A fairly quiet week at the legislature nevertheless saw movement on several of AFP-Arizona’s key bills… here’s a quick recap:
• HB 2058, sponsored by Representative John Kavanagh, would prevent “pension spiking” by those enrolled in the Arizona State Retirement System, Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, and Corrections Officer Retirement System. RECENT ACTIVITY: Passed out of the House by a 33-26 vote and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
• HB 2260, otherwise known as the “Small Business Bill of Rights, would require state regulatory agencies to protect certain rights of small businesses and inform people of these rights. RECENT ACTIVITY: Passed out of the House by a 59-0 vote and will be heard in the Senate Government and Environment Committee on Monday, March 3 at 2 pm. It has also been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
• SB 1048, sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough, would provide income tax credits to businesses who contribute to student tuition organizations (STOs) which would provide scholarships to children who are hopelessly trapped in schools that are not properly meeting their individual educational needs. This would be an important reform for educational freedom. RECENT ACTIVITY: Passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee by a 5-2-1 vote.
There is also important action to take on bills that have both passed through their assigned committees and have been approved by the Rules Committees, meaning they are ready to be heard on the floor and just need to be transmitted there:
HB 2291 – Support School Choice and Arizona Children!
Update: This bill will be going to the floor, MONDAY, MARCH 3 – TAKE ACTION NOW!
HB 2291, sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko, was approved by the House Rules Committee this week and should be voted on in a floor session soon. This bill would expand our state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program and enable thousands of Arizona families to provide their children with the educational opportunities they deserve.
Please click HERE to email the House members in your district and politely ask them to strongly SUPPORT this important school choice reform!
HB 2367 – AHCCCS Waiver Submissions
Update: This bill will be going to the floor TOMORROW – TAKE ACTION NOW!
HB 2367, sponsored by Speaker Andy Tobin, would require the director of Arizona’s Medicaid program to request waivers from the federal government to institute certain conditions for Medicaid coverage, such as a work requirement and a lifetime limit on years of access, and also institute co-pays designed to reduce the over-use of hospital emergency rooms by Arizona Medicaid members.
Please click HERE to let your district’s legislators know that you support this common-sense Medicaid reform!
HB 2377 – Killing the Income Tax!
Update: This bill should be going to the floor THIS WEEK – TAKE ACTION NOW!
HB 2377, sponsored by Representative Justin Olson, would require Arizona to join a majority of other States in accounting for inflation when taxing citizen income. This important tax reform would protect hardworking Arizona taxpayers from a “hidden tax” caused when cost-of-living wage increases push them into higher tax brackets.
Please click HERE to encourage your legislators to support this bill when it comes to the floor!
HB 2465 – Reducing Arizonans’ Income Taxes!
Update: This bill will be going to the floor THIS WEEK – TAKE ACTION NOW!
HB 2465, sponsored by Representative J.D. Mesnard, would require the Department of Revenue to determine the amount of additional revenue collected as a result of a “qualifying federal law,” including the Marketplace Fairness Act. The DOR would then be required to determine the amount that individual income taxes may be reduced in the following tax year in order to decrease individual income tax revenue by the same amount.
While AFP opposes the federal Marketplace Fairness Act, in the event it is enacted, this legislation would provide a great way to protect Arizona taxpayers and make sure any additional revenue goes back into their pockets, instead of being used to fund further government spending.
So please click HERE to tell your legislators to support this bill today!
HCR 2005 – Protecting Terminally Ill Patients’ Right to Save Their Own Lives!
Update: This bill should be going to the floor THIS WEEK – TAKE ACTION NOW!
HCR 2005, sponsored by Representative Phil Lovas, would place a “Terminal Patients’ Right to Try Act” on the 2014 ballot in Arizona, giving voters the chance to protect the rights of patients to take safe, experimental medication in order to save their own lives.
People have the right to fight for their own lives, so please click HERE to politely ask your legislators to strongly support this legislation when it comes for a floor vote!
SB 1094 – Protecting Arizonans Paychecks from Teacher Unions’ Political Spending!
SB 1094, sponsored by Senator Chester Crandell, would prevent school boards and superintendents from deducting third-party payments from teachers’ paychecks without authorization. This would protect teachers from having to fund union political agendas with which they disagree.
Please click HERE to encourage your senator to strongly support this legislation!
SB 1236 – Expanding Eligibility for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts!
Update: Please go now to www.azvoices.gov (explanation at end of email) and weigh in on this important school choice bill – some legislators are relying on the public opinion expressed at that website!
SB 1236, a bill sponsored by Senator Kimberly Yee , would expand the eligibility for the ESA program to include the children of police officers, firefighters or other first responders employed by public agencies, and children who are the siblings of current or previous ESA recipients. Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the definition of “qualified student” is expanded to include children who meet the economic eligibility requirements for free or reduced price lunches, and beginning in the 2017-18 school year, to include children whose family income exceeds the economic eligibility requirements for free or reduced price lunches by up to 15 percent.
Please click HERE to let your Senator know how important this is to Arizona families!
SB 1395 – Allowing Schools to Opt Out of Common Core!
SB 1395, sponsored by Senator Judy Burges, would allow school district and charter school boards that wish to opt out of the Common Core competency requirement adopted by the State Board of Education. This bill is about freedom – schools that do not believe in Common Core (AKA, “Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards”) should be allowed to NOT participate.
Please click HERE to let your senator know that this is an important issue to the grassroots!
In addition to these bills, there are many other important issues to engage in your role as citizen lobbyists on, so please go to our main ACTION PAGE to learn how you can help on all the individual issues we are working on.
A New Way to Make Your Voices Heard!
Please go to www.AZVoices.gov, a website used by Senator Bob Worsley and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, and politely register your opinion on our key bills. This is a great way to make legislators aware of which issues are most important to the grassroots.
But remember: the information Worsley and others get depends on who weighs in. For example, on school choice bills, the website is (so far) not hearing much from the taxpayers or the parents of children whose academic futures (and in some cases, their actual lives) would be saved by having the opportunity to go to a better school. Instead, the site is mostly hearing from teacher union activists – the people who keep bad teachers from getting fired, and who collect fat paychecks for doing useless administrative work and spending money on wasteful capital projects. In other words, the website is hearing from the people who keep available school district money from getting into classrooms to pay good teachers what they’re worth so that they’re strongly motivated to teach our children well and build Arizona’s future.
Senator Worsley and some other legislators are relying heavily on the www.azvoices.gov website to give them a look at where the public stands on hundreds of issues. So please use the website to make sure to give strong support to AFP-Arizona’s priority agenda!
Thank you for all you do to help win free-market victories for the people of Arizona. As citizen lobbyists, we need you to light a fire under those down at the state Capitol to make sure they defend Arizona taxpayers.
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 on the “Donate” button at the top of the page (just make sure to designate the contribution to Arizona!).
Thank you again for all your hard work – 2014 will be a great year and I hope you’ll continue to stand with us!