It was an interesting week at the capitol last week, which means we have a lot to cover!
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The big headline last week was the legislature passing a 20-year extension of Proposition 301, which is a current 0.6% sales tax that goes to fund education. It was due to expire in 2021, and this extension means it will stay in place until 2041.
If you had asked me two weeks if we could have done this, I would have said no. It was without question a good day to get this done, as it does provide some clarity for our local school districts that need to plan their long term budgets. Many of us at the capitol have been calling for us to do this for years, so it’s good to have it done and now focus on what the next step will be to support our schools and our teachers.
I remember discussing this bill, SB 1390, with the bill’s sponsor back in January in her office. A mirror bill had already been introduced in the House, and she wanted to introduce a Senate version. We both wondered whether it be possible to get the 2/3 majority needed to get this through the legislature. We knew the Democrats would be on board, but the question then was whether we could convince at least seven Republican senators to support it as well. We worked together on this, across party lines, and the end result was something to celebrate.
I think the activism we’ve seen from our teachers and educators over the last couple of weeks definitely played a role, too. Last year, and even at the start of this session, many of us at the capitol asked for a Prop 301 extension to go to the polls this fall. But we always knew the governor wouldn’t want this on the ballot at the same time as him, so that was viewed as a non-starter. Maybe 2019, we thought. 2020 was too far away, and if it somehow didn’t pass, that would mean it would expire with nothing in its place, which would have a devastating impact on our schools.
In the end, the vote was not close – a 26-4 margin in the Senate, and a 53-6 margin in the House. Now that Proposition 301 is now out of the way, the question becomes…what comes next?
That’s the question we’ll be asking over the next couple of weeks – this extension does nothing to give our schools and educators more support this upcoming school year or the year after that. Where is the plan to help our schools NOW? Stay tuned.
A few quick updates for the good of the order:
It was very inspiring to attend the March for our Lives rally at the state capitol this past Saturday. About 15,000 people were there, and hearing so many young people speak up about an issue so important to them was amazing to see. If these young people continue to stay involved and get their friends to do the same, their impact on our politics will be felt at the ballot box this November and for years to come.
No update on one of the topics I discussed last week, the governor’s school safety plan. We haven’t seen an actual bill yet, so I’ll reserve judgment until I see the text. But all indications are that the governor doesn’t have the votes currently – many of my colleagues think it doesn’t go far enough, while others don’t want us to do anything at all.
Some good news: my bill to help make emergency communications more accessible for the disability community, SB 1296, passed the House Government committee last week unanimously. Now it’s on to the Rules committee, and then the House floor. One step closer to reaching the governor!
One of my favorite days at the capitol each year is when my friends from TCH (The Centers for Habilitation) visit us. I visit TCH in south Tempe several times each year for community events and to meet with many of my friends there. They visited us last week, and I had the opportunity to have lunch with them and introduce them from the Senate floor. My colleagues and I are always advocating for more support for our developmentally disabled community, and I’m so proud to have a great facility like TCH in LD18!
Thank you for reading, and for your support – as always, the best way to show your support for the campaign is by helping us make sure we have the resources necessary to win again this November.
Yours in the fight,