What Are Arizona's Propositions 126 And 127?

Arizona's Propositions 126 And 127 Generate Plenty Of Banter At Mesa Public Library

The Secretary of State's Office hosted a meeting at the Mesa Public Library on the ballot propositions.

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Propositions 126 and 127 generated plenty of banter at the Mesa Public Library meeting on ballot propositions hosted by the secretary of state's office on Wednesday.

After a non-bias definition was presented to the public, speakers for or against the propositions were allowed three minutes to explain their side. The floor was opened for questions directly after.

A yes vote for Prop. 126 supports the constitutional amendment to prohibit the state and local government from creating new taxes on services such as haircuts, real-estate, lawyer fees, and more. A no vote opposes the constitutional amendment retaining the power of the state and local government to enact taxes on services in the future.

Liz Harris, president of the Southeast Valley Regional Association of Realtors, voiced her opinion on why Arizona voters should support the constitutional amendment.

"Proposition 126 is going to protect the Arizona taxpayers from being taxed on haircuts, going to the doctor, and selling your house," Harris said.

Harris, a New York native, spoke on her move from the East Coast to Arizona and how, as a realtor, does not want to see higher taxation. Harris moved from New York because she said Arizona offers the best life for its citizens.

Lauren Hernandez

"I can tell you that an approximate 8% tax rate is going to affect everyone in this rooms pockets," Harris said.

Dawn Penich-Thacker, a rhetoric professor and communications director at Arizona State University, spoke in opposition of Prop. 126.

"The cosmetics industry has not come to the legislature and said, 'Will you please start taxing our services?' There is no movement by any industry for this proposition," Penich-Thacker said.

Penich-Thacker continued to defend her side after the audience questioned her decision to side with the no vote.

"What will happen is that all of our existing taxes will go up. You have to get the revenue somewhere. The prediction is that things will get more expensive," Penich-Thacker said.

After a long discussion, the moderator moved the discussion on to Prop. 127.

A yes vote for Prop. 127 supports the Renewable Energy Standards Initiative to require electric utilities in Arizona to acquire a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources each year, with the percentage increasing annually from 12% in 2020 to 50% in 2030.

A no vote is in support of retaining the state's existing renewable energy requirements of 15% by 2025.

Bill Mundell, a former Arizona representative and corporation commissioner, brought statistics and studies to his defense when discussing why he is voting yes.

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"What are the other benefits? Jobs. 16,000 more jobs in Arizona. The studies show that renewables are 80 times greater than for fossil fuel. Not to mention we also will have health benefits," Mundell said.

Mundell spent most of his time informing the audience on what information they need to be looking at.

"Coal uses a lot of water. Renewables and solar don't. The benefits are lower utility rates, health benefits, conserving water, and good paying jobs. By doing this we can make Arizona the solar capital of the world," Mundell said.

Katie Prendergast, a government affairs representative at Arizona Public Service, spoke in favor of the no vote.

"We would be locking ourselves into technology that exists today," Prendergast said.

Prendergast emphasized that voting yes would put Arizona behind in creating and using new technology. Arizona would be committing to its current technology for the next 12 years.

The 2018 midterm elections are on Nov. 6.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering Is How We Got Extremist Abortion Bans

This is a pressing issue that is often swept under the rug.

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Several states have recently passed legislation restricting a mother's access to abortion, and several others are projected to do the same. Alabama has passed the most severe legislation by banning the majority of abortions, including cases of rape and incest, and abortion providers now face up to 99 years in prison for noncompliance. Georgia's governor has signed legislation banning most abortions after six weeks, with mother's facing prosecution for terminating their pregnancies after this date. A few other states, including Missouri and Louisiana, are in the process of approving similar legislation.

Nationwide outrage over this legislation has taken over many social media platforms, prompting political discourse across the aisle. Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator well-known for her outspoken nature, even tweeted her disdain for the legislation:

"I will be attacked by fellow conservatives for saying this but so be it, this Alabama abortion ban is too restrictive. It doesn't save life, it simply forces women into more dangerous methods, other states or countries. You don't encourage life via blanket government mandate!" — Tomi Lahren

I side with the many men and women who are horrified at this decision for many reasons. Apart from Governor Kay Ivey's blurred understanding of what separation of church and state really mean when invoking God as a reason for her approval of the country's most restrictive abortion legislation, there are many reasons states have successfully passed such controversial legislation. One such reason is gerrymandering.

As someone who has grown up in the most gerrymandered state in the country, North Carolina, I have witnessed through much of my life the effects gerrymandering has on legislation. Gerrymandering describes the act of redrawing district lines to establish a political advantage for a party. This is a practice done by both Democrats and Republicans and through two primary methods, packing and cracking.

Packing attempts to condense members of an opposing party into few districts in order for the opposing party to dominate in the remaining districts. On the other end, cracking attempts to break apart an opposing party amongst districts in order to dilute the vote of their members by becoming outnumbered by members of the governing party.

Georgia's district lines are a perfect example of packing. Following the 2010 census, Republicans were able to redraw district lines and packed Democrats into as few districts as possible. This decision has led to extremely uncompetitive elections, with many candidates running unopposed because of the district's voter makeup. The impacts of gerrymandering in Georgia were evident during the last gubernatorial election between Brian Kemp (R) and Stacey Abrams (D).

Kemp won barely the election by around 55,000, at 50.8% of the popular vote, yet Republicans hold over sixty percent of the state's legislative seats. This demonstrates how districts can be determined to favor a political party in terms of representation, though not reflect the constituency of the state. This has allowed Republicans to hold the majority of state seats, which contributed to the approval of the abortion bill.

Voter suppression is a serious issue that is often swept under the rug because it allows those who have been in power to remain in power. While it is unfortunate it took this long for many to understand its implications, it is important that the same energy aimed at fighting this legislation is aimed at remedying the long-standing problem of gerrymandering that allows such unsavory legislation to pass.

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