Take Action: Week of February 20, 2017

Stay informed on what's happening at the local, state, and federal level and take action on these important matters. 

Federal Update

It’s President’s Day! Congress is in recess this week and we are all asked to do what we can to secure Town Hall meetings. Join us for #McCainMonday today at 12 noon on the SE corner of 22nd St. and Camelback (and #FlakeFriday on the NE corner on Friday!) Bring flags, signs and letters to leave at their offices.

And call! Identify yourself as a constituent and ask your senators to set up a Town Hall meeting in Phoenix. Or call about another issue, but keep it to one issue. Now that the courts have stepped in to protect the rights guaranteed by our Constitution; it’s time for our senators to do the same.

  • Sen. John McCain: (202) 224-2235 or (602) 952-2410
  • Sen. Jeff Flake: (202) 224-4521 or (602) 840-1891

State Update

And here’s what you can do to take a stand for the Affordable Care Act: Dr. Randy Friese introduced a resolution, HCM2004, requesting that there be no repeal of the ACA without an acceptable replacement, as it allows for Medicaid expansion, giving low-income and middle-income individuals access to affordable health insurance. Without it, hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will lose their health care. Email your representatives and ask them if they are in favor of no repeal without an acceptable replacement. If yes, ask them to sign on to HCM2004 and ask them to request Speaker J.D. Mesnard to schedule a vote in the House. Find your representatives here.

According to our friends at the League of Women Voters, 1054 bills have been introduced this session. Just one has passed.

Your voice matters! If a bill is on a committee agenda, use Request to Speak (RTS) to register your support or opposition.

If a bill is on a floor agenda in the House or Senate for discussion in COW (Committee of the Whole), or 3rd read (roll-call vote), call your representatives or senator to say vote YES or NO.

Updates on bills we've been watching: 

  • HCR2004, repealing Clean Elections, FAILED in the Appropriations Committee last Wednesday on a 6-7-1 vote.
  • HCR2006, putting Arizona on record in favor of an Article V convention to rewrite parts of the U.S. Constitution, FAILED 27-31-2, on 3rd read in the House.

Use RTS to oppose the following bills that undermine the voter referendum and initiative process. All passed the House Government Committee and all but HB2255 are scheduled for House Rules at 9:30 am today, Monday, Feb. 20:

  • HB2255, prohibiting outside money on initiatives (minimum wage initiative was helped by out of state funding)
  • HB2320, requiring ballot disclaimer, with intent to discourage passage of ballot proposal
  • HB2404, adding onerous requirements to the initiative process
  • HCR2002, repealing Voter Protection Act, which protects legislation passed by citizens. 
  • HCR2007, repealing Voter Protection Act, but only citizen initiatives, not initiatives referred to the ballot by the Legislature. 
  • HB2369, repealing a number of commissions, committees and boards, including the Arizona State Parks Board, passed on 3rd read in the House on a party-line 34-24-2 vote. It has been transmitted to the Senate. 

Stay tuned for updates on the following bills that threaten public support of public schools:

  • HB2394, known as the universal voucher bill (Empowerment Scholarship Accounts), and HB2465, which would revise and expand ESA eligibility, passed the House Education Committee on 6-5 votes with Coleman and Udall joining D’s in opposition. They are not listed on the floor calendar on Monday but could appear later in the week. Call Rep. Maria Syms at (602) 926-4860 and ask her to oppose voucher bills HB2394 and HB2465.
  • Voucher bills in the Senate, SB1431, phasing in universal ESAs over four years, and SB1281, making revisions, are not listed on tomorrow’s Rules agenda, though they both passed the Senate Education Committee on 4-3 votes last month. They could be added and then they could show up for floor debate and voting later this week. Use RTS to oppose both SB1431 and SB1281. Call Sen. Kate Brophy Mcgee at (602) 926-4486 and thank her for voting NO in committee and ask her to vote NO on the floor.
  • The anti-deseg funding bill, SB1174, which passed Senate Appropriations on Jan. 31 on a partisan 6-4 vote, is still not listed for a hearing in the Rules Committee. If the deseg bill is enacted, districts would be required to go to voters for a special override in order to continue the funding. Glendale Union could lose $6 million, PUHSD, $53 million, Scottsdale Unified, $7 million and Washington, $6 million. Call Sen. Kate Brophy McGee at (602) 926-4486, and ask her to vote NO on any attempts to eliminate the desegregation funding.