Journalists’ Roundtable: Texting while driving, water management, Ducey’s campaign donors
Feb. 9, 2018
The Journalists’ Roundtable is back to discuss the possibility of a texting-and-driving law, water management laws, the credibility of Governor Doug Ducey’s campaign donors and the aftermath of former Representative Don Shooter’s expulsion.
Texting and Driving
It’s banned in 47 states, but Arizona still has not passed a law that prohibits texting while driving. There is a current bill under review, but it includes some unusual provisions.
“Part of the reason those exceptions are there, it’s modeled after Texas,” Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services says. “Texas was one of those states that did not have a texting law until they had one of those horrific accidents… If we don’t want to be accused of being a liberal state, then let’s model after Texas.”
It’s a law that has been debated for over a decade. Some of the biggest criticism came from Former Senate President Andy Biggs. As Biggs is no longer in office, the bill stands a better chance. However, not everyone is confident that it will become a law.
“It just seems to be the state wanting to be defiant for no good reason,” Steve Goldstein of KJZZ-FM says.
Water Management Laws
Arizona has managed to stay ahead of the drought. The state hasn’t had to declare bankruptcy on water, and taxes on water haven’t increased to an exorbitant amount. However, Arizona’s good luck may not last forever.
“Because of the deal we made with the federal government to fund the Central Arizona Project, we’re the first ones to have our shares dried up,” Fischer says.
There has been bipartisan effort on water management in the past, and the governor is hopeful that it can happen again. There has been huge public support for him to maintain these protections, Arizona Republic’s Dianna Náñez says.
Ducey’s Campaign Donors
There have been more than a few donors in support of Ducey that have come from Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, which owns electric utility APS.
“They like the current governor, and they would like to keep him as the current governor,” Fischer says. “Not only are the individual executives giving, but they’ve also put some money in the Republican Governor’s Association, which can then turn around and use corporate dollars for an independent campaign.”
There are two separate campaign committees for the governor, which Fischer says is unusual. However, there is still no way for individual donations to get to him.
Goldstein says many are cynical of APS because they have been secretive on where they put their money. However, they’ve been more open about backing Ducey, which Goldstein finds interesting.
Money typically wins, the journalists agree, but more voters are becoming cognizant of where funding comes from. Náñez says she thinks the public is gaining a greater understanding, and that can start to influence elections.
Private School Scholarship Credits
“I do think there is going to be an effort to cap [private school scholarship credits],” Náñez says. “There’s clear numbers on how high it’s climbed. They’re clear numbers of how corporations are taking advantage of this.”
Goldstein says that this issue may be the poison pill for Democrats. The one issue where Ducey is seen as weak on is K-12 education, so this could turn into a public-versus-private fight.
Former Representative Don Shooter was expelled from the House on counts of sexual harassment. Because of his actions, the House has made an effort to incorporate a code of conduct into policy.
“It is important that this be in a formal House policy because then it becomes enforceable, and you can be booted for violating the policy,” Fischer says.
However, the investigation isn’t quite finished. Representative Anthony Kern is trying to keep it going by inviting other organizations, like the FBI, to look at the case.