Arizona Legislature Week In Review – ESAs And Executive Powers

Week Ending Feb 18, 2022

az capitol

This week 6 of the 2022 legislature was notable in three ways. First, if the legislature adheres to the 100 day goal, we are very close to the midpoint of the session. Second, this was the busiest week so far this year. A whopping 42 of the bills we are tracking saw action this week. Third, it appears that it was a record week for the use of strike-everything amendments. Looking only at the bills we are tracking, 9 out of those 42 were hit by strike-everything amendments. That is over 21%. Proponents of transparency in government are adamantly opposed to the use of these strike-all amendments because they are so sneaky, but are widely used by both sides of the issues.

Some of that sneakiness was illustrated by what happened with two house bills. One via a strike-all amendment, the other by invoking the suspension of rules:

HB2803 – empowerment scholarship accounts; universal eligibility

This bill, if approved, would have allowed everyone who wanted to participate in the empowerment scholarship accounts program to do so without restrictions. In other words, public schools would have had to compete for students, which would have eliminated most of the nonsense that goes on at district schools. Unfortunately, this bill was the target of a strike-all amendment and we will not get a chance to advance this issue.

HCR2039 – school district expenditures; authorization.

This bill extends the K-12 aggregate expenditure limit by 1.1 billion dollars for this year. It passed under a suspension of rules, which means that it was railroaded through without a single committee hearing and without any opportunity for citizens to study, much less comment, on the bill. The senate will be looking at this bill next, probably under the same suspension of rules scenario. More information on this issue may be found in a recent ADI article, at AEL-INCREASE

Not all news from the legislature was bad. There were some bright spots.

SB1657 – ESAs; STOs; student empowerment fund

This bill makes modest addition to the list of students that qualify for empowerment scholarship accounts.

It also makes some beneficial changes to the rules on scholarship tuition organizations. It passed the senate 16-12 and has been sent to the house

HB2578 – emergency executive powers; legislative oversight

This bill chips away at the dictatorial powers that have been previously awarded to the governor. The vote in the Government and Elections was 7-6. It is curious that all Democrats voted against this. Do they really want the governor to retain all this power or are they being naughty? Most likely both.

HB2619 – postvaccine injuries; COVID-19; posting

Directs the AZ DHS to make available data that shows adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccination. Currently, only the positive data is being widely advertised, which is negligently biased in favor of vaccinations. This bill is a step toward offsetting that. It passed the Government and Elections Committee along party lines, 7-6.

SB1338 – paper ballots; hand count; precincts

This bill, if enacted, will fix the vast majority of the “irregularities” that we have been experiencing. The best way to insure fair and accurate elections is to go back to voting in person, by precinct, and using paper ballots. The Senate Government Committee advanced this bill with a 4-3 vote.

We always like to facilitate fact checking of our comments. For a complete report on the bills that we have been tracking, including links to the text of the bills themselves, go to REPORT