Well, this week is definitely going to be interesting.
I appreciate your support – please consider a contribution today as we get ready for the 2018 campaign. I’m already knocking on doors and working towards re-election – I need your help for what will be the most contested state senate race in Arizona!
Yes, this week should be one of the more interesting ones we’ve had this session. As many of you know, the debate over the budget intensified after teachers and educators voted to walk out this Thursday – putting additional pressure on the governor and legislative leadership to craft a budget and an overall plan that supports our educators and our schools.
After the governor announced his twenty percent plan a week and a half ago, a funny thing happened: House Republicans were upset because they were working on their OWN budget, and it differed significantly from the governor’s. Upset with the governor, they decided they weren’t going to support this new plan, and it culminated with the governor vetoing ten bills late last week. All ten bills were ones introduced by House Republicans. Payback, perhaps?
Yesterday was filled with official meetings and unofficial conversations with members on both sides of the aisle – a hectic and intense day, for sure. We all want to support our educators and restore funding for our schools, but there is a lot of disagreement about how we get there. Where will the funding come from, and how much? Should we support just teachers, or all educators? And can we trust the revenue projections coming from the governor’s office for future years?
We all want to agree to a long-term solution before Thursday. Will we get there? It remains to be seen. I, as always, stand ready to work in a bipartisan way with both the governor and legislative leadership on solutions. My door will always be open, but bipartisanship requires BOTH sides to put partisanship aside for the greater good of the state. It’s up to the governor now to decide if he wants to do the same.
An update on the school safety bill, SB 1519. The bill was assigned to the Senate Commerce and Public Safety committee, which I am a member of. We heard the bill in committee on Thursday last week, and I ultimately voted no after a roughly four hour hearing.
This bill is not perfect. There are some good pieces in there, like the STOP orders that allow a process to take place for firearms to be removed from someone if they constitute a severe threat to people around them. There are school safety measures in place that would help make our schools safer.
There also many things NOT included that many of my colleagues wanted to see, like universal background checks, a closing of the “gun show loophole,” a ban on bump stocks, and stronger protections for victims of domestic violence. None of those provisions are in the bill.
One of the ideas included in the original bill was my bill introduced earlier this year, SB 1391, on suicide prevention training. The vast majority of the text from my bill was included in this plan, which I was very grateful for. Unfortunately, a last minute amendment was added to the bill which gutted the suicide prevention training language: instead of schools having to require the training for personnel, it was changed to say that schools “may” require the training. So in other words, it gutted it completely.
I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to my colleagues, urging them to reconsider and add the “shall” language back to the bill. We also had several people testify in committee about why the training is important, and I think that clearly made an impact on my fellow committee members.
So I’m working to try to get the language added back in. This is a very important issue for my district, and my constituents. Other than the budget, this is the issue I’m spending the most time on right now at the capitol.
A special thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday this past Saturday. And of course, many of you know me too well, and know that I wouldn’t take a relaxing day off, even though it was on a Saturday this year! No, I spent my day knocking on doors (105, to be exact), and attended four separate community events in the district, including two great plays I attended, one at Aprende Middle School and the other at Corona del Sol High School.
I’m not taking a day off until after the election, because I know how important this race is for our state and the issues we care about!
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,