The Daily Agenda: Flip-flopping like a governor
You can change your mind, that's just the way it goes ... Save the Bill & Ted Circle K ... And this newsletter is NOT dedicated to all of our haters.
After Attorney General Mark Brnovich and other Republican attorneys general filed suit, a federal district judge yesterday blocked the Biden Administration’s plan to halt a public health and immigration policy first imposed under President Donald Trump.
You’re going to be hearing a lot about “Title 42” in the coming months as the election heats up, so let’s get up to speed now so you don’t have to change your opinion about it and suffer a flip-flop like Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Katie Hobbs.
A brief history is in order:
Title 42 actually refers to the entire section of the United States Code that deals with public health, which was first put on the books back in 1944 when tuberculosis was the hot disease spreading across the land.
When you hear about Title 42 these days, it’s referring to a handful of once-obscure provisions that Trump seized on during the pandemic, including Section 265, that gives the federal government broad powers to restrict international travel in the case of a highly communicable disease.
Those “expulsions” are not quite “deportations” because deportations require a legal hearing. And the policy has been used to kick out asylum seekers, who are otherwise legally entitled to present their case to authorities before being removed from the country. As many as 1.7 million people have been expelled from the U.S. since Trump’s CDC director authored an order invoking the provision to kick migrants out of the U.S.
Upon taking office, Biden originally let the policy stand. But with the pandemic subsiding and progressives applying pressure, he moved to repeal the policy on May 23. The lawsuit from Brnovich and the attorneys general resulted in a temporary restraining order that stopped Biden from repealing the Title 42 expulsion policy, at least for now.
Democrats are split about what to do with the policy. The number of immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has skyrocketed in recent months, and there’s an election on the horizon.
Moderate Democrats like U.S. Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema have urged Biden to keep the policy in place, crediting it as among the few remaining Trump-era policies that are keeping the situation at the border from getting worse. The progressive wing, including U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, have urged him to repeal, decrying it as a “cruel relic and policy reminder of the Trump-immigration era.”
And then there’s Hobbs, who at first stuck with the progressives in arguing Title 42 “isn’t working” but backtracked over the weekend, telling CNN the decision to repeal it was "rash” and that lifting the order without a plan to “secure our border” would be “a disaster.”
Dillon Rosenblatt @DillonReedRoseUpdate: Hobbs campaign tells me CNN didn't use her full quote which was intended to provide clarity to her April 3 response. "Title 42 isn't working, as evidenced by the fact that border crossings in Arizona have continued to increase since this policy was put in place (cont) https://t.co/BBZKxhUFIF
Republicans pounced on her newfound support for the order, just like they pounced on her earlier opposition to the order, declaring Hobbs a “windsock,” a “really bad liar” and “uniquely incapable” of leading the state.
For her part, Hobbs claimed CNN didn’t use her whole statement. Of course, the full statement didn’t sway anyone, including Republic columnist Laurie Roberts who rightly pointed out it’s totally illogical.
“So Title 42 isn’t working … but Biden should leave it in place anyway?” Roberts wrote.
If politicians changes their minds on an issue, they should be frank about it. Willingness to learn and change is the hallmark of a good leader. But don’t blame reporters if your flip-flops or mealy-mouthed answers come back to bite you.
Add us to the group chat: U.S. Rep. and lottery winner Andy Biggs texted former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows asking if the Trump administration had considered using Republican Legislatures to block the 2020 election certification, new texts posted by CNN reveal. AZGOP chair Kelli Ward also texted with Meadows.
Journalists > banks: Banks stood in the way of many homeowners who otherwise qualified for mortgage assistance from the state as part of COVID-19 relief programs. Government agencies can’t greenlight their applications without banks’ approvals. Once the Republic’s Jessica Boehm contacted Chase Bank on behalf of a homeowner who couldn’t get the bank to sign off on the program, the bank finally signed up. In Surprise, COVID-19 relief money from the county will help fund a community center that targets multiple generations with programs and services. But hey, at least YouTubers can still afford to buy multimillion-dollar vacant lots here.
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Good thing she didn’t quit her day job: Gov. Doug Ducey’s general counsel Anni Foster dropped out of the GOP primary for Maricopa County Attorney and backed Rachel Mitchell, a move Foster hinted was coming after Mitchell’s appointment last week to replace Allister Adel.
Thielionaires: Vanity Fair explores the world of the “New Right” where Unabomber Ted Kaczynski is “sometimes referred to with semi-ironic affection as Uncle Ted” for his influence on the movement’s thought leaders. Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters features prominently as he fights “against a consumerist techno-dystopia that many on the left have also come to fear.”
We won’t be attempting this: Trying to jump from one plane to another mid-flight is not as easy as you think. Two cousins who tried to swap planes in the air over Eloy did not succeed, though neither was injured, and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.
Small but mighty (in a bad way): Quagga mussels are a real pain in the ass for water and other organisms, and attempts to stop the invasive species have so far failed. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation wants to find ways, including using nature itself, to fight off the tiny pests, the Republic’s Lindsey Botts reports.
Really Rick Havoc @RikHavicBREAKING: Arizona is challenging the results of the French election.
Circle K news roundup: The iconic Circle K (words we never thought we’d write) at Southern Avenue and Hardy Drive in Tempe, which featured in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” might be closing, Phoenix New Times’ Benjamin Leatherman writes. At another Circle K in Tempe, people can buy their snacks by using their phones.
Homegrown: The Food Forest Cooperative, a cooperative effort to grow food and help South Phoenix with food insecurity, is using a community garden to grow plants for eating and traditional medicinal uses, the Republic’s Priscilla Totiyapungprasert reports.
Do nothing get fired: U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton’s new district could be more vulnerable to a Republican challenger — Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the district from “likely Democratic” to “leans Democratic” earlier this month. Voters in his district told NPR that Democrats in Congress didn’t do much to improve their lives since winning in 2020.
Tough read: A family whose daughter died after an asthma attack said the hospital staff at Banner Desert Medical Center mistreated them and disrespected their religious views while their daughter was in a coma, the East Valley Tribune’s Alex Gallagher reports. Arizona Sen. Kelly Townsend took up the family’s cause and joined a protest supporting the family at the hospital.
Pick your sin tax: Marijuana taxes brought in more revenue to Arizona than tobacco and alcohol combined, Marijuana Moment notes.
A first, but not a last: Olivia Benally will become the first female publisher of the Navajo Times, replacing Tom Arviso Jr., who is retiring from the paper’s top post.
Big ups: Kareem Neal, a Maryvale High School teacher, will be the first Arizona teacher to join the National Teachers Hall of Fame, the Republic’s Yana Kunichoff reports.
Remember when rock stars used to be cool?: Ted Nugent endorsed U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s bid for reelection.
Several bills we’ve written about were signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey yesterday, so here are just a handful:
HB2498, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jake Hoffman, which prohibits any government entities in Arizona from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine
HB2507, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ben Toma, which classifies religious services as essential services during any emergency orders
HB2616, sponsored by Republican Rep. Joseph Chaplik, which makes it illegal for a minors to face mask mandates without parental consent
HB2674, sponsored by Republican Rep. Steve Kaiser, a strike-everything amendment on a failed housing zoning bill that instead sets up the Housing Supply Study Committee
AZGOP chair Kelli Ward wrote a book about the audit (“Justified: The Story of America’s Audit”), and that book is free if you have Kindle Unlimited, which you maybe got for free when you recently got a new Kindle. Or at least that’s what happened to Rachel, who has only read the dedication so far and devolved into laughter. The book is predictably dedicated to Trump, who “should still be president today,” but, in an unorthodox move, the dedication includes who it is NOT dedicated to: