Lobbyist Cathi Herrod Gets Special Access at the Capitol, According to a Former Lawmaker

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Matthew Hendley


Well before the controversy over Senate Bill 1062, there were complaints that Center for Arizona Policy lobbyist Cathi Herrod's power at the Capitol essentially made her an unelected lawmaker.

In recent weeks, activists have protested at Herrod's office, complaining that it certainly appears that Herrod, an unelected lobbyist, has too much power. According to a former lawmaker, that's how it appears behind the scenes, too.

See also:
-See the Other Laws Being Pushed by the Force Behind Arizona's SB 1062
-SB 1062 Protesters Demand Apology From Lobbyist Cathi Herrod

"Every time there was one of her bills on the floor of the Senate, she would be wandering around the second floor unescorted [where the entrance to the Senate floor is] -- which you never see," former Democratic Senator David Schapira tells New Times.

Schapira says not even former legislators-turned-lobbyists get that kind of access.

He adds that Herrod would wait outside the door leading to the offices, waiting for lawmakers to go in and out, so she could get inside. He says he complained about it, but nothing was done.

Schapira was the Senate Minority Leader from 2011 to 2013 but ended up making a run for U.S. Congress in 2012, placing second to now-Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema in the Democratic primary in Congressional District 9.

During his last term in the Legislature, Schapira got a good look at Herrod's power.

He proposed a bill that strengthened laws surrounding bullying reporting and policies in public schools, as well as charter schools. That bill was passed by the Senate, which is no easy task, especially for a Democrat up against a Republican majority.

However, the bill was held in the Senate, never getting a chance for a hearing or vote in the House, and thus killing the chances of the bill becoming a law.

Schapira would find out from his colleagues that Herrod had made the case for one Senator to use a rare procedure to hold the bill in the Senate, despite the bill being approved by a majority vote.

Schapira says a Republican lawmaker told him that Herrod said the bill was a "backdoor gay bill, no pun intended."

"She killed my bill by saying it was part of the, quote, gay agenda," he says.

That explanation came despite the fact that there was no mention of the word "gay" or "homosexual" or anything about sexual orientation in the bill. Note that last month, as Herrod was pushing SB 1062 -- a bill widely seen as an effort to discriminate against LGBT people -- she tried to assure everyone that it wasn't anti-gay, because there was no mention of the word "gay" in the bill. Hm.


Given Herrod's special access to legislators, and her apparent power to kill a bill, it might not be incredibly hard to believe that lawmakers quickly passed SB 1062 last month, despite heavy opposition by the public.

Or that last year, twelve of the bills she hustled were passed by the Legislature, three of which were ultimately vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.

It apparently doesn't matter that some of the Center for Arizona Policy's bills make Arizona look like the land of morons, like Arizona's law banning human-animal hybrids, or that some end up costing the taxpayers big-time, like the four anti-abortion bills pushed by CAP that have been overturned by the courts.

Even when Governor Jan Brewer announced in a televised press conference that she was vetoing SB 1062, she firmly stated that the bill was not one of her policy priorities, like passing a budget, or passing one of her many proposed reforms of Child Protective Services.

How did lawmakers respond to that? Within 24 hours, the House had passed a Herrod-backed bill to create another tax break for "religious organizations," which is expected to cost the state up to $2.1 million in 2016.

Within a week, the House passed another one of Herrod's bills, allowing the state health department to do inspections of abortion clinics without a warrant. A very similar law pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy in the late '90s was overturned in court a decade ago, and a legislative attorney said he wasn't sure that this new version wasn't unconstitutional, too. A lawsuit is likely to come.

On Thursday, the day after the House passed that bill, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against the state health department over another one of the 20 Arizona abortion laws pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy -- a law that was passed in 2012, limiting the time-frame in which women can seek abortions, among other things.

The legislators and activists who celebrated the defeat of SB 1062 may have won an important battle, but they're not doing so well in the war.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.


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33 comments
ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

"The legislators and activists who celebrated the defeat of SB 1062 may have won an important battle, but they're not doing so well in the war."  Matt, you are right if you mean the people winning the war are self-destructing the state, its businesses and families.

What has been exposed is the total hypocrisy of these people who have used "religion" for their political "agenda" = politicized religion, politicized the justice system and have given a pass to their corrupt cronies. 

Self-destructing a once fine state, and leaving a shameful legacy in the 21st century leaves no winners. ALL are losers. 

Slavery and the Salem witch hunt never left us. So what group is next, that the religious zealots will be targeting?

Beth King
Beth King

What is the source of Herrod's power?

David Ian
David Ian

Two things you never want to be seen made: 1 sausages 2. Laws. Both are a disgusting process.

Diane D'Angelo
Diane D'Angelo

Good on David Schapira for bringing this up. It's been common knowledge throughout Brewer's term, but prior to SB1062 nobody cared -- especially The Arizona Republic

66rock
66rock topcommenter

Okay this is our House, our State Capitol I believe.  And as the owners, I believe that we, the owners/tax payers, should have the last word on who enters it,just like the homes we live in. 


Maybe it is time for someone who knows how to draft petitions to draft one to circulate for signatures, asking that she be limited to where other public only are allowed and that could probably be written and worded without using her name. 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Arizona politics.. it's not a matter of votes, it's a matter of who you blow

Kevin Apellidoprivado
Kevin Apellidoprivado

All lobbyists are whores - what do you expect one to be doing? Trolling the corner for their next client - we need to BAN lobbying of all levels of government - Federal to County!

Caddie
Caddie

Power to the Sheeple! Ignorant masses that allow money to guide their morals. 

Michael Walker
Michael Walker

The rest of that crowd are paragons of virtue? Really?

robert_graham
robert_graham

If it were a libratrd instead you'd be claiming victory.

toersbijnsc
toersbijnsc

Whether you agree or disagree - the harm has been done - anything from this point on is moot unless these lawmakers choose to make decisions on their own rather than being herded down the chute like mindless cattle and be branded by this lobbyist and related groups; we all know in Arizona, if you are branded, you ride for the brand and do what you are told, say what you told to say and stand in a straight line when it comes to roll call - it's the Arizona's heritage of land barons and other influential persons that make the law here - not like we think it really is even though we have a constitution and statehood unless there is a moral reversal coming real soon?

jeanjb
jeanjb

WELCOME TO OUR VERSION OF MEXICO.........RUN BY ASSBACKWARD WHITE CRACKERS

a new law stating only natural born arizonans can hold public office needs to be passed!(counts me out too)

Dave
Dave

Ironic that this is public knowledge, and nothing is done about it. How long will Arizona let itself be governed by a single, un-elected unrepresentative individual?

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

She must give great blow jobs to be given special access.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@66rock  What sucks is she is ALREADY supposed to be limited to those areas unless escorted.


A petition will do nothing, the same people who are ignoring the rules and allowing this now would simply ignore the petition.


They need to be embarrassed into enforcing the rules

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham  I'm kinda curious Robert, how many chromosomes do you have?? do you have more than the rest of us? you do seem kind of special, so i am betting you do

robert_graham
robert_graham

@jeanjb  Oh so you're a fucking racist? You're just mad because wetbacks can't get their way here.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Cozz    Special access can and should be a no-no. Time for a bill or petition stating that all public are to be limited to same area.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

@Cozz  

I'd rather stick it in a Cuisinart.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham  the correct answer is 47 Robert, you have 47 chromosomes..............the rest of us will just have to make do with 46 i guess. lucky you, you got 47, you must be special

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham you lost all right to call anyone a racist when you finished your post with throwing out the word "wetbacks"

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Pipe down Robert. You're the biggest racist in Arizona. In fact, you're up there next to your hero Joe in terms of being a racist.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@66rock @Cozz  Seems it's already against the rules.  But IDIOTS like Herrod think they are above the rules and the law.


They are simply dirtbags that think their shit don't stink!

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