SB 1 - Update from the Capitol

Greetings! Today marks three weeks since I was sworn in to represent LD18 in the State Senate. Consider this the first of what I hope will be weekly updates from yours truly about how the legislative session is progressing. 

I am leading the fight for our values and our priorities at the state capitol – campaign season is never truly over, as we all know. Please consider a donation today!

People ask me all the time how it’s going, and my reply is usually: it’s busy. Between meetings with staff, constituents, interest groups, colleagues, and committee hearings, it’s a packed schedule each and every day. Most of my week is spent getting ready for my committee hearings and going over bills that will get voted on from the floor. Hundreds of bills have been introduced already, so it can be a challenge keeping up!

I am honored to serve on the Finance Committee and the Commerce and Public Safety Committee. Finance meets on Wednesday’s at 9am, and Commerce and Public Safety meets on Monday’s at 2pm.

Another question I hear quite often: what do you think of Governor Ducey’s budget proposal? My reply – I have read through the budget summary, and I like many parts of it, particularly some of the investments in K-12. My ideal is that we can do more on the higher education side, and that is the message that I am conveying to the Governor's office. As the session continues on, I hope we can move the budget in that direction. Stay tuned!

My favorite part of the job is simply being in the arena, as Teddy Roosevelt once said. It is the greatest honor and privilege of my life to represent my community at the state capitol. Thank you to those of you who supported me along the way – I truly love the new job!

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I have already introduced four bills, with two more to come later today. A brief rundown of the four:

SB 1321 – This bill tackles the issue of “surprise billing,” which happens when you go to the hospital and an out-of-network health care provider is involved in your care at an in-network hospital. This bill asks the state Department of Insurance to produce a report looking at the problem, and providing the public with some much needed information on the extent of the issue and ways that we can better educate the public.

SB 1382 – This is the bill I am most proud of. Arizona is one of 27 states where the LGBT community does not have protections from discrimination at the workplace; this bill would create an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. I am hopeful that some of my moderate Republican colleagues will support this bill, and that we can protect our LGBT friends from workplace discrimination once and for all.

SB 1383 – This bill would create a task force that would review the effectiveness of tax credits embedded in our tax code. The goal here is to take a look at what’s working and see where our taxpayer dollars are going.

SCR 1018 – A resolution, this creates a Speech and Debate Education Day here in Arizona on March 3, 2017. We have several excellent speech and debate schools in LD18, including Desert Vista High School. This would align Arizona with several other states from around the country who are celebrating the day in March.

I have two education bills I will be dropping later today, and they both concern education funding. Both will produce additional revenue for our K-12 schools without raising taxes. Stay tuned for details in next week’s report!

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Senate Finance Committee Report – Wednesday’s Finance Committee was a testy one. We debated a bill, SB 1041, which would take away local control from our school boards when it comes to online transfer credits from out of state schools, many of which are not accredited. I worked with our local superintendents and school board members on my questions for the bill’s sponsor, Senator Sylvia Allen. The bill passed committee, unfortunately, by a 4-3 party line vote, but I am optimistic that we have the votes to kill the bill on the floor.

You can watch the full committee hearing here (my comments start at the 27 minute, 1 hour 5 minute, and 1 hour, 10 minute marks).

Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee Report – We have eleven bills on our docket for today’s hearing. Most are uncontroversial, and should pass unanimously. You can see the agenda for today’s hearing here.

The one bill that should generate a lot of controversy is SB 1279. A repeat of a bill that failed last year in the House, it would specifically target undocumented immigrants for harsher sentencing guidelines. Our attorneys have told us the bill is unconstitutional, in violation of the 14th amendment. You can watch the hearing live starting at 2pm here.

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Capitol Snapshot – I hope to make this a recurring feature. Here are some of the photos that we took at the capitol last week:

It was an honor to meet with and have lunch with representatives from the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities (AAPPD), including Tempe-based The Centers for Habilitation (TCH). It is critically important that we protect our state’s most vulnerable in this year’s budget.

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Express Scripts, one of LD18’s largest employers, had its annual day at the capitol on Tuesday. I had the pleasure of touring their giant Tempe facility back in October, and was amazed at all the equipment and technology they are using right in our own backyard. It was great to meet so many of their hard working employees and to hear their stories!

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Finally, a picture of me dropping my first two bills at the Senate. Fun fact: that frog statue is there because the box you drop your bills in is called ‘The Hopper.’ The more you know!

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Another busy week coming up here at the capitol. As always, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter for up to the minute updates. 

I appreciate all of your help and support – if you can, please consider showing your support today so I can keep fighting for our values and priorities at the state capitol. It is an honor to represent you in the state senate!

Yours in the fight,

Sean

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  • commented 2017-01-30 11:25:05 -0700
    Don’t forget the pups and getting SB 1248 over turned. 🙏

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