Some Bipartisan Good Government at the Arizona State Legislature with regards to Education

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While headlines sometimes focus on controversial education bills that draw sharp divisions among both political parties at the Arizona Capitol like the out of state voucher expansion bills or the restrictions on transgender athletic participation, there are several less contentious measures making their way through the legislative process with considerable bipartisan support.

One example of this is Senate Bill (SB) 1284 which passed the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee on a unanimous seven to zero vote on February 10, 2020.

Legislative District 18 State Senator Sean Bowie

This measure, primarily sponsored by Senators Sean Bowie, had several Democratic and Republican cosponsors including Senators Paul Boyer, David Bradley, Kate Brophy McGee, Andrea Dalessandro, Juan Mendez, Javan Mesnard, and Victoria Steele. It also had several House sponsors like Lela Alston, Heather Carter, Jennifer Jermaine, and Jennifer Pawlik.

If the bill makes it through the legislature and is signed by Governor Ducey, qualifying college students may apply for Career and Technical Education Grants to be applied fully or partially (depending on what funds are available) to their tuition and fees. Students may reapply for additional grants if they maintain a grade point average of 2.5.

Another example of bipartisan efforts is SB 1444. Another bill primarily sponsored by Senator Bowie, this bill also shared many of the same cosponsors with the additions of Mitzi Epstein and Aaron Lieberman.

It passed the Senate Education Committee on a unanimous nine to zero vote on February 11, 2020.

If it becomes law, parents and guardians will be able to excuse their child’s absence if they are ill for a mental or behavioral health issue.

Finally, the Education Committee, on another uncontested vote, passed the bipartisan SB 1445 which would mandate school employees (teachers, school counselors, and social workers) training in the areas of evidence-based suicide prevention instruction. This preparation would focus on:

  • “Training in suicide prevention.”
  • “Training to identify the warning signs of suicidal behavior in adolescents and teens.”
  • “Appropriate intervention and referral techniques.”

Many of the cosponsors were the same legislators who had advocated the SB 1284 and SB 1445.

This is what good government is supposed to be about with both sides coming together and passing legislation that will help the community and move society forward.

This is what the people expect out of their public servants.

If members of both parties can forge a consensus on these important matters, there really is no reason why they cannot bridge their differences, compromise, and find common ground on most other legislative matters that can make Arizona a better place for everyone.

There is no telling the good that can come if both sides realize that.

 

 

 

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.