By azvoicesadmin

JTED Funding, Internet Crimes Against Children, Human Trafficking Measures Move

After meeting with Senate President Andy Biggs earlier this week to review numbers, Gov. Ducey said that he would sign a bill restoring Joint Technical Education District (JTED) funds if it was put in front of him. Funding for JTED had been cut in previous years, but is now set at $28 million, which is well over the $10 million previously proposed. As of yesterday the Senate passed the bill and has now sent it over to the House for a technical correction prior to sending onto the Governor for signature.

Meanwhile, public debate is stirring over HB2507 (outdoor advertising), which the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted in favor of this week. The bill would expand the previously limited area where electronic billboards may be erected. The limitation was initially set in place to preserve Arizona’s astronomy industry and now questions are once again being raised concerning light pollution. The bill has been referred to the House Rules Committee.

On Wednesday, the House Education Committee held a public hearing of HB2548 (post-secondary campuses; public forums; activities) which would have allowed the outdoor areas of universities and community colleges to be treated as traditional public forums, bringing with it the right to assemble and peacefully protest.

The House Education Committee ended up holding that bill, making it one of more than two dozen that failed this week. Among the others were SB1473 (registered nurses; advanced practice) and HB2024 (sovereign authority; federal actions), both of which generated some buzz on AZVoices.gov.

Many bills were also engrossed this week including HB2468 (internet crimes against children; continuation), which has been transmitted to the governor, and HB2352 (Teachers; human trafficking; continuing education), which has been transmitted to the House.  Among those given the “Do Pass Amended” were SB1197 (schools, cursive writing requirement), SB1323 (vexatious litigants; workers’ compensation), and SB1425 (securities; salesmen; registration exemptions).

We want to know what you think about all this. Arizona Voices is your place to speak up. You can also access the official Request to Speak system when you click on any bill (on the right sidebar) to formally go on record with your opinions. 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

Bill Deadline, Human Fetus, Liquor and Community Colleges Measures top Legislative Action

Time is up for introducing new bills to the Senate. This past Monday was the last day. The clock is still ticking for House bills with today, Monday, February 8 being the last day to introduce bills. After that, the Senate and the House will both be working with what they already have.

Bills with movement included measures regarding research, community colleges and firearms, to name a few.

SB1474 (human fetus; embryo; prohibited actions) was introduced last week, assigned to two Senate committees then read a second time before being referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill proposes limiting the use of aborted fetuses and embryos for research.

Also introduced was SB1322 (community colleges; expenditure limitation) which would allow Maricopa Community Colleges to become more entrepreneurial to generate revenue. It was referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Among those progressing is HB2030 (liquor premises; firearms; retired officers), which was given the “Do Pass” by the House Judiciary Committee. On AZVoices.gov, this bill has already garnered more than 50 votes from Arizona citizens.

There were also plenty of bills that failed. HB2494 (tax credit; concealed weapon permits) and HB2477 (precinct committeeman; term of office) were held by the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Elections Committee, respectively. Both bills will receive hearings today.

The House Rules Committee decided to hold HB2224 (private firearm transactions; prohibited encumbrances) and HB2225 (radiologic technology; out-of-state licensed practitioners), while the House Health Committee held HB2290 (disproportionate share hospital payments) and HB2503 (psychologists; licensure compact). HB2446 (prohibited weapon; definition; exclusions) also failed in the House Judiciary Committee.

Not making any movement in the legislature  but still big topics of discussion on AZVoices.gov are SB1054 (law enforcement activity; recording prohibition) and HCR2010 (application; Article V convention). Keep those discussions going and speak up on other bills by signing up on our home page at AZVoices.gov. Join citizens across the state to weigh in on bills and share your ideas.

By azvoicesadmin

Bill Filing Deadlines, Budget Discussions Continue This Week at the Legislature

This week is the filing deadline for bills in the Senate while in the house there is still time for lawmakers to get their bills submitted. Budget presentations continue and the word that has been thrown around all week is “transparency.” In Gov. Ducey’s State of the State Address earlier this month, he promised more transparency on budget matters and added additional hearings to the schedule.

The governor has been receiving public comment at hearings so far and the Senate Appropriates Committee is inviting the public to comment on the state spending plan and live-streamed their hearing this week. However, the House Appropriates Committee decided not to allow public comment during their departmental budget hearings.

While education is being celebrated in the first few weeks of the session, three education-related bills failed in the House last week—HB2190: education omnibus, HB2437: department of education; technology; reports, and HB2037: early childhood literacy; school monies have all been held in committee.

Also held in committee last week were HB2148: minimum wage; monetary compensation and SB1126: prisoner transition program; eligibility; termination.

The House majority caucus voted “Do Pass” on HB2058: state board of education; members. At the time of writing this article, HB2058 has received 41 votes on AZVoices.gov and is one of the most commented on bills. Even more popular is HCR2010: application; Article V convention, which has received 89 votes on Arizona Voices and was given the “Do Pass” from the House FSR Committee. The bill has been referred to the House Rules Committee.

The House Committee of the Whole decided to pass amended versions of HB2377: criminal sentencing; restoration of rights and HB2047: trade names; trademarks; online registration.

Among the bills introduced last week were SB1367: Assyrian genocide; monument; procedures and SB1349: sentencing; aggravating factor; texting.

What do you think about all this? 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

Governor Proposes FY 2017 Budget

As promised, Governor Ducey delivered his proposed budget last Friday to mixed reviews. The budget added $105 million in new spending for the upcoming fiscal year, allocating education dollars to universities and K-12 schools, child welfare funding for the Department of Child Safety and child-care subsidies, and public safety money through private prisons and the Border Strike Task Force, among other initiatives.

“It prioritizes wisely, cutting back on bureaucracy while protecting our core functions – educating our students, supporting child safety and public safety, protecting our taxpayers and modernizing state government,” says Gov. Ducey.

The budget is now working its way through public hearings in the capitol and on the road, as well as House and Senate voting. Check out the complete budget on the governor’s website.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) already had a chance to weigh in on the budget at the joint House and Senate transportation hearing on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 where Director John Halikowski stressed the economic importance of maintaining the state’s road system. ADOT is currently billions of dollars short for such maintenance.

Meanwhile, the House and Senate have both been busy reviewing bills. Check out the bills trending now on Arizona Voices and cast your votes.

Among those that failed to get enough votes to pass out of committee this week were two of the most talked about bills on Arizona Voices. HB2061: medical marijuana; pregnancy exclusion and HB2056: statewide assessments; parental opt-out have both been held.

HB2067: county school superintendents; qualifications which is another of your favorite discussions on Arizona Voices and HB2190: Education omnibus were both referred the House Education Committee this week.

What do you think about all this? 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.

Arizona Voices 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.

By azvoicesadmin

Fast Start to Legislative Session

Government officials arrived for the start of the 2016 legislative session on Monday, and citizens were in full force making their views known on a wide variety of issues. Already this first week, representatives from the Campaign to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in Arizona were rallying and a bill to allow guns in college classrooms, among others, was being pushed.

Gov. Doug Ducey delivered his second State of the State Address on Monday, January 11, 2016. He spoke of tax cuts, education reform, eliminating regulations, lowering government waste, addiction counseling, and better support for foster children and adoptive families.

Specifically, Gov. Ducey wants to eliminate unnecessary regulations already in existence—regulations he feels are hurting businesses of all sizes.

He also wants to eliminate licenses for certain jobs, talent agencies was one he mentioned, citing that “they have been designed to kill competition or keep out the little guy.”

As for the Western water crisis, Gov. Ducey thinks it’s more of a “California Water Crisis” and praised previous efforts for planning ahead while calling on more preparation for the future.

Investing in education is also high on his priority list. Gov. Ducey wants to make it easier for the best public schools to expand and get more kids off the wait lists. In addition, he wants to see schools rewarded for students successfully completing AP-level and college prep classes. Expect More Arizona reviewed the education portion of the Address.

Also in his sights are foster children and some of the barriers that make their lives more complicated. “In many cases, a grandmother actually receives fewer dollars to raise her own grandchild, then a stranger would. That’s wrong.” He also wants these children to have better access to good education and move them to the front of the waiting lines.

How these efforts will pan out?  We don’t know as yet. If you missed the Address, you can watch or read the full speech at azgovernor.gov.

In other opening week news, and trending now on AZVoices.gov, Senator Kavanagh’s SB 1054 would make it unlawful for a person to knowingly video tape law enforcement activity without permission of law enforcement and must be at least 20 feet away from the activity. Be sure to share your thoughts on this idea.

Today Gov. Ducey is scheduled to release his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2017 (that is July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017). In his State of the State Address he said, “[T]he big spenders and special interests aren’t going to like it.” Curious about the Arizona budget process? Read about it azleg.gov.

What do you think about all this? 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.

Arizona Voices 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.

 

 

By azvoicesadmin

Education, Marijuana, Guns top early bills for 2016 Legislative Session

The 2016 legislative session kicks off Monday, January 11th and already over 61 Bills have been pre-filed in the Senate and over 75 in the House. Arizona Voices is back once again to help you communicate your thoughts, ideas, and approval of their actions. Log in now to AZVoices.gov and take a look at the bills that have been pre-filed and cast your early vote.

Early bills range from the legalization of marijuana, banning video taping of police officers marking arrests, to a bill that would ignore presidential executive actions. Prison Reform and Tax Cuts appear to be on Governor Ducey’s mind as is the plight of vulnerable children based on remarks at a recent forum. Arizona Republic Columnist Laurie Roberts is watching including these nine bills that could make a difference this session.  State Legislature Reporter Alia Beard Rau says these 10 Bills Are Likely to Go No Where.

Stay informed, get engaged, and let your state representative know where you stand. Bookmark AZVoices.gov, get your friends and colleagues registered and join in the conversation.

By azvoicesadmin

Arizona Voices Deserve to be Heard by our State Legislature

A game-changing project to increase the public’s participation in the state legislative process is taking shape in Arizona, making it a first again for our State.  Arizona voters have a new way to make their voices and opinions on bills heard clearly and directly by our legislators.  That is the power of AZVoices.gov, an initiative of Arizona Voices Institute, a new non-profit, non-partisan organization built on the vision of amplifying the public’s voice at the Capitol, formed to ensure that the bills adopted by the Legislature reflect the true desires of its citizens.

Now, we the people of Arizona have a new way to register our approval or disapproval of every bill and every piece of legislation under consideration; and to keep our legislators honest. We need to find answers to fund our K-12 educational system, stimulate the economy, and build critical infrastructure. We must find ways to create public policy that has been vetted by all Arizonans not just the special interests that dominate the legislative process.  AZVoices.gov is  a movement that provides a platform for the voice of reason to be heard, a reflection of the attitudes of votes of Arizona.

The first of its kind in the nation, AZVoices.gov makes it easy for people to leave the sidelines and engage in the process.  Every Arizonan no matter his or her political persuasion finally has an equal opportunity to be heard. Many feel they have no voice unless they are financial contributors, know someone with a relationship with the legislator, or travel from across the state to the Capitol. Calls and emails get lost in the sea of sponsored campaigns drowning out the true voice of Arizonans. AZVoices.gov brings voters virtually face-top-face with lawmakers for invaluable public input, creating a more balanced and valuable public dialog.

Yes only our elected officials can cast an official vote on bills, representing the voters of their districts. However, this innovative platform allows citizens from across the state to cast their “votes”, or opinions, in the form of a five-point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. This gives our legislators a real-time understanding, a running poll of sorts, of their constituency’s positon on their bills. With over 3 million registered voters in Arizona, imagine the impact if each and every voice of each and every voter, were heard. That is a true manifestation of our democracy in action.

The time has come for the average Arizona citizen to have a voice on public policy issues. In order for the spirit of our democracy to remain in tact, to have representatives of the people of Arizona actually vote the way of their constituents desires, we must have more people involved in the process. This movement is the public’s way of balancing the scales of power and influence.

The legislature has separated the wheat from the chaff and the bills left are moving fast. Get involved now by going to AZVoices.gov, register, and vote on the remaining critical bills. Yes, the more Arizona Voices in the process the better the outcomes and the better future for us all.

Submitted by

Arizona Voices Board of Directors

By azvoicesadmin

The Spark Behind Arizona Voices

According to the Gallup Arizona Poll, “Arizonans agree more than they disagree on the major issues, yet only 10% of Arizonans believe their elected officials represent their interests.” In addition, consider that more than 2,000 bills are proposed each year in the Arizona State Legislature but only about 250 actually become law. It’s clear change is needed.

Arizonans, like you, have voices that deserve to be heard. Thanks to the Arizona Voices Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing public participation in the legislative process, AZVoices.Gov now exists with one goal: Ensure that the policies adopted by the Arizona Legislature reflect the priorities of Arizona citizens.

This supportive online community lets every Arizonan share ideas and discuss policies. Arizona Voices is your chance to have a say in the legislative process, to cut through the issues right to the heart of what matters to you and, most importantly, to share your innovative ideas for future improvements in our great state.

As the first statewide civic engagement platform of its kind, AZVoices.Gov enables registered voters to instantly rate legislation on a six-degree scale from “strongly oppose” to “strongly agree.” The site then organizes the feedback by age, gender and legislative district to ensure your views are passed quickly, and clearly, to your represented officials.

According to Karl Gentles, President & CEO of Arizona Voices Institute, “With the launch of AZVoices.Gov, every Arizonan now has an equal opportunity to be heard by the Arizona State Legislature and is empowered to discuss policies with fellow citizens. What stands out most is the ability to propose new ideas for civic improvement and collaborate with individuals across the state. It’s our hope AZVoices.Gov will bring new light to the legislative process.”

Ready to make your voice heard?
Get started now by rating Bills or sharing Ideas. Thank you for helping to shape the future of Arizona!

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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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Education, Marijuana, Guns top early bills for 2016 Legislative Session
The Spark Behind Arizona Voices