Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Blue Wave for Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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A weekly legislative update from the Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus

Volume 1, Issue 17
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Top Stories

Homelessness in Arizona

Homelessness in Arizona is a serious problem. According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, there are thousands of Arizonans experiencing homelessness, including families, veterans and youth. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reported almost 25,000 public school students experienced homelessness during the 2016-2017 school year.

The State of Arizona has a State Housing Trust Fund, which provides grants to help with everything from rents all the way to financing for the development of affordable permanent and transitional rental housing units. Much of its money goes to Arizona non-profits that do a wonderful job helping our homeless population, but for many years the Legislature has cut its funding so much that those non-profits cannot provide their desperately needed services. That's why Democrats have made it a priority that this year's budget include a sizable investment in the State Housing Trust Fund.
 
Watch this week's Canyonside Chat on this issue with Senator Rebecca Rios and Senator Lela Alston to learn more about homelessness in Arizona and why it's so important:
In this week's episode, Senator Lela Alston explains why homelessness in Arizona is a problem and what the state can do to help. Hosted by Senator Rebecca Rios.

“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

New Arizona law requires teachers to get suicide prevention training
The Mitch Warnock Act, sponsored by Senator Sean Bowie, requires teachers to be trained to look for the warning signs of suicide in an effort to prevent teens from taking their own lives.

Arizona lawmakers sound off on rise of school shootings

"As a mother, as a legislator, I'm scared to death," Democratic Senator Rebecca Rios said. Rios said bills asking for universal background checks, closing the so-called gun show loophole and funding for more school counselors and resource officers have gone nowhere.

A bill to make lemonade Arizona's state drink passes after a teen lobbies for it. (Gun legislation, also lobbied for by teens, went nowhere)

Mendez, a Democrat, said that there was "an insulting contrast" between the trajectories of the two student-led bills. "There's a saying, 'Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.'" he said. "It's the same way with powerlessness. It corrupts too. This contributes to why the youth are so jaded."

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