By Ruth Lambert | Arizona Capitol Times
(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)
Name-calling. Bullying. Making faces. Walking out of a room mid-conversation. Refusal to listen. Playground behavior among 10 year olds? No. This is what happened daily during the 54th Legislature First Regular Session.
This horrific pattern of behavior played out every – single – day in the Arizona House of Representatives. Yet it was only the tip of the iceberg as juvenile and petty, and blatant sexist and racist words were exchanged outside of the Chamber by Representative after Representative.
This cannot be what the majority of Arizonans expect from the people elected to represent us. While political attack speech will never be barred from entrance to the Arizona House chamber, the 2019 session saw the desire to discuss good policy also prohibited from entrance.
For two years, a Code of Conduct has been promised. First by former House Speaker, now Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, and again in April by Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa. To date, inquiries to check on the progress of the task assigned to the House Ethics Committee have been ignored. Rep. T.J. Shope, Chair of the House Ethics Committee, has not responded to citizen questions and has ignored his own colleagues who have urged movement on a sorely needed Code of Conduct.