February 8, 2018

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

This is my twelfth session in the legislature, and my twelfth attempt at banning driving while texting in Arizona.

Yesterday afternoon, my bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Transportation Committee. Details to follow.

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But first, the Pledge Break…

 

—> I am doing everything I can to be your next governor. This election offers the best opportunity in years to create real change in Arizona. Imagine our state as a light unto the nation, not a joke on late-night television. A place where public education is fully funded and everyone has quality, affordable healthcare and the opportunity to work at a livable wage. This future is within our reach, but I need your help in two ways:

1) Please contribute what you can. We are up against the Koch Brothers’ favorite son and we will need thousands of small donations to defeat Ducey’s few huge ones. He reported that his average campaign contribution in 2017 was $1,900 per donor, including $5,100 from Charles Koch himself. Only 5 donors contributed $25 or less. But his money from out-of-state billionaires won’t be as strong as your deep engagement — this will be unlike any other election in our lifetimes. Ducey can’t buy Arizona. This is our time, but only if you help.

2) Please sign my nominating petition to help me qualify for the ballot in November 2018. Please tell your friends and ask them to sign my petition. The first step to bringing change to Arizona is to put me on the ballot! The only way we win this is together, and I am honored to have your support. You can find my petition here.

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—> As I shared last week, my attempt to ban texting this session is SB1261. It mirrors the Texas texting ban passed just last year in the wake of a horrific crash in which a 22-year-old texting driver crossed the center line and instantly killed 13 elders in a church bus.

Here in Arizona, 51 people and organizations signed in supporting the bill, including — for the first time — the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The organizations also included Pima Association of Governments, AAA Arizona, Arizona Trucking Association, Arizona Chapter Of The American Academy Of Pediatrics, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, National Safety Council, Associated Highway Patrolmen of Arizona, The Arizona Academy Of Family Physicians, Arizona Parent Teacher Association (PTA), AT & T Inc., and National Waste & Recycling Association.

But even more importantly, 18 individuals told their personal stories of pain and suffering caused to them by distracted drivers killing or injuring them or their loved ones.

I was the first legislator in the country to introduce this ban in January 2007. Many of the victims and families who testified today have been standing by my side and sharing their personal tragedies for years, but we are still one of only three states without a statewide ban. Their courage and persistence to overcome personal pain in order to save others’ lives inspires me. I am grateful.

Cynthia Schneider shared a photo of her 16-year-old daughter who was killed by a distracted driver in 2016. Because of the lack of a texting law, her child’s killer simply received a speeding ticket. 

Susan Huff and Jonathon Hall shared photos of their father Tom Hall, a retired Phoenix firefighter who was also killed in 2016 by a Prescott Valley driver distracted by her cell phone. That killer also received a speeding ticket.

Story after story of loss and injustice poured forth, each more tragic than the last. It was clear: If you haven’t already been touched by the violent acts of a texting driver, it’s only a matter of time. 

You can read more details on today’s proceedings in these two stories from the Arizona Republic: One by Laurie Roberts, and the other by Megan Cassidy.

At the end of a powerfully emotional 90-minute hearing with many senators in tears, SB1261 passed unanimously. I have so much gratitude to Chairman Worsley and the committee members for their support.

Senator Worsley explained his vote with an apology for how long it took to move this forward. “Sometimes it just seems like our political ideology gets in the way of common sense,” he said.

There is still a long journey to come. I truly believe this is the year we all win, but it will take all of you to help advocate to your senators and representatives. Please find their emails and phones on the legislative website, and start contacting all members on behalf of SB 1261. Share your story, and common sense will prevail. Thank you.

—> Earlier this year, I broke down the truth behind Governor Doug Ducey’s claims that he was adding “new money” to K-12 public education in his proposed budget.

Now Hank Stephenson at the Arizona Daily Star did his own digging and came to the same conclusion in his story “K-12 education budget touted by Gov. Doug Ducey fails to restore recession-era cuts.

The opening paragraph: “Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has repeatedly presented his most recent budget proposal as restoring recession-era cuts to K-12 education, when in reality, it doesn’t even restore the Ducey-era cuts.

We’re done with dishonesty, Doug. For the sake of our kids, our families, and our economy, it’s time for change in the Governor’s Office.

—> Campaigning is happening whenever I’m not legislating, and the past week was no exception.

One of my favorite events of the year is the Tohono O’Odham Nation rodeo parade, and I’m lucky enough to be able to ride in it annually. I’ve always been so impressed with the overwhelming sense of welcome — from the Sells residents watching from the parade route, to Chairman Manuel and Vice Chairman Jose. During the parade last Saturday, when I thanked people for coming out they would thank me back, always adding, “Welcome!” I’m grateful for my volunteer Arvada (who had a whole lot of fans on the route!) and everyone there who helped create a treasured community event for all.

I also gave an interview to national Fox News, speaking about the problems with a recent bill that would force the Arizona Department of Revenue to accept Bitcoin in payment for income taxes, thus forcing the rest of us taxpayers to share the risk that this volatile investment scheme embodies. I love convincing folks whom others might dismiss. 

I’m also grateful to a whole lot of new community leaders who have recently endorsed Team Farley from around the state, including Coconino County Supervisors Lena Fowler and Art Babbott, Graham County Supervisor Paul David, Former Coconino County Supervisor Paul Babbitt, Sr., Oro Valley Vice Mayor Lou Waters, Former Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Former Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis, Former State Senator Alan Stephens, and Former State Senator Morris Farr. Thank you for your commitment to moving Arizona forward!

Please join our campaign so we can finally get the leadership we deserve right here in the state we love.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator.

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

If you like my representation and want to keep me in office, CONTRIBUTE TODAY!

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February 8, 2018