Monday, March 4, 2019

The Blue Wave for March 4, 2019

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A weekly legislative update from the Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus

Volume 1, Issue 7
Monday, March 4, 2019

Top Stories

Bills moving!

We currently have 13 bills that have been passed out of the Senate and hope to have another four out of the chamber soon.

Among those bills, Senator Lisa Otondo currently has two bills that are moving through the legislature. They are:
  • Senate Bill 1476, which would create the Agricultural Workforce Development Program that would help agricultural businesses hire interns through partial reimbursement of internship costs. It appropriates $275,000 to the Department of Agriculture to implement the program.
  • Senate Bill 1477, which would expand and extend our existing program to remove vegetation on public lands that is hazardous for reasons that it either poses a fire hazard or a threat to our watersheds. It also helps facilitate the development of industries that make use of the wood products removed through this program. The bill appropriates $4 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to the State Forester to implement the program.
Hear more about Senator Otondo's bills in this week's Canyonside Chat:
This episode of Canyonside Chats features Senator Lisa Otondo discussing her two bills that are moving through the system this session. Hosted this week by Senator Victoria Steele.
"No Promo Homo" Repeal is Dead

Senator Martin Quezada has for years introduced legislation to repeal the state's "No promo homo" law, which bans any mention of homosexuality in school sexual education classes. As with previous years, Republicans refused to grant it a hearing and it's now dead until next year. Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini shared his thoughts on the death of Senator Quezada's bill:
What do Arizona's Republican lawmakers have against gay kids?

Opinion: Arizona's sex education law was passed at a time of prejudice and ignorance toward the LGBTQ community that we should be over by now. Why aren't we?

“Bipartisan” bill count

The final tally of Senate bills heard in the Senate:
Republican: 311
Democratic: 27

While Democrats hold 43 percent of seats in the Senate, our bills only account for 7.9 percent of bills heard.

The Week Ahead

Democratic bills being heard this week:
SB 1474 POW/MIA flag; display (Sen. Contreras)
House Military & Veterans Affairs Committee - Monday afternoon

Allows the prisoner of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) flag to be displayed on or in front of court buildings on any day when the U.S. flag is displayed.
Troublesome bills this week:
HCM 2005 national monument designation; opposition (Rep. Griffin)
Natural Resources and Energy Committee - Wednesday afternoon

Urges Congress to not designate the Great Bend of the Gila River and the surrounding areas as a national monument. 
HB 2038 expenditure reporting; hosted event (Rep. Kavanagh)
Judiciary Committee - Thursday, 9 a.m.

Reduces what lobbyists are required to disclose when spending money to entertain legislators.

News Clips

AZ Senate Panel Approves Tax Exemption for Military Pensions

"I just do not feel that particularly that someone who's getting a $40,000-a-year pension needs this,'' she said. And Alston said that, once here, they then can go on to make $100,000 in a high-tech job in the private sector. Yet at the same time, she said, Arizona is looking for money to improve teacher salaries, saying many start their career at $25,000 a year.

Arizona Bill Would Restrict Emergency Voting Centers

Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada said the state should be looking for ways to make it easier for voters to cast a ballot. "I think these are unnecessary barriers," Quezada said. "We should be looking to modernize our system. This goes in the opposite direction."

Highlights From Last Week

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