As we roll into April, we are nearing the last couple of weeks of legislative session, with still a lot of work left to do before we adjourn.
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With no more committee hearings to speak of, that means we technically have more flexibility when it comes to our Senate calendar. Since last week, we are now doing floor sessions in the mornings on Wednesday and Thursday, with this week even adding a Tuesday morning floor session. These days are less structured than normal session days, when we know exactly what time we’ll be going to the floor each day.
Some days, we go to the floor at 10am, take a break for lunch, and then come back at 1:30pm. Other days, we work for an hour and a half, and then we adjourn for the day. It makes it difficult to schedule your work day!
An update on the governor’s school safety plan: I’ve asked the governor’s office to include language from my suicide prevention bill that I introduced in January, SB 1391, the Mitch Warnock Act. That bill would have required school districts to offer annual suicide prevention training for teachers and counselors in grades 6-12. As many of you know, LD18 has had a large number of teen suicides over the years, and it’s hit our community hard.
My bill did not advance through the legislative process, and I’ve been looking for ways to get the idea moving in some capacity. While I think the governor’s plan could certainly go farther in some areas (like banning bump stocks and strengthening our background check system), adding language about suicide prevention training would be a step in the right direction and help make our schools safer by helping our educators spot the warning signs in teenagers before it’s too late.
As of right know, based on my knowledge, the plan doesn’t have the votes in its current form. I’m happy to be helpful in crafting bipartisan legislation that helps make our schools safer, and I think adding language from my bill would help move the plan in the right direction. As I often say in this space…stay tuned.
There are a lot of rumblings at the capitol right now about an attempt to repeal and replace the voucher expansion bill that narrowly passed the legislature last year, and has since been referred to the November ballot by Save our Schools Arizona. As you’ll remember, I voted no on that bill and it passed the Senate 16-14 and the House 31-29.
If the legislature does nothing, the bill remains on the November ballot as Proposition 305. Both sides have their own polling showing that it will very likely fail – voters don’t like it, and the overall electorate right now is amped up about education funding and the treatment of our public schools and our teachers.
So advocates of the voucher bill want to potentially REPEAL the bill and REPLACE it with something pretty similar – maybe some minor revisions around implementation or some kind of means testing requirement.
I am 100% unequivocally opposed to any kind of repeal and replace gambit with another voucher bill, and I think I speak for a lot of colleagues when I say we are united on that. And I have every confidence that even if that gambit were to be successful, and the replacement passed on party lines, the same education groups would just go right back and repeal the replacement bill.
So where does that leave us? Good question. As always, I am willing to work across the aisle with my Republican colleagues and listen to what they have to say. I want us to restore our investment in our public schools and our teachers, not pass another voucher bill that my constituents don’t want.
We aren’t any closer to having clarity on what will happen with this, but I’ll be keeping my ears open. More to report next week, I hope!
I thoroughly enjoyed my Easter weekend, and spent a lot of time with family and friends. I attended two Easter morning services in our district – the first at Dayspring UMC in Tempe, and the second at my home church, St. James Episcopal in Tempe.
I also attended one of my favorite events of the year – the Ahwatukee Easter Parade. I first marched in the parade when I was a sophomore in high school as a part of our theatre company’s production of Grease (no pictures have survived as far as I know, which may be a good thing!). I love attending the parade every year, and it never stops feeling surreal that I’m now marching in the parade as Ahwatukee’s state senator.
We had about a dozen volunteers join me in the parade to pass out campaign literature and candy to the children along the parade route. I got to ride in a pretty sweet ’57 Thunderbird with a bright pink color!
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,