It was the Arizona Senate which came up with the SB1070 law which criminalizes being an alien without documentation in Arizona. It was seen as a divisive and unnecessarily cruel form of legislation by many in America at the time. The Arizona Senate has now come up with a law, SB1433 [pdf warning]
, to nullify Federal laws.
The bill establishes a committee to look over all federal laws passed and determine which ones are constitutional or not. These recommendations are then passed to the Arizona legislature which can then nullify a law by a simple majoritarian vote. The committee's next responsibility is then setting guidelines to ensure that the federal law is not enforced by the state. From the bill (the Tucson Citizen has the bill in HTML and non-caps
The committee shall recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside of the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution. The committee shall make its recommendation within thirty days after receiving the federal legislation for consideration and process.
The committee may review all existing federal statutes, mandates, and executive orders for the purpose of determining their constitutionality. The committee may recommend for nullification existing federal statutes, mandates and executive orders enacted before the effective date of this section.
On the Committee's recommendation for nullification, the legislature shall vote on whether to nullify the action within sixty days after the committee's recommendation. Until the vote, the issue in question is of no effect.
If the legislature votes by simple majority to nullify any federal statute, mandate or executive order on the grounds of constitutionality, this state and its citizens shall not recognize or be obligated to live under the statute, mandate or executive order.
The committee shall ensure that the legislature adopts and enacts all measures that may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal law or regulation nullified pursuant to this section. The committee shall ensure that the jurisdiction of any cause of action between this state and the federal government regarding nullification of any federal legislation, mandate or executive order with the Supreme Court of the United States alone as stated in Article III, Section 2 United States Constitution.
I am not certain about the part that the "issue in question is of no effect". I think it means Arizona will not honor the federal law until it has been vetted and passed by the committee.
The Arizona's Senate justification for this legislation is longer than the language to set up the actual committee. It is more an airing of grievances than legislation. Then again I am not familiar with the process of challenging a law's constitutionality and the legislators probably put in all these justifications should the law be challenged.
I suspect SB1433 will be challenged as it seems kind of silly. Federal laws are challenged by states and go to the Supreme Court to determine their constitutionally constantly. This seems to be creating a mini-Supreme Court in Arizona that has extra temporal powers to go back through the history of federal legislation and the additional power of ensuring that Arizona does not enforce these laws.
The legislative justification:
1. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees and reserves to the states or their people all powers not specifically granted to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution as they were publicly understood at the time that the amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791 subject only to modification by duly ratified subsequent amendments to the United States constitution. The guarantee of those powers is a matter of compact between this state and the United States as of the time Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912.
2. As a matter of compact between this state and the United States as of the time Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees to this state that, other than the enumerated powers expressly granted to the United States under Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution, Congress and the federal government will not exercise any purported additional control over or commandeer rights belonging to this state or its people.
3. Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the people and this state retain their exclusive power to regulate this state subject only to the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee that the people and the state of Arizona exercise those sovereign powers pursuant to each citizen's lawful privileges or immunities and in compliance with the requirements of due process and equal protection of the law.
4. The ninth amendment to the United States Constitution secures and reserves to the people of Arizona as against the federal government their natural rights to life, liberty and property as entailed by the traditional Anglo-American concept of ordered liberty and as secured by state law, including their rights as they were understood and secured by the law at the time the amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791 as well as their rights as they were understood and secured by the law in this state at the time the Arizona Constitution was adopted. The guarantee of those rights is a matter of compact between this state and the United States as of the time Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912.
5. At the time the United States Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, the sole and sovereign power to regulate the state business and affairs rested in the state legislature and has always been a compelling state concern and central to state sovereignty. Accordingly, the public meaning and understanding of Article I, section 8, the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, is a matter of compact between this state and the United States as of the time Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912. Further, the power to regulate commerce among the several states as delegated to the Congress in Article I, section 8, clause 3, United States Constitution, as understood at the time of the founding, was meant to empower Congress to regulate the buying and selling of products made by others, and sometimes land, associated finance and financial instruments and navigation and other carriage across state jurisdictional lines. This power to regulate commerce does not include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, major crimes or land use, and does not include activities that merely substantially affect commerce.
6. At the time the United States Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, the commerce clause was not meant or understood to authorize Congress or the federal judiciary to regulate the state courts in the matter of state substantive law or state judicial procedure. This meaning and understanding of Article I, section 8, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as they pertain to the validity of religious sectarian or foreign law as being controlling or influential precedent, has never been modified by any duly ratified amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the public meaning and understanding of Article I, section 8 and the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution is a matter of compact between this state and the United States as of the time Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912. Additionally, Article I, section 8, clause 18 of the United States Constitution, the "necessary and proper clause," is not a blank check that empowers the federal government to do anything it deems necessary or proper. It is instead a limitation of power under the common law doctrine of principals and incidents that allows the Congress to exercise incidental powers. There are two main conditions required for something to be incidental, and therefore, "necessary and proper", the law or power exercised must be directly applicable to the main, enumerated power and it must be "lesser" than the main power.
7. At the time the United States Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, Article I, section 8, clause 1 of the United States Constitution, the "general welfare clause," did not empower the federal government with the ability to do anything it deems good. It is instead a general introduction explaining the exercise of the enumerated powers of Congress that are prescribed in Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United States. When James Madison was asked if this clause was a grant of power, he replied, "If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment (the Constitution) should be thrown into the fire at once." Thus, this clause is a limitation on the power of the federal government to act in the welfare of all when passing laws in pursuance of the powers delegated to the United States. The Commerce Clause was not meant or understood to authorize Congress or the federal judiciary to establish religious sectarian or foreign statute or case law as controlling or influential precedent. This meaning and understanding of Article I, section 8, the establishment clause of the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as they pertain to controlling or influential legal authority, has never been modified by any duly ratified amendment to the United States constitution. Accordingly, the public meaning and understanding of Article I, section 8, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, is a matter of compact between this state and the United States as of the time Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912.
8. Accordingly, we affirm that neither the "Commerce Clause," the "general welfare clause" or the "necessary and proper clause" of the United States Constitution have ever been expanded, modified or amended and therefore, this state specifically rejects and denies any expanded authority that the federal government may attempt to enforce.
9. The Congress and the federal government are denied the power to establish laws within this state that are repugnant and obtrusive to state law and to the people in this state. They are restrained and confined in authority by the eighteen items as prescribed in Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution.
10. Congress and the federal government are denied the power to bind the states under foreign statute or case law other than those provisions duly ratified by the Congress as a treaty, so long as the treaty does not violate this state or the United States Constitution.
11. Further, no authority has ever been given to the legislative branch, the executive branch or the judicial branch of the federal government to preempt state legislation.
12. This act serves as a notice and demand to the Congress and the federal government to cease and desist all activities outside the scope of their constitutionally designated powers.
There is some strange language in this justification. For instance; "reserves to the people of Arizona as against the federal government their natural rights to life, liberty and property as entailed by the traditional Anglo-American concept
of ordered liberty". The addition of the words Anglo-American seems odd. Given that there were racial overtones to SB1070 adding that language was unnecessary if not unwise in this legislation.
The justification makes claims to the signing of the American constitution in 1791 but then notes Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912 by which time what was understood as the 'Federal Constitution" and its existing network of laws and conventions were very different. It is hard not to look at this as a defending of the constitution as it is imagined
rather than as it is.
It is the same for the part about the "commerce clause" in justification No.6; So it seems this legislation is aimed at trying to stop the Affordable Care Act. The justification claims that the commerce clause did not mean in 1788 what it means constitutionally today. Again, Arizona came to statehood in 1912, so it is a spurious argument. The nature of constitutions is that they become the sum of Judicially allowed decisions and statutes. The correct way to change the meaning of the commerce clause is not by a committee at the state level, it is by a constitutional amendment.
I have some empathy with the legislation as the governments at the national level often throw greater tasks, expenditure on the states without much thought. State bureaucracies are smaller and often stretched so these extra responsibilities can become burdens.
However, the way it is written with the childish claims to the commerce clause and general welfare clause make the legislation seem non-serious and more political in orientation than a useful statute. I understand that a Red State like Arizona might not like that a Democrat is in the White House. However this legislation does not aid good governance in Arizona nor does it address the issues facing Arizona. This is wasteful legislation.
Apparently the push for a 2.13% flat tax in Arizona is dead. It does not have enough support in the Senate
. There are currently five income tax rates in Arizona. This would have collapsed them into one, and removed all the deductions, etc that go with state income tax. This is what it would have looked like
It certainly more appears more regressive than the multiple tax brackets in the amounts of money it collects from each income bracket. However from the bill HB2636
, this is the existing tax brackets.
Where 10,000 and up is paying a higher tax rate than the 2.13% flat rate. Probably one of the differences in the flat rate is that now everyone is paying 2.13% on the first 10K where they were paying 2.08% before? It gets more confusing with married partners;
Which has the lowest tax rate up to $25,000 and even $50,000 if the person is the head of a household. This kind of married shenanigans might be leaving the lower income brackets with less tax revenue than a flat rate would.
I don't necessarily have a problem with a flat tax at the state level. Like Australia, the national government in the United States is the dominant income taxing entity. Making the state system simple would be a benefit as most people think of the national government when they think of taxes. The state income taxes are almost an ofter thought.
When you start a job you are always asked how much you want taken out for the state level. I never know and just guess or ask a work mate. It is usually obtuse and non-intuitive. Most people have a sense for the brackets at the national level, but not at the state, so it becomes a bit of a guess.
In the bill itself it claims one of the goals of the legislation is to; "promote the integrity of this state's tax law through simplicity, fairness and ease of compliance." I don't necessary follow the fairness part as I don't have an issue with government having a partnering role in egalitarianism but certainly the integrity, simplicity and ease of compliance ring true to me.
Arizona also has an odd property tax regime. It bases your property taxes on what the property was two years previous. This was not fun when the boom became a crash. Those buying property - like us - when it became cheaper after the crash got stuck with a tax bill from when the property was at highest value from two years ago. I had no idea.
Again making the state income and property tax regime simple and uniform would be better so there was no clashing expectations.
According to this article one of the lobby groups against it
was the Realtors association because the mortgage deduction would be removed. I don't have an issue with the mortgage deduction disappearing at the state level. There is already an ample subsidy for home ownership at the national level as part of the tax code. Arizona relies a lot on construction to drive one of the three C's in the local economy. But even so.
Arizona has an Assembly and Senate dominated by Republicans and has often been a candidate for Quiggin's zombie economics. But this legislation I don't see as being an issue since the amounts are small in comparison to the national level of taxation. There is an element of regression to, but many of the middle class tax breaks which are regressive as well, such as mortgage deductions, married tax breaks and charitable contributions are no longer included.
I think this legislation would have been fine for a state tax mechanism. I have no issue getting rid of the mortgage deductions and separate tax brackets for married couples. If there is a strong enough state support for unemployment, education and health care I don't think this would be an issue at all. Unfortunately Arizona does not excel in this area and the regressive nature would hurt against lower income earners when redistribution is taken into account.
The current budgets that have come out of the Arizona Governor's office and the Senate have cuts in store for secondary and tertiary education with the removed amounts being between 300 million and 500 million. At a recent Arizona Commerce Authority meeting the former Intel CEO, Craig Barrett commented
"Quality education is extremely important to a place like Intel," Barrett said. "(The) education cutbacks don't bode well for that."
Barrett said if Intel were starting anew, Arizona likely wouldn't be in the running for its business. "I hate to say it, but I think Arizona would not be in the top 10 locales to make that investment," he said.
He added that the company might not even select the U.S. because of non-competitive immigration and tax policies. Intel has invested at least $14 billion in new Arizona plants over the past decade and plans to spend another $5 billion on a fabrication plant in Chandler.
This is disingenuous on Barett's part. Intel's plants employ about one thousand people each. The state puts out huge tax breaks to bring these kinds of plants in, essentially competing against other states with tax give-aways; further, Intel is employing highly specialized labor, not commodity labor.
Phoenix is a large city with about four million and Intel is concerned they might not find three thousand well educated people from the labor pool? That sounds silly. Arizona's industry is dominated by ASU in Phoenix and UofA in Tucson. It is not only people from Arizona that go there, but also others from out of state. So graduates are essentially being imported into the Arizona labor market in that manner as well.
Barrett has a point with immigration law, especially in Arizona as SB1070 was a stupid law that criminalized not having proof of residency in the state. But the tax policies during the neo-liberal era at the national and state level have been a large corporation's wet dream.
Education is important as it is one of the few ways social mobility becomes possible in a society and holds the promise of a meritocracy. Government has an important role in that process. It is enough to be concerned what effects on the quality of secondary and tertiary education the cuts proposed by the executive and legislature will have without being disingenuous or over-dramatic about it.
First Solar has an office near where I work. I actually pass their offices every day to get down to Mill Avenue. First Solar is building a factory in Mesa apparently
that will manufacture their solar panels and cells. In typical American state government style the states then competed with each other in terms of tax breaks etc to try and get the plant within their boundaries. Arizona won, beating out Albuquerque in New Mexico and Austin, Texas
. This was the cost to Arizona
First Solar wrangled at least $51.5 million in potential incentives out of the state, county and city, bought its land at a steep discount, and - perhaps the clinching factor - scored a discount on its power bills.
This plant only has 600 employees. In a city of four million people and a state of six million it is a drop in the ocean and that money would be better spent in tertiary institutions which drive high tech and entrepreneurial regions in the United States. I really think these things are a false economy.
The Birther Bill
has passed the Senate in Arizona and now goes to the House. It will undoubtedly pass in the House as a version passed there in 2010 but the legislative year ran out before the Senate could vote on it.
A couple of things from it. First, it looks like Judy Burgess or her staffers - the Arizona State Senator who introduced the legislation - amends existing legislation with Microsoft Word. One of the annoying things about Word is that its grammar editor changes all your which's to that's. Note in the screenshot below the telltale sign of Microsoft Word's grammar skills.
The bill is pretty straight forward in what comprises a political candidate for an elections that the State of Arizona must deal with. The additional language that makes it 'the birther bill' is the language that requires proof of citizenship and birth in the United States.
The bill requires the party to provide proof of a candidates; Birth Certificate, Baptism or Circumcision Certificate, Medical Record signed by the Doctor and Midwife, early Census record and Sworn testimony of witnesses saying the candidate for President had been in the United States for fourteen years.
The legislation states that if the Secretary of State does not receive a long form birth certificate and does not have sufficient other documentation to prove the candidate is a citizen of the United States, then the Secretary can form a committee to determine if the candidate is really a citizen or not.
Is the legislation worth it? The answer is no. While the US has a mixed federal and national character with the states handling the presidential side of the election courtesy of the electoral college, this seems to be much ado about nothing.
This was only introduced because Arizona has a Republican Senate and Assembly, and the President of the United States is a Democrat who many in the state of Arizona dislike being President. The whole 'birther' movement is stupid, irrational and seriously, you have to be a committed idiot to believe it.
The only reason the birther movement has momentum is because it is easy to construe as a conspiracy, Hawaii is a long way away, and much of talk back radio and cable news perpetuate the 'some say' style of conspiracy. Additionally, those that do not like a Democrat or Obama as president will lean toward believing that his presidency is illegitimate, and him not being a citizen appeals to the removal of political and institution legitimacy.
This bill is unnecessary. It isn't even good politics but is typical of the poor nature of legislation that is coming out of the Arizona Senate. Good governance is valued, legislation like this is not.
A run down of the issues on the birther bill
Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, proposed a bill in June 2009 to ask voters to require presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship. It never got a hearing.
Last year, Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, twice proposed a similar bill, although it would not have required voter approval. One never got a hearing, the other was halted right before it got a final vote in the Senate.
"It died in the Senate because (then-Senate President) Bob Burns thought it was stupid," said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix. "This year's Senate president doesn't think it's stupid."
There has been three separate attempts to push through birther bills including one by the current Senate President Russell Pearce who produced the SB1070 legislation and the nullification law. Most of the bad legislation coming out of Arizona can be attributed to Pearce's leadership in the Senate.
Jan Brewer, the Arizona Governor, has vetoed the birther bill. The statement for House Bill 2177 was;
Today I vetoed House Bill 2177. House Bill 2177 empowers the Secretary of State or other election officers in Arizona to judge the qualifications of every federal, state and local candidate at the time of filing. As a former Secretary of State, I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or political motivated decisions.
In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth to submit their "early baptismal or circumcision certificates' among other records to the Arizona Secretary of State. This is a bridge too far.
This measure creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona.
Which seems sensible on the Governor's part.
The Arizona Legislature let a session dedicated to continuing the unemployment benefits peter out and die without a decision one way or another. The money is from Federal Funds and judging by the article on azcentral
the Republicans - who hold a majority in the House and Senate - blamed the Governor for not trying to get the numbers for the bill. It appears that the Senate wanted to add tax cuts for businesses in return for voting for the unemployment benefits. Fifteen thousand will go without the $216 a week the benefits provide.
The legislature was needed to conform to a federal rule to look back three years instead of two
in order to be eligible for the federal money.
The U.S. pays for extended benefits if a state had at least 10 percent higher unemployment than three years earlier, after changing the "look-back" period from 24 months. Arizona's April jobless rate at 9.3 percent was unchanged from the same month in 2009 while almost double April 2008's 4.9 percent. To keep aid flowing the state must change its look-back rule, yet Republican lawmakers in Phoenix are reluctant to act.
"There are jobs that people can find, but people are sitting, waiting for a job like the one they had," Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce said June 3 in a telephone interview, explaining why he and most of his Republican colleagues oppose extending benefits. If recipients are cut off, they "would find something to do," he said.
This seems heartless and unnecessarily cruel by the Arizona Republicans. Government does offer many insurance mechanisms against systemic market failure and unemployment is one of those. Unlike nations like Australia which have open - ended unemployment benefits, the US only has them for temporary periods.
Arizona unemployment is around the 8.9% mark which is higher than the likes of New York and Texas, lower than California or Florida. The Arizona unemployment is about the same as for the United States. So despite the housing collapse in Arizona - which is some of the worst in the US -its unemployment is about average when compared to the rest of the US.
Arizona Senate President, Russell Pearce looks to be facing a recall election
. I had not heard of recall elections until the shenanigans going on in Wisconsin when a Republican Governor, Senate and Assembly managed to force through legislation banning collective bargaining. Partisans from both sides got retributive and now there are recall elections for both Republican and Democratic Senators which suggests the bar for signatures to force a recall election are too low.
Russell Pearce is a former deputy chief sheriff of Joe Arpaio who is infamous for his tough stances on law and order, but is also empirically known for those same stances producing sub-par enforcement outcomes
. In Maricopa County the Sheriff position is elected, and Arpaio's "Lora Norder" political stances have proven electorally popular with the snow birds and older retirees that are still a sizable part of the Arizona voting population.
There are nineteen states in the US that allow for recall elections after meeting certain popular criteria. Most states do not require grounds or grievance for a recall to be asked for, including Arizona. However there are popular requirements such as the number of signatures and a time limit to achieve those signatures. In Arizona the amount of signatures that have to be presented is 25% of the votes counted in the electorate for the public official being recalled. It must also be done within 120 days.
If Pearce is recalled he can appear on the ballot for the recall election. During the last election for the Senate seat of Mesa he earned 57% of the votes with a Democrat taking 34% and a libertarian 9%. According to the article moderate republicans have expressed interest in running against Pearce in a primary.
Pearce's signature legislation and most divisive has been SB1070 which criminalizes visa violations or requirements by immigrants and visitors to the United States. Under federal law they are not criminal offenses, SB1070 throws that on top of the federal penalties. Pearce also brought the Arizona birther bill
to the floor which was promptly vetoed by the Governor.
It looks like the traffic camera programs the towns and cities in Arizona are running are generally not creating any revenue
for them. The companies running the programs - including Redflex and Australian company - are making money, and so is the state due to a surcharge on the issuing of tickets, but the cities and towns which the majority of the processing work falls on are not.
I think the traffic cameras are a bad idea and do not solve any of the problems that are put forward to justify them. Worse the cause traffic to flow in arbitrary ways as people throw out the anchors when they see them even if they are under the speed limit. Thankfully they have been removed from the state highways, but the mobile ones and the mounted cameras are still used by the cities and towns.
Scottsdale doesn't seem to know how much the processing costs and can't say if they are making money, neutral or losing money. Good on the Arizona Republic for requiring this level of accountability and asking for the information;
Scottsdale, Tucson, and Surprise could provide only rough estimates for expenses for city court staff to process the tickets and conduct hearings for people challenging citations.
Without an analysis of the revenue and expenses, it is difficult to determine if they generate profits or losses, although the data and estimates from the cities point to losses. ...
Of the three cities that don't regularly track their programs' costs, Scottsdale has the highest revenue, and officials there estimate that if they did track staff costs, those costs would eat up the $427,000 in revenue left after paying the camera company and the state, making it just a break-even program for the city.
The amount of money the state makes from the surcharge on the traffic tickets from seven million which is about the same that Redflex and ATS made from supplying the vans and services for traffic cameras. Not sure why the towns continue with the program if these numbers are correct. Seems like a bad deal for no gain considering there are plenty of studies which show that traffic cameras do not improve public safety.
Update: Tempe is getting rid of the photo cameras
At its July 7 meeting, the City Council's Formal Meeting agenda included an item to extend the Redflex contract for three months. Mayor Hugh Hallman proposed the Council instead consider extending the contract for one month. Councilmembers voted 4 to 3 to reject that motion, effectively ending photo enforcement in Tempe as of the existing contract's July 18 expiration date. Cameras would be turned off at midnight July 19.
Which is a good decision IMO.
The elections for the Phoenix Mayor, half the councillors and two propositions were voted on yesterday
(August 30th, 2011).
The Mayor and Council Member positions for the city are term limited. The Mayor is limited to two four year terms, while the Council Members are limited to three four year terms. I am not sure from the government website if the limits are just for consecutive terms - like Virginia has for the Governor - where the position can be run for again after a break, or if they are absolute.
The Council Members are elected like the American and Australian Senates with half being up for election every two years in order to stagger the Council and avoid all the institutional knowledge disappearing in the one election. There are eight city districts in total for the Council Members.
The Mayor requires a majority to be elected. If there is no majority then a run-off election is held between the two candidates with the highest amount of the vote. The election yesterday returned:
04.92% Anna Brennan
20.54% Wes Gullet
12.12% Claude Mattox
12.65% Peggy Neely
37.85% Greg Stanton
11.47% Jennifer Wright
00.44% Write in
The run off election will be between Greg Stanton (D) and Wes Gullet (R) since Stanton did not get over the 50% mark. However, the voter turn out was 15.68% with 85% of that voter turn out being early voters - which in the US is usually by mail. Pretty poor. It was expected to be a low turnout as it is a local race, August turn outs in Arizona are traditionally low as many people escape the heat in San Diego etc. Even so.
There ar two propositions on the ballot as well. The second one has signs up on street corners saying, "Don't pass gas in our neighborhoods, vote against prop 2" which is misleading. The propositions is to stop a rezoning of a residential area near 44th St and Palm Lane to commercial.
A gas (petrol) station wants to build there and there is a nimby group that got a proposition on the ballot to stop it. The proposition did not pass, with 61% voting against it. These kind of development decisions should not be propositions otherwise no development will occur.
Proposition 1 passed with 71%. I am not sure I fully understand it, but it seems it means the local council can over-ride state (legislated?) restrictions on the council's spending. The council charter appears to have a limit on spending, and this will also over-ride that as well. I think it allows for deficit spending by the council if they choose to.
In Australia the electoral commissions at the federal and state level take care of the electoral maps. There are different mechanisms for achieving this, for instance the VEC tends to make as many electorates competitive as possible, others work of demographics, location etc. For the most part in Australia the electoral maps are uncontroversial and do not figure in the political to and fro of the day.
The same is not true for the US. Here redistricting is carried out by the states due to the heavy federal nature of the American system. Worse, the legislatures do this and they tend to be highly political rather than experts or independent commissions conducting these changes. As a result, the judicial tends to get involved as a disinterested party to give the districts legitimacy. The alternative is for the state legislatures to set up independent commissions. Arizona went down this path.
It was a constitutional proposition in Arizona
that led to an independent commission
. The proposition spells out how the districts will be formed, which seems sensible, though I personally thing competitive districts should rank higher:
A. Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the United States Voting Rights Act;
B. Congressional Districts shall have equal population to the exten practicable and state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable;
C. Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable;
D. District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable;
E. To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and country boundaries, and undivided census tracts, ;
F. To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favoured where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals
The current setup of the commission is equal numbers of republicans and democrats with an independent as the chair. However, the Republican Governor of Arizona recently removed the chair of the commission, however, the state High Court re-instated her
. Politics at the state level in the United States tend to be somewhat brazen and repugnant, flying as it does under the rader of the national media.
The map at the top is what has been voted on by the commission, i can only assume that Jan Brewer and the Republican Party does not like it for political reasons. Despite Arizona being assumed a Republican state, it is more competitive than most people think. The Governor prior to Jan Brewer was Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, who only left the position because she was offered a position in the Obama cabinet. The electorate I live in was a Democratic district prior to the 2010 congressional elections.
Fareed Zakaria has argued in the past that the US suffers from too much democracy and vote on more things than they should to achieve good governance. California is usually used as the example. Arizona has some silly democracy, for instance, Zonies vote for the Mining Inspector and you see placards on the street corners advertising why one mine inspector is better than another.
Another area where Americans make everything constitutional is propositions. Silly stuff that should not be constitutional becomes constitutional through popular ballots and ends up being constitutionally entrenched. However, this is one area where limiting politicians and the legislature with a more moderate approach is a good thing. Especially when it stops things like the abuses of the Texas 2003 redistricting
There is probably no good Australian state analogy for Arizona as no Australia state has Mexico on its southern border (though NSW does as the joke goes). The nearest would be Western Australia, if Arizona was one third the size of the continental United States. But like WA, Arizona has one big city (Phoenix and Perth) with a standard services economy, a large regional center with the same (Tucson and Fremantle) and then a lot of mining and some agricultural concerns. As a result eh city should dominate local politics over the sparse population wise, but strong economically, rural and resource sectors and areas.
Most Popular on South Sea Republic
The articles that have been viewed the most:
Most Popular Restaurants in Phoenix
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Most Popular Hikes in Arizona
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Alternate Australian Constitutions
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
Archives For South Sea Republic
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
Who Is Cam Riley
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.
Websites Worth Reading
Websites of friends, colleagues and of interest;