It appears that Sen. Al Melvin left his fireworks in his other pants. The Arizona Senate passed the budget bills tonight in a relatively quiet third-read session and has adjourned until next week.
Melvin made a brief speech commending Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but otherwise was content to just vote on the losing end of the budget battle this evening.
In other budget news, the Children's Action Alliance celebrates the spending plan in an emailed bulletin to supporters:
During the Committee of the Who'e this afternoon, the Arizona Senate voted to restore and expand Medicaid coverage for adults as Governor Brewer and dozens of community groups have been supporting.
In addition, they also voted to increase critical funding for abused and neglected children. These increases include:
$4 million for Children Support Services. The original legislation did not include any increase for Children Support Services. (CAA called for $10 million.)
$4 million for Child Care. The original legislation provided an increase of $5 million; the amendment brings the increase to $9 million. (CAA supported the Governor’s plan which included $9 million.)
$1 million for Grandparents Stipend. This provides the funding needed to support a monthly $75 stipend for qualified grandparents raising their grandchildren. (CAA called for $1 million.)
Other changes increased parity funding for the universities and added $4.5 million to the Department of Education's budget for adult education.
Once the Committee of the Whole finishes its work, the legislation goes to final vote by the Senate before moving to the House. Stay tuned…
Sen. Al Melvin is promising GOP fireworks when the Arizona Senate goes to a third read vote on the budget, which was amended—against Senate President Andy Biggs' wishes—to include Medicaid expansion.
A GOP-led roll call vote on all of the Medicaid bills that would have put senators on the record for supporting or opposing the amendments was thwarted and followed by a hasty recess. Melvin said he was upset because he wanted senators' family names to be tied to their votes.
Senate President Andy Biggs left in a huff and was visibly agitated when he called recess.
Melvin does agree with Sen. Steve Farley on one thing: Both said they haven’t felt this way about the budget since former Gov. Janet Napolitano left the state.
For Farley that’s a win. For Melvin it’s a step back.
“It’s just like when we inherited this train wreck of Napolitano in '09 and it took us four years to whack $3 billion out of it,” Melvin said. “You shouldn’t have to do that every couple of years. You should keep it steady, but they’re caving.”
The SaddleBrooke Republican is at a loss as to why Gov. Jan Brewer wants the expand Medicaid when 27 states are fighting Medicaid expansion.
“I can’t figure it out to save my life,” Melvin said. She’s going against her own party."
He’s not pleased with the five Republicans (Sen. John McComish, Sen. Rich Crandall, Sen. Bob Worsley, Sen. Steve Pierce and Sen. Adam Driggs) that he says rolled on their party either. He promises there will be a “reckoning.”
“I hope they pay and I hope they pay with their seats,” Melvin said.
He was especially perturbed with Senate Majority Leader John McComish, R-Phoenix, who sponsored the Medicaid expansion amendment.
“What’s really sad and pathetic is they’re in our so-called leadership and there will be an accounting on that too—if not immediately, eventually,” Melvin said.
Because those five felt so emboldened, the GOP has had to “rely on parliamentary procedures and other things to stop this from happening,” Melvin said.
Melvin commended Senate President Andy Biggs’ on his quasi-filibuster earlier today.
Biggs read from a bag of papers for more than 30 minutes regaling members with different analogies and vignettes about why Medicaid expansion was a bad movie and the federal government is a “dubious partner.”
“I thought it was historic and I gave him my full attention,” Melvin said.
The Senate heads back to the floor in moments and it will be a show, Melvin said.
“We ought to charge admission,” Melvin said. "It’s going to be good. It’s going to real good. We’re not going to roll over and play dead on this.”
State Sen. Steve Farley is feeling downright ebullient about the state budget that made it through the Senate's Committee of the Whole after a marathon session today.
"It's an amazing day," the midtown Tucson Democrat told The Range in a phone interview after the COW session wrapped up. "I haven't felt this good about a budget since (former governor Janet) Napolitano left. … This is the type of budget that the people of Arizona have been waiting for for a really long time."
Among the highlights, from Farley's perspective:
• Gov. Jan Brewer's proposal to expand Medicaid to 133 percent of the federal poverty level is now in the budget.
• A GOP plan to eliminate school funding for soft capital—books, computer accessories, etc.—was blocked and for the first time in years, the soft capital is actually funded.
• Child Protective Services will get a funding boost.
• An elections omnibus bill that emerged from the Senate Appropriations Committee stalled before coming up for a vote in the Senate Rules Committee. "I have it on pretty good authority that it isn't going anywhere," Farley says.
• About $4 million a year in interest from the state's rainy-day fund will go to support state parks and arts organizations.
"We managed to come today across the partisan divide, which is not easy," Farley said. "We found the things we have in common."
The Senate bills still need a final vote in the Senate, which Farley hopes to see tonight. Next, it'll head to the House of Representatives, which is now scheduled to get back to work on Tuesday, May 21.
More to come as lawmakers react and the legislation advances.
I've gotten to know a few meal worms in my time—namely, the ones I used to feed to my son's lizard. I was the only one in my household bold enough to take them out of their containers, pick them up and toss them in the lizard's dish. Didn't bother me and I loved watching the lizard happily gobble those guys up.
Besides reminding me of how I left the lid of the lizard's cage off when I went out of town for a week (so sad), all this meal worm talk brings me to a Slate article about how the UN wants us to eat more bugs—it's the food of the future, not soylent green.
The story in Slate:
Over the weekend I read a bit about Rand Paul's efforts to fundraise off an alleged United Nations plot to confiscate your guns, but they turn out to be up to something considerably more insidious—they want us all to eat more insects. Now, on the merits, the case for insect eating is pretty strong. Bugs are high in protein, much like proper animals, but compared to—say—a cow "they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint." Which is to say insects reproduce quickly, they grow quickly, and, since they're really low on the food chain, the plant-to-insect-to-food path is one of the least resource-intensive ways of converting solar power into fuel for humans. Of course the problem with eating insects is that it's kind of gross and they don't taste very good. ...
Fear not, dear Tucson. Scanning Facebook this morning, I remembered that the Loft Cinema has put some tasty Chapul bug bars on the menu. Yeah, my son and I split the chocolate and peanut butter cricket bar. Not bad. Crunchy in its own unique way.
There's a cool Tucson connect: The Chapul founders went to grad school here at the UA, but the company is based in Utah. Check out the website here. There's a video on the home page that explains a non-UN version of the benefits of eating bugs. Humanity has evidently been doing it forever.
A week or so ago, the San Francisco Chronicle was nice enough to consider Tucson a vacation destination — but unfortunately, we at Weekly World Central happen to lack subscriptions to the Chron, making it difficult for us to access their paywall-locked content.
Thankfully though, it was made free a few days ago, giving us the opportunity to read that we're apparently (sigh) a hipster paradise: "A kind of Portland without the rain. A Mission District without the attitude."
Shit. We've gone mainstream. Time to bail out and create a mecca for the weird and artsy elsewhere.
Seriously though, they're very complimentary toward Tucson, even if they keep sprinkling in obnoxious Portlandia references throughout.
From the Chron, as I will now and forever call it:
Within walking distance of the Congress is the Fourth Avenue shopping district - a favorite among U of A students, and anyone else with a fashion sense more evolved than Banana Republic. Tucson Thrift has clearly been curated for Greek house-theme parties. Racks are labeled '70s Skirts and Indian Blouses, but some of these items are so stylish, you don't need an invitation to a beer-soaked event to buy them.
Art dots the landscape of Tucson in expected - like here at the Museum of Art - and unexpected ways.
Fourth Avenue is where you'll find Desert Vintage, one of the best (and most reasonably priced) vintage shops I've ever seen, as well as Antigone Books, the independent that hosts the Steampunk book group (second Sunday of the month), as well as author readings. If you missed 1973 the first time around, stop into Hippie Gypsy. The smell (a mix of sandalwood and patchouli), the music (the Doors), the merchandise (bongs, long skirts made out of cheap Indian print cotton) - nothing has changed.
The Food Conspiracy Co-op, also on Fourth Avenue, is worth a stop. It makes Whole Foods look like 7-Eleven.
The Chron's story is very good — check it out when you get the chance. If nothing else, you'll at least be able to get a few ideas as to where to spend your last weekend in town before we all head out of here to colonize some other Southern Arizona town and turn it into another awesome hipstery haven.
Oh, how the crazy have fallen: Kai Lawrence, the vigilante hitchhiker who warmed all of our hearts by beating the mess out of people who are attacking other people, is wanted for questioning in the murder of a New Jersey man.
According to Gawker, 73-year-old Joseph Galfy was found dead in his home on Monday as a result of blunt-force trauma—which is what worries us, considering that Kai is a man who isn't afraid to smash, smash, SUH-MASH his way through problems.
Kai, we hope that this isn't true, that your name will be cleared and that you will return to weirdly serenading television news reporters—and not just because we really want to get paid for "Kai Lawrence Hatchets Through History!"
Mostly because of that, though. That idea is gold.
[Update: Kai's been caught! WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reports that Kai was arrested by Philly PD at a bus station after spending the night with some "fans" in New Jersey. Apparently, he was interested in catching a bus and heading down to Georgia. He's now been charged with the murder of Joseph Galfy and is being held on $3 million bail.]
I haven't been to as many shows at the Monterey Court Studio Galleries as I'd like, but it's a nice little space, especially for the summer season. I guess Reid Park symphony nights have their place and all, especially in our childhood. But now that that's over with, I'm going to suggest this new tradition.
Jazz pianist Larry Loud, joined by Paul Daniels on drums and Tony Marotta on percussion, will be performing from 7 to 10 p.m. tonight at Monterrey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile. Jazz under the stars and in the glow of all those old Tucson neon signs sounds near perfect.
Honestly, considering all of the batshit crazy things Amy and Samy Bouzaglo have done since the episode of Kitchen Nightmares aired, getting some PR help was probably a solid idea. However, hiring PR guy/disaster management guy Jason Rose might just continue the circus for another week. Rose has worked with, let's say, an interesting list of clients, from Joe Arpaio to the super-classy Pink Taco restaurant that was in Scottsdale for a few minutes. Also, it should be noted, he was fired as the Special Olympics PR rep after making a joke about the Special Olympics on Twitter. A classy dude, by all accounts.
So, here we go, the place is reopening with an event on the 21st, the Bouzaglos are going to tell their side of the story and Phoenix civil rights activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin will be there. What could go wrong?
The re-opening press release is below the cut.
Dear Readers Who Are Offended By Harsh Language:
From a post on Jezebel yesterday, "Fuck Your Delicate Sensibilities, I'm Going to Swear as Much as I Want":
The problem is that people mistake the "language is powerful" argument for "it stings my granny when you say the fuck word." The history of swear words is interesting, but swear words themselves don't matter one fucking bit. Swear words are what people whine about when they want a cheap way to derail an argument. Swear words are for people who don't have anything real to complain about. I wish my life (or, at least, my awareness of the shit going on in the world) was simplified to the point where swearing could be my top priority—where swearing could be worth complaining about. But fuck that.
Please read the whole fucking thing right here.
You have a little over two weeks left to vote in our Best of Tucson balloting for 2013 (wait, it's 2013, what the hell?). Voting ends on May 31 at midnight, so why not spare yourself the last-minute panic of filling out a ballot at the end of the month and take care of business today?
Also, enjoy the above video by America.
An evening of entertainment by comedian Bill Maher benefits children's cancer research, the United Veteran's Association and… More