Welcome back for my third update from the capitol! Time flies when you’re having fun at the state 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 an expensive race.
As you may have heard, we started AND completed our special session last week over the opioid crisis here in Arizona. The special session started on Monday, and we wrapped things up Thursday evening when we voted on SB 1001.
Over the course of the week, I received several briefings on the bill, and we also met as a caucus to learn the merits of the bill and follow all the proposed changes. It was a fast moving bill, and we didn’t have a lot of time to digest the changes as the bill got amended several times. I don’t want to say the process was rushed, but we knew leadership wanted to adjourn the session Thursday evening, so time was in short supply.
Overall, I liked the bill. I was very glad to see funding for treatment programs, stronger mandates for e-prescribing, and other safeguards for both patients and doctors. All of the stakeholder groups, like doctors and criminal justice reform groups, were in support. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the changes put in at the last minute (like a “hardship provision” that means some doctors could claim a hardship and therefore wouldn’t have to abide by some of the new regulations), but overall, it was a good bill.
So we were scheduled for a floor session at 1:30pm Thursday afternoon. That got pushed back to 2:30, then 3:30, then 4:30…
We finally ended up voting on the bill around 6:30pm that evening (I had an evening event in Ahwatukee I wanted to attend that evening that I had to miss, unfortunately). The vote was unanimous in both chambers – a rare sign of bipartisanship for such a high profile bill!
Bill update! I promised a more thorough review of my bills in last week’s edition, and I am here to deliver.
In addition to the two bills I outlined two weeks ago, I have five more that I’ve introduced. Here they are, in numerical order:
SB 1296 – this bill deals with emergency response communications at the city, county, and state levels. It asks each of these levels of government to develop protocols to ensure that people with disabilities can access the communications, primarily sign language interpreters. It asks them to make an attempt to find an interpreter for any kind of emergency broadcast, like a press conference of Facebook Live message. Cities and counties are in support, and I have a majority of the Senate signed on in support!
SB 1301 – a repeat of a bill I ran last year, this would create a task force to study expenditures, revenues, and tax credits for the state, and ask for recommendations on how to plan our state budget looking years into the future.
SB 1321 – an appropriation bill, this would allocate $4 million for child care subsidies for low income families.
SB 1333 – this is one that I’m proud of. It would create a public private partnership program to fund two years of community college for students from working class families who want to study CTE programs. The private sector would have to fund 2/3 of the cost, and if they can raise the funds each year, the state would then cover the final 1/3 of the cost. A good bipartisan bill, with over half the Senate signed on in support.
SB 1391 – another important bill, this deals with suicide prevention training for K-12 school personnel for grades 6-12. Teen suicide has really hit LD18 hard over the years, especially at Corona del Sol High School. This bill would require school districts to offer two hours of training each year to cover suicide prevention and ways to combat the problem. The training would have to be in-person, and it would have to be evidence based.
You can contact senators here if you want to see these bills go through the process. I’ll keep you posted on how they are progressing over the next couple of weeks!
A bill that’s important to south Tempe, SB 1002, was debated and heard in our Commerce and Public Safety hearing yesterday afternoon. The bill relates to home based businesses, and would further limit a city’s ability to regulate these businesses at the local level. Many of my constituents in south Tempe are dealing with AirBnb rental properties in their neighborhoods, some of which feature 10 or more rentals in one house!
I voted no, and worked behind the scenes to get my colleagues on the same page. Even though the bill passed committee on a 5-3 party line vote, I’m confident we have the votes to stop it from moving forward. I’m all for supporting home-based businesses, but I’m worried that this bill went after cities too hard, and that’s why I voted no.
It’s set to be another busy week, with meetings on bills and longer and longer committee hearings. Friday is also going to be jam packed day, with visits to the Arizona Business and Education Coalition, Waggoner Elementary School in Tempe, and two site visits to businesses in Mesa with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. And after that, I’ll be out in the community knocking on doors in Tempe both Saturday and Sunday. The work never stops!
More to come next week – I appreciate your support and feedback. Show your support today!
Yours in the fight,