A Call to Reform

Posted on September 13, 2006
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An analysis of Legislative Report Card votes in constitutional policy

The Goldwater Institute's 2006 Legislative Report Card shows both chambers scored reasonably well in constitutional government, a B- for the Senate and a C+ for the House. Even so, there were far too many setbacks for liberty.

For example, the legislature passed a new residential rental inspection program, allowing cities to conduct "systematic" inspections of rental properties.  The goal is to reduce slum housing, but the law interferes with Arizonans' most fundamental private property right the right to be left alone. 

There was also an attempt to create the "Office of Education Ombudsman-Citizens Aide." This fancy titled office would have created a government commission that couldn't do its job, literally. The law would have established an agency to investigate and report school problems and then do nothing about them. Fortunately, this bill stalled, saving Arizonans some $140,000 in new spending.

The legislature did advance liberty in small ways.  Economic liberty was modestly expanded through liberalized wine-trade laws. And despite its ultimate veto, the legislature put together a consequential eminent domain reform package.

The Arizona Constitution declares that the fundamental purpose of government is to preserve individual rights. Policymakers should keep this in mind during every step in the legislative process.

Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.

Key Links:

-Goldwater Institute: "This Land is My Land: Reforming Eminent Domain after Kelo v.City of New London"
-Arizona Legislature: House Bill 2221: Residential Rental Property Inspections 
-Arizona Legislature: House Bill 2092: Ombudsman-Citizens Aide

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