Tom Steyer ballot proposal crashes and burns in Arizona Senate: “We’ll be stuck with the higher costs … higher taxes”

PHOENIX — The controversial ballot proposal tied to Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer suffered another defeat this week as Arizona lawmakers moved forward on House Bill 2005.

The Arizona State Senate voted Wednesday to approve the legislation, which seeks to establish specific penalties that can be assessed to public service corporations in response to alleged or actual violations.

A political group tied to Steyer, the Democratic donor, frantically lobbied state legislators in the run up to the vote. The group ran paid advertisements on social media throughout the week and published at least 14 tweets during Wednesday’s debate urging lawmakers to vote “no” on the bill.

The group also advocated a “yes” vote on an amendment proposed by Democratic State Senator Juan Mendez, which would have dramatically increased government-reporting requirements on energy companies involved in the public policy process.

Republican State Senator Sonny Borrelli — who introduced the House Bill 2005 striker last week during a contentious hearing before the Senate Government Committee — slammed Mendez’s proposal as a “hostile amendment” intended to derail the legislative process. Democratic State Senator Martin Quezada claimed, “Yes, it may be hostile,” but said that he would support it.

The “hostile” amendment failed on a 12-15 vote. (Republican State Senator Bob Worsley recused himself from the votes under Rule 30.)

Members of the legislature then debated House Bill 2005 more broadly, often invoking the controversial ballot proposal connected to Steyer.

Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen told lawmakers that the ballot proposal would devastate her district’s economy and reminded her colleagues that the legislature would not be able to tweak the proposal if adopted, even if it resulted in harmful or unexpected consequences, because of the Voter Protection Act.

(Click Here To Watch Sylvia Allen’s Testimony.)

“If we ever get in a situation which we wish we could go back, we won’t,” Allen said. “We’ll be stuck with the higher costs of our utilities. And we’ll be stuck with higher taxes.”

Republican State Senator Steve Smith, who supported the legislation, stated that “whatever language may or may not come up by way of a ballot initiative will directly cause a constitutional conflict” in Arizona.

The Arizona State Senate approved the legislation on a 16-12 vote. It now heads to the Arizona State House.

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Steve Farley politicizes tragic death after Uber accident: “We need new leadership”

PHOENIX — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Farley politicized the tragic death that occurred this week after an accident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle, saying that Arizona needs “new leadership” in the Governor’s Office next year.

Farley, a state senator, currently serves in the state legislature. He is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the race for governor.

On Monday, Arizona experienced a tragic fatality involving a self-driving vehicle — the country’s first since the technology came onto the market. The vehicle struck and killed a 49-year-old homeless Tempe woman, who will remain unnamed on this website for her friends and family’s privacy, as she crossed the street out of the crosswalk on Mill Avenue.

Farley quickly pinned the blame on his potential general-election opponent, Governor Doug Ducey, citing the governor’s stance on regulatory policy.

“This ‘low regulatory environment’ has now led to a fatality,” Farley wrote on social media. “I have been warning for years — Ducey has a dangerous desire to allow flashy out-of-state corporations to operate without oversight.”

“We need new leadership,” the Democratic candidate wrote in a follow-up tweet, adding the “#AZGOV” hashtag, which refers to the 2018 gubernatorial race.

Others issued less political statements.

The Governor’s Office said that “our hearts go out to the victim involved,” while Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive officer, called the incident “incredibly sad news” and promised Arizonans that the company is “thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

David Garcia, Farley’s opponent in the primary race, has faced similar criticism.

The Arizona State University professor was confronted on the radio earlier this month for unnecessarily politicizing a grassroots event organized by teachers.

Farley and Garcia — who have received dueling union endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers and Arizona Education Association, respectively — will face each other on the primary ballot in August 2018.

A version of this article first appeared at The Farley Report.

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