Sunday, April 27, 2014
Political mayhem and Arizona Historical Society
The AHS, a state agency receiving public funds, has a history of flaunting applicable policies and statutes. Their scofflaw attitude is reflected in a half dozen unsatisfactory Auditor General reports from 1995 to 2013. Even though the most recent sunset review was unsatisfactory, the House prepared and passed a bill (HB 2016) that did not schedule the next review until 2023. The Senate Government Committee, correctly seeing that closer oversight is required, amended that bill to schedule the next performance review in 2015. The AHS could have simply accepted that, worked hard to correct their many documented problems, and obtained a clean report in 2015. Their reputation would have been greatly enhanced. However, that is not what they did.
The AHS ran to the media and screamed persecution (see link on Apr 22 post). Then, political friends crafted a plan to evade such oppressive oversight. Normally each agency is reviewed individually and their next review is then scheduled. Instead, the House lumped all the good apples (other agencies that were reviewed in 2013) with the bad apple (AHS). The House sent the Senate a single bill scheduling follow up reviews for all the agencies ten years later, in 2023.
The Senate rejected the new bill, but the House dug in. They refused to vote for session closure until the Senate passed the House catch all bill protecting the AHS from timely oversight. The standoff drug on into the night as antsy out of town legislatures chomped at the bit to go home. Eventually, weary senators caved in, one by one, until there were enough votes to pass the catch all “give the AHS a pass” bill. The first 2014 legislative session then officially ended at 1:42 a.m.
Arizona Legislature adjourns sine die after 16-hour workday
Alia Beard Rau, The Republic | azcentral.com 6:13 a.m. MST April 24, 2014