Monday, February 25, 2019

The Blue Wave for February 25, 2019

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A weekly legislative update from the Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus

Volume 1, Issue 6
Monday, February 25, 2019

Top Stories

Senator Jamescita Peshlakai currently has five bills that are moving through the system, which is unfortunately quite unusual for a Democrat in this legislature. Her bills are:
  • SB 1266, which passed out of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee unanimously, would appropriate $2 million for remedial education in Fiscal Year 2020 to the Governor's Office on Tribal Relations for distributions to the Dine College Board of Regents.
  • SB 1268 passed out of the Finance Committee and would increase the annual local sales tax revenues distributed to Navajo Technical University by $1 million each year from Fiscal Year 2020 to Fiscal Year 2027.
  • SB 1270, passed unanimously out of the Education Committee, would authorize an annual transfer of up to $1 million from lottery proceeds to fund five full-time employees for the Arizona Department of Education's Office of Indian Education.
  • Senate Joint Resolutions 1002 and 1003 would rename five portions of highways to honor our Native American veterans:
    • U.S. Route 89 between Utah and Flagstaff would be designated the "Native American Veterans Highway."
    • The portion of State Highway 264 that crosses through the Navajo Nation would be designated the "Navajo Code Talker Highway" and the portion that crosses through the Hopi Nation would be designated "Hopi Code Talker Highway."
    • U.S. Route 160 between New Mexico and its junction with U.S. Route 89 would be designated the "Native American Women Veterans Highway."
    • U.S. Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman would be designated the "Hualapai Veterans Highway."
Hear more about Senator Peshlakai's bills in this week's Canyonside Chat:
This week's episode of Canyonside Chats features Senator Jamescita Peshlakai discussing her five bills that are moving through the system this session. Hosted by Senator Victoria Steele.

Crossover Week

This is Crossover Week at the legislature, which is when bills that passed out of their originating chamber move over to the opposite chamber to begin the process again there. Last week was the final week to hear Senate bills in Senate committees (except for a few this week in Appropriations Committee), so next week we will begin hearing House bills in our committees and the House will begin hearing Senate bills in their committees.

If you want to know how to track legislation and comment on them, the Arizona Mirror produced a good video explainer on how to do that. View it here:
Arizona Mirror: How to register your opinion at the Arizona State Capitol

“Bipartisan” bill count

Senate bills heard in committee through last week:
Republican: 293
Democratic: 23

The Week Ahead

Democratic bills being heard this week:
SB 1266 Diné college; appropriation (Sen. Peshlakai)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Appropriates $2 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to the Governor's Office on Tribal Relations for distribution to Diné College for remedial education.
SB 1373 appropriation; Maricopa community college district (Sen. Navarrete)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Appropriates $2 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to the Maricopa County Community College District.
SB 1424 youth entrepreneurship; appropriation; pilot program (Sen. Quezada)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Appropriates $1 million from the Arizona Competes Fund in Fiscal Year 2020 to the Arizona Commerce Authority to fund the Youth Entrepreneurship Pilot Program.
SB 1477 appropriation; best land management practices (Sen. Otondo)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Expands and extends the program to remove hazardous vegetative natural products on public lands. Appropriates $4 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to the State Forester to implement the program.
Troublesome bills this week:
SB 1161S/E NOW: school facilities; revisions (Sen. Borelli)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Requires the School Facilities Board to list vacant or partially vacant buildings that are suitable for school operations. Outlines prohibitions for sale and leases of school district buildings and prohibits rent increases for a tenant that is a public school from exceeding the lesser of 2% or the rate of inflation.
SB 1163 NOW S/E sports betting; tribes; liquor establishments (Sen. Borelli)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Allows authorized Native American tribes to operate sports betting through kiosks or similar machines located in a business that has either a bar license, beer and wine license or private club license and prohibits any other entity from doing so. 
SB 1472 TPT; use tax; education; distribution (Sen. E. Farnsworth)
Appropriations Committee - Tuesday afternoon

Increases the appropriation to the Classroom Site Fund to $300 million, which decreases the Prop 301 allocation for other Prop 301 beneficiaries.

News Clips

Should Arizona employers and landlords get to ask about your criminal history?

The way state Sen. Martín Quezada sees it, people with criminal records have two options when they reach a job-application box asking if they've been convicted of a felony. Neither is good."They can either lie on that application, which never turns out well, or they can be honest, and … those applications are often discarded," Quezada, D-Glendale, said.

Arizona Senate committee passes third iteration of DNA bill

"This bill started out including so many groups," Sen. Lisa Otondo, D-Yuma, said. "I saw it shrink and I saw it shrink and I saw it shrink. Now we're looking at a bill with merely representation by the vendor. There's a certain discomfort I have with this bill."

'Bad-Ass Grandmas' say Arizona is skimping on their grandchildren

A bill introduced by state Sen. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix, would boost the monthly stipend for kinship care to $250, from $75. Senate Bill 1391 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on an 8-0 vote.

Arizona Moves To Regulate Peer-To-Peer Car Rentals

“If you're going to use it as a commercial vehicle, there should be something that states that you have maintained that vehicle,'' he said. Contreras added that people have different ideas of what is sufficient on things like tire tread.“Just because they ride their family in there does not mean that they care,'' he said.

Bills to extend aid to poor Arizona families fail to get hearings

Senator Rebecca Rios, who sponsored Senate Bill 1501, said Arizona continues to be stingy and entrenched in a “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality” instead of trying to change its high poverty rate by better helping its citizens.

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