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home : opinion : columns April 25, 2015


2/17/2013 6:01:00 AM
Editorial Column: More useless 'look at me' legislation

Alan Choate
News Editor


Last week, Arizona senators voted to pick a fight with the federal government.

Again.

This time, it's a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Arizonans a means to ignore whatever "federal action" people found to be unconstitutional. There's been a lot of yammering along these lines in protest of federal gun rules and the president's health care law, but the bill is much broader than that - the idea is that the state could just say "no" to anything, be it gun restrictions, clean air rules or education standards.

Should this end up getting through the approval process, all it will lead to is litigation, rancor and grandstanding that will accomplish nothing, same as the last time Arizona decided to be mavericky with some supposed "stand" against the feds.

It would be bad enough if this was the only useless "look at me" bill before the Legislature, but that's never the case. There's an entire constellation of them.

Take the Oath Bill, for example, which would require high school students to recite an oath ending with "so help me God" before they could graduate. Forget the church and state problems; part of the oath includes the phrase, "I take this oath freely," even though, since it's a graduation requirement, there would be no free will involved.

Or how about the bill that hit a wall last week that would've diverted $1.5 million earmarked for underperforming schools in order to advertise education options other than public schools? That's just great - take money needed for a legitimate state interest and use it to undermine that very interest.

Here's another one: HB 2511 would bar the state, cities, counties, school districts and any other Arizona political subdivision from participating in an incentive program that promotes the use of solar or wind energy.

This has been a pet cause of the sponsor, Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale, for some time, and he's admitted that he's kind of the "only voice in the wilderness" on this topic.

So why do it? The bill's probably going nowhere, but it still takes time and resources to prepare and file it. Besides, I thought mandates from on high were supposed to be a bad thing.

We expect the private sector to innovate, but local and state governments should be experimenting too - they are, after all, the "laboratories of democracy," or so it's said.

We in the media deserve some scrutiny here too, since we willingly, even excitedly, cover these messes masquerading as deliberative lawmaking. I'm guilty too, and I freely admit that a tussle over limiting birth control coverage for religious reasons interests me more than wrangling over the school funding formula, even if it's all bluster and pandering.

The coverage serves a purpose, though. It keeps the silliness out in the open where everyone can see it, and there's a record when bad bills become law. Accountability for the perpetrators seems rare. But one can hope.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

"What I said was we, the taxpayers of this nation, are the federal government, based on our having a representative form of government selecting our leaders to represent us."

Well, that's not what you said...though I know it was what you intended it to mean.

"Federal Government IS the taxpayers of this great nation" vs "Taxpayers of this great nation ARE the Federal Government". Which seems more clear?


Of course your first quote above fully conveys your meaning and is even better. As a writer, I'd guess you would agree upon reflection?

Unfortunately...once elected we cannot control our officials except by waiting til the next cycle of elections if they do not live up to our expectations.


Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013
Article comment by: JIST me sittin

THAT WOULD BE GREAT JANICE. please show us your pedigree and your foundation so we know who you are and where you are standing

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Really...how odd...I didn't think Government agencies paid taxes.”

Did I say they did? Nope. What I said was we, the taxpayers of this nation, are the federal government, based on our having a representative form of government selecting our leaders to represent us.


Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

"Federal Government IS the taxpayers of this great nation"

Really...how odd...I didn't think Government agencies paid taxes. I thought the Government was supposed to just collect taxes for the essential (and often not so essential) services they are supposed to provide.

Curious...


Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

@ FLS

“No An, that's BS. It will be 100% funded by taxpayers.”

Uhh, I hate to have to educate you – again – but the Federal Government IS the taxpayers of this great nation. Something you righties always seem to forget.

Darn those pesky facts.

LOL


Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@janice palmer

"once again we are plagued in az by the senseless yammerings of john mccain. at the next election when he's due to re-up. look for another horse in his race. any guesses? hehehe,"

Sorry "Janice", I really don't think some guy wearing a dress and who refuses to allow anyone to ask legitimate questions about HIS past is ever winning an election for anything, anywhere, any time. But hey, good luck with that.

hehehe


Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@ansons nephew

"through a program that will be funded 100% by the Federal government"

No An, that's BS. It will be 100% funded by taxpayers. Something you leftists always seem to forget.



Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Article comment by: janice palmer

once again we are plagued in az by the senseless yammerings of john mccain. at the next election when he's due to re-up. look for another horse in his race. any guesses? hehehe , i have one. one of our community leaders will run against him or if he doesnt go again, run for his seat. then we'll get a fair shake in the u.s. senate. i'm personally tired of him and his stupid cronies messing with our laws, our state, our congress, and our money. how about you?????

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: origional kingman resident

@ JJ

First, I don't know why you are crediting me with the quotation of the word reckon. That is a word that I didn't use in my comment, nor do I ever use that word.

Second, you need to read further in my comment. If the Obama administration grossly underestimated the amount that it would cost to insure people with pre-existing health problems to the point that they had to discontinue the program for any further enrollees, then insurance companies will not be able to afford to carry those subscribers as well.

The insurance companies will likely go out of business, or raise the rates on ALL subscribers to the point that many people will not be able to afford insurance.

In either situation, those with pre-existing conditions will end up relying on the government again which will increase our deficit. We were promised that Obama care would reduce the deficit.

It is insulting when you make the comment that it is a minor inconvenience for people with serious health issues to wait 9.5 or 10.5 months for treatment.

I certainly don't want any one deprived of health care. But the so called solution that was shoved down the collective American throat by the Obama administration was no solution at all.


Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: J J

Origional Kingman Resident - I was off by a month, pardon me for a simple mistake. That is basically the only thing you could refute in my statement, everything else you said was you "figuring" or "reckoning" that someone with a serious problem would have trouble waiting. Well, that is likely true. Imagine how long they'd be waiting for coverage WITHOUT Obamacare...forever I might "reckon." So basically, you can't refute anything I said because it's fact. You could only point out an extra four weeks of waiting on the part of the poor souls that need insurance. Yep, it is 10.5 months. But it would be an eternity without Obamacare. So the poor souls that do make it the 10.5 months until 1/1/2014 will finally be able to get the health insurance they have been denied for so long. And the problem with that is what, exactly?

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“If a person needs chemo, dialysis, or physical therapy would not consider waiting 10.5 months, or even 9.5 months, a minor inconvenience.”

Actually under our current system they will not have to be concerned about a 10.5 month wait. Their wait is forever (sorry, that is actually hyperbolic, they will not wait forever, they will die first), because they have no insurance. BUT, thanks to Obama and the ACA they WILL have access to those treatments beginning next year.


Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ JJ

First, it has been 1.5 months since Jan 1, 2013. There are 12 months in a year. 12 - 1.5 = 10.5 (not 9.5).

Second, a person with a pre-existing condition that would preclude them getting health insurance has a pretty serious health issue. We're not talking about a pre-existing hang nail. If a person needs chemo, dialysis, or physical therapy would not consider waiting 10.5 months, or even 9.5 months, a minor inconvenience.

If the costs of the treatment for pre-existing conditions for the people already enrolled in the government's stop gap program were so much more expensive than expected that the govt has had to stop new people from enrolling, what do you think will happen to the insurance companies in 2014 when they are mandated to cover these treatments?

Either the insurance companies will go out of business, or the people will not be able to afford the premiums. In either event, these people will end up back on govt health care. This means that Obama care will not cut the deficit as promised. It will actually increase it tremendously.


Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: J J

Linda Athens - You are misinformed. At the beginning of 2014, nobody can be denied of insurance from ANY carrier regardless of pre-existing condition. Yes, they are low on funds, yes the mainstream media has reported that, as I saw it there myself yesterday, and yes they closed enrollment...BUT, this program was a mere stopgap until 2014 when regular insurance agencies could no longer deny people based on pre-existing conditions.

So what this amounts to is: over the next 9.5 months until 2014, people with a pre-existing condition will simply have to wait until 1/1/2014 and then they can get insurance anywhere they choose from anyone they choose and not have to be worried about their pre-existing condition being a cause for denial. So this affects a small subset of the population, and only for 9.5 months. Not sure how this is so bloody awful, more like a small inconvenience.


Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“So that makes it free?”

Nope and I never said that it did.


Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

As far back as 2010, the New York Times reported the following:

One of the biggest selling points of Obamacare was that people with pre-existing conditions would be covered by the Obamacare boondoggle. Well, a recent healthcare study has revealed…not so much. While on the books people with pre-existing conditions may be covered, there is no actual mechanism in place that will pay for their healthcare coverage, meaning you will show up with your govt-issued card and not be served, because no one is paying for your care.

And from Obama News - Healthcare study calls risk pool money lacking.

The new health care law does not allocate nearly enough money to cover the estimated 5.6 million to 7 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions who will qualify for temporary high-risk insurance pools, according to a report scheduled for release on Thursday.

The government-operated insurance plans are intended to serve as a stopgap until 2014, when insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to people with health problems. But an analysis by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan research group, concluded that the $5 billion earmarked for the pools might cover as few as 200,000 people a year....will force policy makers to freeze enrollment, limit access and benefits, increase premiums.


Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Bob Moore:

I answered you once here - they didn't publish it.

It is NOT a lie! The admin (not obama of course - he is always innocent of all wrong doing! That is a given because he is a liberal Democrat!) and the idiots behind obamacare thought they could provide high risk insurance for those with pre-existing conditions for two years.

THEY ARE ALREADY OUT OF MONEY PERIOD!!! Have a pre-existing condition. Too bad!! Like all things about obamacare - it was all a big hoax in his effort to take over our country. The car business, student loans, your health care between you and your own physician and on and on.

Don't you get it BM? Haven't you ever read an old history book about how European countries were taken over by communists. Same pattern. O is right on track to do just that. It is NO SECRET. He has stated it himself - THE EUROPEAN MODEL. Jog your memory any?


Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Frances Perkins

The facts are that we have 20 years of data on school choice and it has made no difference in student performance. Actually performance has improved overall, but the expected bar has been raised also. 85-90% of parents have made a "choice" and that is their local neighborhood public schools. As we have seen "choice" favors the "choosers", markets do not help education, and markets and choice are not the same! So look for some actual unbiased data, not outcome based data of the Goldwater Institute. Kelli's legislation is a slap in the face of public schools in her district.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: R H

Funny how none of the statists cared to justify these federal edicts. They only make fun of the people willing to do something about it. These overreaching federal edicts need to be fought NOW , by asserting our right as a state to nullify the violations of the original terms under which Arizona entered the union. If DC continues this , they will be facing secession of a number of these states in rebellion against the feds. Remember ....It's not JUST Arizona doing this. MANY states are rebelling in regard to obamacare , evironmental mandates that deny Arizona control of it's own resources , gun control , drone flights , and a number of other issues the feds have declared to be their SOLE territory.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

"funded by the Federal Government"
Wait a minute, Nephew, and others. Now unless I got this all wrong, as a funder of the federal government, and I pay for my health insurance and the beans on my table, you are asking me, to support others as well under the guise of "funded by the federal government". So that makes it free? I am still confused. The Feds will move in and set up what? Just who are these "Feds"? Wait...that's me, or it must be, I pay for it. I reckon silliness isn't confined to the government.


Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

@Linda

"And then there is the 10 day family vacation obama is spending with...wait a minute....not his family. He is spending it golfing with Tiger Woods."

I love how in your world a 3 day weekend of golf becomes a 10 day vacation. Hope you did better in math while in school.

"Los Angeles gas has just hit $5.19 a gallon. Not obama's fault of course. All things like this are only blamed on the POTUS if he is a Republican."

Well, if it is the President's fault, and frankly, it is not, never has been, where was your praise when gas was so low for the last month or so? I see, that only works one way, right?


And just so you know, California made their biggest mistakes when Arnold, a Republican, was running the show. LoLoL


Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

More great news!

Los Angeles gas has just hit $5.19 a gallon. Not obama's fault of course. All things like this are only blamed on the POTUS if he is a Republican. In fact, I bet the real reason it is so high over there is Dick Cheney's fault. Remember, he was somehow connected with Halliburton years before he was VP - so there is the connection.

And frankly, I don't give a fig. The way California has run their state into the ground, they deserve punishment.

And then there is the 10 day family vacation obama is spending with...wait a minute....not his family. He is spending it golfing with Tiger Woods. Moochelle the Moocher is off in the high country with the daughters.,,,,w/out obama for the umpteenth time.

The lib press is hysterical about this. Tiger, the womanizer. How could obama? Well frankly, I have only heard of obama's extra marital affairs with other men so I would say it is Tiger they should be worried about. Remember o's boyfriend, the choir director at Wright's church who was found shot to death the week o announced running for office? Undoubtedly a coincidence along with the next two gay men dying within weeks who were also o's buddies.

Call us strange but our family vacations, we all went to the same place together except for one time. He took the car crazy son and went to the Indy 500 (rainout for days but Bobby Rahal won!) in exchange for me remodeling the kitchen. A good time was had by all. And even better. I spent the most.


Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Ms Athens

“Well, the administration is QUIETLY pulling back on that one, understanding now there is NO MONEY to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Let's hear your comments on this one!”

All right here goes – this is total fabrication of a story being disseminated by chain e-mails and the Right Wing Loon Shouting Heads. There is no basis in fact for that story.

”And 26 states have said NO to being forced to set up obamacare in their own states.”

And each of those states will be putting their citizens at risk by denying them access to health care through a program that will be funded 100% by the Federal government and will ultimately result in the Feds moving in and setting up the health care exchanges without the states having any input to the program.

“Yes, I am ALL FOR that maverick stuff.”

Of course you are, you already have government provided health care, so why worry about anyone else? Typical.


Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@Poor Republicans

Actually, competition from other educational institutions will strengthen public schools.

With the current government monopoly on k-12 education, there is no incentive to change the status quo. If a voucher system was in place, where the money followed the student, public schools would have to become more innovative in their approach to educating students in order to remain in business.

It is the Democrats and the unions who see danger under every rock. They are the ones who cry out that competitions and vouchers will destroy public education when experience has proven otherwise.

Unions are only worried about losing the money they rake in under the current system, (most of which gets funneled to the support of Democratic politicians).


Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

This administration is nothing BUT "silliness", pushing all things for the low information voters.

Here's another one you might want to mention since you did mention obamacare.

That big deal about insuring people with pre-existing conditions? You know, the main one everyone was gaga about? High risk people?

Well, the administration is QUIETLY pulling back on that one, understanding now there is NO MONEY to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Obama of course will not get the blame as always. His name will not be connected with it. It will never cross the liberals lips that it is HIS plan that will not have that money. Something anyone with the brain of a turnip already knew.

100,000 already in the high risk pools will not be affected, otherwise, too bad!! Wow! Out of 300 million, that is a huge number they are insuring. NOT!!

Let's hear your comments on this one!

And 26 states have said NO to being forced to set up obamacare in their own states. Yes, I am ALL FOR that maverick stuff.


Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

Alan Choate wrote:

"We expect the private sector to innovate, but local and state governments should be experimenting too - they are, after all, the "laboratories of democracy," or so it's said."

One very big difference! Private business experiments with their own money and when their experiments show them that it is not a profitable idea...they have the sense to stop throwing money at it! Do I have to point out how the govt. "Experiments"?? With our money!



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