The First General Session of Arizona’s 55th Legislature is OVER – for now – these same awful Legislators will get another chance in the Second General Session that begins in January 2022.
Here’s a summary of what this Legislature actually did:
- Allowing excused student absences for mental health reasons – SB 1097 – Bowie, D-18
- Legalizing fentanyl test strips – SB 1486 – Marsh D-28
- Banning most suspensions and expulsions of students in grades PreK – 4 – HB 2123 Udall R-25
- Banning parking vehicles on private driveways and blocking sidewalks HB 2395 – Longdon D-18
- Mandating a sufficient supply of menstrual hygiene products and compassionate care for pregnant inmates – SB 1526 – Navarrete D-30
- Curtail the use of “Hannah Priors” which allows attorneys to prosecute people facing multiple charges related to one crime as repeat offenders, even if they had clean records before – HB 2318 – Toma R-22
NOT SO GOOD:
- Banning voters who don’t sign their early ballot envelope from fixing the problem after Election Day = SB 1003 – Ugenti-Rita R-23
- Declaring any law that “violates the 2nd amendment” to be void – HB 2111 – Biasiucci R-5
- Subjecting lawmaker recall attempts to overly rigorous “strict compliance” – HB 2308 – Kavanagh R-23
- Funding an unregulated “crisis pregnancy” pilot program to push women to religious groups that offer limited service – HB 2404 – Udall R-25
- Creating a “teacher gag rule” to fine public district and charter schools up to $5,000 per infraction for discussing “controversial” subjects with their students – SB 1532 – Udall R25
- Eliminating local school district boundaries and forcing attendance lotteries – SB 1685 Boyer R-20
- Giving parents money for “transportation support grants” to send their kids to schools using untested and unregulated private companies while district busses sit in disrepair – SB 1683 – Boyer R-20
- Tripling the tax credit for 529 vouchers – which are now for K-12 education as well as college – further draining revenue meant for public schools – SB 1135 – Livingston R-22
- Increasing STO vouchers by 35% further defunding public schools – SB 1118 – Leach R-11
- Expanding eligibility and goods for ESA vouchers making it much easier for privatization advocates to recruit children to leave public schools – SB 1452 – Boyer – R-20
- Raising their own per diem pay, giving lawmakers outside Maricopa county a 245% boost for lodging and incidentals – HB 2053 – Gowan R-14
- Prohibition against teacher walk-outs or strikes – HB 2898 K-12 Budget Bill
- Bad Neighbor Bill – makes it harder to sue agricultural industries near housing developments and urban areas for pollution, smell, etc. – SB 1448
- Makes firearms and ammunition stores “essential businesses” and prevents their closure during states of emergency – SB 1382 – Rogers R-6
- Prohibits government entities at any level from requiring contractors to pay the minimum wage – HB 2014
- Allow clergy to visit patients in hospitals without proper training on personal protective equipment or required isolations during pandemics – HB 2575
- Prohibit county recorders from using private funds to support election costs – HB 2569
- Require ballots and publicity pamphlets that contain citizen initiatives to carry a “Prop 108 disclosure” to discourage citizen initiatives – SB 1497 – Ugenti-Rita – R-23
- Ending permanent early voting by kicking voters off the list if they fail to use their early ballots – SB 1485 – Ugenti-Rita R-23
- Banning abortions due to genetic abnormalities, including those incompatible with life, and granting zygotes the same legal rights as fully fledged humans – SB 1457 – Barto R-15
- Draining $300 Million per year from public schools by allowing the rich to file their state income taxes as small businesses – SB 1783 – Mesnard R-17
- Passing the revenue-slashing Flat Tax budget, where 53% of the benefit goes to 0.3% or 9,600, of the Arizona tax filers!!
ITEMS TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS ON THE 2022 BALLOT:
- Weaken the Voter Protection Act by letting lawmakers amend voter approved measures with a simple majority if a court finds that they are illegal or unconstitutional – SCR 1034 – Leach R-11
- Limit initiatives in Arizona to a single subject, making it all but impossible to run comprehensive citizen initiatives in the future – HCR 2001 – Kavanagh – R-23
- Grant in-state college tuition to “Dreamers”, those who attended high school for 2+ years in Arizona and graduated, regardless of immigration status – SCR 1044 -Boyer R-20!
- The “Fraudit” continues with the Maricopa County ballots as required by the AZ Senate. The Arizona Republic has filed a court suit to require the audit group (Cyber Ninjas) to open up its records for public review on the grounds that since they are a contractor for the AZ Senate they are subject to the open records laws.
- HB 2898 – Signed with the budget – is “supposed to” prohibit the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) but really doesn’t – CRT may NOT be something Democrats ought to defend – get informed – the more important issue is that the Legislature should not be dictating what schools should teach.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Take Heart! Take a Breath! Conserve your Energy! Stay Engaged! Don’t Give Up!!
- Write Letters to the Editor – attend the CEBV training on Wednesday July 7 at 5:00 PM via zoom – register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lfuivrz8pHtPUEjp54315jb9LsiYCSJY4 to register.
- ARIZONA DESERVES BETTER group is initiating petitions to void SB 1485 – Ended permanent Early Voting – SIGN THE PETITION!! – go to ARIZONADESERVESBETTER.COM to learn more. The Coconino Democrat office will be getting copies of the petition – more petitions will be coming – we need to sign them in the next 90 DAYS!!
- INVEST IN ARIZONA (previously called INVEST IN ED) will be pushing efforts to challenge new state tax laws via petitions to put on ballot measures on the 2022 ballot – Stay Tuned!
Stay Engaged!! Keep up to date with your city and county governments – all politics is local!!!