AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills - AZEdNews
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AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills


The House Of Representatives After Approving The Budget And Related Bills And Adjourning Sine Die Early On Monday, May 28, 2019. Photo Courtesy Of Arizona Capitol Television.

Updated May 31, 2019 – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey approves budget and signs the budget bills on Friday, May 31, 2019.

“Law makers passed a fiscally conservative, balanced budget that prepares for Arizona’s future and invests in the things that matter,” Gov Ducey said in a video released after he signed the budget bills. “Today I am proud to sign it. This is by far the best budget I have signed and such a contrast to where our state was just four years ago.”

The budget learns from the mistakes of the past and puts a downpayment on Arizona’s future, including fully funding teacher pay raises of 20 percent by 2020, adding over $700 million new dollars to public schools including new investments for school counselors, school resource officers, workforce programs and the Arizona Teachers Academy, Gov. Ducey said.

The budget “brings our Rainy Day fund to a record $1 billion, ensuring Arizona’s prepared for the future and doesn’t go on an irresponsible spending binge,” Gov. Ducey said.

Governor Doug Ducey video: Gov. Ducey signs #AZBalanced Budget

Updated May 30 & 29, 2019

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 – Legislature approves budget

8:44 a.m.

The Senate and House approves budget in rare Memorial Day floor sessions, transmitted the $11.8 billion budget to Gov. Doug Ducey and adjourned Sine Die at 12:58 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

The budget includes a tax conformity plan that lowers the tax rate and changes the child tax credit, standard and charitable contribution deductions, which will more than offset the 2019 increase, and Democratic Legislators called the tax conformity plan a $300 million-plus tax cut, according to an article in The Arizona Republic.

How the budget impacts K-12 education

Leigh Jensen, governmental relations associate with Arizona School Boards Association, said some of the highlights of the K-12 Budget Reconciliation Bill Provisions are:

    •$165M pre-appropriated in Fiscal Year 2019 for an additional 5 percent teacher pay raise
    •Appropriates $20M in FY20 to the School Safety Program and expands grant eligibility to include school counselors and school social workers
    •Appropriates $136M in FY20 to restore cuts to District Additional Assistance
    •Appropriates $30M in FY20 to increase Results Based Funding
    •Appropriates $1M to ADE for Gifted Education
    •Requires the School Facilities Board to fund new school construction based on enrollment projections indicating that additional space will be needed within the next two school years, rather than during the current school year

Click here to read the Arizona School Boards Association’s updated summary of the K-12 Budget Reconciliation Bill Provisions.

Click here to view a spreadsheet of the investments in K-12 education. 

The Governor has 10 days, not including Sunday, to sign all of the budget bills and any other outstanding bills that made it to his desk, Jensen said. The general effective date for any bills not containing an emergency clause is August 27, 2019.

“This year, the state made some movements in the right direction by funding several K-12 education initiatives, including giving schools more money to spend on new counselors, the next installment of the promised 20x2020 teacher raises, and increased funding to address our teacher shortage by training the next generation of educators. However, it is disheartening to see another tax cut of nearly $400 million when Arizona’s education spending remains among the lowest in the nation," said Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction in a press release this morning.

“While the department received critical funds needed to begin upgrading our school finance payment system, currently running on outdated 1990’s technology, many of our budget requests were not granted. We were not given the spending authority for anywhere close to what is needed to manage the ESA program effectively and efficiently," Hoffman said.

The money to support the ESA program would have directly supported ESA families with improved customer service and helped the Arizona Department of Education provide a smooth transition to the new ESA payment system, which will make it easier for families to appropriately spend their funds and cut back on cumbersome processes which currently leave too much room for error or misspending to occur, Hoffman said.

Hoffman noted that the Office of Indian Education, a statutorily mandated programa, remains unfunded, and that this budget places a strain on available federal matching funds to support Adult Education programs, which prepare individuals for the workforce.

“I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel the state, meeting with countless administrators, teachers, and students. These visits have made clear to me that we must return to pre-recession funding levels, with a sustainable, dedicated revenue source," Hoffman said. "Next session, I look forward to fighting for this as well as for increased special education funding. I will also continue to advocate for more money to support the paraprofessionals and other school employees who play a vital role in educating our students."

“All students deserve access to a high-quality public education - no matter their zip code or their background. If the state cannot bring itself to fully fund education during a year with a massive budget surplus, when will it do so?" Hoffman said. "We must find the collective will to make this happen. Our future depends on it.”

Click here to see the K-12 funding fomula for school districts for Fiscal Year 2020 based on House Bill 2749.

This includes base-level per-pupil funding formula, pupil transportation per mile amount, classroom site fund, Arizona State Retirement Service contribution rate for Fiscal Year 2020, and qualifying tax rate for schools, said Chuck Essigs, director of governmental relations for Arizona Association of School Business Officials.

Click here to see how the budget will affect District Additional Assistance.

The staff at the Arizona Department of Education and the Auditor General's Office will be working hard to get budget forms out to districts and charters soon, Essigs said.

The state budget includes an increase of $30 million in the K-12 Results-Based Funding formula which brings Fiscal Year 2020 funding for the program to $68.6 million, $78.5 million for Building Renewal grants, $75.9 million for new schools and $30 million to eliminate the rollover for school districts with fewer than 1350 students starting starting in Fiscal Year 2022, Essigs said.                

“Like all of the students in Arizona, my son has never had a fully funded education,” said Marisol Garcia, vice president of Arizona Education Association in a press release. “The state has money that can be used to restore the funding that has been cut from our schools, but lawmakers chose to fund tax cuts over Arizona’s students.”

The nearly $400 million in new permanent tax breaks, further reduces money available to fund public education, and the $30 million increase in . results-based funding sends more money to schools in affluent neighborhoods and raises the stakes of standardized testing.

“This program threatens our students’ ability to learn and grow by creating another persistent systemic funding inequity for our schools,” Garcia said. “The state should direct that money towards restoring all school funding.”

For the past two weeks, hundreds of teachers wearing #RedForEd have listened to discussions about the budget bills from the House and Senate galleries, advocated for resources students need and let lawmakers know about a student or colleague whose needs are not being met by the state's budget.

“As educators, our students are our number one priority,” Garcia said. “We are used to rolling up our sleeves and taking responsibility for their educational needs. As a parent, I will do what I can to ensure my child gets the public education he deserves. And as a voter, I know I have a responsibility to hold my elected officials responsible, and I can vote for representatives and initiatives that I support. Together, the educators, parents, and voters know that we have the power to do what lawmakers have failed to do, and that is fund our schools.”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow thanked Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Legislators for a one-time investment in higher education in the budget.

"We respect that passing the state budget is an exercise in managing competing priorities that involves give and take," Crow said in a statement on ASU's website.

"While we will continue to advocate for a reliable annual funding formula for resident students attending Arizona’s public universities because we believe that is the right way to manage this important state asset, we thank Governor Ducey and legislative leadership for the one-time, $35 million FY 2020 investment in higher education," Crow said.

Crow also noted that ASU has already made an institutional commitment to fund the Arizona Teachers Academy and "welcomes the state’s investment of $15 million to help develop the depth and breadth of teachers that Arizona families need in this vitally important profession. It is a wise and meaningful use of state revenue that will provide a return on investment over the years ahead."

"Our enthusiasm about progress on these fronts is dampened, however, by the legislature’s continued practice of sweeping millions of tuition dollars to subsidize the health plan for state employees," Crow said. "The idea of using student tuition money to bolster funding for health insurance for workers employed by the state defies explanation and the university strongly objects to this tactic."

Crow said that Arizona State University will continue its efforts on all fronts, leveraging all of its assets to their maximum, to ensure that every student who desires and qualifies for a college education is included.

"While the investment from the state of Arizona has, over the past decade and longer, become a smaller percentage of what is required to fund students from Arizona attending public universities, it is nevertheless a very important part," Crow said. "We thank state leaders for their commitment in this year’s budget, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Governor, legislators and the Arizona Board of Regents to deliver the highest quality of education at an affordable and accessible price point."

The Maricopa County Community College District appreciates the Arizona State Legislature's and Governor Ducey's support for improving educational attainment and workforce development opportunities throughout Arizona, said Maria Harper-Marinick, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District.

"This budget is a much-needed investment in community colleges that will enhance the accessibility of a high-quality college education and contribute to the success of the students and communities we serve,” Harper-Marinick said.

Highlights of the budget include:

    ● $4.8 million to MCCCD and $1.2 million to Pima Community College, over three years, for workforce development and STEM formula funding
    ● $5.8 million to MCCCD for health care specialty expansion
    ●$15 million to Pima Community College for aviation program
    ● $14.2 million for rural community colleges
    ● $15 million for community college post-baccalaureate teaching students through the Arizona Teachers Academy (to be shared with Universities).

“The budget addresses the strategic priorities of the Maricopa Community Colleges, including STEM and healthcare training programs that are in high demand and continue to grow. We are pleased Gov. Ducey and our legislators support the largest provider of workforce training in the state that will help our community transform educational opportunities into long-term success,” Harper-Marinick said. “We look forward to the continued collaboration with our state leaders in advancing the local economy and higher education for all.

12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

At 12:08 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, the House approved adjourning Sine Die.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills House-Sine-Die

At 12:43 a.m., Senate President Karen Fann thanked all the staff, interns, pages as she explained her vote during the final reading of bills.

At 12:52 a.m., the Senate adjourned Sine Die.

Monday, May 27, 2019

10:17 p.m.

The Senate passed the budget bills today as the House voted on other bills in a rare Memorial Day session.

The Senate also approved House Bill 2466, which gives victims of childhood sexual assault until the age of 30 to file civil claims against their abusers. This, along with the amendments adopted in the House, allowed the Senate to approve Senate Bill 1551 by a vote of 17-12.

Both the House and the Senate are now working to pass the few remaining bills and will likely Sine Die tonight, said Leigh Jensen, governmental relations analyst with Arizona School Boards Association.

At 11:45 p.m., the Senate recessed to wait on some bills from the House before they got ready to end the legislative session.

Click here to read ASBA's updated summary of the K-12 Budget Reconciliation Bill Provisions.

 

 

Click here to watch the Senate Floor Session.

7:59 p.m.

Sen. Tony Navarrete voted against House Bill 2747, saying Arizona ranks at the bottom in teacher pay because the state hasn't fully funded education in years.

"Our refusal to invest in families is why I vote no," said Sen. Rebecca Rios as she explained her vote on the bill.

Sen. Sylvia Allen said the budget process has become "a feeding frenzy and focus on how many problems we can solve."

"There just comes a limit when we run out of money," Sen. Allen said as she voted yes on the bill.

"A bipartisan budget is not a budget that has one or two Democratic votes on the board," said Sen. Martin Quezada."Bipartisanship is a process, it's not an end result. This as an important bill to consider this on."

"We could have put money into district additional assistance instead of results based funding. We could have put funding into full-day K instead of the rainy day fund or tax cuts," Sen. Quezada said.

"If you are disappointed in the results on the board, it's probably because the process wasn't good. I vote no," Sen. Quezada said.

Sen. David Livingston said when you look at investment returns you look at one year, five year or 10 year returns, but some members like to keep going back to 2008.

"Why? Because it was an all time high. If you keep using that you are doing a disservice. If you want to look at last year's budget there's an 11% increase and then we can have a fair debate," Sen. Livingston said.

"We had many members on both sides that had no asks in the budget," said Sen. Vince Leach.

"Some of us don't get what we ask, but you were at the table. I think this budget goes a long way to touch buttons on both sides of the aisle." Sen. Leach said.

The Senate approved House Bill 2747 with 16 ayes and 13 nays and 1 not voting.

Then the Senate voted on House Bill 2749 the K-12 education portion of the budget bills. The bill was approved with 17 voting aye, 12 voting nay and 1 not voting.

Sen. Quezada said, "I represent a group of people who believe education is the great equalizer and the ladder out of poverty."

But results-based funding is not equitable, Sen. Quezada said.

"The $64 million going for results-based funding would have been enough to provide raises for school support staff this year," Sen. Quezada said.

Sen. Quezada said the Arizona Legislature put more towards district additional assistance, but could have done more.

"The need for our school counselors is a lot more than the $15 million in our budget," Sen. Quezada said. "Our student to counselor ratio is the worst in the nation."

 

Saturday, May 26, 2019

6:33 p.m.

The Senate has reached a tentative deal that would make it possible for Senators to pass a revised version of the House budget approved on Saturday when the Legislature is in session tomorrow on Memorial Day.

The Senate session starts at 11 a.m.

Click here to watch the Senate Floor Session.

The House session starts at 10 a.m.

Click here to watch the House Floor Session.

Republican Sen. Paul Boyer and Democratic Senate Minority Leader David Bradley confirmed the tenative deal on Sunday in the late afternoon, according to an Associated Press article.

 

The tentative deal hinges on extending the statute of limitations on how long victims have to sue child predators to age 30 and allows victims now blocked from suing to do so until December 2020, said Sen. David Bradley in The Associated Press article.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

4:33 p.m.

The House approved the budget shortly before 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, but the Senate resumed its floor session Saturday with little indication that a budget deal could be reached soon.

 

Senate President Karen Fann tried to move forward with parts of the $11.8 billion budget deal that are non-controversial, according to an Associated Press article.

Click here to watch the Senate Floor Session.

Three Republican Senators have said they will vote against the budget bills unless their needs are met.

The slim 17-13 Republican majority in the Senate and no Democratic support for the budget means that one or more of the holdouts must be persuaded to approve the budget.

The governor's office has been negotiating with Fann, and two senators in an effort to address the time frame on the sex assault issue, Ducey Chief of Staff Daniel Scarpinato said to The Associated Press.

The lack of coordination between the House and the Senate is unusual, because they usually approve budget bills together, once they're sure they have enough votes to pass them, according to an article in The Arizona Republic.

The Senate will take Sunday off and then return to work on Memorial Day. The House will meet on Memorial Day also.

Click here to watch the House Floor Session.

3:04 a.m.

House lawmakers worked into the morning Saturday to discuss, propose floor amendments and pass several budget bills.

Right now, they are on budget bill House Bill 2747.

 

Click here to watch the House Floor Session.

Rep. Rusty Bowers described an amendment that would provide a list of parent complaints of teachers wearing red or sharing political viewpoints in the classroom to be forwarded to the legislature and the attorney general.

"This just seems like a way to threaten and harass teachers on campus. We saw a bill like this earlier in the session," said Rep. Kelli Butler about Rep. Rusty Bowers amendment to an amendment. "This is really troubling. This sets up a very poorly designed process to harass people."

Rep. Dr. Regina Cobb pointed out that the report would be a public document after questioning Rep. Bowers who pointed out that if there were no complaints there would be no report.

Rep. Arlando Teller said he feels like representatives presenting amendments are not being heard and the amendments are not being considered at 2:16 a.m.during the early morning floor session.

"What we've seen over the last couple of hours over 20 Democratic amendment not even considered because of the party registraion of the representative giving the amendments," said Rep. Cano. "But what we can do at 3 a.m. is pass these amendments to make sure majority members needs are met. I do not think this is fair."

May 24, 2019 11:49 p.m.

House Legislators have been moving budget and other bills throughout the day and evening after recessing sporadically for committees and caucuses.

 

The House recessed until 3 p.m. so the Rules Committee could meet at 2:30 p.m.

The House resumed its floor session earlier after being recessed until 1:30 p.m.

House Legislators approved a few bills when they returned to a floor session after recessing earlier at 10:45 a.m. Lawmakers passed a handful of bills earlier this morning as well.

The Arizona Senate adjourned before 10 p.m. without voting on budget bills because it remains shy of the amount of Republican votes needed to pass the budget without  support from Democratic Senators.

Senate President Karen Fann told members late Friday to return at 10 a.m. Saturday and that “maybe we can start voting on some budget bills if at all possible,” according to an Associated Press article.

The Senate met in floor session sporadically throughout Friday, recessing for committee meetings, caucuses and negotiations with Senators who have said they will not vote for the budget.

After a Committee of the Whole session started at 12:12 p.m. then recessed at 12:21.

The Senate floor session scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. instead started around 11:10 a.m., then recessed and Senators met in caucuses.

Click here to watch the Senate Floor Session.

When they came back from recess after 1:30 p.m., House lawmakers approved House Bill 2360 with 58 ayes, 0 nays and 2 not voting.

Then, legislators in the House voted on House Bill 2501, which passed with 58 ayes, 0 nays and 2 not voting.

House lawmakers then approved House Bill 2646 with its emergency measure clause with 59 ayes, 0 nays and 1 not voting.

Rep. Arlando Teller said this bill will assist those in rural Arizona in connecting with internet broadband to the outside world.

There will be a Rules Committee hearing at 2:30. The Republican and Democratic Caucuses will meet immediately after the adjournment of Rules. The House is recessed until 3 p.m.

The House approved Senate Bill 1485 with 60 ayes, 0 nays and 0 not voting.

Rep. Andres Cano said "We give out so many tax breaks in Arizona with no sunsets, that today individual and corporations have $1.54 B in tax credits."

"We've been asking for this review of tax credits for years and the committee to do so has not met in three years," Rep. Cano said.

"This bill is incremental progress and with that I vote aye," Rep. Cano said.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley said, "I think the Student Tuition Organizations have run its course and should go down to zero. I'm going to vote yes, because we're getting it off 20 percent, but in my opinion it should be 0%."

Rep. Randall Friese said, "Unfortunately we are phasing the Student Tuition Organization cap out, because we did not have the courage to eliminate it." Rep. Friese voted yes.

After rising to honor Sen. John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker who recently passed away with a moment of silence, the Senators recessed to go into Caucuses.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills Senate-Members-Honor-Sen.-John-Pinto
Arizona senators rise for a moment of silence for New Mexico Sen. and Dr. John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker, who has passed away. Photo courtesy of Arizona Capitol Television.

10:36 a.m.

Legislators in the House of Representative approved House Bill 2566 with a vote of 56 ayes and 0 nays and three not voting, but as of 10:30 a.m. Senators had not begun their floor session.

Then Rep. Arlando Teller said he'd just received news this morning that New Mexico Sen. and Dr. John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker, and requested a moment of silence in honor of Sen. and Dr. John Pinto.

House Legislators passed HB 2670 with a vote of 59 ayes, 0 nays and 1 not voting.

Rep. Isela Blanc said she would be voting yes on the bill, but we really don't need a study committee for what we already know. If we fully funded education then special education and gifted children would have their needs met.

"Stop giving tax cuts to the wealthy and start investing in the future - in Arizona's economy and in our children," Blanc said.

After standing for a moment of silence to honor New Mexico Sen. and Dr. John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker, who recently passed away, members of the Arizona House of Representatives recessed until the sound of the gavel at 10:45 a.m.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills House-rises-in-oment-of-silence-for-Sen-John-Pinto

The House of Representatives rises in a moment of silence for New Mexico Sen. and Dr. John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker, who has passed away. Photo courtesy of Arizona Capitol Television.

The Senate still has not begun it's floor session.

8:55 a.m.

Legislators return to the House and Senate at 10 a.m. to continue discussion on budget bills and other legislation.

 

There is support among a majority of Republicans in the House for the budget, but not enough GOP support for it in the Senate, according to an Associated Press article. Republicans have a 31 to 29 majority in the House.

Democrats who make up the minority in both the House and the Senate do not support the GOP plan.

In the Senate, the budget remains short on votes and this will be another long day, said Sen. Sean Bowie, who noted that this was the first time in three years he was at the Legislature on a Friday.

"We are always willing to sit down and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on our priorities in the state budget, which as you know are K-12 additional assistance, our state housing trust fund and more support and funding for our school counselors," Sen. Bowie said.

Senators were told to be ready to be at the legislature to work on the budget on Saturday as well as Monday, which is Memorial Day.

Republican senators who said they would vote against the budget bill delayed in Senate action on the budget on Thursday, and their positions were discussed by GOP House members during a closed evening caucus meeting whose comments were caught on a live microphone. Republicans in the Senate have a 17 to 13 majority.

Rep. Ben Toma, a Republican from Peoria, said there will be repercussions for Sen. Paul Boyer and Sen. Heather Carter, who are refusing to support the budget, and noted that he "is in no mood" to hear bills from them in the upcoming session, according to a 3 TV/ CBS 5 KPHO story.

Rep. Kelly Townsend, said lawmakers discussed filing an ethics complaint against the two senators before the part of the conversation caught on the recording and that she was trying to "soften" the conversation, according to an article in The Arizona Republic

Sen. J. D. Mesnard does not support the tax break plan in the budget plan negotiated by Legislative leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey and has said he will not vote for it.

The House adjourned shortly after 2 a.m. Friday after the GOP Caucus showed it supported the budget plan, said Rep. T. J. Shope in the Associated Press article.

Three budget bills on health and human services, the environment and criminal justice passed in the House without the votes of House Democratic legislators.

 

2:09 a.m.

After Legislators in the Arizona House of Representatives discussed budget bills and provided floor amendments into the early morning hours, the house recessed at 2:09 a.m. until 10 a.m.

Rep. Daniel Hernandez said here we are working late into the night and early into the morning just as we have done in previous sessions. at 1:25 p.m. during third reading of bills.

During third reading, House legislators passed House Bill 2753, then they approved House Bill 2755 with 31 ayes 29 nays.

Then at 2:09 a.m., Rep. Warren Peterson moved that the House stand recessed until 10 a.m. and there was a whoop or cheer from the gallery.

Click here to watch the House Floor Session on Arizona Capitol Television.

An open microphone in a Republican Caucus meeting caught lawmakers saying that their fellow legislators who were blocking passage of the budget bills should face repercussions, according to a story on 3 TV/ CBS 5 KPHO.

Both chambers second read the budget bills and then voted on a few unrelated measures.

The discussion in the House will most likely continue throughout the rest of this afternoon, through the night and possibly until Friday, as it has in past legislative sessions.

Rep. T. J. Shope, who was chairing the House Committee of the Whole, asked representatives to stick to the topic at hand so that they could get through all the budget bills they had in front of them before daylight Friday.

Rep. Myron Tsosie said many groups brought their resources together and came up with the solution that is House Bill 2758 as a team to help the Navajo Nation families who had received notice from the Arizona Department of Education that their Empowerment Scholarship Accounts had been used unlawfully to pay private school tuition to schools in New Mexico. The bill passed.

Then the House went to Caucus, and recessed until the sound of the gavel.

"The point of this bill (House Bill 2579) is to connect them to the resources they need to help them build a better life for them and their families," said Rep. Michelle Udall, who sponsored the bill.

"We have the 211 system that is robust and provides these wrap-around services," said Rep. Mitzi Epstein. "These are researched-based, evidence-based programs that give women a helping hand up."

"Before we fund a new system, let's fund this very good system we have that already works. Please fund 211 so it can expand statewide," Rep. Epstein said.

"The fact that a program in another state may have referred people to bad clinics is not enough to destroy a program," said Rep. John Kavanaugh during discussion in the House Committee of the Whole late on Thursday afternoon.

"If we really want to help women we should help them prevent crisis pregnancies," said Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley.

The Epstein amendment was not approved, but soon after legislators approved House Bill 2579 with a floor amendment by Rep. Rusty Bowers.

Earlier on Thursday May 23, 2019

The House Rules Committee approved the budget bills with a vote of 4 ayes and three nays.

The Senate floor session recessed to hear the budget bills in committees and caucuses and also approved Senate Bill 1558 that would raise legislators per-diem and their mileage rate.

Richard Stavneak with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee told the House Democratic Caucus that revenues were better than projected in May, and went over a spreadsheet detailing the impact of the budget bills and other bills on the state general fund.

With Republicans' slim majorities in both the Senate and House, efforts were being made to negotiate with lawmakers who withheld their support for the budget bills.

Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita said she's now willing to vote for the budget bills after an agreement to repeal the $32 vehicle license fee passed last year in two years instead of the five years that Gov. Doug Ducey and legislative leaders had previously proposed, according to an Associated Press article.

Sen. Paul Boyer had said he would not vote for the budget until the Legislature agrees to give childhood sex assault victims more time to sue their assailants, but now he said he is close to a deal, according to The Associated Press article.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee passed the K-12 budget bill by a vote of 6 ayes and 5 nays, and the Senate Appropriations Committee passed it by a vote of 6 ayes and 4 nays.

Legislators in the House will come back in the morning to debate and consider floor amendments in COW and third read the budget in the early hours of Friday morning, said Leigh Jensen, governmental relations associate with Arizona School Boards Association. 

The Arizona School Boards Association governmental relations team analyzed the budget bills and created a spreadsheet of proposed K-12 investments and a summary of the K-12 budget reconciliation bill provisions.

Click here to view ASBA's spreadsheet of the proposed K-12 investments. 

Click here to read ASBA's summary of the K-12 Budget Reconciliation Bill Provisions.

"We rarely we rarely have an opportunity like this in this state to invest in our schools, and this one time they see it's hot happening and they think your memories are short," said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association during the House Appropriations Committee meeting after 6 p.m.

Thomas said "there is some good in the budget, and we know we have to do more with less. All they want to see is that there is the support coming so they can do the job they were hired to do."

"We have to do better by our students or businesses are not going to move here. We need a better budget than this," Thomas said.

When a Representative asked how much was going to K-12 education in this budget, Rep. Michelle Udall said $540 million.

"We need to re-evaluate, I vote no," said Rep. Diego Espinoza as he explained his vote on HB 2757.

"It is raining on our schools today, we need to be funding our schools today. I cannot in good conscience vote for this," said Rep. Charlene Fernandez.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills HB2747-bill-introduction-1024x587

The budget bills are introduced in the House Appropriations Committee on May 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of Arizona Capitol Television.

"This is our future workforce. if not now, when? We've had enough. It's time we start funding our school, with that I vote no," Rep. Fernandez said.

"The money's going to the school districts and not the classrooms where the money needs to go, and with that I vote an emphatic yes," said Rep. John Fillmore.

"If we pass this budget it is over a half a billion for education this year, and with that I vote yes," said Rep. Michelle Udall.

"We raised the rainy day fund and that means that when something happens like what did in 2008 happens again that we won't have to make education cuts like we did then again," said Rep. John Kavanaugh.

"There's a lot of pro-education in this budget and I'm proud to vote yes," said Rep. Kavanaugh.

"We have over $200 million investing in the most vulnerable and our future," said Rep. Regina Cobb. "The conformity package is part of that package to secure our future."

"This is not a tax cut, this is giving the money back to the taxpayer," Rep. Cobb said.

HB 2757 passed with 7 ayes 4 nays and 0 not voting.

 

 

 

 

Click on this to watch the Senate Committee of the Whole meeting on the Senate Floor live at 9 a.m. and later the Senate Caucus

Click here for the agenda for the Senate Committee of the Whole pending changes by the Senate Rules Committee which meets this morning.

Click here for the agenda for the Senate Caucus pending changes by the Senate Rules Committee which meets this morning.

Click here to watch the House Appropriations Committee discuss the budget bills at 10 a.m.

Click here for the agenda for the House Appropriations Committee

Rep. Regina Cobb said lawmakers plan to work late into the evening discussing the budget bills.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills Rep-Regina-Cobb-May-22-1024x573

Rep. Regina Cobb said lawmakers plan to work into the evening discussing the budget bills. Photo courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Ben Toma who led House negotiations on the tax breaks, defended those tax breaks on Tuesday "in the budget deal they made with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey despite demands from teachers for an end to further revenue cuts until schools are fully funded," according to an Associated Press article.

The $11.9 billion budget proposal includes $386 million in cuts to fees and taxes, including more than $325 million in income tax cuts, which Rep. Toma told The Associated Press was an "offset, it’s not a tax cut. It’s an offset of a tax increase.”

Rep. Toma noted that Arizona Legislators were restoring more K-12 public education funding.

The K-12 Education bill, House Bill 2749, gives a pretty good picture of what the base level will be for next year, which is Fiscal Year 2020, said Chuck Essigs, governmental relations director for Arizona Association of School Business Officials.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills May-22-10-a.m.-House-Appropriations-Committee-1024x587

The House Appropriations Committee meets to discuss the budget bills on May 22, 2019. Photo courtesy Arizona Capitol Television.

The base level for next year in HB 2749, which includes the second year increase for the Governor's 5 percent teacher salary increase and a 2 percent inflation factor increase, is set at $4150.43, and when teacher compensation is included that rises to $4,202.31, Essigs noted.

The budget proposal would also reduce the cuts to District Additional Assistance with all cuts eliminated by fiscal year 2023, Essigs said.

"The existing cut of $257,469,900 in FY 2019 would be reduced to $128,734,900 in FY 2020, the cut would stay at $128,743,900 in FY 2021, be reduced to $64,367,400 in FY 2022, and be eliminated in FY 2023," Essigs said.

The restored dollars in district additional assistance for Fiscal Year 2020 would be up by $128.7 million, Essigs said.

"However, talk at the Legislature is that problems may exist in getting the proposed budget passed," Essigs said.

Retired teachers at the Capitol watching the budget process said instead of tax breaks that reduce revenue streams, legislators should use that revenue to restore the cuts in education funding they made since 2008.

During the teacher walk-out last year, teachers said one of their demands was for no more tax cuts until education funding was restored to what it was before the recession in 2008.

This budget proposal will make students suffer from underfunded classrooms more than they already do, said Marisol Garcia, in an azfamily story.

Garcia is part of the #RedForEd movement and vice president of Arizona Education Association.

"What tends to happen is our legislators and governor continue to give tax cuts to places that aren’t needed, and so then when it comes time to fund schools, there is no money left over," Garcia said in an azfamily story.

The budget deal being considered begins to address many important funding needs, said Christine M. Thompson, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona.

"We are pleased to see investments in all levels of education – early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary – to help improve outcomes for students and strengthen Arizona communities," Thompson said.

"To be clear, we are disappointed that potential revenues from tax conformity are being left on the table.  But we also recognize that even those dollars wouldn’t adequately fund the investment priorities outlined in the Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding to reach the Arizona Education Progress Meter goals.," Thompson said.

"Put the FY20 budget to bed and get started on the hard work of identifying a new mix of sources to thoughtfully increase state revenue while maintaining a healthy business climate, including, but not limited to, discussions to raise property, sales, and income taxes,” Thompson said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday May 21

Budget bills were introduced in the House and Senate late Tuesday, and Arizona Legislators will discuss them in committee and on the floor Wednesday morning.

The House introduced its series of budget bills shortly before 4:45 p.m. then adjourned, and the Senate presented their budget bills around 5:15 p.m. then adjourned for the day.

The Senate plans to be back on the floor at 9 a.m. tomorrow, and the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Arizona School Boards Association staff is preparing a full summary and spreadsheet of the budget, and will send those details out Wednesday morning, said Leigh Jensen, governmental relations associate for ASBA.

The budget bills are (click on bills to link to the documents): HB 2747, HB 2748, HB 2749, HB 2750, HB 2751, HB 2752, HB 2753, HB 2754, HB 2755, and HB 2756.

The K-12 Education Budget Reconciliation Bill is House Bill 2749.

It looks like the bills will go to committee on Wednesday.

 

 

Details of the $11.9 billion proposed budget plan by Republican Legislative leaders who worked on the deal with Gov. Doug Ducey were released Monday evening.

For education, the budget proposal includes funds for the 5 percent teacher pay raise, $15 million for school counselors and police officers on campus, $25 million for school building repairs, an increase to $136 million to partially restore additional assistance funding that public schools use to pay for books, software, buses and other soft-capital needs.

The budget proposal also includes a $542 million deposit into the state's rainy day fund and $325 million in tax breaks.

Democratic Legislators have concerns about the budget proposal, and are against cutting taxes until K-12 public education funding is restored to pre-recession amounts.

 

It is not clear if Republican Legislators, which hold a slim majority, have enough votes to pass the plan, according to an Associated Press article.

Especially since Republican Senators Paul Boyer, Heather Carter, J.D. Mesnard and Michelle Ugenti-Rita said they "would vote against the budget in its current form," in an article in The Arizona Republic

Gov. Ducey wanted the state to also keep the estimated $217 million increase in tax revenue from Arizona conforming to the 2017 changes in federal tax law, but Republican Legislators were against that idea and instead created a tax break package that added that amount to revenue from taxing online sales and savings from paying off state debt, according to the AP article.

The budget proposal would phase out the $32 vehicle license fee passed last session by reducing the fee to $26 next year, then to $20 the year after that, and further cut the fee by $5 each year until it is eliminated.

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills ArizonaLegislatureCapitol-Plaza

The Arizona Legislature in Phoenix

 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Republican leaders in the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate shared details of the budget bills with GOP lawmakers this morning and this afternoon.

On Sunday, Senate President Karen Fann said that Republican leaders in the Arizona Legislature have reached a budget deal with Gov. Doug Ducey, and she and House Speaker Rusty Bowers will present on Monday, according to an Associated Press article.

Meanwhile, #RedForEd leaders are encouraging teachers to come to the Capitol after school this week to meet with legislators and sit in the galleries during the budget process.

At 3 p.m. today, Democratic legislators, who were not included in budget negotiations between Gov. Doug Ducey and Legislative Republican leadership, presented their budget during a press conference.

 

Republicans hold a 31-29 majority in the House, which means they need every GOP vote to pass a budget without Democratic support.

The Senate has a 17-13 GOP majority, but several members say they won’t vote for a budget unless their concerns are resolved.

"Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita has said she wants the vehicle license fee cut. Sens. Paul Boyer and Heather Carter want an extension to the statute of limitations allowing child sex assault victims to sue or they won’t sign off," according to the AP article.

At 11 a.m., a presentation about the Statute of Limitations was scheduled on the Senate Lawn.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona Senate heard and voted on bills today, then adjourned until Monday morning when Senate and House leaders plan to introduce budget bills.

Republican leaders said Thursday they hope to finalize a budget deal with Gov. Doug Ducey over the weekend and roll out the plan early next week, according to an Associated Press article.

Several Republican senators said they planned to vote against any budget that doesn’t address their key issues, "including repealing a $32 vehicle registration fee and extending the statute of limitations for child victims of sexual abuse to sue their assailants," according to an Arizona Capitol Times article.

“We are hoping that we can get this done next week,” said Senate President Karen Fann in The Associated Press article. “So depending on how everybody cooperates, and if we get everything done then that’s the preferred plan. But if it stalls we could go another week or two if we don’t get the votes.”

Yesterday, a House motion was approved that suspended a rule that lets House members introduce budget bills.

Leaders in the Senate and House met until 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night to work on details of their budget bills and more meetings are planned today.

House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he thinks "there could be substantive progress on Monday” to The Associated Press.

But Bowers did not say whether Republican leaders reached agreement on tax conformity, the rainy day fund and the vehicle license fee with Gov. Ducey but hinted that they had reached agreement on some of those issues, according to an Arizona Capitol Times article.

House Democrats hope to see some of their ideas, including a full restoration of district and charter additional assistance included in the budget bills, said Rep. Aaron Lieberman in the video posted on Twitter below.

"We look forward to working on the budget and making sure our priorities are reflected in the final product," said Rep. Kelli Butler in the Twitter video above.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The House suspended House Rule 8C at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning to allow Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers, Rep. Ben Toma and Rep. Regina Cobb to sponsor legislative measures relating to the budget, then adjourned until 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

 

 

House Rule 8C relates to the seven-bill limit for introduction of bills, resolutions and memorials.

House Majority Leader Petersen called for the House to consider budget bills, and after the motion was approved, House Speaker Bowers asked for the Senate to be notified.

An AZ Mirror article said the motion doesn't mean that a budget deal is near.

"However, GOP lawmakers say they’ve largely overcome one of the biggest stumbling blocks: the dispute over how to conform Arizona’s income tax laws with the federal tax code. Cobb, R-Kingman, said that leaves the size of the state’s rainy day fund as the largest unresolved issue standing in the way of a budget deal," according to the AZ Mirror article.

 

During the House session, Rep. Aaron Lieberman read a note he received from a Peoria Unified School District English and Honors teacher “as we all get ready to do our work on the budget.”

“We need less than 37 students to a class in a room built for 25. We have six counselors and only one psychologist for around 2,500 students. We have only 40 copies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when 72 students need their own copy. We have only 33 laptops for a class of 37,” said Rep. Lieberman as he read from the note the teacher wrote.

“Our support staff and secretaries and bus drivers and cafeteria staff and paraprofessionals need a living wage,” the teacher continued.

“School restrooms have shoddy plumbing so the toilets don’t always flush and the sinks won’t drain. Some sinks have faucets that don’t turn off and we have broken washing machines in our severe special education student areas where they need to do laundry every day. The restrooms run out of soap before the year is out, and don’t get me started on the bug problem,” the teacher wrote.

“Students need tables and chairs not desks. Some of my students even though they’re freshman over six feet tall and over 250 pounds can’t fit in those little desks,” Rep. Lieberman read from the teacher’s note.

“Some of our doors won’t open for handicapped students since the  push plates are broken so they have to wait for someone to open the door for them,” the teacher said in the note.

“Students need adequate funding so they don’t have to do so many fundraisers. We have five different fundraisers going on right now and it’s teachers and parents who do most of the donating,” Rep. Lieberman said as he read the teacher’s note.

After finishing reading the teachers note, Rep. Lieberman said, "I think this is about our 118th day and I surely hope we can do more for our public schools."

Rep. Lieberman said he represents the single highest income ZIP code in the State of Arizona – 85253 and added that "I have received numerous comments and emails from constituents around their concerns for our public school funding. I’ve yet to hear from a single constituent about their concerns about our tax rate. With that, I urge all of our members to look inward and see what we can do for our schools as we get ready to go into the budget.”

After voting on bills, Sen. Rick Gray moved that the Senate be adjourned until Thursday, May 16 at 10 a.m. The motion was approved at 11:11 a.m. and the Senate adjourned for the day.

 

 

AZ Legislature approves budget & adjourns, Gov. signs bills Rally21

The March to Save Our Schools and Support Public Education on Sautrday, Jan. 6, 2018 at the Arizona Capitol. Photo by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews