It’s now mid-March, which means the light MAY be nearing the end of the tunnel for this legislative session…
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The big news yesterday was the Governor’s release of his blueprint for school safety legislation. We haven’t seen an actual bill yet, so we are going off of the blueprint he released yesterday, which you can see here.
Our Senate leadership team met with the governor’s office last week. The governor also met with students, interest groups, superintendents, and others interested in the issue of school safety, and we will conceivably see a bill later this week.
My initial impression of the governor’s plan: while there are some good elements included, like more investment in school counselors and “enhanced” background checks, the plan falls far short on two elements that have broad bipartisan support, which are a closing of the gun show loophole and a ban on bump stocks. Both measures have 70 plus percent support among voters, and it’s what we’ve been hearing from the March for our Lives students and even our own constituents.
I met with several groups of young people last week about the issue of gun safety, including several high school students from LD18’s own Dobson High School – young people on their Spring Break committed to making a difference on an issue important to them. I told them in that meeting that substantive change on this issue would be difficult, given our current legislature.
These young people shared with me the three policy areas they would like to see addressed at the legislature: more support for school counselors, a closing of the gun show loophole, and a ban on bump stocks. While the governor’s plan has the first element, it does not include the next two.
I imagine at least several of my Republican colleagues will be opposed to ANY gun safety legislation that comes before us, so without Democratic support, it doesn’t appear that the governor’s proposal has the votes at the moment. We haven’t seen an actual bill yet, so I’ll reserve my final judgment before seeing the bill text. But based on what we’ve heard and seen so far, it may be a difficult route to passage this year.
Some good news to share: my bill to make emergency communications more accessible for the disability community, SB 1296, unanimously passed the Senate last week! After clearing caucus and committee of the whole, the bill passed on Wednesday.
Getting this bill through the Senate was more difficult than I expected, because only a few Senate bills introduced by Democratic members got through this year. I had to consistently lobby Senate majority staff and various committee chairs to hear my bill and help guide it through the process. Since I’m one of the more collaborative members of the Senate, and work well with people on both sides of the aisle, this made the process a little easier.
Now that it’s passed the Senate, it’s over on the House side. It’s scheduled to be heard in the House Government committee on Thursday morning; if it clears committee, it goes to caucus and then the House floor. We have broad bipartisan support, so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to guide it pass the finish line. Stay tuned!
A busy week at the capitol last week – one of the highlights was welcoming my friends from the Arizona Bioindustry Association as they celebrated their day at the capitol. The biomedical industry plays such a big role in the medical and research sectors of our economy, and it was an honor to read a proclamation on the Senate floor recognizing Arizona Bioscience Week that will be celebrated later this year:
We also had a busy week on the campaign trail – Sunday alone I helped kick off two separate canvass events, one in Ahwatukee and the other in Mesa. I then went from there and knocked on doors in the neighborhood I grew up in in Chandler, which is always completely surreal and a real joy. It helps lend some perspective about the road I’ve taken so far and what a privilege it is to do this job every day.
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,