Welcome back for my second update from the capitol! Things are starting to heat up as bills are introduced and we start substantive committee hearings on the bills going through the Senate.
Your support is always appreciated – thanks to many of you, we raised more dollars in 2017 than any Democratic legislative candidate in the state. There’s still a lot more work left to do, which is why I need your support today.
We kicked off our special session yesterday, focused specifically on the opioid crisis. This is a serious, serious issue, and I’m glad that the governor and both parties have come together on such an important piece of legislation. I stood with Governor Ducey and dozens of my legislative colleagues yesterday at the capitol to announce the legislative package that we will debate and vote on this week.
I’m very optimistic about the bill. It has several strong ideas, including limits on the number of pills being prescribed, stronger regulations around e-prescribing, and real dollars dedicated to treatment programs for individuals who need it. This is a rare example of both parties coming together to solve something bigger than any of us – here’s hoping for more of that as the session goes on!
Last night, I was honored to receive an Economic Development Champion award from the Arizona Association for Economic Development. This award means a lot, as I was one of only four legislators to receive the award and the only Democrat. I work very hard to try to always put the needs of my district first, ahead of party politics or ideology. This award reflects the work I put in last legislative session, and I’m honored to receive the distinction.
Bill update! As I mentioned last week, I’ve introduced two bills so far, SB 1139 and SB 1160. I have five more bills I’m working on that are ALMOST ready to go. I’m going around to colleagues to introduce them to the bills and ask them to sign on as co-sponsors. Many of them already have bipartisan support! More details on those next week, I promise.
SB 1160, my ban on conversion therapy, has generated a lot of attention. The Arizona Republic featured an article on its front page last week, and Channel 12 aired a story about it at the top of their 6pm newscast. We’ve received news inquiries at the national level, and I just did another interview yesterday with Cronkite News.
The vast majority of the feedback on the bill has been positive. Most of the feedback has been some variation of, “wait, this isn’t already in law?” I’m heartened that introducing the bill has raised awareness on the issue and educated people on the horror that is conversion therapy. These young people are perfect just the way they are – the idea that they can be “converted” is harmful and just plain wrong.
I’m holding meetings with the chairs of the committees that these bills are assigned to, in the hopes they will get a hearing. Stay tuned!
We had a short week last week at the capitol because of MLK Day. That day, I was honored to participate in the Mesa MLK Day Parade with many of my fellow elected officials from the city of Mesa. Great to see such a great turnout, and the weather cooperated too!
Last Wednesday was Aerospace Day at the capitol, where we got to meet companies and individuals involved with the aerospace industry. The highlight of the day was the Arizona Aerospace Legislative Dinner, held at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. There, I got to meet and talk to astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Charlie Walker. A real treat to meet some genuine American heroes and listen to their stories about being in space!
This past weekend I spent more time in my district talking to voters. In addition to knocking on doors both days in south Tempe, I also visited with over 50 gifted teachers in Tempe, many of whom live in the district and teach at Kyrene and Tempe Elementary schools. I am a big supporter of additional funding for gifted education, and we talked about ways that the teachers can lobby and make their voices heard at the state capitol.
Upcoming this week – our Finance committee meets Wednesday morning to hear some bills, including a couple on Bitcoin and digital currency. Should we allow people to pay their state income taxes using Bitcoin? That’s up for debate on Wednesday. Stay tuned!
More to come next week – I appreciate your support and feedback. Show your support today!
Yours in the fight,