AZ ACTION ALERT – Sunday, March 30, 2014
There has not been much action on AFP-Arizona’s priority bills this week, as all the action has been on the budget negotiations. Here’s the latest update…
This past Thursday, March 27, the Arizona House of Representatives stayed in session late into the night to pass a budget proposal that, while increasing spending beyond what the Senate Republicans’ budget did, will mean significantly less spending that was being proposed by the Governor, Democratic legislators, and six renegade Republicans.
Bad News and Good News on Fake Charter Schools
One of the key issues raised in the budget process was the proposal by the Senate to remove $33 million from school districts that converted several of their schools to charter schools in 2013 but did not abide by the basic requirements of charter schools. AFP-Arizona strongly supported this proposal.
Districts across the state converted 59 district charter schools this year and gained access to significant amounts of state funding. However, several districts – including Paradise Valley Unified School District – openly told parents that the switch would have no effect on school operations, which directly flouts the purpose of the state’s charter school law: to provide students with improved educational choices and accountability.
It is fraudulent for a district to call a school a charter while making little to no effort to modify the way the school operates. That’s simply gaming the charter school conversion process to get extra money school districts weren’t able to access through the normal funding process.
Unfortunately, under the terms of the House budget, the abuse of the charter school conversion process looks like it will continue to be allowed for a while longer. The good news is that after FY 2015, the 2013 district-sponsored charter schools will go back to being treated as normal public schools. Only the 12 preexisting charters will be allowed to continue on. It will also effectively close the door on misuse of the district chartering process.
While AFP-Arizona supports allowing districts who want to explore the chartering process as a way to provide improved educational choices and accountability to students, and would have preferred instituting reforms that would allow district schools to continue to convert — with more accountability — it is possible that the potential for abuse of the process is too great to allow it to continue to operate as it currently does.
Please click HERE for more information and to let your legislators know you expect them to end fake chartering as soon as possible.
In the end, the budget bills were passed by the House on a nearly party-line vote – with most dissenting Republicans joining the Republican majority. The bills then moved back to the Senate, where the additional spending will have to be approved – likely this week.
TOP FIVE ACTION STEPS:
1. HB 2262 (as amended), sponsored by Representative Tom Forese, would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for transportation network companies (aka “ridesharing companies”) and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit their business model.
It’s not often that we get the chance to immediately affect the fortunes of an entire industry, but ensuring government doesn’t regulate rideshare companies out of Arizona is a great opportunity!
Please click HERE to ask your senator and representatives to support this legislation when it gets to a floor vote!
2. HB 2508, sponsored by Representative Phil Lovas, would attempt to ensure that a person applying to be an ObamaCare “navigator” would be properly vetted, including requiring that person to pass a criminal background check.
Arizonans deserve to know that these navigators, who will have access to people’s private information and dispense health insurance advice, are not criminals or cheats who will take advantage of vulnerable health care consumers.
Please click HERE to tell your senator how important this issue is!
3. SB 1413, sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough and supported by Governor Jan Brewer, would align Arizona with many other States that do not impose sales taxes on the energy consumed by manufacturers.
This broad-based tax relief would encourage Arizona businesses to remain in-state and draw in additional job creators from outside our borders who are looking for a more hospitable environment to grow their businesses.
Please HERE to encourage your legislators to support economic growth by voting Yes when it comes to the floor!
4. HB 2260, sponsored by Representative Tom Forese, is a project of our allies at NFIB-Arizona, and would institute a Small Business Bill of Rights at government regulatory agencies and require them to inform business owners dealing with the agencies that they have these rights.
This simple, but important, reform would provide significant protection from small business owners who deserve to be protected from overbearing government power.
Please click HERE to let your senator know you expect him or her to vote for this bill when it comes to the floor!
5. HB 2377, sponsored by Representative Justin Olson, would protect Arizonans from falling victim to a hidden inflation tax.
Arizona is one of a few States that does not index its tax brackets for inflation, meaning you could be pushed into a higher tax bracket simply by receiving cost-of-living wage or salary increase.
Please click HERE to tell your senator how important this reform is to hardworking Arizona taxpayers!
And there’s more…
If you would like to engage on the rest of AFP-Arizona’s priority agenda, please go to our main ACTION PAGE to learn how you can help on all the individual issues we are working on.
Please Sign Up for www.AZVoices.gov – and Make Your Voice Heard!!
We have had a good response by activists who signed up on www.AZVoices.gov to register their opinions on the important issues facing Arizona. This website is a great way for citizen lobbyists such as you to become even more actively involved in the political process.
Not only that, but some legislators are relying heavily on this website to give them a look at where the public stands on hundreds of issues. So please make sure to politely let your legislators know you want them to support AFP-Arizona’s priority agenda by using this great tool!
Help us keep up the fight!
AFP-Arizona needs to continue mobilizing activists to win victories for free-market policies. You can help us do that by donating $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or any amount you can to ensure that we are able to continue our work. To support AFP-Arizona’s grassroots efforts, you can click HERE to go to our AFP-Arizona Donation Page.
I hope you’ll continue to stand with us as we fight for the interests of Arizona taxpayers together!
Americans for Prosperity