Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Daily Agenda: It's Brnovich vs. The World

Posted By on Tue, Feb 1, 2022 at 10:51 AM

The Daily Agenda: It's Brnovich vs. The World
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

It's easy to run for office when you're already in office … We're getting the legislative band back together … And he's attempting a Hulk Hogan impression

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich seems to grab daily headlines lately. We’re sure it’s just a coincidence for the AG who’s running for U.S. Senate.

On Monday, he threw himself into another federal fight against the Biden administration. This time, Brnovich requested the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopt a rule prohibiting the use of race and ethnicity as factors when issuing guidelines for therapies like monoclonal antibodies. 

The antibodies issue sprung up recently after the Food and Drug Administration said race and ethnicity could be considered when assessing risk factors for severe COVID-19 and allocating treatment options. Other Republicans, like Marco Rubio, have put out similar press releases calling the rules “racist and un-American.”

But that wasn’t the only federal issue the state attorney general took to task in the past week. He also appeared on Fox News, his regular stomping ground, to talk about the border. He called U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly “Cartel Kelly” and said everyone is “less safe” because of the Biden administration and Kelly. 

And his allies in the Arizona Legislature filed a bill to help him out with the State Bar of Arizona complaints he’s facing from Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the Arizona Board of Regents, Capitol Media Services’ Howie Fischer reports. Sen. Vince Leach’s Senate Bill 1566 would install penalties for people who make Bar complaints that don’t result in discipline. 

"The longstanding policy is to protect, rather than penalize, those who report ethical violations by lawyers,'' Hobbs told Capitol Media Services. "But, as with everything else, the AG wants to burn it all down in pursuit of his own interests in flouting the ethical rules with full impunity.''

Brnovich was no stranger to the spotlight before his Senate run. But he’s no doubt benefitting from the bully pulpit that elected office provides while he runs for U.S. Senate. 

He’s not the only one. Politicians who want to stay on the public payroll often skirt the line of what’s campaigning and what’s doing their day job — and sometimes they cross that line completely. 

In fact, we’re old enough to remember when Brnovich first ran for office in 2014 on a platform of dethroning then Republican AG Tom Horne for essentially running his campaign out of his state office. (It also didn’t help that the FBI flagged his extramarital “lunchtime tryst” with his then-staffer who is now his new wife.)

The old Brnovich made hay out of a simple public service announcement commercial Horne filmed during an election year. The new Brnovich launched a full streaming video service called AGTV.

As Brnovich’s campaign struggles to keep up with deep-pocketed self-funders, AGTV isn’t cutting it and those Fox News interviews about his never-ending stream of lawsuits are key. Some people buy air time. Brnovich is earning it by using his office to “sue the living Adam Schiff” out of the federal government.

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You could form an orchestra — or at least a hodge-podge garage band (say that three times fast!) — with Arizona’s elected officials.

Yesterday, Democratic Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley revealed during a committee hearing that she plays in a band, so we binged all of her tunes and then threw ourselves down a rabbit hole trying to list all the Arizona musician politicians. 

First off, check out Hannley’s band, The Ukelitas, which does a mean cover of the Grateful Dead. 

Fellow Tucson Democratic Rep. Diego DeGrazia is a classical and Spanish guitarist who plays a mean flamenco with The DeGrazia Band. (And that’s only part of the reason he’s been correctly dubbed the legislature’s most interesting man.)

Perhaps the most famous band in Arizona political circles is the Singing Senators, whose members have included former Senate President Ken Bennett and current House Speaker Rusty Bowers. Check out this parody of Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson’s “Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” styled as “Mamas, Make Sure Your Babies Grow Up as Republicans.”

Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who majored in music composition, plays the piano and other instruments. And Rep. César Chávez has some serious mariachi pipes.

Former U.S. Sen. Martha McSally could really belt out the National Anthem (which ultimately was not enough to endear her to voters, despite her best efforts).

And we hear that Democratic State Rep. Lorenzo Sierra was in a hair metal band in the 90s. 

Who did we miss? Extra points if you find clips of Sierra’s band!

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Solar played the long game: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Salt River Project can face legal ramifications for policies that deter the use of solar panels, Capitol Media Services’ Howie Fischer writes. The ruling comes after years of battles over rooftop solar and utilities increasing prices for its use. The panel said that there was evidence the company intended to deter solar, which could run afoul of antitrust laws. The appellate court kicked the issue back down to a trial judge. 

Our statement has people asking a lot of questions already answered by our statement: Tempe Police put out another statement attempting to clarify the Charles Ryan case. As a refresher, the former director of the Arizona Department of Corrections pointed a gun at police and suffered a self-inflicted wound at his house, but did not get taken to jail afterward. He is expected to face charges. But Tempe Police said Ryan didn’t need to be booked because that’s a “procedural process,” he didn’t have any priors, and he wasn’t a flight risk. Oh, and also, what the cops initially called a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his hand was actually something else — either a self-inflicted cut that happened before police arrived or a wound from police bean bag projectile. The statement claims both.

A long and detailed history here: The City of Tucson is flexing its muscles over a request from the Rosemont mine to use a water recharge facility the city co-owns, the Republic’s Zayna Syed reports. The city’s leaders, who have opposed the mining operation, said they are trying to stop the mine from storing water at the recharge facility to send a message that they oppose the mine, not because of the water or its quality. 

Government money is bipartisan: Gubernatorial candidates Steve Gaynor and Aaron Lieberman both got Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic, the Republic’s Stacey Barchenger reports. In Gaynor’s case, after he got the loans for his business, he still managed to self-fund his run for governor. 

Sigh: A woman known for making racist comments toward lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday to throw out more of her drivel. Alice Novoa once filed a lawsuit claiming Sen. Raquel Terán wasn’t a U.S. citizen (she is). While testifying in the Senate Government committee hearing on Monday, she claimed several Latinos who hold office of various capacities in Arizona were also not U.S. citizens. 

Heads firmly in sand: A few dozen people showed up at Kenilworth Elementary School yesterday to call for the Arizona Legislature to override the school funding cap, KJZZ’s Rocio Hernandez reports. The small protest still trumps the attention given to the issue by Republican lawmakers, who so far haven’t put up a bill or publicly addressed any plans to resolve the funding cap. Good thing the deadline for the cliff is only a month away!

AZLeg inspired by Texas law: While the U.S. Supreme Court weighs Roe v. Wade, abortion debates stay heated in Arizona. Per usual, Republican lawmakers introduced some proposals to further restrict abortion, while advocacy groups fight against them in a battle where the courts are increasingly skewed against them, Cronkite News’ Emily Sacia writes. 

Leave it to beaver: Arizona Mirror editor Jim Small writes about how Rep. John Fillmore’s comment on getting “back to 1958-style voting” seems to be the Republicans’ legislative agenda this year beyond voting. GOP proposals seek to unwind decades of progress for marginalized groups, Small argues.

There must be other people you can message: Democratic candidates are weirdly sliding into the DMs of local journalists (including us) asking for campaign donations. It’s bizarre for a couple reasons: Reaching out via robocalls or texts is more common than a Twitter direct message, and political journalists (at least the good ones) don’t donate to political campaigns. 

The fine print: One of the small-dollar items in the Ducey budget proposal calls for nearly $2 million to infuse the Victim Compensation and Assistance program, which helps crime victims pay for crime-associated costs, KTAR’s Taylor Tasler reports. 

While we’re at it, remake “Bio-Dome”: At Biosphere 2, the site of the 1990s’ experiment in self-sustainment, another scientist is trying something similar to see if people can create a self-sustaining habitat for humans on Mars someday, Harper’s Magazine reports from Oracle

Today’s bill of the day deals with liquid cremation, which, yes, is exactly like it sounds. 

Republican state Rep. Michell Udall’s HB2024 would allow funeral businesses to offer up alkaline hydrolysis, which is essentially using liquid, heat, pressure and agitation to turn bodies into soup.

We’ve had something of a longtime fascination with the death industry bills in Arizona, which seems to be on the cutting edge of creepy-sounding stuff. (Remember that time the Attorney General’s Office and the feds raided a body donation center that was doing all sorts of gross stuff with bodies? Or the time a body donation business CEO ran for office.)

A funeral home director explained to the House Health and Human Services Committee, which unanimously approved the bill yesterday, that the burial business is quickly changing and earth burials are no longer the norm. 

And the process is not quite “Breaking Bad” — there’s no acid involved and the liquid mixture leftover is sterile and safe. And it’s more environmentally friendly than flame cremation. 

About 20 states have legalized alkaline hydrolysis though only about eight actually offer the services, Udall said, adding she’s heard tales of Arizonans sending bodies out of state to get liquid cremated. 

We’re again laughing at self-funding Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon after he went on “Politics Unplugged” with AZFamily’s Dennis Welch to promote election lies and tangle with Welch about whether the audit found fraud (it didn’t.) 

Lamon was among the fake electors that signed a fake document to Congress claiming that Arizonans voted to re-elect the former president, which he described as “a lot to do about not much” during the testy interview that also touched on his commercial using the slogan “Let’s Go Brandon.”  

Finally, he may be wandering into risky territory by throwing in the word “brother” at the end of every other sentence, as we all know there’s only one man allowed to talk like that.