Journalists’ Roundtable: Texting while driving, water management, Ducey’s campaign donors

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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.

Shooter Fallout

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.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON'S JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE, COULD THE STATE FINALLY SEE A BAN ON TEXTING AND DRIVING? WE'LL DISCUSS THE LATEST EFFORT TO HIT THE LEGISLATURE, AND WE'LL LOOK AT CONCERNS OVER PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE STATE'S WATER MANAGEMENT LAWS. THOSE STORIES AND MORE, NEXT, ON THE JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE.

UNDERWRITER: "ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

UNDERWRITER: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON'S JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE. I'M TED SIMONS. JOINING US TONIGHT, DIANNA NANEZ, OF THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, HOWIE FISCHER OF CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES. AND STEVE GOLDSTEIN OF KJZZ RADIO. A LAW TO SPECIFICALLY BAN TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS ON THE BOOKS IN 47-STATES, BUT NOT IN ARIZONA. AT LEAST NOT YET. ARE WE GOING TO FINALLY SEE SOMETHING HERE?

DIANNA NANEZ: IT'S IFFY BECAUSE WHEN HEN THEY PASSED THE LIMITATIONS FOR TEEN DRIVERS, THERE WERE PROMISES ON THE TABLE THAT THIS WOULD NOT BE A GATEWAY. THERE WERE ALLEGATIONS THAT IT WOULD BE A GATEWAY INTO MORE AND MORE TO THE POINT OF CALIFORNIA. WELL, WE'LL LEGISLATE LIKE CALIFORNIA, NEXT THING YOU KNOW YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO TALK ON YOUR CELLPHONE EVEN, OH MY GOSH. THEY HAVE PUT LIMITATIONS ON THIS, AS HOWIE AND YOU ARE FAMILIAR. POLICE CAN'T FORCE SOMEONE TO TURN THEIR PHONE OVER, BUT WE ARE GOING TO SEE.

TED SIMONS: SOME OF THE EXCEPTIONS ARE WEIRD, HOWIE. NAVIGATION IS OKAY, IF YOU’RE ACTIVATING MUSIC -- IF YOU HIT SOMEONE AND KILL SOMEONE WHILE ACTIVATING MUSIC --

HOWARD FISCHER: THE REASON THE EXCEPTIONS ARE THERE, IS THIS IS MODELED AFTER TEXAS. TEXAS IS ONE OF THOSE OTHER STATES THAT DIDN'T HAVE A TEXTING LAW UNTIL THEY HAD A HORRIFIC ACCIDENT. AND THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO ACT A LITTLE BIT QUICKER THAN OURS, AND THEY ADOPTED IT. STEVE FARLEY WHO IS TRYING TO MODEL THIS SAYS “OKAY, IF YOU DON’T WANT BE ACCUSED OF BEING A LIBERAL STATE, MODEL AFTER TEXAS. LET'S TAKE WHAT TEXAS HAS, THE FINES, EXCEPTIONS, PROVISIONS, WHAT CONSTITUTES TEXTING VERSUS WHAT CONSTITUTES WHAT YOU SAY USING GPS, AND WE'LL USE THAT. BASED ON THAT, HE THINKS HE CAN CONVINCE ENOUGH REPUBLICANS TO DO IT. IT GOT OUT OF TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY AND WILL PROBABLY GET OUT OF THE SENATE. THE PROBLEM HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN THE HOUSE WHERE A LOT LAWMAKERS SAY, WE DON’T WANT A NANNY STATE.

TED SIMONS: IT'S BEEN IN THE HOUSE, BUT IT’S ALSO BEEN IN THE SENATE, HAS IT NOT?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: IT HASN’T ALWAYS BEEN IN THE HOUSE, AS HOWIE WOULD KNOW BECAUSE FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ANDIE BIGGS WAS OPPOSED TO ANY SORT IT DIDN'T MAKE ANY PROGRESS AT ALL. SO AS YOU MENTIONED, EVEN TEEN DRIVERS INDICATES THERE’S SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. BUT, THERE ARE SOME KIND OF STRANGE PROVISIONS IN THIS. WHEN YOU MENTION PARTS OF IT, ANOTHER ONE THAT STRUCK ME, IF YOU STRIKE SOMEONE, EVEN IF SOMEONE IS KILLED, STILL A MISDEMEANOR.
TED SIMONS: CLASS TWO.

HOWARD FISCHER: IT'S A $4,000 FINE. THE DEFENSE TO THAT IS, THIS WOULD NOT BE THE ONLY CHARGE. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU CAN STILL BE CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER AND THEY PUT THAT IN SPECIFICALLY TO SAY YOU CAN STACK THE CHARGES, BUT AGAIN, HAD TO BASE IT ON TEXAS, SAY THIS IS IDENTICAL. SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS IN AUSTIN.

DIANNA NANEZ: AND WHAT STRUCK ME, AND PERHAPS STRUCK PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN A PART OF THIS DECADES LONG PUSH TO SEE THIS HAPPEN WAS WORSLEY COMMENTS THAT SOMETHING ALONG THE LINES THAT SOMETIMES POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES GETS IN THE WAY OF COMMON SENSE.

HOWARD FISCHER: I'M SHOCKED YOU SAY THAT ABOUT THE ARIZONA LEGISLATURE.

DIANNA NANEZ: WHEN YOU HEAR HIM MAKE THAT EFFORT AND THEN REFER DIRECTLY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE GIVING TESTIMONIES AND SHOWING PHOTOS OF FAMILY MEMBERS AND LOVED ONES THAT WERE LOST, YOU WONDRD IF THERES SOME SORT OF EFFORT, EVEN BEHIND THE SCENES MORE, TO BRING IT INTO THE CONVERSATION. THAT WE CAN MOVE FORWARD SOME WAY.
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I NEVER LIKE TO BRING SARCASM INTO THE CONVERSATION BUT BOB WORSLEY WILL PROBABLY BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO GET AN AUTONOMOUS CAR BASED ON THE AMOUNT OF MONEY HE HAS, BUT HE IS NOT AS WORRIED AS THE REST OF US.

TED SIMONS: DEMOCRAT STEVE FARLEY, AS YOU HAVE MENTIONED, TRYING FOR YEARS TO GET THIS PASSED. HAS SOMETHING CHANGED? ANDY BIGGS IS GONE. IS ANYTHING ELSE DIFFERENT NOW?

HOWARD FISCHER: BUT THERE’S ONE OTHER THING THAT’S DIFFERENT THAT’S WILL WORK AGAINST HIM: HE'S RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. AND THERE ARE MANY REPUBLICANS WHO DO NOT WANT TO GIVE HIM A VICTORY NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. AND SINCE THERE ARE ONLY TWO PEOPLE SIGN ON THE BILL, HE AND REPUBLICAN KAREN FAN FROM PRESCOTT, I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF FOLKS THAT SAY, WHAT ARE WE STEVE FARLEY RUN FOR GOVERNOR? EVEN AFTER THE COMMITTEE MEETING, HIS CAMPAIGN WAS PUTTING OUT PRESS RELEASES ABOUT THIS AND THAT MAY RUB SOME PEOPLE THE WRONG WAY. HE SHOULD PROBABLY SHUT THE HELL UP AND LEAVE IT ALONE.

TED SIMONS: WOULD THE GOVERNOR REFUSE TO SIGN A BILL UNDER THOSE KIND OF CIRCUMSTANCES?
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: THAT CERTAINLY WOULD NOT BE IN HIS VETO STATEMENT TED, I’M VETOING THIS BECAUSE STEVE FARLEY IS RUNNING AGAINST ME. IT'S POSSIBLE. WHEN YOU LOOK AS HOWIE AND DIANA SAID, WHEN YOU HAVE WAITED THIS LONG AND 47 STATES HAVE SOME FORM OF THIS, OTHER THAN ARIZONA WANTING TO BE VERY INDEPENDENT AND NO ONE TELLS US WHAT TO DO, THERE ISN'T A LOT OF LOGIC NOT TO HAVE SOMETHING STRONGER.

TED SIMONS: I WAS GONNA SAY DIANNA, THERE HAS TO BE A PRETTY STRONG WHY IF YOU’RE GOING TO VOTE NO.

DIANNA NANEZ: WE ARE GETTING TO THE LIMITED MOMENT WHERE WE SEE OURSELVES START TO SAY, IT'S TIME.
HOWARD FISCHER: THE WHY, FOR SOME DEFENSE, THERE ALREADY ARE LAWS AGAINST NOT SPECIFICALLY, AGAINST DISTRACTED DRIVING. IF AN OFFICER SEES YOU GOING DOWN THE ROAD, YOU’RE PLUCKING YOUR EYEBROWS, EATING A BIG MAC, YOU CAN BE STOPPED FOR FAILURE TO PAY ATTENTION, FAILURE TO MAINTAIN IS THE THING. THERE ARE LAWS THERE. EVEN FARLEY ADMITTED, A LOT OF THIS CAN BE EDUCATION. AND ONCE YOU EDUCATE PEOPLE MAYBE THAT WILL STOP THE TEXTING.
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: WE’RE IN SUCH AN AGE NOW WHERE EVERY PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT SEEMS TO BE RELATED TO TEXTING AND DRIVING, IT JUST SEEMS LIKE, AGAIN WE ALWAYS GO WITH OPTICS WITH THE EYE TEST, THIS JUST SEEMS TO BE THE STATES REDEFINING IT FOR NO GREAT REASON.
TED SIMONS: LET'S MOVE ON HERE. WATER POLICY CAN BE REALLY, REALLY DIFFICULT AND COMPLICATED.
TED SIMONS: WE’VE HAD WATER MANAGEMENT LAWS HERE THAT ARE IN GREAT RESPECT THE REASON THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO PUT BRICKS IN THE TOILET AND THINGS THAT OTHER STATES HAVE TO DO. HOWEVER, THERE’S A MOVEMENT TO UPDATE THOSE WATER MANAGEMENT LAWS AND THE POLICY SINCE 1980, I BELIEVE. HOW’S THAT GOING?
HOWARD FISCHER: THERE IS GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. THE GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE RECOGNIZES GIVEN THAT WHERE WE ARE IN THE DROUGHT, GIVEN THE NEED, GIVEN THE LEVEL OF LAKE MEAD AND IF WE GO ANOTHER 11 FEET DOWN, BECAUSE OF THE DEAL WE CUT WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE FUNDS WITH THE CENTRAL ARIZONA PROJECT, WE ARE THE FIRST TO HAVE OUR SHARES DRY UP. EVERYONE RECOGNIZES THERE NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING DONE. THE QUESTION IS WHAT. THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WANTS TO SEIZE CONTROL OF WHAT THEY CALL FOR BARRENS, THE IDEA THAT YOU LEAVE WATER IN THE LAKE AND MAINTAIN TITLE TO IT UNTIL IT COMES BACK AND THEREFORE YOU DON’T GET BELOW THE CRITICAL POINT. THE CENTRAL ARIZONA WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT SAYS WE ARE DOING FINE. WE ARE MANAGING THIS. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? THE OTHER PIECE OF THIS BECOMES, YOU HAVE PEOPLE LIKE GAIL GRIFFIN FROM HEREFORD. AS LONG AS WE ARE DEALING WITH THIS, I HAVE OTHER MINOR TWEAKS I WOULD LIKE TO DO. I WOULD LIKE TO GO AHEAD AND SAY THAT COCHISE EVERY FIVE YEARS HAS TO REAFFIRM ITS WATER SUPPLY. IT HAS TO BE UNANIMOUS BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, IF IT’S NOT THEN THAT GOES AWAY, WHICH PAVES THE WAY FOR LARGE DEVELOPMENTS DOWN THERE. WE ARE TRYING TO WRAP THIS INTO A VERY LARGE BALL.

TED SIMONS: THIS 100 YEAR MANDATE FOR ASSURED WATER, THIS IS A BIG DEAL. LOTS OF COMMUNITIES HAVE LIVED AND NOT LIVED QUITE AS WELL BECAUSE OF THIS. THE GOVERNOR HAS ALREADY VETOED EARLIER IDEAS TO TRY TO GET RID OF THIS MANDATE. WHY IS SHE PUSHING THIS AGAIN?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: SHE OBVIOUSLY THINKS IT WILL HELP HER DISTRICT. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO CHALLENGE THE GOVERNOR ON THIS ONE. THIS IS ONE OF THE PRIME KEYS OF THE STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS. HE WANTS ARIZONANS TO SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE TO LEAD THAT CHARGE. I DON'T KNOW, HOWIE COVERS GAIL GRIFFIN MORE THAN I DO. THE 100 YEAR WATER SUPPLY THING, IT USED TO BE BECAUSE OF COURSE THIS STATE, WE HAVE MORE DEVELOPMENT. DEVELOPERS MAY BE LESS ATTRACTED TO THE AREA BECAUSE YOU CAN’T GUARANTEE THE WATER.

DIANNA NANEZ: WE HAVE OUTLIER AREAS WHERE WE BUILT HUGE COMMUNITIES THAT ARE STAND ALONE. THIS IDEA, THERE SEEMS TO BE AN UNDERSTANDING FROM THE GOVERNOR AND PEOPLE THAT SUPPORT THE GOVERNOR'S IDEAS IS, DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE OTHER STATES, AND I HAVE LITERALLY SEEN THEM RUN OUT OF WATER OR HIKE UP WATER RATES SO HIGH THAT PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD. I THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHATEVER EFFORT SHE MADE, AND HOWIE CAN PROBABLY SPEAK TO THIS BETTER AS WE SAID, SHE MAY BE DOING JUST TO SAY, I TRIED TO DO SOMETHING FOR HER RUN. THE REALITY IS, THE GOVERNOR IS ON VERY FIRM GROUND WHEN HE LOOKS AT THE PEOPLE OF ARIZONA AND SAYS, WE’VE EXPLAINED TO YOU WHY. WE HAVE EXPLAINED THE DROUGHT TO YOU. THERE IS HUGE PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR HIM TO MAINTAIN THESE PROTECTIONS.

HOWARD FISCHER: TWO PIECES TO THIS. ONE, IF YOU PUT IT ALL INTO ONE BILL, THERE IS NO LINE ITEM VETO OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF A NONFINANCIAL BILL, DOES HE HAVE TO TAKE IT ALL. NUMBER TWO, THERE IS ANOTHER FIGHT GOING ON IN COCHISE COUNTY, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOW OWNS THAT AREA BY THE SAN PEDRO RIVER, ONE OF THE LAST FREE FLOWING RIVERS OF IT’S KIND.

TED SIMONS: GREAT BIRD WATCHING DOWN THERE.

HOWARD FISCHER: IF YOU SUCK THE GROUND WATER OUT OF THERE, YOU DRY UP THE AREA. IT’S INTERESTING, THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT SAYS WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO THE WATER TOO. AND THAT’S BEEN STUCK IN COURT AND AS A MATTER OF FACT THAT’S IN FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT RIGHT NOW.

TED SIMONS: I THINK THE ORIGINAL PLAN HERE AS FAR AS LEGISLATION IS CONCERNED, WAS TEN MORE YEARS OF OVER PUMPING GROUND WATER, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE THAT AREAS AND OTHERS. THIS DOESN’T SOUND ALL THAT CONSERVATIONAL.
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: NOT AT ALL. IN FACT, WHAT’S INTERESTING LOOKING AT THE GROUND WATER MANAGEMENT ACT FROM 1980, THE GOVERNOR HAS EVEN TALKED ABOUT. WE NEED AN UPDATE ON THIS. I THINK GAIL GRIFFIN IS TREADING ON DANGEROUS GROUND HERE BECAUSE WE ARE AT A PART WHERE MORE PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO GET WORRIED BECAUSE THERE WAS THAT BRIEF PERIOD WHERE WE WERE OUT OF DROUGHT. AND NOW LOOK AT US NOW, NO SNOW PACK AT ALL.
TED SIMONS: IS THIS THE KIND OF THING, BEFORE THE SESSION STARTED, THERE WERE SOME FOLKS FROM A DISTANCE WERE SAYING WATCH OUT FOR THE WATER ISSUE. THIS COULD BE A REAL TUG OF WAR? COULD THIS BE SOME REAL ROUGH STUFF HERE?

DIANNA NANEZ: I DON’T SEE IT AS A REAL TUG OF WAR. THIS IS ONE WHERE I THINK SHE’S MAKING HER CLAIM. SHE MADE HER CLAIM LAST YEAR. WE SAW THE VETO. WE SAW WHERE THAT WENT. I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY THE GOVERNOR MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE WANTS IT TO BE A LEGACY AND HE'S LOOKING BACK ON THE BI-PARTISAN EFFORT SAYING WE’VE DONE THIS ONCE, WE CAN DO IT AGAIN.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: FROM A REGIONAL STANDPOINT, THIS IS INTERESTING TO WATCH BECAUSE OF COURSE FOR DECADES THIS WAS ARIZONA VERSUS CALIFORNIA, THAT SUPREME COURT CASE. WE ARE HEARING FROM OTHER STATES, THEY WANT TO TEAM UP. THIS IS GOING TO BE COLLABORATIVE, WE DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO WORK. IF ARIZONA IS THE FIRST TO LOSE WATER RIGHTS, MAYBE LESS INCLINED TO HELP ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: HOWIE, GOVERNOR DUCEY CAMPAIGN DONORS, PINNACLE WEST, THE CEO OF PINNACLE WEST, AN EXECUTIVE, THE WIFE OF THE C. A LOT OF FOLKS FROM PINNACLE WEST ARE ENJOYING DOUG DUCEY.

HOWARD FISCHER: THEY LIKE THE CURRENT GOVERNOR AND THEY’D LIKE TO KEEP THE CURRENT GOVERNOR. YOU’VE GOT A COUPLE OF THINGS GOING ON THERE WHERE YOU NOT ONLY HAVE THE INDIVIDUAL EXECUTIVES GIVING, BUT THEY’VE ALSO PUT SOME MONEY INTO THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR ASSOCIATION WHICH THEN CAN TURN AROUND TO USE CORPORATE DOLLARS FOR AN INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN. WE DIDN'T FUND THE INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN. THE RGA FUNDED IT. WELL NOW REMEMBER, THE RGA SPENT JUST ABOUT AS MUCH MONEY LAST TIME ATTACKING FRED DUVALL AS THE CURRENT GOVERNOR DID ON HIS OWN CAMPAIGN. THEY ARE A BIG FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

TED SIMONS: TWO SEPARATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEES FOR THE GOVERNOR. IS THAT UNUSUAL?

HOWARD FISCHER: IT'S VERY UNUSUAL. IT STILL DOESN’T ALLOW ANYONE TO GET AROUND THE INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS TO HIM. BUT HERE’S HOW THIS WORKS. YOU GET TO THE $5,100 LIMIT, AND YOU GIVE TO THE SECOND COMMITTEE, TO THE EXTENT THEY CAN'T GIVE TO HIM. THAT GOES TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, WHICH THEN CAN DO GET OUT THE VOTE. BUT THEN IT ALSO MEANS THAT THE GOVERNOR IS AWARE THESE PEOPLE GAVE A LOT OF MONEY. TO HEAR THE GOVERNOR'S P.R. PEOPLE SAY, PEOPLE DON'T GIVE TO GET ACCESS, THAT'S NOT HOW THE PLACE WORKS. I JUST FELL OFF THE PROVERBIAL TURNIP TRUCK HERE.

TED SIMONS: OPTICS HERE AS SUPPOSED TO COLD HARD CASH.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: OH, YOU KNOW, WE ARE CYNICAL ABOUT APS BECAUSE WE ARE ALL STILL WAITING TO SEE WHAT THEY SPENT OR DIDN'T SPEND IN 2014, EVEN THOUGH THEY SEEMED OPEN IN 2016. IT SEEMED LIKE, ANYONE THAT APS LAID BACKS, IT MAKES PEOPLE SUSPICIOUS WHEN THEY WANTED THEIR PARTICULAR PEOPLE ON THE CORPORATION COMMISSION. THE OPTICS ARE TERRIBLE. THE FACT THAT THEY ARE BEING A LITTLE MORE PUBLIC ABOUT IT IS INTERESTING TO WATCH.
TED SIMONS: WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS THIS THE KIND OF THING WHERE PEOPLE WOULD SEE APS DONATES TO X, AND NOW I’M NOT SO CRAZY ABOUT X?
DIANNA NANEZ: I THINK, NOT SO MUCH THAT. IT DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH THE PUBLIC CAN UNDERSTAND AND PERSONALLY FEEL THE HIGH DOLLAR NUMBERS OF THE RATE INCREASE. AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE HEAR DHT PUBLIC GRIPE MORE ABOUT, I THINK THERE IS A GREAT UNDERSTANDING OF THAT. I THINK IN THIS CAMPAIGN, YOU CAN TIE THAT TO IT, THEN YES.

HOWARD FISCHER: IT'S CRUCIAL. BECAUSE WHAT THE DEMOCRAT, WHETHER THAT’S MR. FARLEY OR GARCIA IS GOING TO HAVE TO DO IS SAY I'LL BE OUT SPENT. UNDERSTAND WHERE THE MONEY IS COMING FROM, DIRECTLY, THE KOCH BROTHERS, APS, THEY ARE CONVENIENT SOURCES OF DARKNESS AND EVIL AND THAT. THE JOB IS GOING TO BE TO EXPLAIN IF YOU ARE WONDERING ABOUT THAT $7 MILLION A MONTH THAT WE ALLOW APS TO COLLECT FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS, WHERE SOME OF THAT IS GOING, TAKE A LOOK.
TED SIMONS: THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE OF TRANSPARENCY. THAT'S THE WHOLE THING. FORGET THE DARK MONEY STUFF. IF YOU’RE GOING TO SUPPORT SOMEONE, LET IT BE KNOWN AND PLAY IT FROM THERE.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: APS ARGUES THIS IS SHAREHOLDER MONEY, THIS IS NOT RATE PAYER MONEY.

HOWARD FISCHER: AH, COME ON. WHERE DO THEY THINK THIS IS COMING FROM? PINNACLE WEST CAPITAL HAS ONE SOURCE OF DOLLARS. AND YOU SEE IT EVERY MONTH WHEN YOU GET YOUR BILL, THAT'S WHERE IT'S COMING FROM. THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING MORE. THERE’S THIS NEW GROUP, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT IT ON THIS SHOW. THERE IS THE ARIZONA EDUCATION PROJECT THAT’S RUNNING ALL THESE COMMERCIALS ABOUT THINGS AREN’T THAT BAD UNDER THE GOVERNOR. LOOK AT THE GREAT THINGS WE’RE DOING, WHICH IS BEING FUNDED IN PART BY – TA DA- PINNACLE WEST CAPITAL.

TED SIMONS: AT LEAST WE KNOW IT'S FUNDED BY TA DA, PINNACLE WEST.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: WE HAVE SEEN IN THESE ELECTIONS THAT EVERY TIME, MONEY WINS. MOST VOTERS DON'T HAVE THE TIME OR TAKE TIME TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON HERE. SO APS, APS CORPORATION COMMISION MAY SEEM SUSPICIOUS. APS GIVING TO THE GOVERNOR, IT'S A BIG COMPANY GIVING TO THE GOVERNOR.

HOWARD FISCHER: OKAY BUT THEY’RE ALSO GIVING TO RE-ELECT ATTORNEY GENERAL, MARK BRNOVICH. AGAIN, THROUGH THE REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL’S ASSOCIATION THERE’S NOTHING TO DO WITH MARK. I'M NOT SURE HOW WE ARE BUYING GOOD GOVERNMENT BY GETTING AN ATTORNEY GENERAL ON YOUR SIDE. I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS A LOT OF YEARS. YOU FOLLOW THE MONEY.

TED SIMONS: RIGHT, AND IT KIND OF GOES BACK TO WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT STEVE WAS REFERRING TO, A LOT OF FOLKS JUST AREN'T KEEPING UP ON THIS. IT MIGHT BE BAD OPTICS IF YOU ARE PAYING ATTENTION. A LOT OF FOLKS ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.
DIANNA NANEZ: A LOT OF FOLKS ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION. MONEY DOES TALK. MONEY DOES WALK. THIS AD THAT HOWIE IS TALKING ABOUT, THE AD EVERYONE IS THINKING THROUGH, I'M SURE WILL BE OUT THERE, IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO GET IT WIDESPREAD --

HOWARD FISCHER: AND IT'S ONE MORE THING TO REMEMBER, THIS LEGISLATURE YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR IS NARROWING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DISCLOSED, IN TERMS OF OH THEY’RE ARE A SOCIAL WELFARE ORGANIZATION, THEY DON’T HAVE TO DISCLOSE WHERE THE MONEY IS COMING FROM. AND THAT BECOMES THE ISSUE. AND NOW, HAVING DONE THIS AT THE STATE LEVEL, NOT THEY’RE TRYING TO TELL CITIES YOU CAN'T FORCE THEM TO DISCLOSE THESE DARK MONEY GROUPS EITHER. UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS THE, OPTICS. OPTICS ARE, WE DON'T WANT ANYONE TO SEE.
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: AND ARE WE SO DEEPLY INTO THIS DARK MONEY REALM NOW THAT IF STEVE FARLEY OR DAVID GARCIA WERE SEEN AS AN ESPECIALLY ATTRACTIVE CANDIDATE THAT COULD KNOCK OFF DOUG DUCEY, COULD THEY RESIS DARK MONEY IF THERE WERE SOME COMPANIES THAT WANTED TO GIVE TO THEM.
HOWARD FISCHER: IF THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION FINDS SOMETHING THERE
TED SIMONS: IF THE POLL NUMBERS OR SOMETHING GIVES THEM A REASON..
HOWARD FISCHER: NO QUESTION AT ALL. BUT UNDERSTAND AGAIN, THE DAMAGE THAT WAS DONE. ALL OF THE ADS YOU SAW FOUR YEARS AGO BLASTING FRED DUVALL FOR RAISING TUITIONS AT THE UNIVERSITIES, HE UNILATERALLY DID THIS TUITION THING, WERE ALL FUNDED BY THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION. THE FUNNY PART OF THAT IS NOW THE CURRENT GOVERNOR SAID, TUITION ISN'T SO BAD. HE'S FIGHTING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS FIGHTING TUITION.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT ON THE PROGRAM. PRIVATE SCHOOL, CHARTER SCHOOL, SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS, 20% INCREASE ON THIS PROGRAM EVERY YEAR. EVEN THOSE WHO ARE STAUNCHLY SUPPORTIVE OF THE IDEA SAY 20% EVERY YEAR, THAT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. IS THIS GOING TO BE CAPPED? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN HERE?

DIANNA NANEZ: I THINK THAT, HOWIE AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS EARLIER, AND I DO THINK THAT THERE’S GOING TO BE AN EFFORT TO CAP. YOU ARE ALMOST IN A POSITION WHERE YOU CAN'T. THERE’S VERY CLEAR NUMBER ON HOW HIGH IT’S CLIMBED. THERE’S VERY CLEAR NUMBERS ON HOW MANY CORPORATIONS ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS. IT APPLIES TO OTHER INDIVIDUALS AS WELL. IT'S CORPORATIONS WHERE IT'S HAPPENING. WE HAVE A LEGISLATURE, WHO HAS IN HIS OWN RIGHT HEADING A SCHOOL ORGANIZATION WHERE YOU COULD PROVIDE THIS FUNDING IN AND THEN THEY WOULD PROVIDE IT OUT AS A SCHOLARSHIP. HOWEVER, THE REALITY HERE IS THAT IT'S BALLOONING, AND AT THIS POINT THE BALLOON IS GOING TO POP.

HOWARD FISCHER: HERE'S WHERE IT GETS REAL INTERESTING. WHEN WE FIRST SPOKE TO STEVE YARBOROUGH, WHOSE A SENATE PRESIDENT, WHO RAN ONE OF THESE STUDENT TUITION SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATIONS, HE SAID, 20% YEAR OVER YEAR CORPORATE DOLLARS ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE ANYWAY. WE'LL RUN OUT OF CORPORATE DOLLARS. I'LL SCALE IT BACK. FINE. THE BILL THAT COMES OUT OF COMMITTEE SAYS WE'LL SCALE BACK AND ADD TO OTHER THINGS HERE. HERE’S WHERE IT GETS REAL FASCINATING. BECAUSE YOU ARE REDUCING A CREDIT, YOU NEED A 2/3 VOTE. BECAUSE THAT’S UNDER THE WAY THE LAW IS. THAT PUTS THE DEMOCRATS IN A REALLY FASCINATING POSITION. IF THEY DON'T LIKE THE ADDITIONAL CREDITS PUT IN, THEY WON'T GIVE IT THE 2/3 VOTE WHICH MEANS WE’RE STUCK WITH THE 20% YEAR OVER YEAR CORPORATE. SE HE’S REALLY GOTTEN THE DEMOCRATS BY THE, SOMEBODY PART THAT WE WON’T TALK ABOUT.

TED SIMONS: AND THE IDEA AGAIN, THERE ARE SWEETENERS, APPLICATION FEES ARE ALLOWED, INCREASES THE SIZE OF THE SCHOLARSHIP, I THINK THEY CAN STILL GROW BY 2.5% OR SOMETHING ALONG THESE LINES. THE IDEA IS THE SWEETENERS ARE THERE TO GET THE VOTES. WHAT IS ACTUALLY CHANGING HERE?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: THIS COULD BE A POISON PILL FOR DEMOCRATS. IT'S VERY TOUGH BECAUSE AGAIN WE ARE LOOKING AT THE ELECTION YEAR WHERE THE ONE ISSUE DUCEY IS POTENTIALLY WEAK IS K-12 FUNDING, K-12 SUPPORT. IN A LOT OF WAY, WHAT HOWIE SAID ABOUT THE STO’S AND AS THEY’VE GROWN 20% EVERY YEAR, THIS COULD TURN OUT TO BE A PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE FIGHT. NOW, IF VOTERS TEND TO LOOK AT IT AS A PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE FIGHT, VOTERS TEND TO LEAN TOWARD THE PUBLIC. THAT’S WHAT I’M WATCHING FOR REAL CLOSELY HERE, SEE IF THAT GETS OUT.

DIANNA NANEZ: YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. AND WHEN WE SAY POTENTIALLY WEAK, I WOULD ALREADY SAY WEAK. I SAW A REPUBLICAN THAT WAS RUNNING AND ON HER SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT, SHE WROTE “MY KIDS GO TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL,” WHICH IS JUST UNHEARD FOR SOMEONE FROM ARIZONA. SO YES, THIS IS THE ONE ARENA. ARE DEMOCRATS IN A TOUGH POSITION? ARE THEY GOING TO LOOK AT THIS VERY CAREFULLY TO SEE ARE WE JUST PUTTING OURSELVES IN THE SAME PLACE AS THIS 20% WHEN WE PASSED IT THAT NOBODY LOOKED DOWN THE LINE.

TED SIMONS: YES, WE’LL SEE HOW THAT GOES. BEFORE WE HEAD OUT OF HERE, THE FALLOUT FROM THE DON SHOOTER SAGA. THAT SEEMS TO NEVER END, BUT IT SEEMS TO HAVE SLOWED DOWN. HAVE WE FINALLY GOT A HARASSMENT POLICY IN THE HOUSE, A FORMAL POLICY.
HOWARD FISCHER: THERE IS A FORMAL POLICY. THEY HAD A DRAFT OF IT EARLIER EVEN WHILE THEY WERE DOING TO SHOOTER INVESTIGATION. THE FINAL POLICY TWEAKS IT A LITTLE BIT. WE’RE STILL WAITING FOR THE CODE OF CONDUCT WHICH BECOMES ALL THE LITTLE PIECES OF WHAT CAN YOU DO? CAN YOU ASK SOMEONE OUT? CAN THEY TELL YOU NO, ONE TIME, TWO TIMES? WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE? IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THIS BE IN A FORMAL HOUSE POLICY BECAUSE THEN IT BECOMES ENFORCEABLE AND YOU CAN BE BOOTED FOR VIOLATING POLICY. TRUTHFULLY, THEY BOOTED SHOOTER OUT FOR BEING DISREPUTE TO THE HOUSE NOT SEXUAL HARASSMENT. THEY NEEDED SOMETHING NARROWER TO HAVE TEETH.

TED: STEVE, THERE’S ALSO SOMETHING THAT’S GOING AROUND HERE REGARDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC RIGHT TO KNOW AND PRIVACY, AND THIS INVOLVES THE INVESTIGATION INTO OTHER AVENUES DOWN THERE AT THE CAPITOL, PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER INFORMATION THAT IS TO FAR BEEN KEPT UNDER WRAPS, THERE IS NOW A MOVEMENT AFOOT TO KEEP THEM UNDER WRAPS. FOLKS ARE SAYING, THAT'S NOT RIGHT. THESE ARE PUBLIC OFFICIALS.
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: WELL, KELLY TOWNSEND ONE OF THE ACCUSERS OF DON SHOOTER WANTS TO KEEP THIS UNDER WRAPS. BUT, ANTHONY KERN IS SAYING MAYBE MARK BRNOVICH NEEDS TO LOOK INTO THIS, MAYBE SOME OTHER AGENCIES TO LOOK INTO THIS KIND OF THING TO MAKE SURE THERE WASN’T SOME KIND OF REVENGE PORN RELATED TO THIS KIND OF THING. THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE OVER EVEN IF THE CODE OF CONDUCT POLICY GOES INTO EFFECT, EVEN IF PEOPLE STOP DRINKING IN THEIR OFFICES.

TED SIMONS: BUT PUBLIC RECORDS LAW, THEY’RE THERE FOR A REASON, TO HOLD PUBLIC OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE. HOW FAR DO YOU GO WHEN YOU MIGHT BE TALKING ABOUT SOME PHOTOGRAPHS THAT ARE WAY BEYONG POLICY MAKING AND LAW MAKING?

DIANNA NANEZ: WE HAVE PUBLIC RECORD LAW AND WE ALWAYS WANT TO LEAN TOWARDS THAT TRANSPARENCY, PUT A LIGHT ON IT, LET’S SEE WHAT YOU HAVE, WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT OUSTED AN ELECTED OFFICIAL. I VOTED FOR HIM. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS. I WANT TO SEE WITH MY OWN TWO EYES. THAT SAID, I THINK THE PUBLIC UNDERSTANDS THIS IS NOT ENDING ANY TIME SOON. WE HAVE TIME TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION. IS THERE SOMETHING TRULY HERE? THAT PERHAPS EVERYBODY TALKING ABOUT THE FBI TAKING OVER THE INVESTIGATION.

TED SIMONS: FBI, HOLY SMOKES. ANTHONY KERN WANTS THE FBI, DPS, HE WANTS THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, ALL OF THEM TO KEEP THIS INVESTIGATION GOING.

HOWARD FISCHER: THE ISSUE IS THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS IN PUBLIC RECORD LAWS FOR ONGOING POLICE INVESTIGATIONS, THINGS THAT ARE QUOTE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE STATE. I HATE THAT ONE PERSONALLY, BUT IT’S THERE. CERTAIN PRIVACY CONCERNS ARE RECOGNIZED. THAT'S THE CONCERN THAT AS A JOURNALIST, I'LL PUT A STATUTE IN TO SAY CERTAIN SPECIFIC THINGS ARE NOT IN THE PUBLIC RECORD. I THINK THERE ARE SUFFICIENT PROTECTIONS THERE. SUPPOSEDLY THERE ARE PICTURES OUT THERE THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANOTHER LAWMAKER WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE WHOLE THING. ARE THESE MATERIAL THAT WE SEE THEM? NO. ARE THEY MATERIAL TO THE EXTENT THAT PERHAPS THERE WERE VIOLATIONS OF AN ETHIC'S POLICY THERE, THAT WERE SORT OF GLOSSED OVER IN THE ORIGINAL REPORT. THAT'S WHAT MR. KERN IS GOING AFTER.
TED SIMONS: SO HOW FAR DO WE GO WITH IT? ARE WE STILL REFERENCING THIS INVESTIGATION AND ASPECTS OF THIS INVESTIGATION 3, 6, 9, 12 MONTHS FROM NOW?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: MY GUESS IS YES. IT’S THE BASIS FOR ALL OF THESE THINGS AS WE MOVE FORWARD SO IT HAS TO BE A POINT OF REFERENCE TO GO ON.
HOWARD FISCHER: AND THERE’S ANOTHER THING. THEY’VE GOT TO DECIDE HOW TO HANDLE FUTURE INVESTIGATIONS. THIS WHOLE INVESTIGATION, WE SAID THIS ON THE SHOW, THIS WHOLE INVESTIGATION BYPASSED THE NORMAL ETHIC REVIEW PROCESS. AND THAT LEFT A LOT OF LAWMAKERS VERY ANGRY, EVEN THOSE THAT DECIDED TO OUST MISTER SHOOTER. AND THEY HAVE TO DECIDE, IF WE’RE GOING TO HAVE THIS AD HOC THING AND DECIDE TO GET RID OF SHOOTER, WE WANT AN EXPEDITED PROCESS, NO. YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO HAVE A PROCESS IN PLACE THAT’S ALWAYS THERE. WE DIDN'T HAVE THAT THIS TIME.
TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT. WE'LL STOP IT RIGHT THERE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

TED SIMONS: MONDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON, WHY MORE AMERICANS ARE GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH THE IDEA OF SELF DRIVING CARS. AND WE'LL LOOK AT THE CONCERNS OVER FREE-SPEECH ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES. THOSE STORIES, MONDAY, RIGHT HERE ON ARIZONA HORIZON.
TED SIMONS: TUESDAY, HOW A FIVE-YEAR LIFETIME CAP ON MEDICAID COULD IMPACT ARIZONA HEALTHCARE. WEDNESDAY, THE LATEST FROM THE STATE CAPITOL IN OUR WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE. THURSDAY, WE'LL HEAR ABOUT A CORPORATION COMMISSIONER'S PLAN TO MAKE ARIZONA A LEADER IN "CLEAN" ENERGY. AND FRIDAY, IT'S ANOTHER EDITION OF THE JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE. THAT IS IT FOR NOW.
TED SIMONS: I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND. ¶ ¶

Dianna Náñez: Arizona Republic
Howard Fischer: Capitol Media Services
Steve Goldstein: KJZZ-FM

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