The Daily Agenda: Migrant buses don't score political points
We check back in on Ducey's new immigration gimmick ... Make sure you don't have any mysterious rashes ... And the battle for more pickleball continues.
In case you forgot, Arizona is still busing people who cross the border into Arizona to Washington, D.C.
The program, announced by Gov. Doug Ducey unceremoniously less than a month ago, is similar to a Texas gimmick that does the same. People on the buses get meals and staff support, Ducey said when announcing it.
So far, 11 buses of about 370 people total have headed from the desert to the nation’s capital, Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin told us.
Two or three buses take off from Arizona to D.C. as part of the new program each week, he said.
The tactic, designed as a way to stick to the Biden administration on immigration, effectively helps migrants get closer to their destinations in the U.S. They may have crossed into Arizona or Texas, but didn’t intend to stay there. Once they arrive in Washington, they can get help from volunteer groups and make their way to other East Coast destinations.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has sent dozens of buses to D.C. so far, but the state stopped publicizing when buses were sent, the Dallas Morning News reports. The busing hasn’t provided the political win Abbott may have hoped for — the White House hasn’t seemed to care, and there’s no public outcry about an influx of migrants locally in D.C., either.
“I would like to say thank you to the governor of Texas,” Chadrack Mboyo-Bola, one of the migrants bused from Texas to D.C., told the New York Times.
In Arizona, the buses were never really publicized in the first place (it was announced in a press release that focused mostly on cartels recruiting on social media). And after the first few days of the practice, it has faded entirely from the spotlight. We decided to check in to see how it was going.
Most of the people on the buses from Arizona to D.C. — 70% — are from Colombia. The next-highest country of origin was Peru, with 17%.
Other countries represented on the buses include Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Senegal, Angola, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Jamaica, Ecuador, Chile and Guinea. There was just one person from Mexico.
The top destination for people on the buses was New York, with one-fourth of people heading there after they got to D.C., followed by New Jersey and Florida.
Karamargin didn’t have an estimate of the cost to the state for the bus program.
(And we asked if we can ride along — we think it’d be great for the public to see what it’s like on board. We’ll cross our fingers that we can tag along someday soon!)
If they do let us aboard a bus, we’ll for sure need your financial support to afford a cross-country reporting trip. But just in general, we need your financial support. Upgrade to a paid subscription using this link, or click below if you’re new here.
Execution day, again: Another appeal by death row inmate Frank Atwood’s attorney was unsuccessful, with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voting not to stay the execution. Atwood is set to be executed today, the second execution after the state restarted. Atwood was convicted of murdering 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.
Not another virus: Arizona found its first known case of probable monkeypox in Maricopa County, a man in his late 30s who is isolating and recovering, the state and county health departments announced yesterday. The virus is characterized by a fever, followed by a rash days later, and is spread mostly through skin-to-skin contact, though can also spread via “respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.”
It’s effectively Kari vs. Karrin at this point: Former Gov. Jan Brewer appears in a new Karrin Taylor Robson ad, taking swipes at Kari Lake for donating to Obama and supporting amnesty. And Republic columnist Laurie Roberts tees off from a new poll that shows Robson within the margin of error to Lake and lays out who has the advantage between Lake and Robson on several key factors this August.
Another bargaining chip: An expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, Arizona’s voucher-like system, is back in play as the Legislature works to craft a budget, Axios’ Jeremy Duda reports. The details of what could pass aren’t clear, as some Republican lawmakers want entirely universal ESAs and others don’t seem keen to expand them at all.
We’re surprised there was even one: Only one bill signed into law this session relates to climate change, and it was a bill from Republican Rep. Rick Gray related to refrigerants, 12News’ Joe Dana reports. Meanwhile, a federal program that could finance climate-related projects in the states could provide help for Arizona in the future, the Arizona Capitol Times’ Nathan Brown reports.
That’s double the amount for climate change: There are two marijuana-related bills still alive, one on using marijuana money for police and fire, and one to change licensing requirements, while bills seeking to more strictly regulate the marijuana industry largely haven’t succeeded this session, the Phoenix New Times’ Kiera Riley reports.
The fight for water continues: Bloomberg writes about Joe Ely, an Arizona-based consultant who works with tribes around the country when they need a negotiator on water rights issues, an increasingly important specialty in the West.
New turn signals: Community members in South Phoenix who advocated for better traffic controls at the intersection of Southern Avenue and 7th Street finally sparked the city to act, and the city will be paying about $400,000 for the upgrades, the Republic’s Megan Taros reports.
Second time is not the charm: The Arizona Corporation Commission again voted against an expansion of a Salt River Project gas plant near Coolidge, saying it would not grant a reconsideration vote for the plant, the Republic’s Ryan Randazzo report. The vote came after Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers sent a letter to commissioners calling the commission’s authority and the facts the decision relied upon into question.
Cool, a new nightmare: An Arizona man ended up in a New Mexico jail for more than two weeks because, he claims in a new lawsuit against the airline, American Airlines misidentified him as a shoplifter at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Dead people can’t vote: The Cochise County woman who pleaded guilty to voting her dead mom’s ballot received three years of probation, including about $900 in fines and a term of community service.
Listen to the whole interview: Arizona Sen. Paul Boyer, the GOP holdout on budget talks and sinker of many election conspiracy ships this session, went on the Mike Broomhead Show to explain what he favors on election reforms (more voter ID and cleaning up voter rolls, but no on bills that hinder voting or become prone to gamesmanship). He also talked about how his positions have kept his own bills stuck in the Rules committee. But before you go thinking Boyer is some kind of liberal, to try to fend off school shootings, he said he’s in favor of arming teachers with guns (and training) and looking at the role of “psychedelic drugs,” including weed, in shootings, because some shooters were “hyped up on marijuana at the time.”
Backfired: Democratic heavyweights behind the scenes tried to get Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly to support Eric Garcetti’s nomination for ambassador to India, implying that Kelly would lose donors if he didn’t back Garcetti, Politico’s Christopher Cadelago reports. The strong-arming reportedly “infuriated” Kelly.
“Sen. Kelly was shot at over Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, so there’s a zero percent chance he’d be intimidated by this,” Kelly spokesman Jacob Peters said.
About time: A couple news stories suggest that the housing market in the Valley and in Tucson could, finally, blessedly, be cooling down a bit, which would be welcome news for anyone trying to buy a home.
Is this a cancel culture?: Blake Masters, who previously threatened to sue over an article in the Arizona Mirror, dredged up racist, homophobic and otherwise inexcusable tweets by Mirror reporter Dillon Rosenblatt from more than a decade ago in what is now a common, and often effective, tactic turned against journalists by political operatives who don’t like their coverage. (Several of the tweets, in which Rosenblatt uses racial and homophobic slurs, appear to be a reference to a comedy sketch from Donald Glover called “National Spelling Bee.”) States Newsroom, the Mirror’s corporate overlord, facing a pressure campaign from Masters, fired Rosenblatt quickly after Masters tweeted about the bad tweets.
We sympathize: Our friends at the Border Chronicle share how their first nine months as a Substack have gone, alongside a plea for more paid subscribers. Check them out and support their work!
Gov. Doug Ducey signed three election-related bills into law on Monday, two of which were sponsored by Republican Sen. J.D. Mesnard.
Mesnard’s Senate Bill 1362 will allow, but not require, counties to count early ballot on-site at polling locations at Election Day as a way to address the challenge that verifying and counting late-early ballots present.
SB1260, also from Mesnard, is aimed at cleaning voter rolls by requiring recorders to cancel voter registrations if they receive information from another county of a voter registering there. It also makes it a felony for someone to aid a person registered in another state from voting here, like by sending them an early ballot.
Republican Sen. Kelly Townsend’s SB1013 requires the Arizona secretary of state to ask the United States Election Assistance Commission to include Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirements on the federal voter registration form.
Hell hath no fury like a Scottsdale resident forced to wait for a spot at the city’s overcrowded pickleball courts.
As the sport picks up popularity, residents have shown up at city meetings pleading for more courts so they don’t have to head out of the city to other Valley locations, the Scottsdale Progress’ Alex Gallagher reports.
We love gadflies and a lively city meeting as much as we love a quest for government help for obscure sports.