After advising interested parties that he would not hear SB1313 in the Arizona House Education Committee on Wednesday, Chair Paul Boyer invited discussion of the bill. However, in contravention to every convention, Boyer only allowed Sen. Sylvia Allen, the bill’s original sponsor to speak on the widely unpopular and controversial legislation.
Boyer’s move shocked education activists in the hearing room and across the state. Despite being told that Boyer would hold the bill; thus eliminating a need for a public discussion, activists attended the meeting on the chance that he was misleading the public. Boyer has earned a reputation for misrepresenting his positions with constituents, and disregarding their voices.
Boyer went so far as to deny Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas an opportunity to address the Committee in opposition to the power grabbing bill. Education activist, Itasca Small tried in vain to be heard by the Committee; raising a Point of Order, but was denied.
Later, the Superintendent’s spokesperson, Charles Tack stated, “It is unfortunate that Chairman Boyer proceeded with a discussion of the bill, after having said it would not be heard, and then would not allow the public to participate.”
Clearly Small and other members of the public were devastated by Boyer’s decision to deny them an opportunity to defend public education and the highest elected office solely dedicated to education.
At issue is the attempt by Governor Doug Ducey to consolidate power including that held currently by the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office. To that end, Boyer and Allen have been tasked with pushing SB1313 under the guise that they are simply clarifying the roles of the State Board of Education.
In response to an email from the ADI, asking why Boyer changed the name of Allen’s bill from SB1416 and assigned it to his own committee in a last ditch effort to save the bill, Boyer wrote, “Because the Speaker never assigned 1416 to my committee…”
The governor-controlled State Board of Education’s lobbyists’, Axiom, were reportedly pressuring Gowan to assign the bill to only the Appropriations Committee to ensure passage.
If that does not happen, education activists expect the bill to die and the Governor, Boyer, and Senate President Andy Biggs will find a way to resurrect it through the budget process.
Both Gowan and Biggs are running for Congress and have left the Legislature in ruins. Biggs’ congressional campaign is also using the services of Axiom, so his betrayal of the public was to be expected.