Legislative Alert for June 20th, 2021

Happy Father’s Day!

Friends, the legislative session is still ongoing but there hasn’t been much activity due to a Special Session to deal with Wildland Fire issues.  In this alert we won’t list the multiple bills that are DEAD, that is bills that have died in the legislative session.  There is no agreement on the budget so we must continue to address our concerns with the bills that impact state funding, especially contacting our legislators that we are against a Flat Tax that will reduce government funding especially to cities and counties by 1.9 Billion dollars. New bills can still be introduced so we must continue to be diligent in our efforts to get our legislators to do what is best for the people of Arizona.  We’ll address some issues below.

-“Dead Bills” are no longer being considered but could be brought back to the floor as new bills before the end of the legislative session.  Most are likely dead and won’t be reconsidered.

-Stalled Bills- “Stalled” means the bill was actively being considered when the Legislature took a recess and could be revived when they come back into session.

Remember, an easy way to contact any elected representatives: RESISTBOT allows you to text to 50409 and message “Resist” and it will take you to a simple process to let your representatives know what you think. Please share this with your friends.

The “Fraudit” is ongoing and we can’t wait to hear the results.  Prepare yourselves to make immediate comments when the “results” are shared.

The Budget is in limbo with the Governor vetoing almost 30 bills until he gets the Flat Tax he wants.  We must tell our legislators NO Flat Tax. One Republican, David Cook, voted with the Democrats to keep it from passing.  This will hurt cities and counties across the state by reducing state funding to these entities!!!!! Public Safety, city utilities, etc. are greatly impacted!! 

Our friends at Save Our Schools Arizona are promoting a Budget Watch and “pack the House gallery” to show legislators we’re paying attention–sign up for updates HERE.

Here is the contact information for our Legislators:

SENATE:

LD 6 – Wendy Rogers 602-926-3042

LD 7 – Jamescita Peshlakai 602-926-3160

President Karen Fann 602-926-5874

Majority Ldr Rick Gray 602-926-5413

HOUSE:

LD 6 – Walt Blackman 602-926-3043

LD 6 – Brenda Barton 602-926-3421

LD 7 – Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren 602-926-3069

LD 7 – Myron Tsosie 602-926-3157

Speaker Russell Bowers 602-926-3128

Majority Ldr Ben Toma 602-926-3298 BTOMA @azleg.gov

In putting together this synopsis, I’ve left out the Dead bills and those vetoed by the governor. Some of those may very well return so we need to keep a heads up.  I’ve identified all of the stalled bills below. Thank you in advance for sharing anything I’ve missed.

Don Howard

Criminal Justice

SB1526 – SUPPORT– Provides provisions for incarcerated women including visitation rights, hygiene products, etc.  Passed the senate 28-0 but was among the bills vetoed by Ducey.  The key provisions have been reintroduced.  Wait and see……..

Education

HB 2427 – OPPOSE – Public education groups are united against this bill that allows open enrollment even when a school is at capacity which means a school can’t prioritize seats for resident students.

SB 1783 – OPPOSE – Significantly reduces money raised by Proposition 208 which voters passed.  Estimated reduction of 527 million dollars. Provides tax cuts to small businesses to reduce this funding.

SB 1135 – OPPOSE – This increases tax deductions for 529 educational savings plans. This immediately reduces general fund dollars for public education. These dollars are also made available for use for private school tuition.

SB 1273 – OPPOSE – Greatly expands School Tuition Tax Credits.  Why do republicans want to continue to undermine public schools?????

SB 1452 – OPPOSE – This huge expansion of the Educational Assistance Program provides for an increase in vouchers to approximately 2/3rds of all Arizona school children.  It is another example of how the legislature wants to drain the Prop 208 funding. This moves a great amount of funding from public to private schools.  

Environment

HB 2248 – OPPOSE – Removes the authority of the Arizona Corporation Commission to regulate electric generation resources and moves the authority to the legislature.  The 16 republicans in the senate and the 31 in the house want to control all things!!!

Governance 

HB 2014 – OPPOSE – This is a “deregulation bill” that increases the power of the governor  to overrule state agencies’ decisions. The governor could void and rules or polices made by a state government agency.

Guns

HB 2840 – OPPOSE – Exempts from the law carrying a firearm onto school grounds if it is locked in a vehicle and the owner has a concealed weapons license (CWL).

HB-2551 – OPPOSE – Permits people with a CWL to bring guns into libraries, government offices, marches street fairs, generally any public setting even if asked to turn in the firearm for safe storage.

Safety Net

SB 1514 – SUPPORT – Allocates 5 million dollars to Dept. of Security for converting a hotel into an emergency shelter for homeless adults 55 years of age and older.

Democracy

HB 2309 – OPPOSE – Anti-protester bill. Creates Class 6 felony if seven or more people gather with “conduct constituting an unlawful assembly”.  Police would have discretion in making this interpretation and an arrested individual has to be held for 12 hours! 

Religion and Politics

HB 2648 – OPPOSE- Provides for religious organizations to remain open when the governor has declared an emergency.

Taxes

SCR 1024 – OPPOSE- Would amend the Arizona constitution to require any citizens’ initiative that raises taxes to pass by a 2/3rds vote.  This is the legislatures response to the passage of Prop. 208.

SB 1118 – OPPOSE – Weakens public school funding by greatly increasing tax credit donations to ESAs, Educational Scholarship Accounts.  Another response to Prop 208.

SB 1260 – The bill allows disabled veterans to be exempt from paying state property taxes.  While it does decrease tax funding it supports disabled veterans so you can make your recommendation.

SB 1041 – OPPOSE – Quadruples over three years the School Tax Credit (STO) from 5 to 20 million. And ties in an automatic 2% yearly increase.  Another bill to reduce public school funding.

SB 1273 – OPPOSE – Another expansion of the STO with a long new list of deductions.  The legislature continues to undermine public school funding at every turn!

Voting

SB 1713 – OPPOSE – Requires voter ID on affidavit for every early vote sent in.  Ballot must be folded in a certain way to protect privacy. Terrible bill that makes voting much more difficult.

SB 1531 – OPPOSE – Requires petition circulators to read aloud the entire language of an initiative, referendum or constitutional amendment.   Currently circulators can read just the summary of the proposal.  Another way to subvert our democracy.

HB 2792 – OPPOSE – Makes it a Class 5 felony to send a ballot to anyone who does not explicitly requests one.

HCR 2001 – OPPOSE – Requires that an initiative be limited to one specific topic. This is driven by legislators who oppose citizens’ initiatives

HCR 2016 – OPPOSE – Asks voters to change the Arizona Constitution to require any ballot measure, (initiative, referendum constitutional amendment) `to be passed by 55% of the vote.
SB 1106 – OPPOSE – This bill is aimed at college students.  It makes it a Class 5 felony to register someone to vote who “has no intent to remain in Arizona”. The penalty for this is up to 2 years in prison.

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