Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Just when you thought that the Arizona Senate couldn’t find anything else to diddle around with and waste time on, they found three more pressing issues to address– before tackling the budget or passing legislation to create jobs and build the economy.
What’s so important that they had to further delay the business of Arizona?
1- Passing a resolution in support of union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
2- Paving the way for an new Arizona license plate honoring and financially supporting the Tea Party.
3- Making the Colt single-action Army revolver the official state firearm.
Of the items on this list, the one that bothers me the most is the Tea Party license plate– not because of what the Tea Party stands for but because the funds from the sale of this official state license plate won’t go to the state of Arizona, they go to bankroll the Tea Party in Arizona.
Why is the Arizona Senate using a state agency– the Arizona Department of Transportation– and the Arizona law requiring vehicle license plates to raise funds for a political party? If you want to have license plates that show one’s political affiliation and channel funds to all parties– or better yet to Clean Elections– that’s one thing, but to pass a law that financially benefits one political party is blatant cronyism.
Is it even legal to pass a law to benefit one political party? OK, that’s right, whether or not something is legal hasn’t stopped the Arizona Legislature in the past. One benefit to the new Tea Party plate is that the rest of us will know who’s packin’ heat when we pass them in traffic.
Here are more details from the Arizona Daily Star…
The budget is not balanced. The governor wants to eliminate health care for 250,000 people. Nearly one out of 10 Arizonans who want jobs can’t find one. And there are plans to slash funding for higher education.
But that didn’t keep the state Senate from taking the time Thursday to debate and approve a resolution supporting the Republican governor of Wisconsin in his fight with labor unions.
Senators also voted to create yet another special license plate. But unlike some others aimed at raising money for causes like spaying pets, service to veterans and organ donation, the proceeds from this license plate would benefit tea party groups around the state.
And lawmakers gave preliminary approval to declaring the Colt single-action Army revolver the official state firearm.
That last one proved too much for Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.
“Out of all the problems facing the state of Arizona, the citizens of Arizona should rest comfortably in bed tonight knowing we now have a state firearm,” he chided his colleagues.
He recited a list of issues facing the state, including record foreclosures, large numbers of Arizonans without health insurance and people looking for jobs.
“I’m sorry,” Gallardo said. “I would bet if we did a poll in the state of Arizona, the people of Arizona would come out and say this is not one of their priorities.” [Emphasis added.]