By Laura Franco French

Legislative Update Week of March 2

Committees have resumed hearing bills this week. March 23rd will be the last day for House consideration of Senate bills and Senate consideration of House bills.

In the House Caucus on Tuesday (2/27), there was a JLBC presentation of the JLBC Baseline and Executive Budget Comparison. A link to this presentation can be found here: https://www.azleg.gov/calendar/0227201807.01H.pdf

The following bills are of note:

  • HB2126: government property; abatement; slum; blight. Modifies the size of the geographical area for a central business district. The bill also modifies the requirements for leases between a prime lessee and a government lessor for which tax is abated. This bill passed the House 58-0 and is ready for the Senate.
  • SB1147: county excise tax for transportation will be heard in the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee on Wednesday (3/7). This bill would allow the board of supervisors of a county with a population of 400,000 persons or less, on a majority vote, to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax that is in addition to a county transportation excise tax.

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of February 19

March 23rd will be the last day for House consideration of Senate bills and Senate consideration of House bills.

The following bills are of note:

  • HB2005: municipal economic development; sale; lease. Municipal governing bodies are authorized to sell or lease for “economic development activities” land or buildings owned by or under the control of the municipality if specified conditions are met, including that the lease term cannot exceed 25 years, that the land or building is appraised by an experienced appraiser, and that the land is sold or leased at a public auction to the highest responsible bidder after public notice of the sale or lease is given. This bill passed out of the House 32-26 and was referred to the Senate.
  • HB2090: tax credit review; evaluation standard. The standards used by the Joint Legislative Income Tax Review Committee to evaluate tax credits may include whether adequate protections are in place to ensure that the fiscal impact of the credit in future years does not increase substantially beyond the current projections. This bill passed out of the House 57-0 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.
  • HB2116: limitations of actions; dedicated property. Municipalities and counties are prohibited from instituting or maintaining an action or arbitration based on a required permit against a person who develops or develops and sells real property that is dedicated to the municipality or county more than eight years after “substantial completion”of the improvement. This bill passed out of the House 39-21 following the addition of amendments #4028 and #4437
  • HB2126: government property; abatement; slum; blight. Modifies the size of the geographical area for a central business district. The bill also modifies the requirements for leases between a prime lessee and a government lessor for which tax is abated.This bill was heard in the House Ways and Means Committee and there were references to a possible floor amendment that all parties agreed on. This bill was retained on the House COW calendar.
  • HB2158: TPT; additional rate; education. Beginning July 1, 2021, an additional transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate increment is levied at the rate of 0.6 percent of the tax base of the list of business classifications. The State Treasurer is required to distribute the revenues for various public education purposes according to a specified formula, including $86.3 million annually to the Department of Education for increased basic state aid. This legislation effectively makes permanent the additional TPT rate for education approved by the voters as Proposition 301 in November 2000, which will expire June 30, 2021. Amendment #4184 was added to this bill.
  • HB2165: county excise tax for transportation. The board of supervisors of any county is permitted to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. If approved by the voters, the county is required to levy and the Department of Revenue is required to collect the tax beginning January 1 or July 1, whichever occurs first after voter approval, on the same tax base that applies to other excise taxes in the county.
  • HB2280: universities; lease-back financing. Prohibits ABOR or a corporation formed by a university from entering into a development agreement unless the property improvement is primarily for an academic purpose or student housing. This bill passed out of the committee with a vote of 5-4 and amendment #4071.
  • HB2330: one percent property tax limit; gplet. If a school district qualifies for additional state aid for education in the fiscal year and if all or part of an affected school district is located in a municipality or stadium district in which any government property improvement is located, the Property Tax Oversight Commission is required to determine the full amount of primary property tax that would have been assessed for the tax year by the affected school district against each government property improvement. The State Treasurer must pay the amount computed for each government property improvement to each appropriate school district. The maximum amount of additional state aid for education funded by the state of $1 million per county is deleted. This bill was retained on the House COW calendar.
  • HB2377: teachers’ school supplies; tax credit. Retroactive to January 1, 2018, an individual income tax credit of up to $400 per teacher is established for expenses incurred by a “qualified schoolteacher” (defined as a teacher in kindergarten or grades 1 through 12) for educational supplies and materials purchased by the teacher and used in the teacher’s classroom. If the allowable credit exceeds taxes due, the unclaimed amount of the credit may be carried forward for up to five consecutive tax years. This bill failed to pass 23-31. It will be reconsidered within 14 days.
  • SB1014: municipal zoning; zoning protests. Clarifies that the group of persons authorized to file a protest in writing against a municipal rezoning, which triggers a requirement for the rezoning to obtain a 3/4 vote of the municipal governing body for passage, is the owners of 20 percent or more of the property. This bill passed out of the the Senate with a vote of 23-7 and was referred to the House Local & International Affairs Committee.
  • SB1147: county excise tax for transportation. Permits the board of supervisors of any county to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. This passed out of the Senate with a vote of 24-6 and is ready for the House.
    • The identical bill (HB2165) listed above, was reconsidered in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday (2/7).

  • SB1499: community facilities districts; directors. A resolution ordering the formation of a district must state whether the district will be governed by a district board consisting of members of the governing body, ex officio, with two additional members who are initially designated by the owner who owns the largest amount of privately owned acreage in the district and who are appointed by the governing body, or, at the option of the governing body, five directors appointed by the governing body. This bill passed out of the Senate with a vote of 30-0 and is ready for the House.

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of February 12

A total of 1,279 bills have been introduced this session. This week was the last week for House and Senate bills to be heard in their respective chambers.

On Monday (2/12) the Yuma County Board of Supervisors voted for Tim Dunn to fill the LD 13 seat left vacant after the expulsion of Don Shooter from the House.

The following bills are of note:

  • HB2005: municipal economic development; sale; lease. Municipal governing bodies are authorized to sell or lease for “economic development activities” land or buildings owned by or under the control of the municipality if specified conditions are met, including that the lease term cannot exceed 25 years, that the land or building is appraised by an experienced appraiser, and that the land is sold or leased at a public auction to the highest responsible bidder after public notice of the sale or lease is given. This bill passed out of the House 32-26 and was referred to the Senate.
  • HB2090: tax credit review; evaluation standard. The standards used by the Joint Legislative Income Tax Review Committee to evaluate tax credits may include whether adequate protections are in place to ensure that the fiscal impact of the credit in future years does not increase substantially beyond the current projections. This bill passed out of the House 57-0 and is ready for the Senate.
  • HB2116: limitations of actions; dedicated property. Municipalities and counties are prohibited from instituting or maintaining an action or arbitration based on a required permit against a person who develops or develops and sells real property that is dedicated to the municipality or county more than eight years after “substantial completion”of the improvement.
  • HB2126: government property; abatement; slum; blight. Modifies the size of the geographical area for a central business district. The bill also modifies the requirements for leases between a prime lessee and a government lessor for which tax is abated.This bill was heard in the House Ways and Means Committee and there were references to a possible floor amendment that all parties agreed on. This bill passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee with a vote of 7-1-1.
  • HB2158: TPT; additional rate; education. Beginning July 1, 2021, an additional transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate increment is levied at the rate of 0.6 percent of the tax base of the list of business classifications. The State Treasurer is required to distribute the revenues for various public education purposes according to a specified formula, including $86.3 million annually to the Department of Education for increased basic state aid. This legislation effectively makes permanent the additional TPT rate for education approved by the voters as Proposition 301 in November 2000, which will expire June 30, 2021. Amendment #4184 was added to this bill.
  • HB2165: county excise tax for transportation. The board of supervisors of any county is permitted to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. If approved by the voters, the county is required to levy and the Department of Revenue is required to collect the tax beginning January 1 or July 1, whichever occurs first after voter approval, on the same tax base that applies to other excise taxes in the county.
  • HB2280: universities; lease-back financing. Prohibits ABOR or a corporation formed by a university from entering into a development agreement unless the property improvement is primarily for an academic purpose or student housing. This bill passed out of the committee with a vote of 5-4 and amendment #4071.
  • SB1014: municipal zoning; zoning protests. Clarifies that the group of persons authorized to file a protest in writing against a municipal rezoning, which triggers a requirement for the rezoning to obtain a 3/4 vote of the municipal governing body for passage, is the owners of 20 percent or more of the property. This bill passed out of the the Senate with a vote of 23-7.
  • SB1147: county excise tax for transportation. Permits the board of supervisors of any county to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. This passed out of committee with a vote of 7-0.
    • The identical bill (HB2165) listed above, was reconsidered in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday (2/7).

  • SCR1002: The 2018 general election ballot is to carry the question of whether to amend the state Constitution to require, beginning in 2018, a statewide initiative or referendum that is approved by a vote of the people to be referred to a subsequent vote of the people ten years after the measure’s initial approval. The subsequent vote must be on the question of whether to reauthorize the measure for another ten-year period.

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of February 5

All of the deadlines for bills to be introduced have passed. A total of 1,279 bills have been introduced this session. Feb. 16th will be the last day for House consideration of House bills and Senate consideration of Senate bills.

The following bills are of note:

  • HB2116: limitations of actions; dedicated property. Municipalities and counties are prohibited from instituting or maintaining an action or arbitration based on a required permit against a person who develops or develops and sells real property that is dedicated to the municipality or county more than eight years after “substantial completion”of the improvement.
  • HB2126: government property; abatement; slum; blight. For the purpose of statute allowing municipalities to abate taxes for government property improvements in a single central business district, the definition of “central business district” is modified to require the geographical area to be not larger than the greater of 2.1 percent of the total land area within the exterior boundaries of the municipality or 960 acres, instead of not larger than the greater of 5 percent of the total land area or 640 acres. A municipality that has designated a central business district on or before August 31, 2018 is required to modify the district to comply with this change. Within one year after the effective date of this legislation, each municipality is required to review each area within its boundaries that has been designated as slum or blight for over ten years and either renew or terminate the designation.
  • HB2158: TPT; additional rate; education. Beginning July 1, 2021, an additional transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate increment is levied at the rate of 0.6 percent of the tax base of the list of business classifications. The State Treasurer is required to distribute the revenues for various public education purposes according to a specified formula, including $86.3 million annually to the Department of Education for increased basic state aid. This legislation effectively makes permanent the additional TPT rate for education approved by the voters as Proposition 301 in November 2000, which will expire June 30, 2021.
  • HB2165: county excise tax for transportation. The board of supervisors of any county is permitted to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. If approved by the voters, the county is required to levy and the Department of Revenue is required to collect the tax beginning January 1 or July 1, whichever occurs first after voter approval, on the same tax base that applies to other excise taxes in the county.
  • HB2280: universities; lease-back financing. Prohibits ABOR or a corporation formed by a university from entering into a development agreement unless the property improvement is primarily for an academic purpose or student housing. This bill passed out of the committee with a vote of 5-4 and amendment #4071.
  • SB1014: municipal zoning; zoning protests. Clarifies that the group of persons authorized to file a protest in writing against a municipal rezoning, which triggers a requirement for the rezoning to obtain a 3/4 vote of the municipal governing body for passage, is the owners of 20 percent or more of the property. This bill passed out of the the Senate with a vote of 23-7.
  • SB1147: county excise tax for transportation. Permits the board of supervisors of any county to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. This passed out of committee with a vote of 7-0.
    • The identical bill (HB2165) listed above, was reconsidered in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday (2/7).

  • SCR1002: The 2018 general election ballot is to carry the question of whether to amend the state Constitution to require, beginning in 2018, a statewide initiative or referendum that is approved by a vote of the people to be referred to a subsequent vote of the people ten years after the measure’s initial approval. The subsequent vote must be on the question of whether to reauthorize the measure for another ten-year period.

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of January 29

Legislators have dropped a total of 1,153 bills so far; 190 of them dropped last week. Senate members had until Jan. 29th at 5 pm to drop as many bills as they wished. Representatives are limited to dropping 7 bills per member until Feb. 5th.

The investigation regarding the misconduct of Representative Shooter was released on Tuesday (1/30). Representative Shooter was removed from all committees and on Wednesday (2/1) Speaker of the House, J.D. Mesnard, stepped up proposing House Resolution 2003 Don Shooter; expulsion. This resolution was passed with a vote of 56-3, leaving Representative Shooter’s LD 13 seat vacant.

The vote marks the first expulsion of a lawmaker since the 1991 Senate ejection of Carolyn Walker, the Senate majority whip at the time, in the wake of the “AzScam” investigation. She and other lawmakers were caught in an undercover sting operation taking money in exchange for their votes. The last House expulsion was 1948 when two members were removed following a fistfight.

 

The following bills are of note:

  • HB2032: partisan offices; cities; towns, municipalities are required to print on the ballot the party designation for all candidates for the office of mayor or city or town council. Applies to elections held on or after Jan. 1, 2019.
  • HB2116: limitations of actions; dedicated property. Municipalities and counties are prohibited from instituting or maintaining an action or arbitration based on a required permit against a person who develops or develops and sells real property that is dedicated to the municipality or county more than eight years after “substantial completion”of the improvement.
  • HB2126: government property; abatement; slum; blight. For the purpose of statute allowing municipalities to abate taxes for government property improvements in a single central business district, the definition of “central business district” is modified to require the geographical area to be not larger than the greater of 2.1 percent of the total land area within the exterior boundaries of the municipality or 960 acres, instead of not larger than the greater of 5 percent of the total land area or 640 acres. A municipality that has designated a central business district on or before August 31, 2018 is required to modify the district to comply with this change. Within one year after the effective date of this legislation, each municipality is required to review each area within its boundaries that has been designated as slum or blight for over ten years and either renew or terminate the designation.
  • HB2158: TPT; additional rate; education. Beginning July 1, 2021, an additional transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate increment is levied at the rate of 0.6 percent of the tax base of the list of business classifications. The State Treasurer is required to distribute the revenues for various public education purposes according to a specified formula, including $86.3 million annually to the Department of Education for increased basic state aid. This legislation effectively makes permanent the additional TPT rate for education approved by the voters as Proposition 301 in November 2000, which will expire June 30, 2021.
  • HB2280: universities; lease-back financing. Prohibits ABOR or a corporation formed by a university from entering into a development agreement unless the property improvement is primarily for an academic purpose or student housing. This bill passed out of the committee with a vote of 5-4.
  • HB2330: 1% property tax limit; GPLET. If a school district qualifies for additional state aid for education in the fiscal year, the Property Tax Oversight Commission is required to determine the full amount of primary property tax that would have been assessed for the tax year by the affected school district against each government property improvement and notify the State Treasurer to withhold from state shared monies and pay the amount computed for each government property improvement to each appropriate school district.
  • SB1014: municipal zoning; zoning protests. Clarifies that the group of persons authorized to file a protest in writing against a municipal rezoning, which triggers a requirement for the rezoning to obtain a 3/4 vote of the municipal governing body for passage, is the owners of 20 percent or more of the property.
  • SB1048 property taxes; notice; posting. In lieu of publishing an official notice of property taxes in a newspaper of general circulation, the county treasurer may post the notice for 4 consecutive weeks on an agency website that provides accurate and timely information and that the public routinely uses as a source of county property tax information.
  • SB1147: county excise tax for transportation. Permits the board of supervisors of any county to submit to the voters a transportation plan funded by an excise tax. This passed out of committee with a vote of 7-0.
    • The identical bill, HB2165, was heard in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which failed with a vote of 4-4. HB2165 is now going to be reconsidered in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday (2/7).

 

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of January 22

Legislators have dropped a total of 962 bills so far; 203 of them dropped last week. Senators may drop as many bills as they want until 5 pm today, Jan. 29th. Representatives are limited to seven bills per member until Feb. 5th.

Governor Ducey called for a special session on Monday (1/22) to address the opioid crisis as promised. HB2001 controlled substances; regulation; appropriation and SB1001 controlled substances; regulation; appropriation were heard both in the House and Senate respectively. This bill received bipartisan support and SB1001 passed out of both chambers and was sent to the Governor who signed the special session opioid bill on Friday.

The following bills are of note:

  • HB2116: limitations of actions; dedicated property passed the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. This bill will prohibit municipalities and counties from taking legal action against a person or group who develops, sells or improves real property for the municipality or county eight years after the project is completed.
  • HB2126: government property; abatement; slum; blight. For the purpose of statute allowing municipalities to abate taxes for government property improvements in a single central business district, the definition of “central business district” is modified to require the geographical area to be not larger than the greater of 2.1 percent of the total land area within the exterior boundaries of the municipality or 960 acres, instead of not larger than the greater of 5 percent of the total land area or 640 acres.
  • HB2158: TPT; additional rate; education. Beginning July 1, 2021, an additional transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate increment is levied at the rate of 0.6 percent of the tax base of the list of business classifications. The State Treasurer is required to distribute the revenues for various public education purposes according to a specified formula, including $86.3 million annually to the Department of Education for increased basic state aid.
  • HB2280: universities; lease-back financing. Starting July 1, 2018 the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) is prohibited from entering into a development agreement for which the deed to a property improvement is transferred to ABOR or that university and subsequently leased back to a private lessor for commercial use unless the property improvement is primarily for an academic purpose or student housing.
  • HB2330: 1% property tax limit; GPLET. If a school district qualifies for additional state aid for education in the fiscal year, the Property Tax Oversight Commission is required to determine the full amount of primary property tax that would have been assessed for the tax year by the affected school district against each government property improvement and notify the State Treasurer to withhold from state shared monies and pay the amount computed for each government property improvement to each appropriate school district.
  • HB2377: teachers’ school supplies; tax credit. Starting in 2018, an individual income tax credit of up to $400 per teacher is established for expenses incurred by a “qualified schoolteacher” (defined as a teacher in kindergarten or grades 1 through 12) for educational supplies and materials purchased by the teacher and used in the teacher’s classroom.

 

By Laura Franco French

Legislative Update Week of January 15

Legislative Update Week of January 15

Legislative session is back in full swing and legislators have dropped a total of 768 bills so far; 149 of them dropped last week.  Senators may drop as many bills as they wish until Jan. 29 and Representatives are limited to 7 bills per member until Feb. 5.

Governor Ducey has stated that he will call a special session early next week to deal with the opioid crisis.  There is widespread bipartisan support for doing something to tackle this issue that has become a national epidemic.

Former legislator Rick Gray has been appointed to fill the seat in LD 21 left vacant by former Sen. Debbie Lesko after her resignation to run for Congress.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, the Joint Appropriations Committee reviewed the Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s Baseline with the preliminary Executive comparison.  As indicated in the Governor’s State of the State, education plays a major role.  Some of the main funding for education will be going to building repair grants, debt payment and Joint Technical Education Districts (JTED’s.)  This presentation can be viewed here: https://www.azleg.gov/jlbc/19baseline-execcomparison011618.pdf

The following are bills of note:

  • HB 2005 municipal economic development; sale; lease passed the House Local and International Affairs Committee. This bill will allow municipal governing bodies to sell or lease for economic development activities land or buildings owned by or controlled by the municipality under specified conditions.
  • HB2116 limitations of actions; dedicated property will be heard in the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday (1/24).

Thanks for reading and look for our weekly blogs each Monday.

By Laura Franco French

Legislative Update Week of January 11

Welcome back to the Arizona Voices weekly update!

Monday was the first day of the Fifty-fourth legislative session. A few hundred bills were dropped over the past few days. House members had until Thursday (January 11th) at 5:00pm and Senate members have until to January 29th at 5:00pm to drop as many bills as they want. The count has risen to 605 dropped bills and can be expected to rise.

In education, an additional transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate increment is levied at the rate of 0.6 percent of the tax base of the list of business classifications beginning July 1, 2021. The State Treasurer is required to distribute the revenues for various public education purposes, including $86.3 million annually to the Department of Education for increased basic state aid.

Additionally, Governor Ducey released the executive budget, available to view here. Governor Ducey discussed the following key points

  • Calling for a special session to address the opioid crisis
  • Second chance programs for soon to be released prisoners
  • Accelerating investments for public schools and working together to restore recessionary formula reductions
  • Increasing the tax credit cap for military veterans
  • Ensuring responsible water policies to plan for the future

Thanks for tuning into our first update; check back next week for another one!

By azvoicesadmin

JTED Funding Restored, Arizona Voices Joins Forces with Greater Phoenix Leadership

This week marks the first week of the Arizona Voices partnership with Greater Phoenix Leadership. Joining the collaboration to increase statewide civic engagement and participation in the initiative are Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Listen to the NPR news story covering the partnership and read more about this effort here on the Arizona Voices blog.

On the legislative front, Governor Ducey signed the bill restoring virtually all the Joint Technical Education District (JTED) cut from last year’s budget. A win for education as his signature restores $30 million dollars for career and technical education programs.

A few other bills received his signature this week as well including SB1428 (PSPRS modifications) and SB1429 (public retirement systems; special election), both of which he signed on Tuesday. Two others—SCR1019 (public retirement system benefits) and HCM2001 (health insurance tax; repeal)—were transmitted to the Secretary of State. The pension bill(s) now go to the voters in the May 17 special election, along with Prop 123.
Among bills discussed this week was SB1330 (Parent-child relationship; termination; petition). It would allow counties to provide free legal aid to terminate absent parents’ legal rights so adoptions can proceed. In some cases, foster children remain stuck in the system despite their foster parent’s wishes to adopt, because their biological parents can’t be located. Legal fees to seek termination of the biological parents’ rights can be expensive. This bill would make it easier for adoptions to take place. An amended version of SB1330 passed the Senate committee vote and is awaiting full Senate vote.

Two bills concerning abortion were passed by committee on Wednesday. SB1324 (abortion clinics; medication abortions) and SB1474 (human fetus; embryo; prohibited actions) were both referred to the Senate Rules Committee after receiving the “do pass” vote from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

One of the top 10 most voted and commented on bills on Arizona Voices made progress this week. The House Federalism and States’ Rights Committee voted to pass an amended version of HB2024 (sovereign authority; federal actions). It will now proceed to the House Rules Committee.
Keep letting us know what you think of this bill and others at azvoices.gov. Arizona Voices is your place to speak up. Weigh in on a bill, post an idea or comment on one of the governor’s proposals. Sign up on our home page at AZVoices.gov to join conversations with citizens across the state, and share on social media platforms to encourage others to share their views.

By azvoicesadmin

Arizona Voices Joins Forces with Greater Phoenix Leadership

Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance join collaboration

The Arizona Voices Institute is conveying its innovative online collaboration platform, azvoices.gov, to be an initiative of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL). Joining GPL as collaborating organizations in the effort to expand the initiative’s statewide footprint are Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance.

“This is a very exciting development for both GPL and the Arizona Voices Institute, with the three statewide leadership organizations coming together to advance this impressive platform to promote civic and public policy engagement of our citizens across our state,” says Greater Phoenix Leadership President and CEO Neil Giuliano. “We want to encourage more open dialog and input from Arizonans about the future of our State as we tackle the important issues of education, job creation, fiscal stability, transportation infrastructure and growing of our economy.

“Civic engagement by the citizens of Arizona is a key to our state’s future,” said Ron Shoopman, president and CEO of Southern Arizona Leadership Council. “SALC is proud to partner on the Arizona Voices project because it provides the people of Arizona easy access to pending legislation and an opportunity to share their opinion directly with Arizona’s legislators and Governor.” Shoopman says Arizona Voices makes greater involvement in the process easy and impactful and encourages everyone to get involved at azvoices.gov.

NALA CEO T. Paul Thomas agrees. “Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance feels it is important to make sure that Arizona voters are engaged with the lawmaking process. That’s why we are proud to be partnering with the Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council to provide this service.”

The initiative has received bi-partisan praise for advancing civic dialog and involvement across the state. “Hearing and understanding the views of my constituents is important to me as their representative here at the Capitol,” says Rep. Jeff Weninger from District 17 in Chandler and vice chairman of the Banking and Financial Services Committee. Arizona Voices gives voters a direct way to keep me informed on their views and also gives me a way to easily aggregate and see how votes are trending for or against a bill.”

“I chose to be an early adopter for Arizona Voices to allow my constituents to have their voice heard at the Legislature without travelling to Phoenix,” says Senator Andrea Dalassandro from District 2 in Pinal County. “I represent Legislative District 2 which is part of Pima County and all of Santa Cruz County. It takes between two and three hours for my constituents to travel by car to the travel to the Capitol. The fact that the platform is multi-lingual is a big plus because many of my constituents are more comfortable using Spanish. When I speak to constituents and groups, I recommend that they sign up for azvoices.gov to have their voices heard at the Legislature for both Bills and ideas on what policies the Legislature should be working.”

Arizona Voices is the first civic engagement platform of its kind, where voters can rate pending legislation, discuss the issues and policies that impact our state with fellow Arizonans and propose innovative ideas to the elected officials. The site lets Arizona registered voters follow, discuss and instantly rate active legislation on a six-degree scale from “strongly oppose” to “strongly agree.” Senator Bob Worsley from District 25 in Mesa, came up with the idea for the platform as a way to streamline, consolidate and automate constituent input which tends to be surprisingly messy and disorganized because it comes from such random sources as email, regular mail, fax, phone, social media, in-person meetings, and formal Senate hearings on bills. He believes this would help legislators get a better picture of their constituents’ concerns and encourage broader participation both by registered voters and the public in the legislative process. The site is now a part of the Arizona Voices Institute, which is joining GPL, SALC and NALA to expand its use statewide.

“It’s high time that we are providing an electronic, 24/7 forum for rural Arizona citizens to voice their opinion on what we do down here at the Capitol,” said Senator Steve Pierce from District 1 in Prescott. It’s hard to participate and voice your concerns with bills when you live several hours away from Phoenix. I fully support AZ Voices and its new partnership with NALA, GPL and SALC.”

In addition to indicating their support or opposition on current bills, registered users can post ideas on various topics and begin dialogs about how to improve the state and address issues confronting the state. Upgrades to the system include a weekly summary of all bills and votes sent to legislators, and the Request to Speak system is now integrated on the site as a resource to help facilitate placing comments and opinions on the official record of the State Legislature.

The Greater Phoenix Leadership (gplinc.org) mission is to align leadership and resources at the intersection of the business, government, philanthropy and education communities to improve economic vitality and quality of life.

The Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance (naleaders.org) is a coalition of business, education and non-profit executives dedicated to addressing the critical needs of the region. Its membership generates $1 billion annually in gross revenues in the region and is responsible for more than 7,000 jobs in the area.

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council (salc.org) is a private-sector organization comprised of 137 senior business and community leaders in the Tucson region. The mission of SALC is to improve greater Tucson and Arizona by bringing together resources and leadership to create action to enhance the economic climate and quality of life in our communities to attract, retain, and grow high-quality, high-wage jobs.

Arizona Voices (azvoices.gov) is a community engagement opportunity provided as a public service by Greater Phoenix Leadership, Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Advocacy and constituent organizations are invited to collaborate with us; please email us at info@azvoicesinstitute.org for more information on how to become involved.

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As of Dec. 31, 2018, the Arizona Voices website will no longer be available. Thank you to all who have been active users. We encourage you to remain engaged in the legislative process.

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