Editorial: Political disobedience spurs state backlash
Today while you’re trying to figure out what voters were thinking in Tuesday’s Presidential Preference Election, turn your attention to the state legislature.
This session has seen numerous bills designed to do many things under the label of controlling locals – also known as stealing local control.
I call it more simply, state lawmakers wanting to be taken seriously.
Evidence of this – call it their backlash – has been SB 1487, which will financially penalize local governments that do not fall in line with state law. SB 1487, which takes effect later this year, requires the state treasurer to withhold revenue sharing dollars from any municipality or county once the attorney general concludes their local laws or policies are contrary to state statutes.
“This bill is heavy-handed, intrusive and minimizes the important role of local elected officials,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell wrote with officials from Chandler and Lake Havasu City.
Previous calls to the City of Prescott found that we’re not at risk, at this point – and confusion exists as to whether charter cities, of which Prescott is one, are in the same mix.
At the same time, another example is going down this week in the Senate, where a committee may ask voters to block cities from enacting their own living wage requirements. Separately, a Latino group has formed a committee to try to put a different measure to voters: a $15 minimum wage.
Some of these pieces of legislation are based in singular topics, such as plastic shopping bags, gun regulations or, as previously mentioned, the minimum wage.
But legislative leadership could not be clearer: “There’s nobody in this room who, if they disobey state law or the state constitution, would not be subject to punitive measures,” Senate President Andy Biggs said in February. And he said local governments expect businesses and residents in their jurisdictions to obey their laws, but Biggs told members of the Senate Government Committee there is a “growing disrespect for state law.”
He argued that some local governments simply ignore mandates and restrictions figuring there’s little the legislature can do about it. “When we pass laws, we expect them to be obeyed,” he said.
It is all disconcerting, knowing some of the good people who serve in the legislature (don’t assume they’re all the same). It is also ironic, though, considering the presidential campaigns in which people are fighting back by voting for or advancing candidates who are not part of the establishment.
A groundswell of discontent, “We the People,” wanting and protecting rights, … a revolution of sorts. It’s as plain as the sun rising in the east.
- Tim Wiederaenders, city editor
Follow Tim Wiederaenders on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, firstname.lastname@example.org or 928-420-6472.