Early this month, Democrats pushed through President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pork barrel COVID-19 bill with only Democratic support. Then, House Democrats passed H.R. 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” in a totally partisan 234—193 vote.
There is a reason you are seeing all these party line votes. It is because the Democratic Party is not operating as individuals representing distinct districts of Americans. The Democratic Party is operating as a machine—a machine designed to drive a single agenda and impose it nationwide.
In vote after vote, we are watching Democrats, many of whom represent politically mixed, diverse districts and states, falling in line to vote for whatever Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tell them to—with no regard for what the people they represent back home want. No Democratic Senator or House member seems to care or question what is in these bills. They are simply doing what they are told.
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By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona’s sentiments on Big Tech’s influence are largely negative, according to a recent study of bipartisan voters across the state. What’s more, a majority of respondents want regulations placed on Big Tech immediately.
Data Orbital, a data analysis and political consulting firm, launched a study last week to get the pulse on Arizona’s perspective on Big Tech and current legislation to regulate it. Researchers surveyed 550 voters and found an abundance of concern over Big Tech’s influence. Over 80 percent of respondents agreed that Big Tech’s power over citizens’ lives is too great. Over 77 percent of individuals further characterized tech companies as self-interested monopolies opposed to small businesses and individuals.
Out of all respondents, nearly 64 percent believed that Arizona should regulate Big Tech’s influence. A few more of those respondents believed that Arizona’s legislature should take action as soon as possible -not wait for D.C. lawmakers to step in.
Specifically, respondents voiced support for HB 2005, a bill to break up Big Tech’s app payment monopoly. Many app platforms require developers to use their payment systems and pay a service fee ranging anywhere from 15 to 30 percent. The legislation would only target platforms that have over 1 million downloads a year, and extend to Arizona-based developers or users. As it stands, Apple and Google are the companies that would be affected by this bill.
Data Orbital published these findings as HB 2005 awaits consideration in the Senate. It passed in the House on March 3.
Big Tech was quick to respond to the threat posed by HB 2005. Lobbyists swarmed the Capitol as soon as they caught wind of State Representative Regina Cobb’s (R-Kingman) intent to introduce the bill. They have argued that the bill was unfair – it would make Apple and Google provide its services to developers and users for free.
Other Big Tech companies concurred with those lobbyist arguments. Twitter Head of Consumer Product Kayvon Beykpour asserted that the commission fees are necessary to run a smooth and ordered system.
“This isn’t just a highway tax,” stated Beykpour. “There’s a lot of cost and effort involved in building these ecosystems that allow you to accept payments, and there’s a lot of fraud or risk involved in the whole customer service flow around refunds. A lot of that is taken off [the consumer’s] plate.”
During the House floor’s final vote on the bill, Cobb’s rebuttal against these arguments was that the “big guys” aren’t having to bear the burden of these commission fees. She pointed out that Big Tech has a monopoly on the market, and noted that there weren’t any legislators in the room without an Apple or Android phone.
“If you have a space, you charge for the space. Well, the big guys are not getting charged for that space,” stated Cobb. “They get charged zero. These 16 percent get charged 30 [percent]. Anything with a million or less that [has] revenues gets charged 15 percent. But if you’re between that million – which is the very small guy – and now up there to that very top guy, that’s that 30 percent. So the equity is not there.”
Other proponents of the bill, such as the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), add that the bill would allow businesses to innovate. They claim that Big Tech stifles healthy competition and growth.
“Through HB 2005, Arizona is building bipartisan momentum to provide more consumer freedom, lower costs, and increase developer’s ability to thrive and innovate,” stated CAF Executive Director Meghan DiMuzio.
Although HB 2005 has been assigned to committee in the Senate, no action has been taken yet.Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to email@example.com.
An amendment offered by State Rep. Shawnna LM Bolick that would delay the state income tax return filing deadline will be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, March 24.
Bolick says her amendment to SB 1297 will provide uniformity with federal tax filing deadlines.
The Internal Revenue Service announced this week it has postponed this year’s April 15 deadline for filing federal income tax returns to May 17, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and recent changes in tax law. Arizona’s current state tax deadline is April 15.
“Arizonans should not be rushed to files their state taxes while they still have time to file their federal taxes,” said Bolick in a press release. “Arizona income tax filings are often dependent on the federal adjusted gross income – a figure only determined once you file your federal taxes. So, having the state deadline fall prior to the federal deadline doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and would only be cumbersome for state filers. Which is why I introduced language to postpone Arizona’s filing deadline for this year to mirror what the federal
By Terri Jo Neff |
A Maricopa County judge is expected to rule soon on one of two lawsuits involving the authority of the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) to refuse to sign a fingerprint clearance card for a Chandler man with a history of questionable conduct with children.
The lawsuits involve an effort by Brett James Smith to obtain the clearance card, which is required for many paid and volunteer positions in which adults work with children. Arizona currently lists 52 circumstances under which a fingerprint clearance card is necessary as a condition of licensure, certification, employment, or volunteer activity.
In 2019, DPS denied Smith’s application for a card due to his criminal history in multiple states. Smith, who had changed his name from Brett James Zagorac, then appealed to the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. The board can approve two types of exceptions, including a good-cause exception for individuals whose fingerprint clearance card was denied or suspended by DPS.
The fingerprint board members represent the Department of Child Safety, the Department of Economic Security, Department of Health Services, Department of Juvenile Corrections, Arizona State Board of Education, and the Administrative Office of the Courts. They approved Smith’s good cause exception in January 2020 after a recommendation from a state administrative law judge (ALJ).
But in April 2020, Smith sued DPS Colonel Heston Silbert when the director refused to sign the card despite the board’s exception. That case is on hold while a special action lawsuit filed by Silbert in June is being heard by Judge Pamela Gates.
“He’d been arrested no less than, that we know of, 10 times, for crimes involving inappropriate touching and interactions with children, up to and including child molestation, and had actually done some jail time over it,” Silbert said after filing the lawsuit. “I have a responsibility to the citizens of Arizona, and certainly to the children of Arizona, to do my very best to ensure they’re safe.”
Smith’s testimony to the ALJ purportedly included comments that his previous conduct -and contact- with children was not of a sexual nature nor done for a sexual motivation. A statement later released by an attorney for Smith accused DPS of “smearing Mr. Smith’s name in the media.”
Silbert’s lawsuit contends the board exceeded its authority in granting Smith’s exception. But in a twist, the board is now arguing that Smith’s application should be reconsidered due to new concerns that he presented false or misleading information and even lied to the ALJ during testimony.
Gates is awaiting final written arguments from the parties so she can rule next month on two pending motions which could lead to the dismissal of Smith’s initial lawsuit. Silbert is represented by attorney Lawrence Wulkan of Stinson LLP, an arrangement necessitated by the fact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office usually provides legal advice for the fingerprinting board.
After Silbert’s lawsuit was announced in June, the Chandler Police Department received six complaints concerning Smith. It has also been reported that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has opened its own investigation.
One of the Chandler complaints involves a parent who hired Smith last spring to work as a tutor with her young son. Smith was no longer working with the boy in June when the mother heard about Silbert’s lawsuit.
The mother provided investigations with “nanny cam” video of all the times Smith was in the family’s home. At least one video revealed an incident in which Smith made physical contact with the boy, the mother reported.
The second exception the fingerprinting board can approve involves the Central Registry, a set of databases maintained by the Arizona Department of Child Safety of individuals who have had “substantiated allegations of child abuse or neglect.” An applicant disqualified for a clearance card based on a Central Registry report may apply to show the board that the applicant is rehabilitated and not a recidivist.
Championed by the left as a win for the people, the Democrat COVID “relief” plan is little more than a blue state bailout with handouts to special interests and expansion of progressive policies. As if the billions of taxpayer dollars being funneled away wasn’t enough, Schumer snuck a provision into the package that would prohibit states from cutting taxes and providing relief to their taxpayers. Not just this year, but through 2024.
Yes, that means that in addition to only a dismal fraction of the “relief” going directly to taxpayers, further relief through state tax cuts would be barred.
It’s a simple principle: good behavior ought to be rewarded, and bad behavior punished. Yet the Democrat’s blue state bailout does the exact opposite, extracting billions from states that budgeted responsibly and mitigated economic shutdowns while rewarding blue states whose budget shortfalls are of their own making – stemming from bad policies pre-pandemic and even worse during the pandemic.