The chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party blasted Republican lawmakers led by Senate President Russell Pearce on Wednesday as the state's Legislature ended its 2011 regular session.
"Mainstream and middle-class Arizonans can breathe a little easier now that the state Legislature is out of session," Andrei Cherny said. "But it's a sad day for fringe extremists and corporate lobbyists who are seeing the close of the best Legislature they'll ever have."
"The Russell Pearce Republicans used their supermajority to kill jobs, maim education and slash public safety. They pulled the rug out from under the middle class while doing the bidding of corporate lobbyists. And they wasted precious time on birther bills, tea party license plates, and other useless legislation that appealed only to a small, extreme fringe group of the Republican Party."
A "birther" bill that would have required presidential candidates to prove they are natural born American citizens before their names can appear on the Arizona ballot was vetoed by the state's Republican governor on Monday. Another bill that would have allowed guns on university and college campuses was also vetoed by the governor.
Cherny cited a number of other pieces of legislation passed by the Arizona Legislature that he considered bad or useless, such as a bill that gives the Tea Party's "Don't Tread on Me" flag the same status as the American flag.
Another bill passed by the Arizona Legislature allows out-of-state companies to write health-insurance policies in Arizona and yet another cuts about $150 million from K-12 education, $198 million from university funding and $70 million from community-college system. In addition, a 30 percent reduction of corporate income taxes was passed and signed by the governor.
"Today in Arizona, the Democratic Party is a 'big tent' where independents and fed-up Republicans can gather to work toward mainstream priorities: a stronger economy, safer streets and better schools," Cherny said. "In 2012, Arizonans will hold the Russell Pearce Republicans accountable for what they've done to our great state."
Pearce said in March that Americans are not citizens of the United States but citizens of their respective states and has pushed for a bill that would grant Arizona the power to ignore federal laws it does not wish to comply with.
"Do you know, you’re not a citizen of the United States," Pearce said. "You’re a citizen of a sovereign state. The fifty sovereign states make up United States of America, we’re citizens of those sovereign states."
[Image via Russell Pearce]