The May meeting of the SaddleBrooke Democratic Club was held on Tuesday, April 12. The speaker, Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star, spoke to a packed Activity Center audience about the spring 2015 session of the Arizona legislature. Mr. Steller reflected on one of the shortest legislative sessions in recent history for one so heavily faced with significant problems to solve. Most of these problems have been kicked down the road for future sessions of the legislature to solve. The legislature did little to solve the court-imposed settlement of the school underfunding issue. At present the schools are in mediation-like sessions with the government on getting payment of their awarded sum. In higher education, the state saw Draconian cuts to university budgets; cuts that took little account of the constitutional admonition that tuition should be held as close to zero as possible. Legislators seemed to want it both ways—-not paying the costs and holding tuitions low at the same time.
Governor Ducey’s leadership, following the models of Governor Walker of Wisconsin and Brownback of Kansas, avoided closing loopholes in the tax laws, arguing that they were new forms of taxation. This, in many estimates, leaves millions of dollars on the table at a time the state is in serious financial straits. When asked about changes in treatment of the media, Mr. Steller was hard pressed to find changes from other recent administrations. He did state that the freedom of public records is under attack but this is a broader issue than just in Arizona. Little was done in this legislative session to deal with gun laws or abortion rights, topics that are sure to return in the next session. In education there was no legal settlement about who controls education, the Superintendent or the Board of Education. While the Attorney General issued a finding, there is no agreed upon settlement of the issue. What was clear is that elections count and those who are elected are those who will make decisions whether the citizens of Arizona like them or not.
On June 9 we will have Ms. Jo Ann Ellison speak to issues that will be decided by the U.S Supreme Court by the end of the current session this summer. There are a multitude of issues concerning gay marriage, states’ rights regarding same-sex marriages, the Affordable Care Act and others that will surely impact the lives of members, members’ families and friends. Be there to get the latest update and analysis on these pending issues.
Each monthly meeting of the SaddleBrooke Democratic Club is held on the second Tuesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. in the HOA 1 Activity Center, 64518 East Galveston Lane, SaddleBrooke, Arizona 85739.