Showing posts from January, 2020

Preemption Laws and the War on Arizona Cities

Guns. The Border Wall. Sanctuary cities. Solid waste collection. Industrial hemp production. AirBnBs.   What does this seemingly random grab bag of issues have in common? Well so far into this young legislative session, they have all been at the center of the Republican-controlled state legislature’s ongoing war on Democratic-led cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, and Flagstaff. And the Republican legislators’ weapon of choice is an obscure tool known as preemption law.  As explained by  Henry Graber in Slate in 2016 , preemption laws, like so much state-level Republican legislation, is a brainchild of the notorious  American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) , the corporate-backed think tank which provides Republican legislators with model legislation which serves the interests of its corporate and billionaire clients. And preemption laws are a particularly pernicious tool that can be applied to almost any conservative hobbyhorse and harm the ability of cities to make their own

All Roads Lead Back to Home

  Recently the kickoff of the Arizona Legislative Session happened, a session that will undoubtedly be a party to vigorous debates surrounding matters of policy and legislation regarding education, voting rights and healthcare among others, the outcomes of which are of great importance with the ability to impact the lives of Arizonans for generations. There is no doubt that there is a need to keep an eye on the legislature and its policy outcomes in this 2020 session. While the eyes on the back of your head should be on the members and decisions of the various local Boards and Commissions.   As I imagine most readers are aware,  Boards and Commissions can be found at the city, county and state levels with a wide range of purposes and goals. Boards and Commissions make decisions and policies which also impact the lives and futures of Arizonans. One such Board is the  Phoenix Residential Investment Development Effort  which was created in 1989 with the purpose of assisting in community e

2020 Arizona Legislature Preview

  The opening of the 2020 Arizona legislative session is just around the corner and it should be an interesting one. The eyes of the country are going to be on Arizona as we go into a presidential election where Arizona could be a swing state and we once again have a high-stakes Senate race with national implications. But on November 3, 2020, all 90 seats in the Arizona legislature are also going to be up for grabs, so how are our legislators going to respond? Let’s take a look at how this legislative session may affect some of White Hat’s core Focus Issues:   Education   Education will most likely be one of the biggest issues at the legislature once again. Two key issues to watch out for, which we at White Hat have been paying close attention to, are the ESA voucher program and charter schools. After the resounding defeat of the ESA voucher program expansion in the 2018 election, and the election of Democrat Kathy Hoffman to Superintendent of Public Instruction, defenders of the progr

ALEC Comes to Town

It should come as no surprise that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive right-wing lobbying group responsible for passing radical legislation in state legislatures all over the country, chose Scottsdale’s Westin Kierland Resort as the site of its  winter summit the first week of December . Arizona is one of ALEC’s favorite states, as 26 of the 48 current Republican members of the Arizona legislature are ALEC members and ALEC legislation has radically shaped Arizona politics for the past several decades.   ALEC has been around since 1973, holding regular summits and conferences in which it connects its many corporate members (who pay thousands of dollars a year to join) with members from state legislatures around the country (who pay a nominal membership fee in exchange for access to the luxe conferences, held a fancy hotels and catered with top-notch food). This has allowed its corporate patrons to put “model legislation” in the hands of these legislators whi