It’s Tuesday morning, which means another edition of my weekly updates from the capitol!
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!
As I covered in last week’s edition, last week was “Crossover Week,” where most committees don’t meet but we spend more time on the floor voting on bills. Thursday alone featured around 25 bills that we voted on in order to send them over to the House. Most were not controversial, but the process of hearing the bills and actually voting on them does take time. Unfortunately, in most instances, we don’t get much advance notice of WHICH bills we were voting on, which is one of my biggest frustrations with life at the capitol.
Wednesday in particular, we had less than an hour’s notice for which bills we were casting final votes on that day. Usually, we receive a little less than 24 hours’ notice about which bills we vote on, which gives us time to review them, analyze the details, and decide how to vote. While most bills pass unanimously or pretty close to it, there are regular bills that require more thought and analysis. As someone who wants to go into floor session prepared how to vote, it’s often frustrating when we don’t get much advance notice.
Our floor sessions almost always begin at 1:30pm, Monday through Thursday. For two days last week, we received our “third read” calendars around 12:30pm with the list of bills we were voting on. Many of us are in meetings or at lunch events at this time, so we don’t know the calendars are released until they get emailed to us. For both days, this meant me rushing back to my office so I could go over the bills before voting on them, leaving events where I was talking to constituents or learning more about an issue.
This happened all too often last year, too, when bills were rushed through and we didn’t have enough time to do our due diligence. Good government this is not.
An update on a few topics:
Nothing new to report on the budget, which is still being written and negotiated. I’ve been very vocal about the need for more investment in education, particularly our community colleges, who currently receive zero funding from the state. In my conversations with the governor’s office and other legislative stakeholders, I make these points and also stress the need for more support for transportation funding to help keep our roads repaired.
My two bills that made their way through committee have yet to advance to the next stage of the legislative process, which is being assigned to caucus. To our frustration, the senate president has yet to assign a single Democratic bill for a Committee of the Whole hearing, which is where we debate bills on the floor and add amendments. There is some gamesmanship here – we think the president is upset with Democrats for not supporting his bill to reform the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), which is neither bipartisan nor a good idea.
I continue to do media interviews for some of the bills and issues I’ve pushed this year. I did an interview with Cronkite News last week about SB 1139, my bill to reform our state statutes around child marriage, and just yesterday did an interview with the Arizona Republic about SB 1160, my bill that would have banned conversion therapy for minors in the state.
Canvassing continues to go very well – I knocked on about 200 doors this past weekend in south Tempe. I spoke to a good mix of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, and picked up a lot of support. One of the best parts about running for re-election is a lot of voters already know who you are! The neighborhoods I visited were ones I also visited in early 2016, so it was great to see people I had talked to when I was just a candidate for the office and not an incumbent.
Looking forward to this Saturday, where I will be marching in the Chandler Ostrich Festival parade in downtown Chandler. I marched last year, and had a lot of fun. After that, it’s more doors to knock on!
On a lighter note:
One of the bills we voted on last Thursday was one to create an official state dinosaur. Most people roll their eyes when they hear that the legislature is voting on an official state animal, or beverage, or mineral. In this case, the idea came from an Arizona student, who brought the idea to their senator, and the senator introduced a bill.
The dinosaur in question is the Sonorasaurus, which was discovered right here in Arizona. I co-sponsored the one sentence long bill, and enjoyed watching it make its way through the process. We voted on the bill last week, where it passed the Senate by a 29-1 margin.
We debate and argue over so many heated topics at the capitol, so a moment of levity like this was especially welcome. If the bill passes and is signed into law, maybe one day Arizona students will read and study the Sonorasaurus, and learn that it was named the official state dinosaur in 2018 by the state legislature. And hey, I got to vote on that!
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,