Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 27, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

AZ Legislature: A to Z "Your Legislature"


  • Horizon wraps up a four-part series on the legislature with a look at how you can access the legislature.
Guests:
  • Ed Rehana - Valley Iraqi, who will vote in the Iraqi Election in Los Angeles
  • Randall Gnant - former senate president and author of a book about the legislative process


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," in Australia, Iraqi expatriates have already started voting in their country's elections. Iraqis in the rest of the world join them tomorrow. We'll talk to a Valley Iraqi heading soon to LA to vote.

>> Also tonight, we wrap up our four-part series on the legislature with a look at how you can access the legislature like this man who got a bill passed. That's next, on "Horizon." Announcer: "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. The state Attorney General's Office is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit aimed at broadening the scope of proposition 200. The law which prohibits certain public benefits to illegal immigrants and requires ID when voting. A lawyer from the Attorney Generals office is arguing that the suit in Maricopa County superior court should be thrown out because a legal opinion by the office setting the parameters of Prop 200 is correct. The judge hearing the suit has given an attorney for Proposition 200 until Monday to respond.

>>> Governor Janet Napolitano asking for the federal government for help on problems caused by flooding. The Governor has submitted a letter to President Bush asking for a major disaster declaration for the six counties and two tribal nations hit hard by recent storms.

>> Michael Grant:
In Australia, some Iraqi citizens living there have already cast ballots in the first election in their home country in decades. They'll be joined by 280,000 other Iraqi expatriates from 14 nations who will be voting along with 14 million Iraqis casting ballots in their homeland. Voting will take place starting tomorrow at five polling places in the United States, including one in Los Angeles. That's where just over 3900 Iraqis registered to vote last weekend, including some from Arizona. All Iraqis will be voting on candidates to fill 275 slots in the Iraqi assembly. One of its primary duties will be to write a permanent constitution. Joining me now to talk about the election is Ed Rehana, who will vote in Los Angeles. Rehana, a Peoria insurance salesman is Chaldo-Assyrian, one of the minority groups in Iraq and the indigenous people of that country. Ed, thank you for joining us.

>> Ed Rehana:
Thank you, Mike, it's a pleasure to be here.

>> Michael Grant:
You went to Los Angeles last week to register?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, we sure did. We had a bus load of folks last Saturday, and it was a history in the making, to do what we did. I appreciate some of the folks that couldn't make it. It's just a matter of family situations, but it was great to be there and registered.

>> Michael Grant:
I'll tell you what, I congratulate you. As you know, there are some people in this country who won't move about four blocks to cast a ballot, so traveling over to Los Angeles to register, I think, is quite a testament to your dedication. I did not realize until recently that Iraqi expatriates were also qualified to vote.

>> Ed Rehana:
As long as you provide an ID, that you were born in Iraq with another picture ID, you can vote here in the up, as well as children, even if they are born here, if they are 18 years old, they can vote as well.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, what is --explain to us precisely what is happening in terms of who is being elected in this election. It's really sort of a preparatory stage for a more permanent government; correct?

>> Ed Rehana:
It is. The candidates that they are nominated, they've been nominated to be elected are 275 names on the ballot. These are folks that are going to be elected by number of people. Every individual to be elected to, to be nominated has to have somewhere between 25 to 30,000 votes to have that individual elected. And the constitution, they set it up such, every third name has to be a female on that list.

>> Michael Grant: There is a minimum representational requirement?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, and that's trying to prove true democracy for the minorities to step up and cast their -- they come in and participate in this parliament.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, various factions are putting together various coalition slates. So when you vote this weekend, you travel back to Los Angeles, will you be voting on one of these slates that has been prepared?

>> Ed Rehana:
Correct. The proposition that -- the slate we're promoting is 204. That's the one we -- it's got unity and prosperity, and freedom. It consists of Assyrian Democratic movement, the Assyrian Congress, as well as the Assyrian-Chaldean, ethnics.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, I'm obviously not very familiar with the political numbers in Iraq, but I do know that there are three fairly dominant factions, including the Shi'ite in the south and much of the focus has been on the Sunni in the middle of the country. Can the slate you just described generate enough support to have a chance?

>> Ed Rehana:
I'm sure that that will be the case, Mike, because the Shi'ite are the majority of the population, somewhere, two-thirds of the population. I'm sure they'll get most of the votes. Sunnis come in second and then we have the Kurds and other minorities like the Assyrian, but it's all based on voting cast, number of votes to elect those folks, and it's something to see. It'll be interesting to see what the outcome will be.

>> Michael Grant:
Once the election is complete, then their assignment is to draft a constitution for the country?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, they are going to modify the constitution and elect the head of the state, according to the laws and the rules of the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Ed, you moved in with the troops back in March 2003 to act as an interpreter, so you have been there recently. What's your feel for what's going on there? Obviously the Sunnis are trying very hard to disrupt this process. Are they going to be successful in that attempt or not?

>> Ed Rehana:
My feel was of mixed emotion, Mike. I was happy and at the same time I cried. You know, happy to see that country liberated from the old regime, and I cried what that regime did to that beautiful country. It's unfortunate what we see today. Those people, whoever they are, Shi'ites, Sunnis or other minorities. Here's something. Here I am, I freed you from the old regime from that butcher, here I am, the coalition forces, let's sit down and let's have a free country that you can live in peace among yourselves and among your neighbors.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously the Sunnis don't want that, but do a majority of Iraqis appreciate what is happening there and want to move to a Democratic form of government?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, Mike, majority of Iraqis like to live in peace, like to enjoy what life is all about. They went through some 40 years through persecution, execution and they saw the horror. There's things, if you see there, you won't believe what we have here. Over there, they see a pager or a newspaper belonging to a certain party, Saddam's regime was automatic execution. So now is the time, if they talk some sense and forget the past. Look alt Ireland. We need to sit down and talk new stuff. Let's forget about the past. We have a job to do. And I'm hoping -- I'm hoping things will get better there. It's going to take some time, but the outcome will be --

>> Michael Grant:
There has been a debate over time. There has also been a debate on whether the election should be held at this point, whether it would be better to hold it some number of months later, perhaps to allow the country to stabilize further. What do you think? Might as well do it now or should we have waited a while longer?

>> Ed Rehana:
Sooner or later the Iraqis need to have their destiny, have their control, their country. They have to rule their own country by themselves. Coalition forces are there for hopefully for a short time, but here's -- it's going to be casualties. There's going to be insurgent involvement combining. Was it too early? It's a question, I can say yes, but again, six months from now, it's going to be early then or a year from now is going to be. Sooner or later, we need to have this thing turn over to the Iraqi, to the local folks and let them run their government. So, I'm hoping. I'm hoping, with the curfew that they impose, I'm hoping this election will go smoothly.

>> Michael Grant:
I assume it's going to be a special moment for you voting in Los Angeles?

>> Ed Rehana:
Absolutely, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
Ed Rehana, thanks very much for the insight and certainly all of us hope for the very best in the election process this weekend.

>> Ed Rehana:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Tonight is the last part of our four-part series on the Arizona legislature. The 90-member body may not be on the forefront of most Arizonans' minds, but their actions can definitely move to the front burner quickly with the impact on your life. Tonight, we will talk to former senate president Randall Gnant who literally wrote the book on the legislative process on how you can access your legislature. First, Mike Sauceda tells us the story of an average citizen who went from ID theft victim to the author of a successful legislative bill.

>>Reporter:
It's been more than 10 years since someone took bob HARTLES identity and racked up more than $100,000 in charges.

>>Bob Hartle:
We basically learned that there was no law against stealing somebody's identity. All of the laws were written for the business and banking community, for the dollar loss. And as long as the criminal was paying the bill, there was nothing law enforcement to do about it.

>>Reporter:
So Hartle and his wife decided to do something about it.

>> Bob Hartle:
My wife and I went to the law library and researched all of the fraud laws in the State of Arizona and the federal laws. And we learned there was no laws that actually governed your identity. So we sat down and wrote a law that we thought the people of Arizona should have. And we mailed it to then representative Tom Smith, who later retired as state senator Tom Smith, and he agreed with us.

>>Reporter:
Smith took on the Hartles' bill even though they did not live in his district. They were helped with the process of which they knew little about.

>> Bob Hartle:
We knew nobody down here. We knew nobody in politics. I've never been in trouble with the law, so I didn't know anybody that worked at law enforcement. I knew nobody in that -- that had anything to do with laws or law enforcement. You come in, fill out the card. You sit down and then when they call your name, you get up, and you walk up here to the podium, and then they allow you to speak and talk to them about the bill and why you think it should be passed and --

>> Bob Hartle:
one thing that you need to keep in mind, they would like it to be short and sweet. We learned when the hearings were coming up and when they were going to discuss it, and we went and came down here to the legislature and then we gave testimony on our case and what we thought needed to be done and encouraged them to pass the law.

>>Reporter:
Besides learning about giving testimony, HARTLE learned a lot more during the process of getting his bill through and gives this tip if you would like to do the same.

>> The most important thing is to start with -- try to find a person on the committee that relates to your bill. And don't take no for an answer, if you really think that this is important, and you need it, get in there and talk to these people and try to convince somebody to do your bill for you.

>>Reporter:
Another tip from HARTLE is to use the legislature's web site at www.azleg.state.aZ.US. On the legislative web site you can check on the status of a bill, see when committees will be meeting, learn which laws are currently on the books. Find out about members and contact them through E-mail, and sign up to speak at a committee hearing. One more piece of advice from HARTLE regarding lawmakers.

>> Bob Hartle:
Let them know you are serious, interested and want to be kept informed and you will be down here to do whatever you need to do.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier, I talked to former senate president Randall Gnant about how an average citizen can access the legislature. Senator Gnant has written a book about the legislative process. Here now is that interview.

>> Michael Grant:
Randall we just saw a report on Bob Hartle, a guy who got a bill passed for identity theft. Is it fairly well for John Q citizen to get a bill passed at the legislature?

>> Randall Gnant:
Fairly rare for an issue of that importance. Where bob had an advantage, this was not the first case of identity theft in the nation. There had been other cases in other states, some causes severe damage. He was able to use all of that as he approached the Arizona legislature. Don't get me wrong, he did a wonderful job. Had anyone come in with a major topic, without much help, it would be more difficult. Say, for example, somebody comes in and wants double shift kindergarten instead of just all-day kindergarten. That's tougher for an individual.

>> Michael Grant:
As Mike Sauceda pointed out, who is going to go and actually oppose a bill against identity theft? So there is also that --

>> Randall Gnant:
it's always helpful when nobody is against the bill. When I talk to groups who are -- who want to know how they should introduce legislation or bring legislation about, one of the first things I say to them is try to identify those people who are going to be against the bill. And go talk to them, if necessary, because there are no secrets down there and sooner or later everybody will find out that you are introducing this measure. Find out what they don't like and why they don't like it. Maybe you can work out a compromise.

>> Michael Grant:
Good transition. Say that I've got an idea that I consider to be pretty good, something that needs addressing by the legislature. How do I go about that is my logical first call to my representative or my senator to try to talk to them about it or some other route?

>> Randall Gnant:
I think your first step really is on the Internet. It's at the Arizona legislature's web site. Just go to your favorite browser, type in "Arizona legislature" up will come the web site, click on it and spend time rooming around there. You'll be surprised what you can find out. I'll give a tip now that some of my good friends in the basement of the house and the senate aren't going to like. Each standing committee has a staff member assigned to it. There is a staff member assigned to natural resources, and education, and health and all of these committees. Give that person a call and say, here's my idea, has anything like this been done before. If so,what happened to it? If it's been done before but it failed, why did it fail? That's sometimes a good start, because you can find out roughly what your chances are going to be.

>> Michael Grant:
The Arizona legislative information service, is really a -- it's a remarkable device. You were very instrumental in setting it up about 10 years ago.

>> Randall Gnant:
Yeah, I give thanks to John Greene, because John Greene was the senate president. I went to him and said we should be on the Internet and he said yeah, right, what's the Internet. Of course, you've got to go back 10 years. He gave us the money, and we established it, and we've regularly been voted the best legislative Internet site in the nation by national organizations. We're quite proud of it.

>> Michael Grant:
Give us some ideas of what you can -- what you can find, how you can navigate the process, those sorts of things, using, for example, ALIS.

>> Randall Gnant:
Well, first of all you can see the entire Arizona revised statutes, if you need to. And you can search by key word. So that helps you to zero in as to whether anything has been done in your area before. You can zero in on all of the committees in and the committee members. If you have an issue that you know will go to the education committee, you can start making contacts not only with the education committee chairman, but with members of the education committee and start briefing them on what you want to do. The idea is to do your homework early, and get as much support as you can, so that when you hit January and the legislative session starts, you are ready to go. I tell people your deadline for consideration legislation ought to be September or October for the next year. Anybody one who today thinks he has an idea for a piece of legislation that he wants considered by this legislature is really out of luck. It's way too late.

>> Michael Grant:
Well, it's an excellent point, getting back to one you made a couple of minutes ago, if nothing else, the reason why you need that kind of preparation period is to figure out who is on the other side, maybe even figure out who is on your side, because coalition building in support of a piece of legislation, if you want to move it, is a good idea.

>> Randall Gnant:
Well, yeah. If you are the only one down there that's got this idea, you better do some introspection to find out why that is -- introspection to see why that is. Interestingly, Joe sixpack if he goes down there, he will have his work done for him if he can sell somebody else on his idea, because there are well-organized advocacy groups and lobbyists who are used to working with the legislature, used to working with this process, and if you can hook up with one of them and get them interested in your project, they'll help you carry the water on the bill and that can be very helpful.

>> Michael Grant:
All right, let's say either you've gotten your bill introduced or there is a bill simply that you are very interested in and you want to track it, again, ALIS will give you regular reports, will it not, on if that bill is moving and where it's moving and those kinds of things?

>> Randall Gnant:
Absolutely. Whatever criticisms people have of the Arizona legislature, and there are a couple things it doesn't do to the optimum, you cannot say that it is not open and it is not informative to the public. There are states where if a legislature feels like it, it can simply make a motion from the floor to bring up a little Bill and vote it out with no notice to anyone. Here in Arizona, we give generally four or five or more days' notice of when the bill will be heard in committee, we give notice when it will be discussed in caucus, debated on the floor, we give notice when the bill will be voted on the floor, we do the whole thing in the other house. So there is no reason for someone not to have the knowledge to be involved at every step in the legislative process.

>> Michael Grant:
Agenda is posted for the various committees, also for floor action. In fact, you were telling me that using ALIS, you can sign up to testify on a bill on the web, if you are so inclined.

>> Randall Gnant:
If you've once come to the legislature and established a user name and a password, you can review the agendas from anywhere that you have access to the Internet. I've got a daughter teaching in northwest Africa, and she can call up the agenda and you can actually sign up to testify. If you don't want to testify, you can leave a couple of lines as to whether you are for or against it.

>> Michael Grant:
Those kind of communications. E-mail has also changed the face of lawmaker communications. Lawmakers get a lot of E-mail, number one, and number two, do they read it?

>> Randall Gnant:
Yeah, they get a ton of E-mail, so much E-mail that I'm not certain it's effective anymore. With blast E-mail, it's not uncommon for a legislator to get 200 or 300 pieces of E-mail a day, and many of them are the same form letter from an organization that said, E-mail your legislator, such and such, such and such, and so they do, so you get E-mail after E-mail on the same subject.

>> Michael Grant:
I am opposed to HB-3024.

>> Randall Gnant:
Sometimes the best you can do is a legislator will tell his assistant, go through this stuff, if anything is exciting to you, print it out and I'll look at it. But I don't know that many legislators anymore who are looking at every single E-mail. There is too many of them.

>> Michael Grant:
Does that argue for if you want to get up close and personal with the process, then using, instead, snail mail or personal telephone call?

>> Randall Gnant:
Well, well-crafted snail mail is still effective. Nothing is more effective than a personal visit. Absolutely nothing is more important than sitting down across from that legislator and engaging in a discussion as to why you are in favor of a bill. And if you are prepared, and if you've done your homework, the sense of that comes across to the legislator and he's likely to say I need to take a look at this.

>> Michael Grant:
From a practical standpoint, do you call ahead for an appointment? Do you go down there and hope you can catch him or her between committee meetings?

>> Randall Gnant:
If you go down there, you will spend a lot of time resting in lobbies. You need to make your appointment in advance. And you know, if Mr. Public citizen wants to meet with a legislator, most legislators can find five minutes or ten minutes for that person. Now, I've got to say this, they are much more likely to find five or 10 minutes for someone who lives, works and votes in their district.

>> Michael Grant:
In their district.

>> Randall Gnant:
Then somebody diagonally across the state. You can get in to see these legislators a lot easier than a lot of people think.

>> Michael Grant:
That leads to the final point or tip or question or whatever the case may be, and it sort of cycles back to the coalition point that we started out on, if you want to move a bill or you want to influence a bill, try to corral a variety of different people that are in fact constituents of committee member A, committee member B, committee member C, so you've got that kind of contact going on?

>> Randall Gnant:
Yeah, and you've got to be realistic about expectations. There is sort of an unwritten rule at the legislature that the first time someone comes in with a new idea, they are not going to pass it. They have to do their penance, pledgeship and initiation. Next year, maybe we'll run it through. There is a little bit of truth to that, but partly it's because the process has about 300 places to fail and only one place to succeed. And navigating through that whole thing, I think it's sometimes easier to win the power ball than get something through the legislature your very first time.

>> Michael Grant:
Former president Randall Gnant, excellent advice. We appreciate the information.

>> Randall Gnant:
Thanks for having me.

>> Michael Grant:
You can visit our web site at www.azpbs.org. Once you get to the home page, click on the word "Horizon" to see transcripts or information about upcoming shows.

>>Reporter:
Don't drink the water. That was the phrase of the week in Phoenix after sediment levels in the water system triggered an alert. What caused the problem and how did the more than one million residents cope with that situation? We will look at the issue on the Journalists' Roundtable Friday at 7:00 here on channel 8's "Horizon" program.

>> Michael Grant:
That topic and the other news of the week tomorrow on the Friday edition. Thanks for being here on a Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a good one, good night.

Iraqi Election


  • In Australia, Iraqi expatriates have already started voting in their country's elections. Iraqis in the rest of the world join them tomorrow. Horizon talks to a Valley Iraqi heading soon to Los Angeles to vote.
Guests:
  • Ed Rehana - Valley Iraqi, who will vote in the Iraqi Election in Los Angeles
  • Randall Gnant - former senate president and author of a book about the legislative process


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," in Australia, Iraqi expatriates have already started voting in their country's elections. Iraqis in the rest of the world join them tomorrow. We'll talk to a Valley Iraqi heading soon to LA to vote.

>> Also tonight, we wrap up our four-part series on the legislature with a look at how you can access the legislature like this man who got a bill passed. That's next, on "Horizon." Announcer: "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. The state Attorney General's Office is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit aimed at broadening the scope of proposition 200. The law which prohibits certain public benefits to illegal immigrants and requires ID when voting. A lawyer from the Attorney Generals office is arguing that the suit in Maricopa County superior court should be thrown out because a legal opinion by the office setting the parameters of Prop 200 is correct. The judge hearing the suit has given an attorney for Proposition 200 until Monday to respond.

>>> Governor Janet Napolitano asking for the federal government for help on problems caused by flooding. The Governor has submitted a letter to President Bush asking for a major disaster declaration for the six counties and two tribal nations hit hard by recent storms.

>> Michael Grant:
In Australia, some Iraqi citizens living there have already cast ballots in the first election in their home country in decades. They'll be joined by 280,000 other Iraqi expatriates from 14 nations who will be voting along with 14 million Iraqis casting ballots in their homeland. Voting will take place starting tomorrow at five polling places in the United States, including one in Los Angeles. That's where just over 3900 Iraqis registered to vote last weekend, including some from Arizona. All Iraqis will be voting on candidates to fill 275 slots in the Iraqi assembly. One of its primary duties will be to write a permanent constitution. Joining me now to talk about the election is Ed Rehana, who will vote in Los Angeles. Rehana, a Peoria insurance salesman is Chaldo-Assyrian, one of the minority groups in Iraq and the indigenous people of that country. Ed, thank you for joining us.

>> Ed Rehana:
Thank you, Mike, it's a pleasure to be here.

>> Michael Grant:
You went to Los Angeles last week to register?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, we sure did. We had a bus load of folks last Saturday, and it was a history in the making, to do what we did. I appreciate some of the folks that couldn't make it. It's just a matter of family situations, but it was great to be there and registered.

>> Michael Grant:
I'll tell you what, I congratulate you. As you know, there are some people in this country who won't move about four blocks to cast a ballot, so traveling over to Los Angeles to register, I think, is quite a testament to your dedication. I did not realize until recently that Iraqi expatriates were also qualified to vote.

>> Ed Rehana:
As long as you provide an ID, that you were born in Iraq with another picture ID, you can vote here in the up, as well as children, even if they are born here, if they are 18 years old, they can vote as well.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, what is --explain to us precisely what is happening in terms of who is being elected in this election. It's really sort of a preparatory stage for a more permanent government; correct?

>> Ed Rehana:
It is. The candidates that they are nominated, they've been nominated to be elected are 275 names on the ballot. These are folks that are going to be elected by number of people. Every individual to be elected to, to be nominated has to have somewhere between 25 to 30,000 votes to have that individual elected. And the constitution, they set it up such, every third name has to be a female on that list.

>> Michael Grant: There is a minimum representational requirement?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, and that's trying to prove true democracy for the minorities to step up and cast their -- they come in and participate in this parliament.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, various factions are putting together various coalition slates. So when you vote this weekend, you travel back to Los Angeles, will you be voting on one of these slates that has been prepared?

>> Ed Rehana:
Correct. The proposition that -- the slate we're promoting is 204. That's the one we -- it's got unity and prosperity, and freedom. It consists of Assyrian Democratic movement, the Assyrian Congress, as well as the Assyrian-Chaldean, ethnics.

>> Michael Grant:
Now, I'm obviously not very familiar with the political numbers in Iraq, but I do know that there are three fairly dominant factions, including the Shi'ite in the south and much of the focus has been on the Sunni in the middle of the country. Can the slate you just described generate enough support to have a chance?

>> Ed Rehana:
I'm sure that that will be the case, Mike, because the Shi'ite are the majority of the population, somewhere, two-thirds of the population. I'm sure they'll get most of the votes. Sunnis come in second and then we have the Kurds and other minorities like the Assyrian, but it's all based on voting cast, number of votes to elect those folks, and it's something to see. It'll be interesting to see what the outcome will be.

>> Michael Grant:
Once the election is complete, then their assignment is to draft a constitution for the country?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, they are going to modify the constitution and elect the head of the state, according to the laws and the rules of the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Ed, you moved in with the troops back in March 2003 to act as an interpreter, so you have been there recently. What's your feel for what's going on there? Obviously the Sunnis are trying very hard to disrupt this process. Are they going to be successful in that attempt or not?

>> Ed Rehana:
My feel was of mixed emotion, Mike. I was happy and at the same time I cried. You know, happy to see that country liberated from the old regime, and I cried what that regime did to that beautiful country. It's unfortunate what we see today. Those people, whoever they are, Shi'ites, Sunnis or other minorities. Here's something. Here I am, I freed you from the old regime from that butcher, here I am, the coalition forces, let's sit down and let's have a free country that you can live in peace among yourselves and among your neighbors.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously the Sunnis don't want that, but do a majority of Iraqis appreciate what is happening there and want to move to a Democratic form of government?

>> Ed Rehana:
Yes, Mike, majority of Iraqis like to live in peace, like to enjoy what life is all about. They went through some 40 years through persecution, execution and they saw the horror. There's things, if you see there, you won't believe what we have here. Over there, they see a pager or a newspaper belonging to a certain party, Saddam's regime was automatic execution. So now is the time, if they talk some sense and forget the past. Look alt Ireland. We need to sit down and talk new stuff. Let's forget about the past. We have a job to do. And I'm hoping -- I'm hoping things will get better there. It's going to take some time, but the outcome will be --

>> Michael Grant:
There has been a debate over time. There has also been a debate on whether the election should be held at this point, whether it would be better to hold it some number of months later, perhaps to allow the country to stabilize further. What do you think? Might as well do it now or should we have waited a while longer?

>> Ed Rehana:
Sooner or later the Iraqis need to have their destiny, have their control, their country. They have to rule their own country by themselves. Coalition forces are there for hopefully for a short time, but here's -- it's going to be casualties. There's going to be insurgent involvement combining. Was it too early? It's a question, I can say yes, but again, six months from now, it's going to be early then or a year from now is going to be. Sooner or later, we need to have this thing turn over to the Iraqi, to the local folks and let them run their government. So, I'm hoping. I'm hoping, with the curfew that they impose, I'm hoping this election will go smoothly.

>> Michael Grant:
I assume it's going to be a special moment for you voting in Los Angeles?

>> Ed Rehana:
Absolutely, Mike.

>> Michael Grant:
Ed Rehana, thanks very much for the insight and certainly all of us hope for the very best in the election process this weekend.

>> Ed Rehana:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Tonight is the last part of our four-part series on the Arizona legislature. The 90-member body may not be on the forefront of most Arizonans' minds, but their actions can definitely move to the front burner quickly with the impact on your life. Tonight, we will talk to former senate president Randall Gnant who literally wrote the book on the legislative process on how you can access your legislature. First, Mike Sauceda tells us the story of an average citizen who went from ID theft victim to the author of a successful legislative bill.

>>Reporter:
It's been more than 10 years since someone took bob HARTLES identity and racked up more than $100,000 in charges.

>>Bob Hartle:
We basically learned that there was no law against stealing somebody's identity. All of the laws were written for the business and banking community, for the dollar loss. And as long as the criminal was paying the bill, there was nothing law enforcement to do about it.

>>Reporter:
So Hartle and his wife decided to do something about it.

>> Bob Hartle:
My wife and I went to the law library and researched all of the fraud laws in the State of Arizona and the federal laws. And we learned there was no laws that actually governed your identity. So we sat down and wrote a law that we thought the people of Arizona should have. And we mailed it to then representative Tom Smith, who later retired as state senator Tom Smith, and he agreed with us.

>>Reporter:
Smith took on the Hartles' bill even though they did not live in his district. They were helped with the process of which they knew little about.

>> Bob Hartle:
We knew nobody down here. We knew nobody in politics. I've never been in trouble with the law, so I didn't know anybody that worked at law enforcement. I knew nobody in that -- that had anything to do with laws or law enforcement. You come in, fill out the card. You sit down and then when they call your name, you get up, and you walk up here to the podium, and then they allow you to speak and talk to them about the bill and why you think it should be passed and --

>> Bob Hartle:
one thing that you need to keep in mind, they would like it to be short and sweet. We learned when the hearings were coming up and when they were going to discuss it, and we went and came down here to the legislature and then we gave testimony on our case and what we thought needed to be done and encouraged them to pass the law.

>>Reporter:
Besides learning about giving testimony, HARTLE learned a lot more during the process of getting his bill through and gives this tip if you would like to do the same.

>> The most important thing is to start with -- try to find a person on the committee that relates to your bill. And don't take no for an answer, if you really think that this is important, and you need it, get in there and talk to these people and try to convince somebody to do your bill for you.

>>Reporter:
Another tip from HARTLE is to use the legislature's web site at www.azleg.state.aZ.US. On the legislative web site you can check on the status of a bill, see when committees will be meeting, learn which laws are currently on the books. Find out about members and contact them through E-mail, and sign up to speak at a committee hearing. One more piece of advice from HARTLE regarding lawmakers.

>> Bob Hartle:
Let them know you are serious, interested and want to be kept informed and you will be down here to do whatever you need to do.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier, I talked to former senate president Randall Gnant about how an average citizen can access the legislature. Senator Gnant has written a book about the legislative process. Here now is that interview.

>> Michael Grant:
Randall we just saw a report on Bob Hartle, a guy who got a bill passed for identity theft. Is it fairly well for John Q citizen to get a bill passed at the legislature?

>> Randall Gnant:
Fairly rare for an issue of that importance. Where bob had an advantage, this was not the first case of identity theft in the nation. There had been other cases in other states, some causes severe damage. He was able to use all of that as he approached the Arizona legislature. Don't get me wrong, he did a wonderful job. Had anyone come in with a major topic, without much help, it would be more difficult. Say, for example, somebody comes in and wants double shift kindergarten instead of just all-day kindergarten. That's tougher for an individual.

>> Michael Grant:
As Mike Sauceda pointed out, who is going to go and actually oppose a bill against identity theft? So there is also that --

>> Randall Gnant:
it's always helpful when nobody is against the bill. When I talk to groups who are -- who want to know how they should introduce legislation or bring legislation about, one of the first things I say to them is try to identify those people who are going to be against the bill. And go talk to them, if necessary, because there are no secrets down there and sooner or later everybody will find out that you are introducing this measure. Find out what they don't like and why they don't like it. Maybe you can work out a compromise.

>> Michael Grant:
Good transition. Say that I've got an idea that I consider to be pretty good, something that needs addressing by the legislature. How do I go about that is my logical first call to my representative or my senator to try to talk to them about it or some other route?

>> Randall Gnant:
I think your first step really is on the Internet. It's at the Arizona legislature's web site. Just go to your favorite browser, type in "Arizona legislature" up will come the web site, click on it and spend time rooming around there. You'll be surprised what you can find out. I'll give a tip now that some of my good friends in the basement of the house and the senate aren't going to like. Each standing committee has a staff member assigned to it. There is a staff member assigned to natural resources, and education, and health and all of these committees. Give that person a call and say, here's my idea, has anything like this been done before. If so,what happened to it? If it's been done before but it failed, why did it fail? That's sometimes a good start, because you can find out roughly what your chances are going to be.

>> Michael Grant:
The Arizona legislative information service, is really a -- it's a remarkable device. You were very instrumental in setting it up about 10 years ago.

>> Randall Gnant:
Yeah, I give thanks to John Greene, because John Greene was the senate president. I went to him and said we should be on the Internet and he said yeah, right, what's the Internet. Of course, you've got to go back 10 years. He gave us the money, and we established it, and we've regularly been voted the best legislative Internet site in the nation by national organizations. We're quite proud of it.

>> Michael Grant:
Give us some ideas of what you can -- what you can find, how you can navigate the process, those sorts of things, using, for example, ALIS.

>> Randall Gnant:
Well, first of all you can see the entire Arizona revised statutes, if you need to. And you can search by key word. So that helps you to zero in as to whether anything has been done in your area before. You can zero in on all of the committees in and the committee members. If you have an issue that you know will go to the education committee, you can start making contacts not only with the education committee chairman, but with members of the education committee and start briefing them on what you want to do. The idea is to do your homework early, and get as much support as you can, so that when you hit January and the legislative session starts, you are ready to go. I tell people your deadline for consideration legislation ought to be September or October for the next year. Anybody one who today thinks he has an idea for a piece of legislation that he wants considered by this legislature is really out of luck. It's way too late.

>> Michael Grant:
Well, it's an excellent point, getting back to one you made a couple of minutes ago, if nothing else, the reason why you need that kind of preparation period is to figure out who is on the other side, maybe even figure out who is on your side, because coalition building in support of a piece of legislation, if you want to move it, is a good idea.

>> Randall Gnant:
Well, yeah. If you are the only one down there that's got this idea, you better do some introspection to find out why that is -- introspection to see why that is. Interestingly, Joe sixpack if he goes down there, he will have his work done for him if he can sell somebody else on his idea, because there are well-organized advocacy groups and lobbyists who are used to working with the legislature, used to working with this process, and if you can hook up with one of them and get them interested in your project, they'll help you carry the water on the bill and that can be very helpful.

>> Michael Grant:
All right, let's say either you've gotten your bill introduced or there is a bill simply that you are very interested in and you want to track it, again, ALIS will give you regular reports, will it not, on if that bill is moving and where it's moving and those kinds of things?

>> Randall Gnant:
Absolutely. Whatever criticisms people have of the Arizona legislature, and there are a couple things it doesn't do to the optimum, you cannot say that it is not open and it is not informative to the public. There are states where if a legislature feels like it, it can simply make a motion from the floor to bring up a little Bill and vote it out with no notice to anyone. Here in Arizona, we give generally four or five or more days' notice of when the bill will be heard in committee, we give notice when it will be discussed in caucus, debated on the floor, we give notice when the bill will be voted on the floor, we do the whole thing in the other house. So there is no reason for someone not to have the knowledge to be involved at every step in the legislative process.

>> Michael Grant:
Agenda is posted for the various committees, also for floor action. In fact, you were telling me that using ALIS, you can sign up to testify on a bill on the web, if you are so inclined.

>> Randall Gnant:
If you've once come to the legislature and established a user name and a password, you can review the agendas from anywhere that you have access to the Internet. I've got a daughter teaching in northwest Africa, and she can call up the agenda and you can actually sign up to testify. If you don't want to testify, you can leave a couple of lines as to whether you are for or against it.

>> Michael Grant:
Those kind of communications. E-mail has also changed the face of lawmaker communications. Lawmakers get a lot of E-mail, number one, and number two, do they read it?

>> Randall Gnant:
Yeah, they get a ton of E-mail, so much E-mail that I'm not certain it's effective anymore. With blast E-mail, it's not uncommon for a legislator to get 200 or 300 pieces of E-mail a day, and many of them are the same form letter from an organization that said, E-mail your legislator, such and such, such and such, and so they do, so you get E-mail after E-mail on the same subject.

>> Michael Grant:
I am opposed to HB-3024.

>> Randall Gnant:
Sometimes the best you can do is a legislator will tell his assistant, go through this stuff, if anything is exciting to you, print it out and I'll look at it. But I don't know that many legislators anymore who are looking at every single E-mail. There is too many of them.

>> Michael Grant:
Does that argue for if you want to get up close and personal with the process, then using, instead, snail mail or personal telephone call?

>> Randall Gnant:
Well, well-crafted snail mail is still effective. Nothing is more effective than a personal visit. Absolutely nothing is more important than sitting down across from that legislator and engaging in a discussion as to why you are in favor of a bill. And if you are prepared, and if you've done your homework, the sense of that comes across to the legislator and he's likely to say I need to take a look at this.

>> Michael Grant:
From a practical standpoint, do you call ahead for an appointment? Do you go down there and hope you can catch him or her between committee meetings?

>> Randall Gnant:
If you go down there, you will spend a lot of time resting in lobbies. You need to make your appointment in advance. And you know, if Mr. Public citizen wants to meet with a legislator, most legislators can find five minutes or ten minutes for that person. Now, I've got to say this, they are much more likely to find five or 10 minutes for someone who lives, works and votes in their district.

>> Michael Grant:
In their district.

>> Randall Gnant:
Then somebody diagonally across the state. You can get in to see these legislators a lot easier than a lot of people think.

>> Michael Grant:
That leads to the final point or tip or question or whatever the case may be, and it sort of cycles back to the coalition point that we started out on, if you want to move a bill or you want to influence a bill, try to corral a variety of different people that are in fact constituents of committee member A, committee member B, committee member C, so you've got that kind of contact going on?

>> Randall Gnant:
Yeah, and you've got to be realistic about expectations. There is sort of an unwritten rule at the legislature that the first time someone comes in with a new idea, they are not going to pass it. They have to do their penance, pledgeship and initiation. Next year, maybe we'll run it through. There is a little bit of truth to that, but partly it's because the process has about 300 places to fail and only one place to succeed. And navigating through that whole thing, I think it's sometimes easier to win the power ball than get something through the legislature your very first time.

>> Michael Grant:
Former president Randall Gnant, excellent advice. We appreciate the information.

>> Randall Gnant:
Thanks for having me.

>> Michael Grant:
You can visit our web site at www.azpbs.org. Once you get to the home page, click on the word "Horizon" to see transcripts or information about upcoming shows.

>>Reporter:
Don't drink the water. That was the phrase of the week in Phoenix after sediment levels in the water system triggered an alert. What caused the problem and how did the more than one million residents cope with that situation? We will look at the issue on the Journalists' Roundtable Friday at 7:00 here on channel 8's "Horizon" program.

>> Michael Grant:
That topic and the other news of the week tomorrow on the Friday edition. Thanks for being here on a Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a good one, good night.

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