Welcome to another edition of my updates from the capitol! We just started Week 5 – time has flown by!
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 an expensive race.
It was quite the interesting week last week, as I’m sure you heard. On Thursday, the House of Representatives officially expelled Representative Don Shooter in a 56-3 vote. That morning, many of us still didn’t know what to expect, and if there were enough votes to expel him. Because a 2/3 vote is needed to expel a member, that means it needed at least 40 votes to succeed.
As a senator, we didn’t have a say in this vote, but we did watch and monitor the situation. After days of rumors about whether Representative Shooter would face a censure vote or a vote for expulsion, it finally became clear that morning that the Speaker of the House would introduce a motion for removal. While we knew the Democratic caucus would all support removal, it was unclear whether his Republican colleagues would vote to expel one of their own members.
Once the House finally went into session around 12:30pm, the removal vote was the first item on the agenda. It took a little while for the votes to trickle in, and many House members got up to speak. On the Senate side, we were all huddled into offices watching the proceedings until our own floor session started at 1:30pm. By the time our floor session finally got under way, the vote was still not done (we tend to vote MUCH quicker on the Senate side; one of the benefits of having half as many members, right?).
I called on Representative Shooter to resign last year when the allegations first came out. The allegations weren’t a surprise for me, because I’ve heard about his antics and behavior from several friends of mine over the years. I’ve also seen him acting inappropriately at legislative events and conferences. He had to go, and I’m glad my House colleagues stood up and voted to remove him from the House.
While Representative Shooter is gone, there is still a lot more work to do to treat the women who work at our state capitol with the respect they deserve. I do my part to extend that courtesy, and I hope more and more of my colleagues do the same as we continue the legislative session.
An update on the bills I introduced! The end of next week is the deadline to hear bills out of their chamber of origin, so many of us are scrambling to make sure our bills get heard in committee.
SB 1296, which deals with emergency response communications at the city, county, and state levels, will be getting a hearing in the Senate Government committee next week. It’s a good bipartisan bill, and has broad support. The Arizona Republic also had a nice write up on it last week, so it’s nice to be getting some press attention.
I am trying my hardest to get SB 1139 a hearing in Senate Judiciary next week, which is my bill to amend state law around child marriages by banning them for under 16 year olds and only allow them for 16 and 17 year olds if the child has been emancipated from their parents. Stay tuned on this one!
My bill on suicide prevention training in middle and high schools, SB 1391, titled the Mitch Warnock Act, was assigned to two committees, Education and Health. I’m talking to both committee chairs this week and hope to have it heard in both next week – keep your fingers crossed!
I also like our chances for SB 1301 to get a hearing, which would create a state review task force for tax expenditures and tax credits. This one has been assigned to the Senate Finance committee.
Getting these bills in front of the committee chairs and working behind the scenes to move them forward has taken up a LOT of my time these last couple of weeks, but I’m confident that the relationships I’ve built with my colleagues on BOTH sides of the aisle are helpful to me through this process. Stay tuned!
I’m typing this at home around 10:15pm on Monday night. I just got home about twenty minutes ago after a fifteen hour day. Or, just another day at the office.
I love my job, but a lot of people don’t know exactly HOW much time you spend doing it. I’m up early tomorrow morning and heading to Mesa for the city’s State of the City address with Mayor Giles. Then, it’s a full day of meetings and appointments at the capitol. And Wednesday, our Finance Committee starts early at 8am, followed by another day of meetings…
An exciting bit of news: I’m slated to be interviewed on KTAR tomorrow afternoon about my bill on suicide prevention, SB 1391. This follows some good local news stories on the bill, with another op-ed coming to the Wrangler News later this week. I’ve been really fortunate to appear on TV, radio, and the newspaper so far this year about my conversion therapy ban bill, this suicide prevention bill, and my bill around emergency response communications.
As we continue our fifth week, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve my constituents at the state capitol. I try to take a quiet moment or two each time to reflect on this opportunity and enjoy it while I can – the end of the session and then the campaign trail will be here before we know it.
More to come next week – I appreciate your support and feedback. Show your support today!
Yours in the fight,