One of the most offensive things about this week wasn't the fact that some R's are really D's and want more socialism, (we already knew that) it was that they voted to use the rules in a way that has never been done before.
The suspend rules applies to emergency legislation that we couldn't have foreseen earlier in the session. If you need to submit a bill after the deadline, then vote to suspend the rules with the blessing of the leadership. However, this caucus voted to suspend as many rules as possible in spite of the leadership. In fact, they threatened to vote out the leadership and replace them with theirs if they didn't cooperate. Although Doris Goodale
claimed it was a crazy rumor put out by the far right and an example of what they had to put up with on a daily basis from us, the Arizona Capitol Times verified this on their website
. Apologies are generally accepted, Doris.
The Governor thought that by threatening leadership and suspending the rules, she would get her expansionTuesday
night by making us work into the wee hours. She later found out that there are AZ Constitutional rules she must follow and all we could do was the first read Tuesday
and she had to wait three days by law for the entire process.
And so began a drama of errors. When normally a bill is introduced and goes through the process of debate, public comment/scrutiny, and rules committee to see if it is Constitutional, a set of brand new bills with a brand new budget and medicaid expansion was set on our desks after a long wait for a repaired printer. I was told it was more than 600 pages and we would be voting on it in a matter of hours.
No committees, no public scrutiny, no rules committee, no ability to truly see what went into this new budget and whether it was structurally sound or not. Well, we figured we could at least ask the new coalition to tell us about it on the floor. Brace yourselves. These Representatives were told to not answer any questions. Not vote yes on any amendments. Even amendments they had supported in the pass. No matter the merit, vote no.
We were accused by the Governor of not getting to the "people's business." As if it were we who were trying to screw over the people of Arizona. I asked one of them why they didn't answer a question on the floor about it. He shrugged his shoulders. I asked if he knew HOW to answer a question about it. Did he know what was in the bill? He said no. They were told, "Here is a bill, now go vote yes for me and don't answer any questions." Sounds like the Mafia.
Why were they so obedient? Why were these people whom I once held in high regard even though I disagreed with them, why would they yield to mafia-like tactics? Who had THAT much power over the human beings I thought were honorable? One person whom I won't name told me that when they were in the Governor's office was offered help on the campaign and an assurance that they would win. They regrettably didn't have a recording of it and so didn't want to go on the record because it was their word against hers. I asked if it was okay if I told about this if I didn't mention the name and was given permission.
This, folks, is the only logical answer I can wrap my head around as to why the "Honorable Representatives" would sit silent and not answer one question, nor vote yes on amendments like the Pat Tillman plates that would benefit veterans and their families. Oh, they voted yes on that bill to pass it Friday
morning when it was amended onto another bill unrelated to the budget or Medicaid expansion. But not during the special session. Because they were instructed not to do so, they were willing to take orders from a puppet master.
I cannot imagine myself being in a position to take someone else's orders on how to cast a vote. I was asked by a certain person the other day to PLEASE, PLEASE vote yes on a bill as a personal favor to them. They will not ask me to do that again, I promise. What is it in the moral fiber that causes someone to think it is okay to vote in a certain way that is contrary to the good of the people? Is it "We the People," or We, the Politicians?"
I was behind a Dem staffer Friday
morning after Sine Die, and she not knowing I was there told her colleague that although she didn't understand the rule process, it didn't matter because they got the job done, right? I said to her surely I must have just heard her wrong. Surely she didn't just say forget any rules, let's just get what we want however we can.
This, however, is the new culture of American, and now Arizonan politics. Get it done, or else. By the way, when did that cancer infect our State? Seems Governor Brewer was opposed to Obamacare at one point. Was it after she went back to DC to see Obama? Seems like it to me, but I cannot be for sure. I will have to go back and look at the dates. After witnessing what this Governor is capable of when she wants something, I will not be surprised if her support of Medicaid expansion came soon after her trip back east. Doesn't matter at this point...
I have been largely silent about Governor Brewer. As a matter of fact, I was told by her that she didn't mind if we disagreed, just don't do it before the media. I watched her veto bills of those who went public before I did and was very thankful that my bill got through before this all came up. I don't expect to get anything else signed by my Governor next year, but I will submit bills just the same. Like one that says you must have X amount of time to read a bill for every 50 pages. I would like that in the AZ Constitution, because apparently it isn't safe or matter much if it isn't there. Will she sign that one? I bet you she does not.
It wasn't so much the fact that these folks wanted Medicaid expansion. It was the lengths they went to to get it. It was the fact that we have a House majority willing to sit silent, ignore the rules, and vote no on good legislation that they previously supported because someone TOLD them to.
The Governor stated that some of her coalition had their political careers threatened, as if that was something subversive. It is not, and as a matter of fact, she can consider this a PROMISE that I will do all in my power to make sure these people who sold out to Mafia tactics are replaced, for the good of "We, the People!"
I encourage you to do the same.
Rep. Kelly Townsend