HB 2509 is a bill that exasperates a problem we should address, property seizure. A police officer can pull a car over and in some cases even if you aren't guilty, seize your car and other property. This bill gives them one more reason to get the process started. One example of this abuse was detailed in this Forbes magazine article.
Rep. Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, said the way HB 2509 is worded it would let police stop a motorist if any light installed on a vehicle is not working. She said that could be as simple as the turn signal lights that some cars and trucks have on their side mirrors, in addition to the ones on the front and rear of the vehicles.Read more
PHOENIX - A House panel voted 8-4 Wednesday, Feb. 24, to change state law to ensure that the newest state utility regulator can vote on requests by electric companies to hike rates on their customers who have solar power.
But Rep. Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, pointed out that when she was a school board member she purposely abstained from voting when the time came to renew the teaching contract of her son.
"Why should the rules be different for you?" she asked Tobin. Fernandez called this "special legislation."
I spoke strenuously against HB 2023 which, if it becomes law, will prevent citizens from helping people return their ballots. This mostly affects the elderly, disabled and those living in rural areas with some distance from a post office.
I've talked before about prison vs education spending in Arizona. The governor and the Department of Corrections anticipates more prisoners and wants to build new prisons for them. Our schools are not afforded the luxury of this foresight.
The governor and his staff have anticipated a need for more prison beds, I disagree. In their haste, they have begun a 20 year commitment to private prison. One of the many reasons is the low pay for these private correction officers. These men and women put their lives on the line for a starting salary of $12 an hour. If we want our state to grow with strong and happy families, we need to ensure that the companies profiting off of the tax payers at least pay livable wages.
The new budget that Governor Ducey released last week calls for more spending on private prisons. In fact, his proposal is to guarantee 95-100% occupancy to a Florida based prison company. This would require that regardless of changes that might happen to reduce prison population, Arizona would have to find people to lock up.
During my first hearing as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I had the opportunity to ask Lorenzo Romero, Governor Ducey's budget director, about private prisons. The Arizona Public Media covered the story.