Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined 22 other states this week in filing an amicus curiae brief at the appellate level opposing the Center for Disease Control’s attempt to continue a mask mandate on public transportation, which includes airplanes and buses. He sued the CDC over the requirement with 20 other attorneys general in March.
“Upholding the law is especially important during times of emergency,” he said in a statement. “Federal overreach is most often attempted under the guise of addressing a crisis.”
A transportation bill dubbed the “Maricopa County Transit Slush Fund Tax” by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) is steadily advancing through the legislature, and its supporters say it will probably make it through the Arizona Legislature this year in a referral to the ballot. Senate Bill (SB) 1356 has passed the Senate, the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee, and the House Transportation Committee. Valley Metro’s new CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller said this week about it, “We are cautiously optimistic about SB 1356.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill recently banning mask mandates on Arizona government property.
“Citizens should not be required to wear a mask to access government services,” said the State Representative Neal Carter (R-Phoenix), who sponsored the measure.” This law prevents policy setting by unelected bureaucrats which, in my own experience, led to the public being denied entry to some county buildings that continued to impose mask requirements long after such mandates had been widely dispensed with or prohibited around the state.”
House Bill (HB) 2453 received “unanimous support from House and Senate Republicans.”
It is National Sunshine Week, which celebrates transparency in government, including creating awareness about requesting information from governments through FOIA public record requests. In Arizona, there are two tools provided by state agencies which allow anyone to look online at some of the government spending by state and local governments. Although it is a minimal amount of data, it reveals some missteps and waste.
The Arizona State Treasurer manages AZCheckbook.com, which provides information about funding the state gets from all sources, including the federal government, and how much it is distributing to schools, cities, and towns. The Arizona Department of Administration operates OpenBooks.AZ.gov, which provides checkbook-level information about individual state expenditures, including on the city and county level.
Much fanfare surrounding infrastructure legislation in Congress focuses on road and bridge improvements, but the bill’s implications for relatively costly rail transit in northeastern Pennsylvania and elsewhere have gotten far less attention.
The current proposal to spend $66 billion on Amtrak would be the largest federal expenditure on passenger rail since the creation of the transit agency.