel Corp. expansion means hundreds of construction jobs right now, and one thousand new employees when the Fab 42 facility is complete.

Unfortunately, the President’s visit will include fawning media coverage and the implication he had something to do with the $5.2 billion expansion in Chandler. He did not. Intel leaders chose this site based on tax incentives put together in the Arizona Legislature. Those tax reductions made Arizona much more attractive to businesses such as Intel. Now, as the massive cranes swing with activity, Air Force One soars into town and the President proudly plants his flag on the project. That is unfortunate.”

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Statement from Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2012
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

“Governor Brewer’s State of the State address today lays the foundation for what should be an outstanding legislative session. The hard work done the last three years by the Governor and Legislature to straighten out our state’s finances has put Arizona back on the right track.

The Governor is right to promise no extension of the temporary one-cent sales tax increase. We also stand with Governor Brewer in her commitment to lower taxes and reduce regulation.

The Governor will have strong support in the legislature as we continue to fight the Federal Government’s overreach. We must stand for what is right in Arizona and not emulate Washington, D.C.

We are prepared for a productive, efficient Centennial Legislative session, and look forward to working with Governor Brewer to put the interests of our citizens first.”

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Senate Leadership calls for end to 53/47 contribution rate for state employees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

Majority Leader to author bill that will put money back into teachers’ paychecks

(Phoenix, State Capitol) —Senate President-elect Steve Pierce and Majority Leader Andy Biggs announced today a bill will be offered in the upcoming legislative session ending the recent 53% employee/47% employer contribution rate split. That split went into effect in July, as part of the FY 12 budget. The change plugged a $40 million hole in the budget and reduced employee paychecks.

The bill will return the contribution rate split to 50/50, and increase the paychecks of teachers and other state employees by $20-40.

“Last session we made a commitment to Arizonans to deliver a balanced budget. The 53/47 split helped that happen, but many members agreed it was one of the toughest decisions they had to make. Conditions have changed, and I am comfortable now running a bill to repeal 53/47,” says Majority Leader Biggs.

“The truth is, the economic landscape is very different from March, when these budget negotiations were taking place. Because of our fiscal discipline and an improving economy, revenues are coming in at a much higher clip, and we can reverse this contribution rate change,” says President-elect Pierce.

“Republican leadership continues to put a high priority on strengthening education during these difficult times. We held K-12 reductions to about one percent last year. Today’s announcement is another way to honor the hard work of our district and charter school teachers,” says Pierce.

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Senator Steve Pierce: Redistricting chief’s actions overtly partisan

By Steve Pierce

When voters approved Proposition 106 in 2000, creating the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, they included a procedure for removal of a member of the commission. A member could be removed from the commission for “gross misconduct” or “substantial neglect of duty.” The determination is to be made by the governor, and the state Senate must sign off on the removal by a two-thirds vote.

Prop. 106 set a high bar for a person to be removed, but with all the evidence piled up, Colleen Mathis soars over that bar, and must not serve on the IRC.

The priority of the IRC and its chair is to produce constitutional maps every 10 years. Mathis presided over a process that produced unconstitutional maps. In fact, they were unconstitutional in all six criteria used to measure the validity of the maps.

Part of the sales job for the original passage of Prop. 106 was that it would take the redistricting process out from the closed doors of the Legislature and into the open for all of the public to see. Instead, the IRC faces allegations of open meetings law violations, and Mathis admits to taking the maps home with her on a weekend, making key changes to the congressional maps and then springing them on commissioners the following Monday for a vote. That is hardly the transparency Arizona voters wanted.

Mathis also apparently held clandestine meetings with Strategic Telemetry, the mapping company from D.C., without the knowledge of other commissioners. This partisan firm had no track record on mapping, never in Arizona, but Mathis made an aggressive pitch for ST outside the IRC meetings. Her husband also has reportedly attempted to broker side deals with Republican commissioners in blatant violation of constitutional transparency requirements.

The IRC allegedly shredded key bidding documents. The procurement process was so bad that the Arizona Department of Administration pulled out of it, sending a letter to the IRC saying that it was not complying with basic requirements.

Even in her application to the IRC, Mathis wasn’t completely open with information. She now admits she should have disclosed that her husband was campaign treasurer for Democratic Rep. Nancy Young-Wright.

When the IRC hired attorneys for each party, Mathis sided with the Democrats in hiring the Democrats’ attorney, and sided with the Democrats in hiring the Republicans’ attorney. That’s right – Republicans weren’t even allowed to hire their own attorney.

The Constitution requires that mapping be done by “adjustments to the grid.” Mathis appears to have ignored that requirement and used a mapping method she called a “doughnut hole.” It was an unconstitutional plan that left Arizonans looking to clean up the crumbs of that doughnut.

The evidence is overwhelming that Mathis has committed “gross misconduct” and “substantial neglect of duty.” And no matter what the Arizona Supreme Court justices may think, Prop. 106 makes it clear the determination is to be made not by men and women in black robes, but by the governor with the approval of the Senate. That has happened, and Colleen Mathis should no longer serve on the IRC.

In our own Yavapai County, we have the population to be our own district. It fits perfectly, and we are a community of interest. We all have the same issues in front of us. This commission saw fit to chop us up so we wouldn’t have the voice we now have. After all, we are a political powerhouse, and it is clear the opposition doesn’t want us to have the clout we currently have.

There is a long list of ways the Constitution has been disregarded and broken. I won’t go into further detail. The simple fact is, this extremely important redistricting exercise has been done in a very poor manner and its effects will last for at least 10 years – especially here in Yavapai County.

Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, is the Arizona Senate President-elect.