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The Capitol Roundup

The Arc of Arizona's regular recap of State & Federal legislative happenings

September 8, 2017

Laws of the Land
At the Statehouse - and beyond...

​The federal government took center stage this week, as Congress acted to raise the national debt ceiling and send aid to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Trump administration announced that it would repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, affecting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Some business and education leaders denounced the decision as an unnecessary threat to Arizona’s economy; others, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, defended the change as a step toward a broader solution to immigration. The change would occur in six months, providing Congress the opportunity to enact legislation to address the citizenship status for individuals impacted by it.  
Bipartisan talks continue on a health care reform plan, but even those dedicated to the negotiations admit that they face a challenge. Republican leaders in Congress have turned their focus to changes to tax laws instead, and the health care debate faces a September 30 deadline under revised rules that allow a legislative change with only 50 votes in the Senate.
 
Arizona

Arizona has had its share of recent political excitement, as well. The Save Our Schools initiative obtained enough valid signatures to go before voters in the November 2018 election. The initiative seeks to stop the expansion of the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program that the legislature approved earlier this year. Several legal challenges to the initiative continue, however, and the outcome of those challenges could impact its final fate. Ongoing debate about the initiative is sure to seep into the 2018 legislative session, where education funding is likely to be a key topic again.  

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Legislators have begun to share some of the issues they plan to consider in the next legislative session:
  • Some education advocates are working with business groups to increase in the state’s sales tax for education funding. 
  • Senator Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) wants school districts to report on how they spend money from the state. (Lesko introduced a bill to increase school district reporting to achieve that goal last year, but the measure did not advance. Education groups said the proposal was overly burdensome and unneeded.)
  • Senator John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) will re-introduce a bill to help stop convicted animal abusers from owning another pet.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services released an action plan with numerous policy changes they believe will reduce opioid addiction; the plan includes changes that need to be approved by the legislature.
When the legislature does convene in 2018, it will be the last session for Representative Doug Coleman (R-Apache Junction). Coleman, who has often been a swing vote on key issues that divided the Republican caucus, will instead pursue office as a Justice of the Peace.
 
Balanced Budget Supporters to Gather in Arizona

​Next week the legislature will host a Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention – an effort to coordinate multiple states’ efforts to bring about a Convention of States that could propose changes to the U.S. Constitution. According to convention supporters, 27 states have joined the call for a Constitutional convention – short of the 34 that Article V of the Constitution requires for proposed amendments. The planning convention is, according to its organizers, an effort to prepare for when more states join their cause.

The issue is important because a balanced budget mandate could force severe cuts to Medicaid and other government-funded services that assist individuals with disabilities in every part of the United States.

Click here for additional information on the convention.

 



Note: With the 115th Congress on recess until September 5, the next Federal Front update will be provided during the week of September 11. In the meantime, please check The Arc's Capitol Insider blog for updates.


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Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC
www.pcmlawaz.com

The Arc of Arizona
www.arcarizona.org

and

The Arc of the United States

www.thearc.org


The Capitol Roundup is provided weekly throughout the Arizona Legislative session and periodically between sessions as a benefit of Membership in The Arc of Arizona. To continue receiving this publication, visit www.arcarizona.org/become-a-member to start or renew your Membership today!