Monday, April 8, 2019

The Blue Wave for Monday, April 8, 2019

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A weekly legislative update from the Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus

Volume 1, Issue 12
Monday, April 8, 2019

Top Stories

It's budget time - here's what you need to know

Committees have finished hearing bills here at the legislature and that means it's time to work on passing a state budget for the next fiscal year. A budget determines how your hard-earned tax dollars will be spent on specific programs, such as education, public safety, public health, economic security, etc. Our state's budget is also a reflection of the legislature and governor's priorities.

You'd think something so hugely important, which affects every single Arizona resident, would be a result of broad stakeholder and lawmaker input. Sadly, that hasn't been the case in the last decade but we hope that will change this year.

Watch this week's Canyonside Chat with two members of our Appropriations Committee to learn how the budget process really works and how it used to be - and is supposed to be - a transparent process done in the best interest of the state:
Senators Lisa Otondo and Lela Alston explain how the budget process currently works in contrast with how it's supposed to work in this week's Canyonside Chat.

“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.

News Clips

Senator Sean Bowie joined host Ted Simons and colleague Representative Reginald Bolding on Arizona Horizon to discuss the latest news at the Arizona Legislature. Click to watch the show

Bills making their way through Arizona Legislature stipulates $3 mil in remediation funding for Diné College

“Another good day for (AZ LD7),” Peshlakai commented, referencing her governing district. “Senate Bill 1266 moves forward out of the Senate to go through the same process in the (AZ) House in coming months. Thank you to staff for tireless work and members for your favorable votes. Let’s pray to keep this going for the governor’s signature. Great and tireless work by Diné College President Monty Roessel, the Board of Regents and the Diné College staff. Peshlakai is Navajo and a graduate of Northern Arizona University and a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War.

Census kick-off focuses on funding, schools, political representation

“There’s a lot at stake with the census,” said Sen. Martin Quezada, co-sponsor of SB 1424, during the House Appropriations Committee meeting on Thursday.  “If they (other states) get an accurate count, a higher count and we get a lesser count, that’s money that Arizona will sacrifice to other states.”

A bill addresses political speech and the classroom

Sen. Lisa Otondo (D-04), who voted against the bill, called it an “attack” on public school teachers. “What happened here last year did not have to do with party,” Otondo said of the Red for Ed movement. “It had to do with the state that did has not taken seriously the need for an increase in teachers’ salary, and holding teachers up to the level of respect they deserve.”

Some Arizona Lawmakers Want Less Regulations And Restrictions On Landlords

"I do believe that a lot of these issues are best dealt with at the local level where city council members know the unique needs. They know the unique situations that their residents are dealing with, particularly with landlord-tenant issues," Sen. Martin Quezada said.

Have a criminal record? Arizona employers can still ask about it on job applications

Bad news if you're a job-hunter with a record: An effort to remove the felony-conviction checkbox from job applications this year appears dead at the Legislature. Sen. Martín Quezada, D-Glendale, had wanted Arizona to join the string of states that recently passed so-called "Ban the Box" laws, which aim to give convicted felons who've served their time a more equal shot at open positions.

Highlights from Last Week

Senator Tony Navarrete visited Phoenix's Carl Hayden High School teachers and students as part of "Take Your Senator to School."
Senator Andrea Dalessandro visited Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita as part of “Take Your Senator to School”.

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