Weekly Legislative Update
This was the fifth week of the legislative session, and the last opportunity for legislators to introduce new bills to be considered this year. House and Senate members introduced a total of 1,385 bills, memorials and resolutions – slightly more than the 1,328 measures proposed last year.
While it may seem like this session just started, some key milestones are upon us. The next deadline will whittle down the proposals moving through the process as next Friday, February 22, is the final day for committees to hear bills in the chamber in which the bill was introduced. We will see long agendas this week as people try to move their ideas through the process.
THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
English Language Learners: We celebrated more than Arizona Statehood Day yesterday with the Governor officially signing SB 1014 (and HB 2184) into law. This is a huge win for Arizona’s English language learners and allows schools and teachers much more flexibility to design programs and services that best meet the needs of individual students. Email your elected leaders now to thank them for supporting our multilingual students.
Career & Technical Education Scholarships: SB 1191 passed out of the Senate Appropriations and awaits scheduling the Senate Rules Committee. This bill creates a $10 million grant program for Arizona residents who enroll in CTE programs at an Arizona community college that leads to an industry or vocational credential.
Child Care Assistance: The House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved HB 2125, which authorizes the Department of Economic Security to use federal funding to increase child care assistance for Arizona families. The bills now await a hearing in House Rules. The Senate Health & Human Services Committee unanimously approved the Senate version of the proposal, SB 1242, which now awaits scheduling for the Senate Appropriations Committee. Expect More Arizona supports these bills.
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts: SB 1395, which would expand ESA eligibility to specific groups of students, was heard this week in the Senate Finance Committee. Legislators disagree on whether the changes should be considered an expansion of the ESA program. The proposal passed on a party-line vote and awaits scheduling for the Senate Rules Committee.
University Funding: The Senate Higher Education & Workforce Committee unanimously approved SB 1518, which would phase in $300 million to Arizona universities to support resident students. It awaits a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee next.
UPCOMING NEXT WEEK
Education Sales Tax Increase: Next week, the House and Senate Education Committees will consider new proposals to increase the sales tax to provide for education programs. Measures sponsored by Representative Michelle Udall, HCR 2024 and HB 2563, will be heard in House Education on February 18. Proposals from Senator Kate Brophy McGee, SCR 1011 and SB 1345, will be discussed on February 19 in the Senate Education Committee. The agenda specifically notes these are considered “for discussion only,” so they will not be voted upon.
State Budget: Representatives from Arizona Department of Education and the state’s university system will provide budget presentations to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees on February 19 and 20.