By Asha Devineni

Legislative Recap – 2018

The 53rd Second Regular Legislative Session lasted 117 days. The Legislature adjourned sine die on May 4, at 12:26 am. Of the 1,279 bills introduced this session, 345 bills were signed by the Governor and 23 were vetoed. 10 of the vetoed bills were on the basis that there was not a budget being produced that included the teachers pay increase as well as restoration of additional assistance.

Governor Ducey announced a teacher pay increase early in April. The Governor’s plan would include a 20% increase overall by fiscal year 2020 which will amount to an average teacher pay of $58,130, up from the current $48,723. Teachers went on strike for six days starting on April 25th after there had been no legislation introduced to address the teacher pay increase. This lasted through the entire budget process and almost until sine die night. This year’s general appropriation budget bill, HB2665 general appropriations act; 2018-2019, includes provisions regarding the teachers pay increase such as the legislative intent that the increase of $273,706,100 in GF monies for basic state aid in FY2019 be used for teacher salary increases.

In June of 2017, Governor Ducey  issued a Declaration of Emergency and an Enhanced Surveillance Advisory in response to the opioid overdose epidemic in Arizona. In the Governor’s State of the State address, he addressed this issue and expressed the need to find a solution. As a product of the 53rd First Special Session beginning January 23rd, SB1001 controlled substances; regulation; appropriation was passed. The bill established a good Samaritan system that would prohibit a person from being criminally charged in regard to drug possession, if the person was seeking medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose. It puts further regulations on dentists, physician assistants, osteopathic physicians and more for dispensing schedule II controlled substances. The bill also appropriates $10,000,000 from the state in FY18 to establish the Substance Abuse Disorder Fund.

SB1519 school safety; protective orders; appropriations was introduced this session in response to the amount of school shootings occurring. This bill addressed suicide prevention training, school safety emergency response plans, mental and behavioral health services for schools, public safety training and reporting and also create a Severe Threat Order Protection system, This bill was very controversial and had lengthy debate in the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee as well as Committee of the Whole. This bill passed out of the Senate with a vote of 17-13. This bill was never given a hearing in the House probably due to the teachers pay increase issue.

Another issue that Governor Ducey mentioned in his State of the State address was Arizona’s water. There were several bills introduced throughout session such as SB1507/2512 water program amendments, HB2553 adequate water supply; county review and SB1509 water; interstate sales. While there were bills that had some legislative action on them, the issue of water did not receive much attention due to the other pertinent issues going on.

Thank you for tuning in to Arizona Voices; see you back here next year.

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of April 30

The 53rd Legislature adjourned a little after midnight on Friday, May 4. The Governor now has 10 days to take final action on the remaining bills.

Recap of the past week:

On Monday (5/1) afternoon there was an open caucus meeting that consisted of a JLBC presentation outlining the proposed budget as well as the BRBs. The budget bills were introduced late that afternoon and first read.

On Tuesday (5/1) both chambers held an Appropriations Committee to hear all of the budget bills.

On Wednesday (5/2), the House Appropriations Committee reconvened to finish the last of the budget bills. After this both chambers went to caucus for the budget bills. The House and Senate started Committee of the Whole around 8pm Wednesday night and continued until the bills were Third Read. The House finished with budget bills around 9am on Thursday and the Senate finished around 5am.

Below are brief summaries of the major budget bills as well as links to the summaries for further details.

HB2665 general appropriations act; 2018-2019

  • The feed bill includes provisions regarding the teachers pay increase such as the legislative intent that the increase of $273,706,100 in general funding monies for basic state aid in FY2019 be used for teacher salary increases.
    • It appropriates $164,700,000 from the GF in FY2020 to ADE for Basic State Aid.
    • It appropriates $289,200,000 from the GF in 2021 to ADE for Basic State Aid.
      • During FY2021 there will be a one time $50,000,000 increase in funding from the Classroom Site Fund to increase teacher salaries.
    • The above provisions require the appropriation to be used to fund an increase in the base level for teacher salary increase.
  • It appropriates $8 million from the GF in FY2019 to the universities for capital improvement and operation expenditures in further specified amounts.
  • There are several appropriations to AHCCCS that include a 2.5% provider rate increase, skilled nursing provider rate increase and behavioral health services in schools.
  • Directs appropriations and prior year balances for ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and UA’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom be deposited in separate accounts from other university funding.

HB2663/SB1521 K-12 education; budget reconciliation; 2018-2019

  • Increases the Base Level for FY 2019 from $3,683.27 to $3,960.07.
  • Continues to declare that it is the intent of the Governor and Legislature that school districts increase the total percentage of classroom spending over the previous year’s percentages in instruction, student support and instructional support.
  • Directs ADE to reduce the amount of CAA by $13,628,800 that otherwise would be apportioned to charter schools for FY 2019 and requires budget limits to be reduced accordingly.
  • Continues to direct ADE to reduce DAA for school districts that are not eligible to receive Basic State Aid funding by the amount that would be reduced if the district was eligible for Basic State Aid funding and reduce the school district’s budget limits accordingly.
    • Establishes a schedule to reduce the suspension of DAA to $0.00 in FY 2023
  • Requires school districts to prominently post on their websites a copy of the profile page displaying classroom spending percentages from the Auditor General’s Classroom Spending Report.
  • Includes financial expectations in charter school performance frameworks and instructs charter sponsor annual reports to include financial performance of the charter portfolio

HB2662 higher education; budget reconciliation; 2018-2019

  • Outlines information that must be included in a report on commercial projects.
  • Continues the Foster Care Tuition Waiver Scholarship Program.
  • Asserts that the annual Capital Improvement Plan reports must include information about ongoing or recently completed land acquisitions and capital projects of an agency’s component units, in addition to acquisitions and projects of an agency
  • Requires a community college course offered for credit to meet requirements adopted pursuant to district governing board policies, including national standardized examinations and credit by evaluation or exam.
  • Prohibits a community college from offering a course with a prerequisite for enrollment that requires a student to be a member of a labor organization, trade organization or trade guild to participate in an industry apprenticeship program.

HB2659/SB1526 health; budget reconciliation; 2018-2019

  • Requires the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to deposit the first $300,000 of all radiation related fees for licensure and certification collected each FY into the GF.
  • Repeals the Radiation Regulatory Fee Fund and the State Radiologic Technologist Fund.
  • Permits the Director for ADHS to raise fees in FY 2019 for services provided by the Bureau of Radiation Control.
  • Stipulates that the reimbursement level for behavioral health services provided at an inpatient facility after July 1, 2018 is capped at the fee-for-service schedule adopted by AHCCCS, multiplied by 90%, unless the recognized inpatient facility and a contractor or RBHA enter into a contract.
  • Requires AHCCCS to transfer to the counties the portion necessary to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act regarding the counties’ proportional share of the state’s contributions by December 31, 2019.
  • Requires AHCCCS to submit a report to the Director of JLBC by January 2, 2019 on the availability of inpatient psychiatric treatment for adults, children and adolescents who receive services from RBHAs.
  • Sets the annual DSH Payment amount for the District in FY 2019 in the amount of $113,818,500.
  • Sets the annual county ALTCS contributions for FY 2019 at $268,554,800

Thank you for following the legislative session with us; until  next time!

By Asha Devineni

Legislative Update Week of March 26

This session is starting to near its end. The Appropriation Committees in both chambers met this week which will conclude the meeting of committees for this session.  The remainder of this session will include floor action to get the remainder of the bills sent to the governor as well as budget meetings.  Budget discussion began several weeks ago. From what has been heard, the House, Senate and the Governor’s office are not conflicting significantly.

The following bill is of note:

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

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 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 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 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 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

In other opening week news, and trending now on, 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

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 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 for more information on how to become involved.




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.

Legislative Recap – 2018
Legislative Update Week of April 30
Legislative Update Week of March 26
Legislative Update Week of January 11