Week #1: 55th Legislature, 1st Session (of 2, since our legislators were elected through 2022!)
Quote of the week, from Michael Slugocki: “Good start to the session - let's read the rules to see if masks need to cover the nose!”
And yes, that did happen, in the House Government and Elections Committee, following Rep. Butler’s question as to whether or not masks need to cover noses and mouths. After a 10-minute recess -- and the answer was apparently, yes -- Committee considered HB2014, “an unconstitutional bill to give Governor more authority over the Clean Elections Commission, making Arizona’s voter-protected election oversight system subject to more partisanship,” Rep. Butler said, when explaining her NO vote. The bill passed on a partisan 7-6 vote. If you were one of the 153 voters who signed in to RTS with a thumbs-down on HB2014, Rep. Butler referenced you and asked everyone on the committee to read your comments.
Masks were an issue in Rep. Lieberman’s Natural Resources Committee hearing, as well. Four Republicans weren’t wearing them, including Chair Gail Griffin, Vice-Chair Judy Burges, and Rep. Mark Finchem, who sat next to Rep. Lieberman and was seen coughing from time to time. LD28’s Larry Berle said he thought that “hugely disrespectful.” Two non-controversial bills passed unanimously out of committee, including HB2033, which would set stricter qualifications for State Mine Inspector, and HB2034, on noxious weeds.
Over on the Senate side, Sen. Christine Marsh made her first vote,supporting SB1061, requiring that before employing a certificated or non-certificated person, school districts and charter schools would conduct a search of the educator information system to assure that person has a certificate and is in good standing. This bill allows for oversight by the State Board of Education of non-certificated persons in educator positions and the ability to investigate claims of unprofessional behavior. There was very little discussion (the Department is asking for additional funding to cover the cost of hiring additional investigators). SB1061 was given a due pass recommendation by a vote of 7 aye, 0 nay and 1 not voting. Thanks to Marilyn Duerbeck, who is watching our Senate Education Committee.