Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions October 06, 2015

3/19/2013 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: 'Strike-all' bill a bait-and-switch
The Daily Courier

We heard about this restaurant that had an in-triguing method of serving its customers. They had a menu, of course, which they advertised in detail.

At first, people flocked to the joint, drawn by the promise of delightful appetizers, entrees and deserts. The servers were personable and raved about the quality of the menu items, as well as about the fact that management was determined to provide diners with a high-quality dining experience.

The cooks, though, had other ideas. Whenever a ticket was hung, the folks in the kitchen essentially ignored it and served whatever they wanted.

No amount of persuasion or argument could convince the cooks to curtail the practice. The customers complained to the servers, and the servers, finding no relief from the cooks, took the issue to management, which only shrugged and said something like, "These are the cooks we hired. Deal with it."

Before long, it became apparent to the restaurant's patrons that the place was not to be trusted, so they stopped coming and the place closed down.

That would have been the end of the story had not the management, far from learning from the experience, opened up another café and hired the same cooks, or some who acted just like them. And, even though the new menu was different than that of their failed restaurant, the same practice occurred. Folks ordered steak and got fish; folks got tired of being misled and stopped coming around.

The Arizona Legislature operates in much the same fashion as those failed eateries, and they do it through a practice known as the strike-all, in which a bill that has passed muster in a committee can be stripped of its original intent and refilled with something entirely different. This prevents advance public awareness of what kinds of laws are coming down the pipeline, and it also prevents proposals from receiving the intense scrutiny of committees.

This season, for instance, a bill that would have made technical corrections to malpractice law became one that would allow schools to spend tax credit money on sports. Another changes a bill correcting technicalities on some veterans' issues to a proposed increase on campaign contribution limits.

In all, there are some six dozen of these strike-all bills working their way through the approval process, and more are expected as the session hits its peak. It's a dishonest, end-around process that somehow has become acceptable in Arizona politics. It deprives us of the ability to know what's in a bill before it's too late to round up support or opposition. It flies in the face of the transparency that government institutions should exhibit, dilutes the public trust in lawmakers, and it should be stopped.

But then, these cooks - or the ones who act just like them - would probably just open up another joint down the street.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Paulden crash kills motorcyclist (4798 views)

•   3 injured in rollover on Copper Basin Road (1612 views)

•   Fatal motorcycle crash, three fires over weekend in Chino Valley (1511 views)

•   Prescott Council to consider budget cuts (1275 views)

•   Editorial: Meet the new guy at The Courier (819 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Rex Mason

Having lived with this situation "up close and personal" for 8 years, I can agree with some of what the editors say. And ... My Friend Steven has an accurate perspective of the situation on the ground. And ... I'm not about to defend the practice.

But, it is not the horrible' that you all seem to make it out to be.

I did see a number of strikers that were used for good purpose. The hopper is usually closed for new bills within two days of the start of the session. A skilled legislator will have a few strikers in place for emergencies that arise. I cannot remember many, but one in particular was a metro-backed bill that radically cut funding for rural hospitals. Rep. Lucy Mason was able to utilize a striker to salvage that rural funding. Another one, as I recall, was a "Bingo Bill", some gaming legislation, that was utilized as a striker to define/describe water allocations. This may have been Rep. Konoponicki's bill or Lucy's. I can't remember. But it once again, protected rural interests from overwhelming or benignly ignorant metro interests. So............until something better comes along, strikers offer a safety valve for upright legislators. (No comment on the other kind of legislators....)

Strikers ain't all bad, folks.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

Our representatives vote on this sort of thing at the beginning of every session when they vote on the rules for the body. If enough of them heard from enough constituents about it, they could stop it pretty quickly. A Speaker of the House, our own Rep Tobin could do a great deal to rationalize the rules even more quickly. So yeah, it can be done.

Will it? Not likely. The strike-all rule and many others are distortions of the system instituted to address problems created by other distortions, like the "part-time" status of our Legislature, which forces legislators to work faster and dirtier than they otherwise would like. If you want reform that matters, you're talking about cracking a nut that's just too large for the demolition derby that is our regular legislative process. Getting that done would require probably a long series of special sessions ordered by the Governor to concentrate on that purpose, as well as legislative leadership that takes the issue seriously.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: John Kordish

Can a petition be started to have this practice placed on a ballot and voted on by the citizens of Arizona? It appears to be a very self serving practice and deprives Arizona citizens of an honest vote.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

That was a really good editorial, and this sounds like an extremely important issue.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

Good article. I recently read Arizona is the 3rd worse run State in the union so this falls along the same lines. The majority Republican legislators cannot agree on immigration reform nor much else that would benefit the residents of the State. They put up with a rogue Sherriff in Maricopa County and the State tramples on our rights routinely. Our leaders break the law and get away with it right in the public view. Arizona has become a State divided into people who are above the law and those who are required to obey the laws. Corruption leaves a large black mark on Yavapai County.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Our legislators are not staffed to give much communication to constituents. However, they should post current bills of interest to Central Yavapai on a web site with comments. I resent not being answered by Steve Pierce, Andy Tobin and Karen Fann but I understand their time and lack of staff create the problem. Fix it with a simple web site.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

Courier: Do you know what is the definition of insanity? The definition is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. Courier, you whine about the government on one hand then, in other editorials, demand the government do more. The government is not the solution to anything, they are the problem. The government is behaving as it is designed. If we have less government we will have less of these problems.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE- Rants&Raves

Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, dcourier.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved