COCONINO COUNTY DEMOCRATS ARIZONA LEGISLATIVE ALERT
January 23, 2023
Here is a link from Civic Engagement beyond voting explaining various bills going through the state legislature https://cebv.substack.com/p/cebv-weekly-january-23-2023
Some highlights include:
Spotlight Bill 1: Attack on Direct Democracy
SCR1002 would ask voters to restrict their own direct democracy powers by requiring a 60% supermajority vote for constitutional amendments. It’s extra dangerous, because it wouldn’t go to the governor. All that’s needed is for both Republican-controlled chambers to pass the measure, and it heads to the 2024 ballot without an opportunity for Gov. Hobbs to veto it.
Functionally, voter passage of last year’s Prop 132 now means a 60% supermajority vote on all citizen’s initiatives: our current Arizona Supreme Court will likely rule it applies to every initiative in a case wending its way through the courts right now. This leaves constitutional amendments as the only remaining avenue for a ballot measure to pass with 50.1% of the vote. In other words, as long as supporters collect the higher number of signatures required to qualify the measure as a constitutional amendment, a simple majority vote at the ballot is all that’s needed. But SCR1002 closes that door.
Arizona has passed many ballot measures with less than 60% approval. The 1982 “motor voter” initiative allows people to register to vote at the DMV when they get a driver’s license. In 2006, we banned smoking indoors. More recently, we increased the minimum wage and approved more funding for public schools. Under Prop 132, none of these would have become law — and in our hyper-polarized political world, very few issues on either side of the aisle can muster 60%+ support.
SCR1002 is scheduled for Senate Elections Committee, Monday. Use RTS and contact the committee to OPPOSE.
Spotlight Bill 2: More Vouchers?!
Thought Arizona’s voucher programs were as big as they could get? Think again! HB2504 would expand eligibility for school tuition organization (STO) vouchers to students in foster care. This marks a return to voucher-pushers’ strategy of exploiting sympathetic populations in order to line private pockets with taxpayer dollars.
STOs are Arizona’s first vouchers: dollar-for-dollar tax credits to private schools that result in significantly less money for public schools. Since the STO voucher program’s creation, Arizona has lost out on over $2.1 billion in funding that would have otherwise gone into the general fund for use on all state priorities, including public education. The program has a contemptible record of being misused to line its founders’ pockets. Meanwhile, even after last year’s investments, our state’s public school funding remains in the bottom 5 nationwide.
HB2504 is scheduled for House Education Committee, Tuesday. Use RTS and contact the committee to OPPOSE.
Spotlight Bill 3: Criminalizing Homelessness
HB2284 would create state-funded “tent cities” for individuals experiencing homelessness, and bans unhoused people from camping or storing property outside those areas. It would also ban “unauthorized sleeping” on state land, even as rising rents are pushing people to do so. The sponsor introduced a similar bill last year, which would have forced cities to enforce unconstitutional ordinances and instead accept state funding for “sanctioned encampments.”
Arizona has one of the worst homelessness crises in the nation. This bill segregates and criminalizes people without addressing the root causes of the crisis: “a vicious mix of inflation, stagnant wages, limited housing, and skyrocketing rent.” People experiencing homelessness need care, not more trauma. Opposed by the AZ Public Health Association and the City of Phoenix. Why not invest instead in the Housing Trust Fund (see HB2256 below) or one of these other, better options?
HB2284 is scheduled for House Health & Human Services Committee, Monday. Use RTS and contact the committee to OPPOSE.
Here is the contact information for our Legislators:
LD 1 – Ken Bennett 602-926-5874
LD 7 – Wendy Rogers 602-926-3042
LD 6 – Theresa Hatathlie 602-926-5160
President Warren Petersen 602-926-4136
Majority Ldr Sonny Borrelli 602-926-5031
Minority Ldr Raquel Teran 602-926-3308
LD 1 – Selina Bliss 602-926-4018
LD 1 – Quang Nguyen 602-926-3258
LD 7 – David Cook 602-926-5162
LD 7 – David Marshall 602-926-3579
LD 6 – Mae Peshlakai 602-926-3708
LD 6 – Myron Tsosie 602-926-3157
Speaker Ben Toma 602-926-3298
Majority Ldr Leo Biasiucci 602-926-3018
Minority Ldr Andres Cano 602-926-3027
E-Mail Contact for Governor Katie Hobbs:
NOTE: Some of the following bills are eligible for RTS (that is, they are scheduled for committee review) and some are not. The RTS eligible bills will be indicated below. For those not RTS eligible, you can still record your opinion via the MY BILL POSITIONS menu option in the RTS System. This is known as RTS 2.0 – these will be identified below as well.
SB 1001 – Kavanagh (R-3) – OPPOSE – The bill would ban teachers from using a student’s chosen pronoun without parental written permission. Kids dealing with personal identity confusion need all the help they can get. They are very susceptible to suicide. The support exhibited by using their preferred
pronoun lowers that suicide risk. USE RTS.
SB 1040 – Kavanagh (R-3) – OPPOSE – Would ban trans kids from using the school bathrooms, changing facilities and “sleeping quarters” that align with their gender identity. Allows anyone to sue. Previous
legislation like this has been found to be unconstitutional – this will lead to serious legal challenges that will need to be defended at tax-payer expense. USE RTS.
HB 2351 – Contreras (D-12) – SUPPORT – Would ban health care professionals from using the abusive, discredited practice of “conversion therapy” on minors. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association oppose this “therapy”. USE RTS 2.0 GOVERNANCE
SB 1011 – Kavanagh (R-3) – OPPOSE – Would make municipal elections, mayors and city council, partisan starting in 2024. Clearly a partisan attempt to sway local elections. Use RTS.
SB 1021 – Kavanagh (R-3) – OPPOSE – Would require the Attorney General to defend all laws passed by the legislature against all legal challenges. Clearly an attempt to limit the discretion of the newly elected Democratic Attorney General. USE RTS
HB 2059 – Diaz (R-19) – OPPOSE – Would stifle public protests by creating ill defined “crimes” that could be charges with serious felony penalties for very minor offenses. Extends penalties to city employees who don’t respond “appropriately”. USE RTS.
HB 2061 – Biasiucci (R-30) – OPPOSE – Would ban cities from charging sales taxes on food items. This is a purely local issue and should not be legislated in Phoenix. This could have drastic impacts on local
budgets without their input. USE RTS
SB 1013 – Kavanagh (R-3) – OPPOSE – Would eliminate “free speech” zones on college campuses – allowing anyone who is present to protest anywhere on campus. This could result in protests in the classrooms and other sensitive areas – crating safety issues. Being pushed by the Goldwater Institute –
enough said. Use RTS
HB 2071 – Terech (D-4) – SUPPORT – Would ban the use of corporal punishment in schools. USE RTS 2.0
HB 2154 – Seaman (D-16) – SUPPORT – Would cap School Tuition Organization (STO) administration costs at 5% – This private school voucher program currently allows these for-profit organizations to claim 10% of program costs for admin! USE RTS 2.0
HB 2137 – Salman (D-8) – SUPPORT – Would expand eligibility for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (KidsCare) – to low income families making $69,000 per year or less. Over 30,000 Arizona kids don’t have health care! USE RTS 2.0
HB 2141 – Salman (D-8) – SUPPORT – Would require Arizona’s Medicaid program to provide comprehensive dental care for pregnant women ages 21+. This is the sixth consecutive year this has been introduced – time to pass it!! USE RTS 2.0
SUPPORT FOR THE DISADVANTAGED
HB 2256 – Cano (D-20) – SUPPORT – Would increase Arizona’s investment in the Housing Trust Fund to $150 million. The fund provides housing for people experiencing homelessness. Clearly Arizona needs more affordable housing. USE RTS 2.0Share this: