During an interview on All In With Chris Hayes, Arizona State Senator Steve Pierce tried to explain why he voted for SB 1062 before asking the governor to veto it. He said that he really didn’t know what the bill said – that it was written by the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), which describes itself as “Arizona’s leading prolife, pro-family organization.” In reality, CAP is one of the unelected right wing ideological groups of puppet masters that control the Arizona legislature.
For example, CAP’s website boasts that “since 1995, 123 CAP-supported bills have become law.” And that number pales in comparison to the more than 1,000 bills introduced annually to legislatures across the country by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).
What Sen. Pierce was really saying is that Teapublican legislators don’t write legislation and they rarely even read it. That job is left to a network of corporate and ideological groups such as CAP, ALEC, SPN, the Goldwater Institute and the NRA. The job of Teapublican legislators is merely to raise money, get elected and pass the bills they’re given. In essence, these groups have made voters little more than enablers who are largely ignored by their own Teapublican legislators.
It is because of these ideological groups that we have experienced an enormous shift in tax obligations from corporations to individuals; from the wealthy to the middle class and the working poor. It’s why most of our laws now favor large corporations. It’s why funding for public education has been shifted to private religious schools. It’s why discrimination is being institutionalized in what amounts to a new set of Jim Crow laws. It’s why we have “Stand Your Ground” laws that allow racists to get away with murder. It’s why our legislators seem hell-bent on allowing corporations to destroy our environment so that extraction industries might increase their profits. It’s why the Arizona legislature continues to introduce nullification laws that would nullify regulations by the federal government.
However, don’t get the idea that the influence of these groups is limited to Arizona. Arizona’s legislature simply makes the state a sort of petri dish for right wing legislation…the cutting edge of wackadoodle ideas. Don’t believe me? Check out this exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Arizona State Senator Al Melvin.
Remember this: What happens in Arizona doesn’t necessarily stay in Arizona.