BY LINDA BENTLEY | JULY 28, 2010
PHOENIX – Wes Harris of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party sent out an e-mail the other day saying, “If you live in LD 7, beware of Nancy Barto … This ‘Christian’ lady does not seem to practice Christian values when it comes to her special interests. She should be voted out and purged from the Republican Party and LD 7 along with her minions that grant her their proxy to do what she will with them.”
Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Dist. 7, has a history of recruiting precinct committeemen for Legislative District 7 that are not involved, don’t attend meetings and who will sign proxies for Barto to vote on their behalf, generally for herself or someone who will promote her and her agenda.
As Carrie Nation vehemently opposed alcohol, Barto fervently opposes abortion. During one of her earliest campaign debates, she announced, “I cut my teeth on right to life” as being her foray into politics.
Barto has also marched for illegal aliens. During last year’s legislative session, Barto marched out the door “in protest” rather than record a vote against Rep. Russell Pearce’s anti-sanctuary bill, the forerunner to SB 1070.
Her votes on immigration-related bills, prior to punctuating her stand with that walking ovation, was a spotty record of either not voting or voting “present.”
With a couple of terms under her belt, Barto has used her office to cater to special interests – very special interests.
For example, she introduced HB 2154, which would have created private road maintenance agreements by fiat, allowing one person to perform whatever upgrades he wants on a private easement owned by another party and charge all others with rights to use the same easement a proportionate share of the costs.
Why did she introduce such a bill? Because fellow precinct committeeman, Jerry Freeman, who lives next door to and shares an easement with Sonoran News Publisher/Editor Don Sorchych, sued Sorchych to try to get him to pay for improvements he made to a shared easement that Sorchych neither wanted nor needed to gain access to his own property.
After five years in court with Freeman losing and losing again on appeal, Barto drafted legislation, borrowed loosely from California law, to help Freeman achieve his end goal of forcing Sorchych to pay for his “improvements.”
Fortunately, the Arizona Association of Realtors caught wind of the bill at the 11th hour and SB 2154 did not make it through the finish line.
Then there was SB 1285, which Barto, as Chairman of the Committee on Health and Human Services, facilitated getting passed.
SB 1285 contains provisions that will now allow optometrists to prescribe, dispense and administer macrolides (a family of antibiotics) and antivirals for the treatment of diseases of the eye and its appendages, which includes the eyelids, muscles and soft tissue.
The practice of optometry traditionally involves examining the eye for prescription and dispensing of corrective lenses and detection and non-surgical management of certain limited eye diseases.
Jeff Gray, legislative liaison for the Arizona Ophthalmological Society spoke in opposition to the bill during the committee hearing, stating testimony was previous provided that “shingles, and ocular shingles, in particular, is a systemic disease that impacts other parts of the body,” referencing a recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, which confirmed a link between shingles and stroke.
While the bill was in the Senate, Gray said, “The medical community was asked to document and show evidence that patients in other states have been hurt by having this prescribing authority for optometrists.” He explained there is no formal reporting mechanism in place for complications that arise from this prescribing authority. However, Gray said there was anecdotal evidence, such as testimony provided by Rep. Russ Jones that he had a condition, which was misdiagnosed by an optometrist as pink eye.
Dr. Thomas F. Moore, who is also chairman of the Ophthalmologists’ Political Action Committee, commented on the passage of SB 1285 and said it “unfortunately expanded the ‘scope of practice’ for optometrists to include oral antiviral medications for which they do not have the proper education or clinical training,” adding, “Nancy Barto, as Chairman of the House Health Committee, had a significant role in this effort.”
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Barto Floor Amendment to HB 2725 dealing with school districts’ expenditure of remaining bond proceeds, written expressly for the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD).
The amendment, which passed as part of the omnibus bill, states:
“Notwithstanding section 15-491, subsection J, Arizona Revised Statutes or any other law, when nine years or more have passed since an election that authorized a school district to issue bonds, the school district may choose to use the proceeds of any bonds authorized at that election on any necessary capital improvement, provided that the school district’s governing board votes to authorize the proposed use of the bond proceeds prior to June 30, 2013.”
As Sonoran News has previously reported, CCUSD’s governing board voted in 2006 to issue $15 million in bonds approved by voters in 2000 for the purpose of building a new high school. However, when the board voted to issue the bonds, they had no plan in mind for a new high school, but issued the bonds because they were about to expire in November 2006.
Although legal counsel cautioned the board against issuing bonds without a plan for the proceeds, the board voted to issue the bonds anyway.
Sonoran News also explained that CCUSD, which was required to have the project substantially completed within three years, could fall afoul of IRS regulations, including rendering the bonds taxable.
Four years have passed and there are no plans to build a new high school and there’s been at least one executive session regarding their predicament.
After learning the district went to Barto for help, we found her floor amendment to HB 2725 that usurps the will of the voters, rewards the district for fiscal irresponsibility and created a law that applies to only to CCUSD.
Barto’s legislation basically negates the purpose of holding bond elections, if the governing board can simply violate the will of the voters by deciding to use the funds for any other purpose, providing it waits long enough to be in violation of IRS regulations.