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.
Phoenix, AZ – Civil claims of childhood sexual abuse must now be filed within two years after a victim turns 18. After that there is no liability, no matter what evidence turns up. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau told lawmakers he knows it's important for victims to get their day in court: He was a victim himself. He said police knew who this man was and that he had 200 victims but for various reasons could not be prosecuted criminally.
Phoenix, AZ – The measure would bar any law or regulation that unreasonably restricts hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife. It also would make hunting a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. National Rifle Association lobbyist Darren LaSorte said animals rights groups have tried to convince voters to restrict hunting. They were successful in 1994 when Arizonans voted to ban the use of steel-jawed traps on public lands. LaSorte told lawmakers there could be more problems on the horizon.
Flagstaff, AZ – The measure would not preclude single people from adopting. But it would require state officials to, in essence, put married couples to the front of the line in most cases. Rep. Warde Nichols said that, generally speaking, that's a better situation for children. Rep. Phil Lopes said there is no evidence that married couples score better on standardized scales of family functioning and adopted child behavior.
Phoenix, AZ – The legislation would require the governor to show up at least twice a month, for at least a half hour each time. Each political party would get half of the alloted time. Sen. Jonathan Paton said there needs to be more of what he calls an ongoing dynamic conversation between lawmakers and the state's chief executive. But he said the exercise also benefits voters, like when President Obama went to talk to congressional Reublicans and it was broadcast on TV.
Phoenix, AZ – In 1998 voters approved the Growing Smarter program providing $20 million a year for 11 years to set aside open space. There's currently about $104 million in that account. The measure would borrow $40 million of that over the next two years, with most of that going to parks. But Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said the funds, having been earmarked by voters, are off limits.
Phoenix, AZ – If you've ever watched C-Span you may have caught question time. That's the half hour a week the prime minister has to come to Parliament and respond to questions, both friendly and otherwise. State Sen. Jonathan Paton said that might not be such a bad idea here. He is proposing a constitutional amendment to require the governor to answer the inquiries of lawmakers of both her own party and the opposition.