Very clearly, the state government of Arizona is in need of some serious reform. But as the task is so daunting, I am going to start with the Arizona Legislature, probably the branch of Arizona government the most in need of serious reform. I will post my vision of reform for state wide elected offices in a later post.
The Arizona Legislature:
End Term Limits – If voters cannot be bothered to vote in primaries and elections, why should they be excused the consequences of their inactions via term limits? For that is what term limits are: An excuse for voters not to do their job via the ballot box. Term limits also have the effect of silencing moderate voices while magnifying the voices of extremism. Thus, I call for an end to term limits.
Restructuring of the Senate – The Arizona Senate should be structured more on the U.S. Senate in that each Senator should have 6 year terms with 1/3rd of the Senate up for election every two years. I think the stability would allow for a more moderate tone. As we have seen in the U.S. Senate, this is not always the case, but it is worth a try.
Ban Gifts and Non-Collegiate Scholarships – Legislators are elected to be the representatives of the people of Arizona. Far too often though, these very same legislators see their role as to protect those who shower them with gifts and “scholarships” to attend ideologically driven conferences. Gifts have included tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations for sporting events. “Scholarships” have been provided by such groups as ALEC for their own conferences. These organizations then provide “model legislation” that the legislator then proposes as their own. This legislation tends to be pro-corporate, anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-tax payer and anti-regulatory.
Ban Conflicts of Interest – No legislator should be able to propose, endorse, advocate or vote for legislation that directly benefits them. State Senator Steve Yarborough is notorious for his blatant conflict of interest regarding School Tuition Organizations, of which Senator Yarborough is the executive director of one. He has authored bills that have allowed STOs to keep up to 10% of all “donations” for expenses and to increase the tax credits for those who “donate” to these organizations.
Please feel free to let me know in the comments how you would change the Arizona Legislature or to let me know how you feel about this posting.