Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sat, Oct. 19

Friday Catchall: Making laws not always pretty or known

The Friday Catchall:

• VOTES — Along with our state legislators’ votes on bills is the irony that threats behind the scenes exist.

When The Daily Courier reports our district’s senator and two representatives cast a vote — yea or nay — on a piece of legislation, at times (not all the time) it is because of pressure from leadership.

We saw it years ago from then-Senate President Andy Biggs and then-House Speaker David Gowan. The Courier documented times when they told the rank-and-file lawmakers, essentially: “Vote this way, or your bills will not see the light of day.”

Our leaders have agendas or have made deals with others, such as with the Governor, and they expect their colleagues to toe the line. Not doing so, for example, has resulted in the past our lawmakers’ bills being held or they themselves not receiving positions on committees they want or deserve.

Years ago, when this district was represented by Linda Binder (1998-2004) of Lake Havasu City, she stated she and others were members of the Mushroom Coalition — “kept in the dark and fed (manure).”

It certainly gives a different view of the goings-on in Phoenix, where budgets and bills are promises and those promises lead to higher aspirations.

Sadly, but understandably, our lawmakers — to get anything done — must compromise, to put it mildly.

Thankfully, according to my sources, this session’s President, Steve Yarbrough, and House Speaker, J.D. Mesnard, do not play these games.

In fact, when SB 1080 — Sen. Karen Fann’s no-texting-while-driving bill for our newest drivers — was stuck in the Rules Committee, Mesnard gave it a floor vote. It passed 32-24 Thursday and is on its way to Gov. Doug Ducey.

Did you catch that? Not only can one person kill a bill, one can advance them.

One person, who was elected by voters in Chandler (District 17), has the power to give life to legislation or kill it. One, not 30 senators or 60 representatives. One.

The business of making laws is not for the weak.

• COUNCIL — In response to a reader who wants the Courier to publish full agreements the City of Prescott councilors will be voting on — “even better, how the council members plan to vote BEFORE the vote takes place” — it does not work that way.

While some agreements are listed in the paper in the Public Notices (a great source for news and what’s truly happening), the closest I have seen any newspaper being able to print council votes before they happen would be from the study sessions.

Other than that, I need a new crystal ball.

• PICKS OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): This week I give you the choice of three (all downtown Saturday): Earth Day events, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the courthouse plaza; the ninth annual Chalk It Up, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the National Bank parking lot; and the “Harvey Girls of Northern Arizona” talk, 2 p.m. at Sharlot Hall Museum.

See you out there!

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