Phoenix, AZ – State law allows individuals to get a dollar-for-dollar credit against their income taxes for money contributed to organizations that provide scholarships so students can attend private and parochial schools. Backers say the state really doesn't lose any money because the amount of the scholarships is, on average, less than the state would have to paid in aid to public schools. But Rep. Steve Farley said there's a flaw to that argument.
Phoenix, AZ – Rep. Frank Antenori said traffic engineers are supposed to compute the length of yellow lights. That's based on things like the speed limit and the number of lanes to be crossed. And Antenori said that three seconds is pretty much the absolute minimum, no matter what. But he said that's not happening.
(I've gotten so many complaints. I've gotten video tape from people who have gotten citations that have videoed the yellow at certain intersections that were less than three seconds in duration.)
Phoenix, AZ – The governor said it's a question of money. The state's finances are in the red. And there's no sign of relief even if voters approve the temporary one-cent hike in sales taxes. Brewer said that has crippled programs some Arizonans rely on.
Phoenix, AZ – The proposal by Sen. Al Melvin would have made it illegal for motorists to not only write or send a text message but also to read one. Melvin said the measure, backed by both cell phone providers and insurance companies, will save lives. Sen. Ron Gould said it's certainly possible that drivers who are texting are distracted. But he questioned why lawmakers were making only this procedure a crime when there's a long list of other practices by those behind the wheel.
Phoenix, AZ – The problem is a direct result of the ups and downs in the economy. A lot of people could not afford to buy homes. So lenders came up with sub-prime mortgages. Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Boucek said that often involved loans with low- interest teaser rates and payments designed to fit the borrower's budget.
Phoenix, AZ – Arizonans voted in 1992 to limit lawmakers to no more than eight years in office. Rep. Tom Chabin, elected in 2006, said the problem with that restriction is that there's a learning curve for everything from the technical aspects of making law to understanding how small changes in the budget have broad effects across multiple agencies.
(Quite frankly, eight years is just too little time to really get into the saddle of the work of a legislator.)
Phoenix, AZ – No one knows how many of the approximately one million children in Arizona schools are U.S. citizens or at least legal residents. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated in the 60-65,000 range a few years ago. Sen. Russell Pearce said he thinks it's higher. More to the point, he wants an accurate number to figure out the real cost to taxpayers, which he said is at least $800 million a year.