Friday, January 16, 2015

AZ lege and Doug Ducey showing their priorities. Guess what *isn't* one of them

Arizona has made the national news again, this time as the first state to require that students pass a civics test before they can graduate high school (HB2064).

From Time Magazine -
Arizona on Thursday became the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring high school students to pass the U.S. citizenship test on civics before they can graduate — part of a growing nationwide effort to boost civics education.

The swift action by the Arizona Legislature comes as states around the country take up similar measures. The proposal requires high school students to correctly answer 60 of 100 questions on the civics portion of the test new citizens must pass.

What didn't they pass and see signed into law by the new governor?  Legally adequate (and judicially required) education funding.

Other things the lege is proposing:

- Preventing residency challenges to electeds and candidates (If this one passes, expect it to be challenged in court and/or at the ballot box)

- Increasing the size of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors from the current five members to seven (I thought the Rs were champions of "small government"?)

- Adding elected officials to a specially protected class of persons where a simple assault on them (a misdemeanor) is legally considered to be aggravated assault (a felony) (Sources indicate that at its beginning, this measure was intended to protect judges, but, as written, it covers all elected officials from the governor down to precinct committeemen.  Who doesn't it cover?  Judges...)

- Moving the date of Arizona's primary election date from November to May (Nice to know that every other problem facing the state has been addressed)

- Taking control of funds granted to Arizona by the federal government from the governor and giving it to the legislature (this one is an annual effort.  It has passed in the past, but since it needs the governor's signature to be enacted, don't hold your breath waiting for this one to become law)

- Adding (and here) the position of "lieutenant governor" to the list of Arizona elected officials (as written, the proposal would make the position an appointed one, not an elected one [in practical terms])

- Forcing schools to cut spending on maintenance and operations

- Restricting the ability of Arizona citizens to put ballot questions before the voters or to recall wayward elected officials

- Repealing Clean Elections (here, too) (another bill proposal that's seen annually)

- Banning the activation of a pedestrian "walk" signal at a traffic light if the purpose of that act is to slow down traffic in order to solicit drivers for money or for a business

- Regulating the size of political signs

- Keeping the names of the winners of winners of prizes in the Arizona lottery private

What isn't a proposal supported by the legislature and governor?

Paying the bills.

Note: On an related note, the governor's proposed budget will be released at 2:30 and will be available here.  As I am not an insider, I don't know the details of it yet, but have been told that the financial starvation of the state's education will continue under Doug Ducey's budget.

Note2:  Regarding the civics test law, follow the money.