State Capitol News

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The Senate has rejected a measure that would allow parents to let their children opt out of statewide assessments.

Several lawmakers and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas supported the measure as a way for parents to have more control over their children's education. Republican lawmaker Sen. Sylvia Allen of Snowflake sponsored the bill that would allow parents to let their children opt-out of statewide achievement tests such as AzMERIT.

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The Arizona House has passed a bill Planned Parenthood Arizona says is designed to make it easier to cut it off from Medicaid funding.

House Bill 2599 passed Wednesday on a 35-24 party-line vote without discussion with only Republicans in support. It now heads to the Senate.

The bill allows the state to cut off funding and revoke licenses for providers that fail to segregate taxpayer money from funds used to provide abortions. They also could lose funding if they violated medical waste rules or submitted a claim for procedures associated with an abortion.

A Senate panel has advanced two measures revising state law to get around a lawsuit over bans on plastic bags and disposable products.

The law passed last session prevents cities from banning disposable products and blocks cities from requiring business owners to report energy consumption.

Rep. Warren Petersen sponsored last year's bill and is now sponsoring legislation that splits the provisions into two separate measures.

A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star 2013

Arizona lawmakers delivered a big win for the state’s vocational high schools, known as joint technical education districts. The governor signed a deal late Wednesday, giving back nearly all of the money that was cut from the programs last year. Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports.


Arizona lawmakers have advanced three measures targeting abortion providers after hearings in the Arizona Senate.

Republican Sen. Nancy Barto's Senate Bill 1474 also was sent to the full Senate on Wednesday. It makes it illegal for an abortion provider to sell or otherwise transfer a human fetus or embryo for use in research. Planned Parenthood of Arizona says it doesn't have a fetal tissue-donation program.

AP Photo/Matt York

A Senate panel plans to debate a measure to allow residents to sue the state for enforcing executive orders and actions that may limit a person's constitutional right to bear arms.

Sen. Sylvia Allen of Snowflake sponsored the bill that would require the state to recognize as unlawful any executive order or action that limits a person's Second Amendment rights.

It would prevent cities, counties and towns from knowingly enforcing or cooperating with any order or action that limits those rights.

Jon Austria/The Daily Times

Arizona voters will go to the polls this spring to decide on Proposition 123. It settles a long-running lawsuit over school funding in the state, and the Navajo Nation Council has announced its unanimous support of the measure. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


File photo/AP

A new report estimates the state will end this fiscal year with a balance of more than half-a-billion-dollars. It follows the announcement of Governor Doug Ducey’s 2017 budget proposal, which doesn’t include last year’s steep cuts to higher education and other state services. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


A House panel is set to debate the merits of a tax credit for concealed carry permit holders.

Rep. Steve Montenegro of Litchfield Park sponsored the bill to create a dollar for dollar tax credit up to $80 for people who get a concealed weapons permit. The measure states its purpose is to promote public safety.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says this is the first they've heard of a state offering a tax credit for gun permits.

Politco

The full Arizona Senate has approved a proposal overhauling the state's badly underfunded public safety worker pension plan.

Thursday's rapid-fire action came without debate and a series of three unanimous votes on the package of bills enacting the overhaul. Voters will be asked to approve the deal in May.

Voter approval is required because current retiree cost-of-living adjustments would be lowered.

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