Thursday, February 12, 2009

Science, black power, awards and rules at Capitol

Rep. Cloves Campbell helped lead African American day.

PHOENIX -- I'm glad to just be home in Tucson with my family after a busy week at the legislature. On Fridays I do legislative work in district 29, with meetings and other work in Tucson with constituents and local officials. As a State Representative, I go in early everyday with a positive attitude, and usually leave late each day, sometimes feeling frustrated. It helps to keep the long haul view.

Today featured Arizona African American leaders in faith and activism at the Capitol, and I and many members joined people from the community and participated in support. There was a big press conference with Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor and others where foreclosure, environment, faith and other issues were discussed. Rep. Cloves Campbell (D-Phoenix) gave a speech on the House floor about the State of the State for black Arizonans.

On energy and the economy, in the Water and Energy Committee this morning I helped pass a bill on biodiesel.

I also helped celebrate Arizona's 97th birthday, which is actually this Saturday, and supported long-time AZ legislator Jack Brown (D-St. Johns) winning a big award.

Today on the House floor it was more interesting as we debated new rules proposed by GOP leadership, which would reduce open government and harm transparency, and give the speaker unprecedented universal powers that reduce legislative oversight.

House Dems and I lead the charge, and too many members thought some of the suggested changes were excessive, so the speaker had to pull part of the proposed rule changes, for now.

One unneeded measure to cut public notice on important legislative conference committee meetings, a significant change to House rule 17 (C), was forced through and passed on a straight party line vote, with no Dems in support.

At the House next week on Tues. Feb 17, a Nobel Prize winning scientist from UA that I know, Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, will address the House Environment Committee about the facts on global warming pollution and related climate change, which threatens to make Arizona hotter and drier. This will be worth seeing, so come to the hearing or watch on AZ Capitol TV or the internet.

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