Saturday, March 28, 2015

Andrew Thomas launches new website, Stars & Banners

Harvard-law educated author Andrew Thomas has started a new website, Stars & Banners, featuring a focus on ISIS. Check it out and sign up for email updates.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Take this survey on gun control and the Second Amendment for an American University research project

If you believe in the Second Amendment and want your opinion heard in one of those "studies" we all hear about, please take this survey by the end of the weekend from Rachel Coyle, who is a graduate student there.

The project includes a survey on specific aspects of the gun rights debate, to gauge public opinion/perception and look for overlap between different segments of the conservative end of the political spectrum. 

The survey questions and response options are drawn from qualitative conversations with several hundred gun rights supporters on social media.

ALL survey responses will be completely confidential and the researcher will have no way of telling who responded to the survey or what any particular individual said.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My boss is debating the Freedom From Religion co-President Thursday night at ASU

Free and open to the public

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Obama ignores illegal immigration laws - except to target Mormon business that donated to Romney

This is sickening, and it is happening regularly
under this administration. Obama refuses to enforce illegal immigration laws, except to target people he doesn't like. The owners of Valley View Building Services apparently had some illegal immigrants working for them. When it was discovered, the owners promptly fired the manager in 2010 who had hired them. That wasn't good enough for the DOJ. Even though the owners were complying with the law, using E-Verify when hiring employees, Obama's DOJ still prosecuted them and is now ordering them to pay at least $250,000 as part of a settlement to get the DOJ off their backs. The owners have already spent $300,000 in legal fees. It is frightening that this kind of selective justice is occurring.

Click here to read the article

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Steve Pierce's brother Tyler remembers him (sons of Senator Steve Pierce)

                         UPDATE #1
Posted by his brother, Tyler Pierce, 3/21/15 at 2:40 pm:

A cool breeze blew across the hills of Williamson Valley. It carried with it a peaceful, gentle soul. Over the Santa Maria mountains the soul traveled, joyous and eternally free. And then it was gone. My brother Steve has found his way. And now we must find ours. If you knew Steve, gather today in remembrance. Tell stories of a beautiful man who touched us with his kindness, humor and love. Tell stories of a little boy who never stopped playing, reminding us that growing up is not as important as having fun. Please do not call on the family at this time. We know you are with us and with Steve. Please pass this on to friends of Steve.

It's with a heavy heart, that we have to say goodbye to a wonderful man. Please pray for his family. If you can, let's help with these expenses for the family. Thank you.

Steve Pierce, owner of Onverse, was in a horrific automobile accident on March 18, 2015 and is recovering at John C. Lincoln hospital.  He  suffered a head injury, ruptured spleen and broken pelvis.  Please join us in raising money to help cover medical expenses as well as support for his new wife, Amilyn Davidson Pierce and unborn Son.  Your support and prayers are greatly appreciated. 

Click here to contribute on Go Fund Me

Sinking Ship: More accusations of plagiarism at The Arizona Republic

Greg Patterson over at Espressopundit has done a good job chronicling the demise of The Arizona Republic over the last few years. It is a dinosaur, in an age when most print newspapers are either dying out or metamorphosing. Stubbornly, the Republic sticks to its far left bias, not even attempting any middle, moderate ground in a red state. At the same time, no coincidence, its print version continues to shrink as do its subscribers. Most locals I know get their news from the Internet instead now, or if they subscribe to a print newspaper anymore, get The Arizona Capitol Times, which makes some attempt to be fair. 

Recently, cries of plagiarism have been cropping up at the Republic, signs they must be so desperate they are hiring inexperienced reporters (ahem - interns) who are plagiarizing to come up with content. The pay for reporters has become so low now that it is difficult to continue a print publication on the old model. Yet the Republic won't change. Respected Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is the latest victim of this plagiarism, and he's sick and tired of it. 

He writes,

Arizona Republic bias and plagiarism: Arizona Republic reporter Dustin Gardiner plagiarized material I produced. I raised this concern and concerns of reporter bias last year-still no response. I even took the step of meeting with their executive team last month. Gardiner took work I produced from the Top 50/100 Phoenix Pensioners and then called it his own under a different title. Work production their editor, in a phone call acknowledged as mine prior to running their story. Will they actually investigate these ethic charges and continue to use my material or will they “Circle the Wagons." Additionally, here is one social media post we presented at the executive team meeting at the Republic showing bias. We presented other social media posts by this reporter as well. This one just shows his thinking and his clear bias. What reporter would post this and what organization that claims to be “objective” would allow this from an embedded reporter? Does this type of reporting by your reporter fall in line with your social media policy? Arizona Republic: It has now been 1 month since our meeting, when am I going to get a response? By the way I am not going to let this go and will continue point out this clear bias with your reporting until I receive a thought out response.


Sal DiCiccio

Dustin Gardiner retweeted
David Leibowitz @leiboaz · Nov 4
Out hiking and passed a snake. Shockingly, it was not Sal DiCiccio.
2 retweets 4 favorites
3 Retweets 2
• Favorites 4

Saturday, March 21, 2015

School Choice Litigation is Winning

by Brian Symes

The Franklin Institute recently put on a seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, to educate bloggers about school choice. Traditional public schools continue to go downhill even as the amount spent on them increases. In Arizona, 45 percent of the state’s budget goes to education, and there are never any cuts in spending, despite the misleading hype otherwise. This is unsustainable and evidence the system is not working.
Enter school choice. There are more charter schools and private schools than ever today, and many of them are surpassing the traditional public schools, providing a better education for poor and minority children in particular, who have been less likely in the past to be able to afford such options. However, in order for them to access these alternative schools, they need to be able to transfer the money that would have paid for their traditional education to these new schools. Otherwise, the right to choose is illusory, since their parents lack the financial means. Sadly, these students are facing roadblocks around the country, as powerful teachers unions fight back using the legal system to prevent the students from leaving the failing public schools.
Tim Keller, managing attorney for the Institute for Justice in Phoenix, relayed the history of school choice litigation. Much of it involves state constitutional challenges. Originally, the legal battles were fought over the U.S. Constitution, particularly allegations of church and state violations. The Institute for Justice successfully won two battles in the U.S. Supreme Court over that challenge, defending school vouchers in Milwaukee in 1998 and then Cleveland’s voucher system in 2002. The high court held that as long as a school is neutral toward religion, and parents have a genuine choice where to enroll their children, vouchers pass constitutional muster.
Interestingly, some religious schools have changed over time and are only nominally religious now. Anti-Catholic bigotry toward school choice in years past has dissipated in part because of this demographic trend.
In recent years, legal challenges have been made to school choice claiming it violates the Blaine amendments of state constitutions. Blaine amendments prohibit government funds for sectarian (religious) schools. So far, the Institute for Justice has prevailed on these challenges, because the money doesn’t go directly to a religious school. Instead, it operates more like food stamps or health insurance; each parent gets to decide where to allocate their child’s money.
Opponents of school choice have also launched legal challenges claiming that the education clauses in most state constitutions which require the state to create and fund public schools mean the state must exclusively fund only traditional public schools. In reality, Keller says, the education clauses operate as just a baseline; a state can create more options on top of it.
School choice opponents have also challenged the legislation on “Mickey Mouse” grounds – a catchall phrase for anything they can think of. These include local control provisions and single-subject rules. NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin once said he intended to challenge school choice everywhere on these grounds. Fortunately, he retired in 2009.
There have been a couple of setbacks in the state battles. Ironically, they have both come from the states known for having the most school choice. An Arizona court struck down Arizona’s voucher system in 2009, claiming it directed money to religious schools, violating the state constitution. Educational savings accounts were formed to replace the vouchers, and have withstood constitutional challenges. The Florida Supreme Court struck down a proposed voucher system in 2006, claiming it would violate the state constitution’s education clause. But school choice lives on there, also through ESAs.
ESAs are proving to be the way to withstand legal challenges instead of vouchers, because the money isn’t going directly to an alternative school, but to the parent first, who then directs it to a school of their choice or to education related products and services. When the Institute of Justice was litigating this in Arizona, left-leaning Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Hurwitz asked union lawyers on the other side, “Would you be ok if parents were just given the money, and told they had the option to use it wherever?” They responded yes – and ironically that is how the idea of ESAs came about.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Refuting myths: HB2629 to eliminate the mandatory State Bar does not violate the Arizona Constitution

Provided by an attorney who is very knowledgeable about the Bar, the Arizona Constitution and the Arizona Supreme Court. Provided anonymously out of fear of retaliation by the state bar. Please spread far and wide.

MYTH 1 The Arizona Supreme Court is granted power to license attorneys by the Arizona Constitution in Article VI §1, and HB2629 will take away this power, violating the Constitution.

RESPONSE The bill does not take away the State Supreme Court’s authority to license attorneys. Creating rules that expand that power are not unlimited and are not permitted to violate other constitutional rights. The rules created requiring bar membership are inconsistent with the Constitution that states no person shall be required to be a member of a labor organization.

MYTH 2 A mandatory bar association does not violate the right to work in
Article VI §1 of the Arizona Constitution.

RESPONSE Yes it does. The rules created requiring bar membership are inconsistent with the Constitution that states no person shall be required to be a member of a labor organization.

MYTH 3 HB2629 conflicts with Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court, Rule 31(b), which states in part that: “no person shall practice law in this state or represent in any way that he or she may practice law in this state unless the person is an active member of the state bar.”

The background assumes that “under this authority” is unlimited. The authority to regulate the practice of law and the courts should not extend to matters that are unnecessary. For example, there are supreme court rules that legislate non attorney matters under the same authority as well as insulate bar staff from any liability. Rule 48 gives immunity to people even if they slander or falsify a bar complaint against an attorney. “Communications to the court, state bar, committee, presiding disciplinary judge, acting presiding disciplinary judge, hearing panel members, settlement officers, mediators, the client protection fund, the peer review committee, the fee arbitration program, the committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct, monitors of the Member Assistance or Law Office Management Assistance Programs, state bar staff relating to lawyer misconduct, lack of professionalism or disability, and testimony given in the proceedings shall be absolutely privileged conduct, and no civil action predicated thereon may be instituted against any complainant or witness. Members of the board, members of the committee, the presiding disciplinary judge, hearing panel members , the peer review committee, client protection fund trustees and staff, fee arbitration committee arbitrators and staff, the Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct, monitors of the Member Assistance or Law Office Management Assistance Programs, state bar staff, and court staff shall be from suit for any conduct in the course of their official duties.”

The courts also use their power to adopt laws such as Rule 123. Access to the Judicial Records of the State of Arizona. (a) Authority and Scope of Rule. Pursuant to the administrative powers vested in the supreme court by Article VI, Section 3, of the Arizona Constitution, and the court's inherent power to administer and supervise court operations, this rule is adopted to govern public access to the records of all courts and administrative offices of the judicial department of the State of Arizona. The court has legislated various areas of public records.

MYTH 4 In Lathrop v. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820, 844-45 (1961), the U.S. Supreme Court held that attorneys can be required to join mandatory bar associations with fees.  

RESPONSE The Lathrop decision has been significantly watered down as bar associations have proven to act politically. Most importantly, Lathrop did not deal with a constitutional right to not join an organization. This decision 50 years ago has been altered and did not take into account the Right to Work constitutional amendment.
MYTH 5 HB2629 has no context outside a courtroom, so it is only a procedural law, which infringes on the authority of the State Supreme Court to regulate.

RESPONSE The bill has a very important context outside a courtroom - it deals with mandatory membership of all attorneys regardless of whether they ever step foot in a courtroom, are retired or are disabled. The bar membership finances services well beyond the oversight of the licensing requirements, including controversial lobbying and political activities that many attorneys fundamentally disagree with.

MYTH 6 If there is a conflicting rule already created by the Arizona Supreme Court, that rule will control.

RESPONSE This conclusion ignores when the rule is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court decided only men could practice law, everyone would agree it is unenforceable.

The State Bar Association does not fit the description of a “labor organization” as provided in A.R.S. § 23-1301.A.R.S. § 23-1301 defines a labor organization as: “any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment or other conditions of employment.” The Association does not deal with individual employers or bargain the conditions of attorney employment. Instead, it serves as the legal profession's regulatory agency. This is a different function from that of the employer-employee relationship to which the constitutional right-to-work provision and the statutory definition apply. 1987 Ariz. Op. Att'y Gen. 201 (1987)

RESPONSE The conclusion is false. No Arizona court has addressed the issue . The US Supreme Court in Keller v. State Bar of California certainly saw the similarities when it specifically did not address a challenge as not being properly before it on the idea that “they cannot be compelled to associate with an organization that engages in political or ideological activities beyond those for which mandatory financial support is justified.”

CONCLUSION The State Bar is a labor organization and the Supreme Court does not have unlimited rule making power to circumvent the Right to Work constitutional protections.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Exposing the myth that eliminating a mandatory State Bar will cost more money

Analysis from an attorney: See the 2013 charts below with independently-obtained data from other jurisdictions indicating the assessed costs (AZ earmarked for discipline expenses aren't noted). The amounts are far below what Arizona lawyers now pay for regulation/discipline PLUS a bloated bar bureaucracy with well paid management. I don't know where the State Bar CEO got his numbers claiming there would be 60 to 65 additional state personnel. 

In 2013, the Bar claimed the cost of lawyer regulation was $4.67 million.  Dues brought in $9.3 million that same year. Half the dues went to non-regulatory matters.  Even in the half that went to regulatory matters, it is likely that there are parts of the $220,000 paid to CEO John Phelps in 2013. Here is his inflated compensation: 
JOHN F. PHELPS   CEO/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR   $180,412.reportable compensation from the organization plus  $39,518 other compensation from the organization and related organizations. 

Click here for a comparison of how outrageously high Arizona State Bar costs are relative to other states.

An attorney explains why we need HB2629 to eliminate the mandatory State Bar association

The attorney who wrote this up is unnamed, in order to avoid retaliation by the State Bar, which is going all out to try and defeat this necessary legislation. Please spread this far and wide so the public is educated.

(1) This important legislation affirms the state constitutional powers of the supreme court with respect to regulating the practice of law in Arizona but equally importantly, frees Arizona lawyers from coerced membership in a draconian state bar association.

(2) Nineteen jurisdictions across the U.S. have voluntary bars including: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont. By separating the respective roles and responsibilities, the state supreme courts in those jurisdictions handle licensing, regulating and disciplining while the voluntary bars serve member interests through optional programs, services and activities.

(3) The Bill conclusively resolves the implicit conflict of interest and the irreconcilable tension between the mandatory bar in Arizona whose purpose is "to protect and serve the public" with that of a professional association whose purpose is to serve its members.

(4) The Arizona Legislature still has an important role to play with respect to matters of statewide concern, including general lawyer regulation, a fact traceable to the original incorporation of the Arizona Bar in 1933 through the Arizona Legislature. Indeed, for more than 50 years in Arizona, the state bar and supreme court were jointly empowered to regulate legal practice in the state. And not long ago, as one example, the Arizona Legislature enacted A.R.S. 12-2701, which codified the unauthorized practice of immigration and nationality law and established penalties for violations. See

(5) And above all else, this Bill is about protecting individual First Amendment freedoms violated by compelled association and by member subsidies of compelled speech. Members of the Arizona Legislature take an oath to uphold the Constitution and mandatory bar membership violates the First Amendment. And so more than simply a separation of powers issue, legislators should come down on the side of individual rights versus institutional ones. Indeed, under recent U.S. Supreme Court case law, mandatory membership associations are permissible -- but only when there is a compelling state interest involved and when the regulatory purposes are achieved by the least restrictive means. The fact that 19 states have voluntary bars and that each of those jurisdictions have robust regulatory schemes involving their lawyers means that this is achievable without the necessity of a mandatory bar association. (The U.S. Supreme Court case is Knox v. SEIU No. 10–112, 567 U.S. 310 (2012), citing Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 623 (1984) "mandatory associations are permissible only when they serve a “compelling state interes[t] . . . that cannot be achieved through means significantly less restrictive of associational freedoms.” )

Ted Nugent to speak at Maricopa County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

An Arizona resident explains why HB2629 is necessary to make the State Bar voluntary

This letter was sent by an individual to state legislators, urging them to pass HB2629:

I own a home in the Biltmore area, pay Arizona property taxes, I have an Arizona car registration.  With Arizona family and friends who I see affected by HB 2629, I want to express my support of this bill.  Here are the reasons that, over time, I have come to realize that the best use of Arizona resources is to pass this bill: 

1.  Every citizen of the United States has a right to free speech in most areas, but Arizona lawyers currently don’t have free speech rights with the state bar.  Lawyers are prosecuted for publicly disagreeing with judicial decisions.  To prosecute a lawyer for that disagreement is to impair the lawyer’s ability to practice law, to generate new legal precedent and this impairs their ability to serve the public.  To prosecute a lawyer’s free speech rights therefore actually harms the public the Arizona State Bar insists that it wants to serve.  The State Bar’s message is to go out and serve the public, but only to an extent. 

2.  I have recently learned in my research that 19 Other jurisdictions in the Country have voluntary bars.  That is nearly one-half the nation's state bars.  The ones that are involuntary do not prosecute lawyers as harshly.  Arizona prosecutes more harshly and proactively than any other.  I see my Arizona attorney contacts obtaining more out of state education and certifications and currently, electing not to invest in the Arizona legal community to the extent they could.  This is not an unwise investment.  Arizona may be business friendly, but Arizona is NOT attorney business friendly.  There is a major difference between the two.  Arizona attorneys deserve the same business friendly climate that Arizona offers other non-lawyer businesspeople.  

3.  The State Bar of Arizona is out of sync with the way the lawyers of today practice.  A recent article shows Arizona lawyers are working in spaces of 600 square feet or less.  Lawyers looking for space, however, will not lease from the State Bar’s plentiful EMPTY office space (which they fund with dues) because no lawyer wants to rent space next to the State Bar.  That would be like Jaws' next meal taking up residence next to Jaws.  The State Bar occupies a building with high vacancy rates while lawyers in Arizona work with less physical space.  Also, many State Bar attorney investigators have never practiced privately as a solo practitioner or small to mid-size firm lawyer in a successful law practice before joining the State Bar.  They don’t know how to balance the ethical rules against the everyday practicalities of running your own business.   Worse, State Bar executives consistently report higher pay than most small firm and solo Arizona attorneysThis enormous salary difference makes the State Bar totally out of touch with the very Bar members it most consistently prosecutes and investigates.  (see:

4.  No man can serve two masters and the State Bar believes it is the one exception.  The Arizona State Bar wants to serve the public with a secondary purpose of serving the members it seeks prosecute.  Its programs offered to assist lawyers are not insulated and many people who have worked for their attorney assistance program left and started their own ventures. State Bar services - if offered - are going unused, much like any other unused public service program. 

5. Like with any other important legislation, if this is passed, it will require some adjustment.  It may “need some re-working” as one legislator mentioned - but then so did Obamacare.  We had to pass the Obamacare bill to find out “what it says,” based on Nancy Pelosi’s explanation. 

When slavery ended, schools were de-segregated, women began voting, or wage laws were passed, things did not fall into place overnight.  In fact, today, there are still billboards on the I-10 interstate in Arizona alerting people to the possibility of human trafficking and slavery.  This adjustment is worth the brief discomfort and possibly temporary uneven application because it protects the members of the public who protect everyone else.  When police, doctors and politicians get into trouble, they turn to the absolute privilege of confiding in a lawyer.  Lawyers perform an enormous service to the public, and like any office, can run into personal and professional conflicts.  Lawyers too merit a place to turn and that place is not offered by the State Bar.  

6.  If the purpose of the State Bar is to "weed out the bad apples," there are far more effective weeding methods.  There are very, very few lawyers - just as there are very few people serving in politics and law enforcement or education - who went into their service because they wanted to have a lot of power and really use it to hurt people.  People who go into these fields with a lack of conscience are possibly sociopathic, but it doesn’t take a State Bar to weed them out.  A personality test or evaluations by professionals with consent of the applicant that are administered with the Character and Fitness examination can more effectively preempt.  Many lawyers got into their business because we wanted to effect changes.  Lawyers want to make a positive difference.
I have seen John Phelps's memo to the Asian Arizona State Bar Association.  Here are my responses to his concerns:

"It would grow state government – We believe 60-65 positions would have to transfer from the bar to the court to create a lawyer regulation department. That doesn’t include the cost of IT, HR and management support, along with the expense of housing, furniture, computers and software licensing plus putting those employees in the state retirement system. We’re also not convinced that the state could do it cheaper than the bar. The cost would likely simply be passed along to attorneys in the form of a licensing fee, but why make regulating attorneys more expensive?" 
My response:  The public is being served by lawyer regulation, so public tax dollars can be used toward this regulation.  IT, HR and other support can call on Arizona local businesses, pumping more dollars into our local economy.  The employees may or may not have to be in the State Retirement system.  Whether the state can do it cheaper than the bar is beside the point.  There are over six million people in Arizona.  In 2013 there were 24.46 lawyers per 10,000 residents in Arizona, or a total of 16,208 attorneys.  At $500 each in bar dues each year, that is $8,104,000.  With 6,626,624 people in Arizona, that is a $1.22 increase in taxes to regulate all those attorneys.  Did John Phelps even do his math?

"It’s a solution in search of a problem – During the Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Farnsworth called the bar political and dominated by large law firms. Because of US Supreme Court rulings, the bar does not take a stand on political issues. Currently our board has 30 members, of which two are from large firms. In fact, we have far more small and solo attorneys on our board. Rep. Farnsworth didn’t detail what he believes are our political activities. The reality is that we’re a lot more boring than people think."
Rep. Farnsworth is correct.  If the Bar is so boring, then how is it using a revenue of over $8,104,000 per year?  Why are more than eight executives being paid more than $100,000.00 at the State Bar?  They must be doing something more than being boring to earn those salaries.

"Will it improve consumer protection? – We’re concerned that moving this function to the state will create budget constraints that will ultimately lead to diminished efforts to protect the public."
Consumer protection can be improved by less restrictive measures.  Those measures include increased testing for applicants.  Moving the function to the state, assessing a tax increase of a mere $5.00 per Arizona resident, could actually quadruple the resources currently available for attorney regulation.
But the question comes back:  Is this even necessary?  Are attorneys, the people who give absolute privilege, so inherently bad that they have to essentially build their own coffins by paying for their own discipline?  Don't many more than not actually go through extensive schooling and contribute even more extensively to the economy while building careers of creating new ways for people to live, resolve problems and do business? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This Monday: Are Bans on 3D Gun Printing Constitutional?

Phoenix Federalist Society
& the University of Advancing Technology
are teaming up to bring you an engaging and in-depth discussion regarding the constitutionality of bans on 3D gun printing.  Law professor Josh Blackman believes that these bans violate both the First and Second Amendments, and will join us to discuss the issue.  FBI Special Agent Martin Hellmer will provide commentary from the perspective of federal law enforcement, and UAT faculty will also participate.  Following the speakers, there will be time for questions and the opportunity to see a 3D printing demonstration.
General admission is FREE and 1 credit of legal CLE* will be offered for $10.
UAT students: please select the UAT Student ticke;postID=5102704733104445441t when registering.
*For those selecting CLE, materials will be distributed via email prior to the event. 
The event will be held in the UAT Theater, just inside the South Entrance.  Please park in the East lot. Doors open at 4 PM.
Have questions about Are Bans on 3D Gun Printing Constitutional?? Contact Phoenix Federalist Society Lawyers' Chapter 

Monday, February 23, 2015

School Choice Metamorphoses From Vouchers to Savings Accounts

Students at Benchmark Preschool and Elementary School in Phoenix
If you haven’t paid close attention to the school choice movement over the past 10 years, you might not realize how much it has changed. Due to lawsuits and other limitations, innovators have figured out that tuition scholarships, also known as education savings accounts, are more effective than vouchers for giving families a choice of schools. The difference is parents are given much broader control over how to use the money. Instead of just transferring the public school money that would have been spent on a child to a few select schools, parents can choose to spend it in many ways, including for school books, tutoring, or P.E. at a traditional school.

Arizona is the leading state in the country for school choice. But a court in Arizona ruled that directing vouchers to religious (parochial) schools is unconstitutional. Undaunted, proponents of school choice found a way around it by setting up ESAs, where parents direct the money instead of the state. Now other states around the country are scrambling to pass similar legislation.

Last weekend, I attended a school choice conference in Phoenix put on by the Franklin Center. It is one small group taking on powerful teachers unions through the spread of knowledge. The establishment uses fear mongering and false information to retain the status quo. The threat that schools will run out of funding? That’s not accurate, The Goldwater Institute’s Education Director Jonathan Butcher explained at the conference. The establishment waits for an event that sort of looks like funding might have been cut, then sends out an alarming message. In reality, money for education in Arizona has never been cut and now takes up an incredible 45 percent of the state’s budget. Butcher contrasts it with the cost of Sears catalog products years ago versus today – unlike typical commodities, the cost of education has gone in the opposite direction and we now pay more for less.

Read the rest of the article at Townhall

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

AZ legislative committee to hear bill on Wednesday to eliminate the mandatory State Bar in Arizona

You've all heard about the horrendous abuses committed by the State Bar of Arizona. It's finally time to do something about it. Only half of the states have a mandatory State Bar - why is conservative Arizona one of them? We are a right to work state, why are attorneys required to be a member of this attorneys union in order to practice law? It is run by left-wing lawyers who abuse their power and the mandatory dues of attorneys to target conservative attorneys and push through radical agendas. Conservative attorneys are terrified to get involved in politics or speak up out of fear of retaliation.

The Goldwater Institute has asked a federal court to strike down mandatory bar associations; a case was filed earlier this month over abuses by a State Bar, which I wrote about here, along with details about all the money the Arizona Bar has taken from its members, almost the highest in the country. 

Fortunately, several Arizona legislators have had enough of these abuses and are finally going to do something about it with HB2629. Membership in the State Bar would become optional, and the disciplinary function would be transferred back to the state Supreme Court.

Please attend the House Judiciary hearing Wednesday and sign up to testify. The State Bar with its deep pockets from members will no doubt have the meeting stacked with its representatives. This is the first big hurdle we need to get through, get the bill out of the Judiciary committee.

If you cannot attend, you can watch the proceedings live and call or email the members of the committee, below. Contact info for them is here. For more information, contact Citizens for Clean Courts at

Mr. Friese Mr. Kern Mr. Borrelli, Vice-Chairman Mr. Hale Mr. Mesnard Mr. Farnsworth E, Chairman


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The politicians want $30 BIL of your money for trains that operate in the red; nothing for police

The politicians want $30 BIL of
your money for trains


When you first elected me, you knew I would be your advocate on the phoenix city council exposing government waste and promoting fiscal responsibility. That has always meant being vigilant on issues that affect our wallets, our quality of life and our personal safety.

If there was ever a time to sound the alarm, it is now!

Shortly, Mayor Stanton and the Council will be taking $30 BILLION dollars of your hard earned money to pay for a massive public transportation system that is already operating in the red.

The reality is that it is too inefficient requiring taxpayers to fund about 80% of the system.  Yes, it only recovers about 20% while you and your family subsidize the rest! 

If we don't act to stop this now, the Mayor and a slim majority on the council will ramp up another slick political campaign to persuade you to spend $30 BILLION over the next three decades - spending not just paid for by you, but by your children and grandchildren!

In the days ahead, we need to prepare and mobilize against what will be the single most largest spending spree in Phoenix history! We must do everything we can as taxpayers to slow or even derail this runaway train from its tracks. 

Please call the Mayor and other members of the Council and ask them to reject the recommendation by the Citizen’s Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation. We simply cannot afford spending our money and our children's money on a system that is unsustainable.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram.

From my family to yours,

Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

Nine legislators sponsor HB2629 to reform the Arizona State Bar and make it voluntary

I am very excited to see this bill proposed in the Arizona state legislature finally, it has taken a lot of hard work to get it there by many principled patriots behind the scenes, and kudos to the state legislators who have already jumped onboard. I've been writing about State Bar abuses more and more lately, including covering the lawsuit filed last week by the Goldwater Institute against the North Dakota bar, which also requested the court declare that mandatory bar associations are unconstitutional. They are simply nothing more than unions for attorneys, controlled by the left, and here in Arizona mandatory unions violate the right to work in our state Constitution. Please consider getting involved to make sure this important legislation passes by contacting Citizens for Clean Courts at

Citizens for Clean Courts:
Please share this bill by Rep. Kern and contact your representatives and senators to  support.  There will be a big push back from the courts and state bar as their $13 million budget and control center is at stake.  Arizona is one of if not the only state with a right to work constitutional provision so the idea that the right to regulate the practice of law can trump that specific right when 20 other states have voluntary bars is unsupported. We believe the State Bar of Arizona is the force that has allowed corruption to exist and this is the first step in citizens taking back control.   Here is page for contact information.

Wes Harris:
Arizona has one of the most corrupt judicial systems in this entire country...not as bad as the DOJ but close.  Rep. Anthony Kern recognizes this and has introduced the attached bill that will cut out the Court's 'enforcer' known as the State Bar Association.  At present all lawyers are required to be a member of this Gild (union) which is illegal in Arizona as we are a right to work state.  Our state constitution provides that the State Supreme Court has the responsibility currently assigned by them to the State Bar...we want it back where it belongs so that all actions taken by the court regarding attorney sanctions will be public record.   Please tell you State Legislators to support this bill.

REFERENCE TITLE: supreme court; attorney licensing

State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Fifty-second Legislature
First Regular Session

HB 2629

Introduced by
Representatives Kern, Townsend, Senator Burges: Representatives Allen J, Finchem, Lawrence, Mitchell, Petersen, Senator Ward




Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1.  Title 12, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 12-119.06, to read:
12-119.06.  Attorney licenses; rules

Monday, February 9, 2015

Goldwater Institute Sues: State Bars are Unconstitutional Mandatory Unions

State bars are acquiring a chilling reputation for misusing the dues of attorneys forced to join them, including using those dues to target conservative attorneys. Right-leaning attorneys are frequently disbarred and disciplined for actions completely unrelated to the practice of law, a gross overreach of power. Oddly, even though there is no realistic difference between state bars and unions, the former still exist in a mandatory capacity in over half the states - including right-to-work states.

Loaded with money confiscated from mandatory dues, these powerful unions are constantly expanding their reach and authority through political activism and lobbying. Controlled by Democrats, the money always goes to promote left-wing causes. Although the Arizona State Bar already had the third highest bar dues in the country, last year its board of governors voted to increase dues by another 13 percent, to $520 annually by 2019 – which doesn’t even include the cost of 15 hours of mandatory continuing legal education. Inactive attorneys are charged $265 annually, the highest in the nation and more than some active attorneys in other states.

Political activity by mandatory bars is illegal and violates the U.S. Constitution. In the 1990 Supreme Court case Keller v. State Bar of California, the court held that attorneys who are required to be members of a state bar have a First Amendment right to refrain from subsidizing the organization’s political activities. Incredibly, state bars have ignored the Keller decision, no doubt because not only do they have virtually unlimited resources at their disposal with members’ dues money to fight any challenges, but what attorneys dare to sue the bar that controls their fate as an attorney? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

North Dakota Bar Sued by Goldwater Institute for Lobbying Against Shared Parenting Using Members’ Mandatory Dues

I'm excited to have had a very small role (networking) in this. The North Dakota State Bar used members' mandatory dues to lobby against a Shared Parenting initiative, which narrowly lost. Leading Women For Shared Parenting got involved and discovered the misappropriation, then the Goldwater Institute - thank you Clint Bolick and attorneys - sued the Bar yesterday. Just one more reason why State Bars should not be mandatory, they are controlled by leftists who abuse the system and target conservatives. This article from The Bismarck Tribune is priceless, as one of the folks from LW4SP noticed:
So the director of the ND Bar get served for, amongst other things, improper lobbying.
In the news coverage of his being served, he says he hasn't studied it yet, because he was served as he was at the Capitol bldg....
wait for it.....
My favorite line was:
"McDonald said the bar's decision to finance the opposition to Measure 6 was driven by the recommendation of bar members who specialize in family law "that this was an issue that would fundamentally affect the practice of family law in North Dakota."
THIS is supposed to be a justification for the spending of mandatory bar dues on the regulation of attorneys?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chairman Robert Graham Presents Awards to Outstanding Republicans

Annual Awards Dinner Brings Republicans Together
for Recognition and Honor of Grassroots Volunteers

Dan Grimm Receives Senator Barry Goldwater Award
Dan's hard work and dedication to all things Republican earned him the state party's top award this year. Dan's many years of volunteering for so many critical roles in the party (you can't get anywhere without credentials!) has earned him the well-deserved trust and respect of party members throughout Arizona. Congratulations!
Lolly Hathhorn Honored with Dodie Londen Award
Lolly has been headquartered in Payson but has been getting the job done throughout Gila County and the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Her enthusiasm and heritage as a half Cherokee helped her connect and have an immediate effect wherever she went. Whether it was managing the phone banks or recruiting volunteers, Lolly has been a pleasure to work with and is a great asset for us all going into the 2016 election cycle. Wonderful!
AZGOP Treasurer Earns Lifetime Achievement Award
Timothy has served eight years as AZGOP Treasurer and has done a highly professional job keeping the party's finances and campaign committee compliance on track. As a volunteer he's been a vital player in both the day-to-day and long-term needs of our state party, and everyone knows he's always willing and able to help. Marvelous!
Barry Wong Honored for Exceptional Dedication and Service
Barry's leadership of the party's Asian American Coalition brought together Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Taiwanese and Bangladeshi community leaders to help the party expand our reach, exposure and membership base. Barry's selflessness and skills are greatly appreciated and his experience as an elected Republican official has helped the party appeal to more and more voters. Excellent!
Politics on the Rocks Takes Home Cutting Edge Award
The Republican platform appeals to every generation, and the leaders at Politics on the Rocks are a big part of bringing young professionals into our party with well-attended events, prominent speakers, and lots of fun. Visit their website to find out about their latest events throughout Arizona. You guys are killing it!
Kathryn Hancock Awarded Outstanding County Party Worker
Kathryn worked at GOP voter registration booths at county fairs and other local events, always helping to get the Republican message out. She made phone calls and sent emails to update friends, family, neighbors and others about the importance of voting and getting involved in helping elect Republican candidates. Kathryn is a true patriot, and we are so happy to recognize her numerous contributions. Fantastic!

Pat O'Malley Lands Outstanding District Party Worker Award
Pat became treasurer of LD12 and has done a fabulous job keeping flawless records. He has not only made calls, walked his own precinct and collected petition signatures for our candidates, he walked in CD9 in both 2012 and 2014. He is well-known as a trusted mentor to new PC's in the district, and he's engaged, diligent, and respected. Outstanding!
Marcus Huey Secures Outstanding State Party Worker Award
This past year it seems Marcus was everywhere -- working day and night donating his time and money to help worthy candidates and causes, both state and local. Not only has Marcus been a leader, more importantly he is a doer! Marcus worked a gigantic numbers of hours, stuffing envelopes, delivering flyers, making phone calls, doing precinct walks, pounding signs and much more. Awesome!

Gila County GOP Garners Oustanding County Committee Award
Chairman Gary Morris accepted the award on behalf of the Gila County Republican Committee, which raised thousands of dollars to help to Republican candidates. GCRC implemented teleconferencing for volunteers, voter database training, door hangers, precinct walks and phone banks to prepare for the campaign season. GCRC also opened two headquarters in Globe and Payson, with the Globe office open year-round. Great job!
Legislative District 2 Bags Outstanding District Award
Democrats, and even some Republicans, were shocked to see a longstanding Democrat legislative seat get turned over to the GOP's Chris Ackerley despite significant voter registration disadvantage. Daniel Estrella came very close to winning, and that's why they are this year's best district. Special thanks to Chairman Sergio Arellano for his support, strategizing and delivering victory! Inspiring!

Katherine Bean Nabs Rookie of the Year Award
If there is a Republican activity, Katherine can be found in attendance supporting candidates, learning about issues, and often bringing others with her. She is an example of a new PC who dedicates time to learn her duties, asks good questions, and then puts into practice what she learns in order to be a more effective citizen and representative of her precinct and of LD26. Terrific!
Pebble Creek Republican Club Awarded State's Best Club
This is one amazing Republican club, with a 40 percent increase in membership over last year. Members enjoyed roundtables with candidates, a new website and updated social media communications, membership handbook, social and educational events with guest speakers, and club members even did charitable work to help 143 of Luke AFB's deployed troops. Magnificent!