New Arizona Law Bans Outside Money to Help Run Elections

By Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed significant election integrity legislation into law.

“With public confidence in our elections in peril, it’s clear our elections must be pristine and above reproach—and the sole purview of government,” Ducey said Friday in a signing letter.

Arizona’s new law prevents private funding from going into elections, such as the $419 million in donations made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

The Zuckerbergs gave a total of $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a left-leaning technology group, that in turn issued grants to 2,500 election offices in 49 states. The spending included $5 million for Arizona, according to preliminary data from the Foundation for Government Accountability, The Daily Signal reported March 23. 

In a statement to The Daily Signal, Arizona state Rep. Jake Hoffman said that “the passage and signing of House Bill 2569 makes Arizona the first in the nation to fully ban billionaires from influencing the administration and management of Arizona elections.”

Hoffman, a sponsor of the bill, referred to donations such as those made by the Zuckerbergs before the presidential election.  

“In 2020, our nation saw a concerning new political tactic wherein big tech billionaires spent nearly half a billion dollars influencing the administration of the general election through a series of nonprofits operated by Democrat political operatives,” Hoffman said, adding:  

Arizonans don’t want Democrat billionaires or Republican billionaires influencing the process of our elections. 

We have sent a clear message that it doesn’t matter how much money you have, Arizona elections are not for sale. 

State Sen. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, said outside funds are used because Arizona does not have adequate funding for elections, The Associated Press reported. 

“It’s easy to make a boogeyman out of billionaires. I don’t like them either. But we put ourselves in this situation,” Mendez said of the Legislature’s budgeting decisions. “Our elections are so underfunded we’ve got counties out there asking for money to do voter outreach.”

In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, said the new Arizona law will help keep the state’s elections free of outside influencers. 

“Arizona lawmakers, including Gov. Doug Ducey and [state] Rep. Jake Hoffman, have been hard at work securing Arizona’s elections,” Anderson said, adding:

The latest bill signed into law, HB 2569, will prevent outside groups and individuals from pouring private money directly into Arizona’s election systems. Arizonans deserve elections free from outside interference, and this law will help restore voters’ trust in their state’s elections.

Heritage Action is the lobbying arm of The Heritage Foundation, which is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.

Arizona Leftists Trash Religious Liberty

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

One of the most foundational aspects of being American is the freedom to exercise your religious beliefs, to worship who and how you choose. It is to live and work according to your faith, free from being forced to choose between your faith and your livelihood.

Our Founding Fathers fled religious persecution and experienced the heavy hand of governmental coercion in the most sacred area of life. Because of that, they enshrined into the U.S. Constitution an American’s right to, not only believe, but to exercise those beliefs. Further, they protected us from the government establishing a particular religion or belief.

Nearly 230 years after those protections were knit into the fabric of our country through the Bill of Rights, opponents are doing their best to unravel them. Daily, I witness in America a new level of hostility toward people of faith.

Two recent examples played out at the Capitol this week.  

1) HB 2648 clarifies that houses of worship and religious organizations are essential, and should be treated as other essential businesses, especially during a public crisis like the pandemic.

Here is a sample of the responses from those opposed:

“HB 2648 is a radical piece of legislation that would let religious organizations off the hook for almost any violation of any law at any time. Under HB 2648, religious organizations could claim immunity from criminal prosecution for the abuse of children that occurs in connection with religious activities or rituals. It could also result in a patient losing the right to sue a religious hospital for medically negligent or reckless care that was provided based on the hospital’s religious beliefs. HB 2648 would also allow corporations that claim a religious purpose to evade important worker protection, not comply with non- discrimination laws, deny their employees’ critical healthcare, and evade important civil and criminal laws that protect the public from fraud, abuse, and discrimination.” -Arizona ACLU

“HB2648 gives extreme legal immunity to religious groups … This “Trojan horse” bill supposedly protects religious institutions from discrimination. But … the bill’s wild definition of “discrimination” and excessively broad language create loopholes in which religious entities can ignore any law they don’t like. And it gives them the power to sue you if you try to seek justice.” – Secular Coalition of Arizona

“The bill allows organizations under the guise of religion, to abuse children and deny abuse victims their day in court.”-Senator Martin Quezada

“Some religions justify beating women, or marrying multiple wives, or marrying elderly men to children… or allow prostitution, or the surgical removal of body parts.” – Dianne Post, The National Organization of Women (NOW)

“Stop Christian nationalism! Our first freedom is not religious liberty. It’s freedom of not having tyrants legislate religious supremacy, making slaves of the sovereign people, who cannot debate God’s law and plan.” – Request To Speak (RTS) entry

I assure you, HB 2648 allows for none of this. It safeguards conduct protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It doesn’t give religious organizations immunity from harming someone any more than the Free Exercise Clause does. Everyone must comply with state laws, even when they are exercising their religion – as long as the law applies to everyone, generally, and does not target religion. This bill simply codifies into state law recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings to ensure Arizona houses of worship are not discriminated against or treated differently than other businesses and organizations during a state of emergency.

Senator J.D. Mesnard called out the hyperbole during a committee hearing, saying,

“It doesn’t allow all these “host of horribles” that [churches] can just do whatever … I guess you can go out and commit mass murder on the basis of religious belief and they’re going to suggest that that is protected? That’s ludicrous.

HB 2648 did pass out of the Senate Government Committee with a 5-3 vote.

2) HB 2575 allows clergy to visit dying patients in the hospital, even during a health crisis like the pandemic.

Here is a sample of the responses from those opposed:

“It privileges religious people over non-religious people, and excludes atheists.” – Tory Roberg, Secular Coalition of Arizona

“It echoes language used to justify discrimination against LGBTQ+ people & other protected groups under the guise of religious liberty! OPPOSE!” – RTS entry

“Discrimination disguised as religious liberty should not continue.” – RTS entry

“Don’t give clergy privileges during a pandemic. Gods do not protect people from contagion.” – RTS entry

Again, I can assure you, the retorts are completely unfounded, even aimless. This bill has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. Still, that seems to be the battle cry for every issue supporting religious freedom.

HB 2575 did pass out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with a 5-2 vote.

The hostile response to simple bills that protect basic religious exercise should awaken us to the real dangers of losing what we hold dear. A recent op-ed speaks with disgust about those of faith, and calls our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, “Christian Nationalists.”

We see it, too, on a national level, in the Equality Act, in President Biden’s Executive Order redefining human sexuality, and so much more. But lately, as evidenced above, the hostility to religion is no longer couched in covert rhetoric. It’s overt, unapologetic, and aimed at gutting the centuries old foundation of the free exercise of religion.

But we won’t make it easy for them. Standing in defense of our cherished First Amendment freedoms is a top priority at CAP. Both bills move on, and we will keep you posted on their progress. You can follow all CAP-supported bills on our BILL TRACKER.

In honor of religious freedom, we chose to release part one of a two-part series podcast discussing how bringing together the shepherds of the church and the shepherds of the government can change lives and communities. Click on the picture below to listen:

Once again, Arizona Taxpayers, You’ve Been Had — by Convicted Criminal and Former UA Coach

Thank you for paying more than $1 million for the legal defense in the civil trial of the former University of Arizona track and field coach who’s already been convicted in a criminal trial of assaulting a female athlete. Craig Carter thanks you NOT!

Last week a Pima County jury convicted Craig Carter of choking former U of A thrower Baillie Gibson while threatening her with a box cutter. The state, taxpayers like you and me, has been paying for his defense in a civil lawsuit filed by Gibson against Carter and the UA.

Are you reading this, state lawmakers? State law requires the government to pay for the defense of an employee being sued for behavior that occurred while acting within in the scope of his or her job, according to The Arizona Daily Star. This law needs to be changed!!

 

CAROLYN ALLEN OBITUARY

Former Arizona Senator Carolyn Allen has died at the age of 78, after suffering many years from the scourge of rheumatoid arthritis.

The late senator was hailed as a heroine by the left-stream flag carrier for our state, The Arizona Republic, and leftists on both sides of the political aisle. Allen was praised for her support of the arts and for warring against conservatives.

Allen also deserves credit for helping Democrat Janet Napolitano defeat conservative Matt Salmon in the 2002 governor’s election. She helped suppress Republican support for Salmon in Scottsdale by criticizing him in public, and he lost by one percent of the vote. Napolitano, who spent Arizona into massive debt, over-performed among Republicans in Scottsdale and that made the difference in her election.

Planned Parenthood lost a great friend in Allen. In a state legislative biography booklet, she described herself as a “Planned Parenthood activist.”

Intolerant of her opponents, Allen once saw the executive director of Arizona Right to Life in the state Senate lobby and bluntly exclaimed, “I didn’t know they allowed crooks in here.”

Allen was also a friend of Big Government, amnesty and homosexual pressure groups. While she faithfully clung to her “Republican Party” affiliation, it was the GOP platform principles she distained.

Amid a long absence from the legislature due to illness, The Arizona Conservative expressed concern about her constituents being disenfranchised and called on Allen to resign and devote herself to getting well. She later sent an email to our editor threatening him with physical harm.

The former chairwoman of the GOP legislative district in Scottsdale exhorted Allen to train up current Secretary of State Michelle Reagan, then a state representative. But Reagan was already comfortably established in Planned Parenthood’s abortion camp.

Conservatives repeatedly tried to beat Allen at election time, but the liberals in Scottsdale kept re-electing her until she retired from public office.

Arizona will Protect Salt River Wild Horse Herd

Governor Doug Ducey today signed House Bill 2340, which provides needed protections for the Salt River Horses. He explains below why he signed the bill:

“The Salt River Horses are beautiful, majestic and a treasure to our state. Since last summer, we have worked to protect them and their ability to roam free,” said Governor Doug Ducey.  “Many Arizonans were rightly outraged when the future of the Salt River Horse was put at risk, and I was clear then that I would do everything in my power to protect them from danger. Today, I am proud to sign a bill that paves the way state, local and federal forces to work together to keep them free from interference or harassment. I am grateful to  Rep. Kelly Townsend for her leadership and committment to protecting the Salt River Horses.”

Governor Praises 2016 Legislative Session Accomplishments

Gov. Doug Ducey, now in his second year as the state’s chief executive, is singing the praises of the 2016 legislative session. The Republican Party, in general, could take a lesson from his communication skills. Here’s his statement:

This session was about addressing priorities, keeping promises and solving problems. Together, lawmakers stepped up and worked in a spirit of good faith and good government to keep Arizona on a strong and stable path forward.

For the first time since 2007, we brought our budget to structural balance – and we did it while investing in our vital commitments, protecting our most vulnerable and honoring our veterans. We’ve prioritized our K-12 schools, our world-class universities, child safety and public safety – and we’ve done it without raising taxes on hardworking Arizonans.

We built upon our accomplishments last year to bring our laws into the 21st-century, embrace the sharing economy and make Arizona more attractive and responsive to innovation.

We took significant action to keep our citizens, families and communities safe – from ramping up the fight against drug cartels and drug addiction, to bringing justice to victims of crime, to eliminating roadblocks to care for foster children and families.

We did a lot of good this session – but these accomplishments are not ours. They belong to the Arizona students and teachers, who will benefit from more resources in the classrooms; the families, small business owners and citizens, who will benefit from low taxes, lean regulations, and an excellent quality of life; and the next generation, who will benefit from our efforts to set Arizona’s budget in balance and save for the future.”

 

 

Our First Arizona Congressional Endorsement Goes to …

There’s a crowd running for the Congressional seat of the retiring U.S. Representative Matt Salmon. A large crowd.

Among those listed on the Politics1 website are:

Andy Biggs (R) – State Senate President, Ex-State Rep. & Attorney
Alex Finter (R) – Mesa City Councilman, Ex-Mesa Mayor, Businessman & Retired Firefighter

Christine Jones (R) – Attorney, Ex-Internet Executive & ’14 Gov. Candidate
Bryan Martyn (R) – Ex-State Parks Dir., Ex-Pinal County Supervisor & Iraq/Afghan War Veteran
Justin Olsen (R) – State Rep., Tax Analyst & Ex-Congressional Aide

Russell Pearce (R) – Ex-State Senate President, Ex-State Rep., Retired Police Officer & National Guard Veteran
Bob Robson (R) – State Rep., Ex-Chandler City Councilman & Insurance Agent
Scott Smith (R) – Ex-Mesa Mayor, Businessman & ’14 Gov. Candidate

Don Stapley (R) – Ex-Maricopa County Supervisor & Marketing Consultant

Jay Tibshraeny (R) – Chandler Mayor, Ex-State Sen. & Ex-Chandler City Councilman
Kelly Townsend (R) – State Rep., Businesswoman & Navy Veteran
Stephen Viramontes (R) – Businessman
Bob Worsley (R) – State Sen. & Ex-SkyMall CEO

At this early point, we must endorse State Senate President. He’s a fine man and will represent everyone in the district well. There are other deserving candidates, but we can only endorse one.

Arizona Senate Takes Wise Stand for Human Life

The Arizona Senate passed two life-affirming bills this week.

Passing by a margin of 18-11m  Senate Bill 1474 is written to prohibit the trafficking of aborted baby body parts in Arizona. Sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, these bills have been sparked by Planned Parenthood’s admission of selling baby body parts after it was exposed by the Center for Medical Progress undercover videos.

Also passing the AZ Senate by the same 18-11 count, Senate Bill 1485 prevents abortion mills from gaining eligibility to participate in the State Employee Charitable Campaign. Sen. Andy Biggs sponsored this commonsense bill.

Big Abortion is under investigation for defrauding the government and is in court accused of refusing to report the abuse of under-age girls in eight states. Congress voted to defund Planned Parenthood, forcing President Obama to own a veto and expose himself for defending a scandal-plagued organization.

 

Americans for Prosperity Comment on Pension Reform

The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) congratulates Senator Debbie Lesko, Governor Doug Ducey, the Reason Foundation and other stakeholders on successfully pushing a pension reform package through the legislative process.
But AFP’s state director for Arizona, Tom Jenney, says:
Free-market reformers didn’t get everything we wanted from the package, and municipalities will be digging their way out of sunk debt costs for years to come, but the reforms will dramatically reduce the long-term risk to taxpayers from the existing public safety pension scheme.  In the current game, politicians write blank checks to government employees, knowing that those bills will be paid by taxpayers far in the future, when the politicians are safely out of office.  Going forward, new public safety employees will have significant “skin in the game,” since they will have to personally bear half the costs of any proposed increases in pension benefits.

A Sign of Hope for the Navajo Nation

 

It was a small sign of hope: a member of the Navajo Nation switching over to the Republican Party. It may or may not represent something big.

Native Americans, long beholden to the party of socialism, may cast him out of the Arizona State Senate in 2016. They may seem him as an outcast, a renegade. We will see what happens come election season.

Carlyle Begay made his decision based on fiscal reasons. Reasons of fiscal sanity. The Republican Party is, with a few exceptions on the state and national levels, the party of fiscal responsibility.

Republicans welcomed Begay to the party and said he is now better positioned to serve his legislative district, including in areas of education and the economy.

The GOP is right, and Legislative District 7 is now in the hands of a state leader who has their better interests in mind.

After all, the socialists are the people of Big Government and Small Citizens with less freedom, the party that refused to even create a budget in recent years when they held power in the U.S. Senate. They are the party that spends more money than the government actually has, and the party that — without resistance — will always call for deficit spending.

You and I can’t operate our personal finances like that, or we’d soon be broke and wouldn’t be able to live within our means.

Hopefully other Navajos will see the wisdom of Began and state leaders who demand the state keep its financial affairs in order.

Hopefully, they’ll realize they’ve been duped by the Democrats for as long as they can remember.

Hopefully they’ll realize you can’t tax yourselves into prosperity, that socialists eventually run out of other people’s money.

Hopefully Navajos and other Native Americans will come around on social issues as well.

They have to, some day. The socialists have led them down the path of destruction. Reservations have been pockets of poverty. Socialists have done them no favors. The socialists are the purveyors of a culture of death, social deconstruction and family disorder. They preach a sexual anarchy that only destroys.

Socialism hasn’t improved employment on reservations. It hasn’t ended social problems. It has not the capacity to do anything to positively impact Native American society. Or any other part of society, for that matter.

Being served by an elected official who understands that is a positive step forward for the Navajo people. We hope they understand that and will re-elect Begay again next fall. Many of his fellow citizens would do well to follow his courageous lead.