The Legislative session doesn’t start for another week and a half and I’m already tired of the bad ideas being proposed. I previously wrote about HB2002 Rep. Mark Finchem’s (R-Oro Valley) proposal, which would “allow the state to fire teachers who discuss politics, religion, or racial issues in classroom settings.” Yesterday, Newsweek picked up on Phoenix New Times reporting that nine of the points in his bill were “lifted directly from the Stop K–12 Indoctrination campaign, which the David Horowitz Freedom Center sponsors. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes David Horowitz as ‘a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-black movements.’” Not to be outdone, Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) submitted HB2015 which covers the same territory.
Now, we have “a self-proclaimed ‘tax activist’ who wants to excuse anyone 65 or older from paying property tax. Her name is Lynne Weaver and she is working with a former state GOP chairman to permanently ban property taxes on AZ home owners 65 and older.
What a ridiculous idea! As a Capitol Media Services article points out, if the initiative passes, homeowners under 65 would be left to make up the property tax burden the elderly were relieved of. This tax money after all, funds public education, emergency services and other community programs. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t rely on property taxes to fund these programs because it inevitably results in winners and losers. But the funding for these essential services has to come from somewhere and for now, that’s property taxes. Continue reading →
I have a suggestion for Representative Mark Finchem, (R-Oro Valley). How’s about one of his New Year’s Resolutions be that he sponsors a bill this session that actually improves the lives of his constituents?
Instead, the latest bill he is sponsoring, according to the AZ Capitol Times, is HB2022 (empowerment scholarships; financial oversight; treasurer) intended to broaden the state treasurer’s authority over the financial management of school vouchers. The bill “would add language to existing law that says the treasurer may contract with private financial management firms to manage the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs).” Evidently, Finchem believes the answer to ensuring more oversight over fraudulent ESA spending is to “grant the treasurer exclusive authority to issue requests for proposals from potential vendors, select payment processors and execute vendor contracts.”
But Chuck Essigs, lobbyist for the AZ Association of School Business Officials, questions the need for the bill since the Treasurer’s office only pays the vendor bills. It is up to Arizona’s Department of Education to ensure families have used their state-issued ESA debit card for only appropriate expenditures.
Yes, there have been problems, and tighter controls are needed. According to an October 2018 AZ Auditor General Report, Continue reading →
First, Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) introduced HB2002 directing creation of a code of conduct that would prohibit teachers from discussing politics, religion or race at the risk of violators being fired. Now Representative Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) proposes HB2018 which would,
“expand a 2016 law that allows any state legislator to ask the attorney general to investigate an ordinance, regulation, order or other action taken by a municipality or county to determine whether it is in compliance with state law.” Her bill would require “the attorney general to investigate any policy, procedure or other official action taken by a school district governing board or any school district employee that lawmakers allege violates state law. If investigators find the law has been broken, the superintendent of public instruction would be directed to withhold up to $5,000 per violation from offending districts’ state funding.”
So, let me get this right. School employees or governing board members are already liable for an up to $5,000 personal fine for using public school resources to influence elections. In fact, two teachers were fined this year for violating the law. But, that’s not enough for Townsend. She now wants to threaten school districts for the potential actions of their governing board members and employees. Not only that, but she wants to withhold funding for students if violations occur. Continue reading →
Voter suppression is alive and well in America and Arizona is no exception. Yes, some strides were made by county recorders to ensure more people had the opportunity to cast their ballots and have them counted, but the work to disenfranchise voters and strip away their voice, continues.
I’ve personally experienced a little bit of this, because as the President of the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA), I had to be mindful of even giving an appearance the Association was attempting to influence the outcome of any election. Given my natural tendency to speak my mind, I found it frustrating to be silent while unethical candidates peddled their spin and thousands of grassroots volunteers labored across the state to get pro-public education initiatives passed. And although too many of the former won reelection, at least the full expansion of vouchers was killed. Other good news (at least for me) is that since I passed the President’s gavel this week, I am now once again free to comment away. It has been an incredible honor to serve as President of this awesome organization, but I am happy to be unmuzzled.
I just read Arizona Capitol Times reporting that AZ Representative Mark Finchem isn’t waiting for the start of the legislative session to exact retribution on educators who stood up for themselves and their students this year. To the teachers in his district (LD 11) who marched on the Capitol this year and saw him in action, this will not come as a surprise. After all, one teacher who visited him during the #RedForEd walkout told me that when they went to see him, he told them to “get their asses back to work”. I cannot verify this charge, but in my experience with Finchem, can say that I have found him to: 1) say what he thinks, 2) not be subtle and 3) not be supportive of public education. Continue reading →
The Arizona Daily Star editorial board has endorsed Democrats Ralph Atchue for State Senate and Hollace Lyon for State House in LD 11. Both have run for these respective seats in previous years.
The Senate seat is open and the Republican seeking that office is current LD 11 House Rep. Vince Leach. The other Democrat running for LD 11 House is political newcomer Marcela Quiroz. The 2 Republicans seeking these 2 seats are incumbent Rep. Mark Finchem and Bret Roberts, a political newcomer.
Star endorsement appeared in today’s paper on A16, and is online here:
· Hosted by Tucson Refugee “Learn the facts about refugee resettlement and gain knowledge on the struggles and successes of a new American. What’s the difference between a refugee, asylum-seeker and other kinds of immigrants? Is the vetting process really … Continue reading →
Tucson Premiere! You Racist, Sexist Bigot THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 AT 7:30PM | GENERAL ADMISSION: $15 • LOFT MEMBERS & STUDENTS WITH VALID ID: $10 Don’t miss the Tucson Premiere of the award-winning, made-in-Arizona documentary, You Racist, Sexist Bigot, featuring a … Continue reading →
Hosted by Jewish History Museum “What do white nationalists phrases like “Jews will not replace us” mean? What are our responses to it or our tools to dismantle it? Join us for a Gallery Chat with Josie Shapiro, activist and … Continue reading →
Voter Education Program. 2020 U.S. Census + Why Should You Care?OPEN to the PUBLIC Location: Valencia Library, 202 W. Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706 http://lwvgt.org/calendar.htmlShare this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailWhatsAppTumblrMorePrintPocketRedditGooglePinterestLike this:Like Loading...
“Greetings from your Women’s March: Phoenix organizers! We are excited to be back in action and to begin organizing the 2019 event. This event is in its infancy, and more details will become available in the coming months. As national … Continue reading →
Hosted by TEDxTucson “Join us on Saturday, January 19, 2019, to explore these “ideas worth spreading” at our day-long TEDxTucson Conference at the Berger Theater. Spend a day to explore the most profound scientific and psychological insights, the latest medical … Continue reading →
Hosted by Chukson /Tucson Water Protectors andIndigenous Women for Equality “A platform for Indigenous People has been created at the 2019 Tucson Women’s March. As Native communities on traditional Tohono O’odam land, we will gather to utilize this platform to … Continue reading →
“The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues, and creating … Continue reading →
REE ADMISSION The Lavender Scare SUNDAY, JANUARY 20 AT 3:00pM | FREE ADMISSION Government persecution shattered lives but ignited a movement for LGBTQ rights. In person: Lavender Scare filmmaker Josh Howard The Lavender Scare documents the vicious “witch hunt” … Continue reading →
“Monday, January 21, 8:00 a.m.: Annual Martin Luther King Day March in Tucson. Begins at MLK Way at The Bridges in the UofA Tech Park (S. Kino Parkway and 36th Street), march to Reid Park, Demeester Outdoor Performance Center, 900 … Continue reading →
Jeremey Lasher, 2018 DNCC National Canvass Director will speak on his experiences in the Primary and General of 2018. He is the past President of DGT. UPDATE: This DGT event has been postponed to Jan. 28 due to MLK Day … Continue reading →
Hosted by Pima County School Superintendent’s Office and 2 others “Please join us for a FREE film screening of TEACHING IN ARIZONA and a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Lisa Molomot, and the three featured teachers from the film. Featured … Continue reading →
Hosted by YWCA Arizona – STAT-Stand Together Arizona Training & Advocacy “According to a recent UN report, we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. So what are we going to do? The Stand Together Arizona Training and Advocacy … Continue reading →
“Tucson Great Decisions Association announces its annual Kick-Off breakfast program, to be held on Friday, January 25th, 2019 at the Viscount Suites Hotel. Great Decisions is a nonpartisan program of group discussion about foreign affairs, sponsored nationally by the Foreign … Continue reading →
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