Humpday Hall of Shame: Arizona's Andy Biggs

Welcome to The Humpday Hall of Shame – every Wednesday we’ll be high-lighting  the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

Retired attorney and veteran legislator Andy Biggs, Arizona’s Senate Majority Leader, is a powerhouse. He is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary and Government Reform Committees, serves on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Criminal Justice and the Joint Committee on Capital Review. Americans for Prosperity have designated Biggs as a “Champion of the Taxpayer” and the Goldwater Institute has honored him as a “Friend of Liberty.”

In 1993, Biggs won $10 million in the American Family Sweepstakes. His windfall, however, hasn’t made him sympathetic to those less fortunate. 

Biggs sponsored a bill, which would evict all residents from public housing facilities, if anyone living in the unit is an undocumented immigrant. Believing that the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is simply ‘socialized medicine’, he sponsored a bill that would make Arizona the first state to eliminate Medicaid, costing the state $7 billion in Federal aid, closing rural hospitals and depriving hundreds of thousands of Arizonans, more than half children, healthcare. He also worked to eliminate the Arizona Board of Regents.

In his role on the Appropriations Committee, Biggs has been a backer of Arizona’s effort to add 5,000 private prison beds to the state prison system. A series of private prison lobbyists have also been campaign donors to Biggs since at least 2003. According to campaign donations collected by the Arizona Secretary of State, Biggs has received at least $900 in campaign contributions from lobbyists for firms representing private prison interests. Those private prison lobbyists include former CCA lobbyists Paul Senseman, Jr. (now Governor Jan Brewer’s spokesperson) and Jason Isaak, former MTC lobbyist Thomas Dorn, GEO Group lobbyist John P. Kaites.

Senator Biggs cosponsored Arizona SB 1308 & SB 1309, bills that would have created a new concept of Arizona citizenship and undermine the premise and the promise of the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

A child born in Arizona would need at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident in order to receive a birth certificate. State birth records would distinguish between those children denied citizenship at birth and those they label ‘natural born’.

He also co-sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 1035 that submits a constitutional amendment to the voters to establish English as the official language of Arizona. Highlights specify that “a representative of government may not communicate using a language other than English in official actions unless the recipient requests communication or translation relating to a specific official action… and that the request of the recipient does not require the government to use the requested language.”

Lets keep a eye on this sweepstakes winning multi-millionaire and his disdain for poor and working people, his radical right-wing politics and his taste for the Tea Party. We are sure that he will have a leadership role when the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) comes to Phoenix in December.

And, please remember to sign the petition to stop 5,000 new private prison beds in Arizona!

To contact Andy Biggs, 
Majority Leader, write to Senate 
1700 W. Washington, 
Room 200 
Phoenix, AZ 85007
, call (602) 926-4371, or fax (602) 417-3022.

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