Community Legislative Network Update
Community Legislative Network Update - 4/3/20
Important Updates on School Closures, Your Safety, the Budget, and Pending Legislation.

This CLN update is intended to provide you with an overview of where things presently stand at the Arizona State Legislature as we continue to combat the spread of COVID-19. To begin,  we hope everyone is safe and healthy . Thank you to the team at DeMenna Public Affairs for compiling this comprehensive update!
 
General Legislative Update
 
The legislature is adjourned until  Monday, April 13, 2020 . The motion to adjourn until April 13 allows Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers to pick another day to reconvene, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds over the next few weeks. Lawmakers have already indicated, however, that April 13 is likely too early to resume the 2020 legislative session. Before adjourning, Arizona legislators approved a bipartisan $11.8 billion contingency budget (also referred to as the “skinny” budget or baseline budget) and a $50 million package intended to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
  • For an overview of the approved budget, please click HERE.
  • For an overview of the recently created $50 million Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, please click HERE.
  • For an overview of the emergency unemployment compensation bill, please click HERE.
  • For an overview of the emergency public school closure bill, please click HERE.*
 
*Additional information on the school closure legislation, HB 2910, is included below.
 
Unfortunately, the contingency budget did not include full restoration of  District Additional Assistance (DAA) . At the onset of the session, Governor Ducey vowed to restore $204 million in DAA this year. The baseline budget makes a $68 million payment, but does not carry out the full restoration. With sales taxes plummeting and the economy on increasingly shaky ground, there are now concerns about whether fully funding DAA in FY 21 is still possible.
 
The contingency budget and emergency measures have been signed into law by Governor Ducey.
 
It’s worth noting that House Republicans issued a press release shortly after passage of the budget stating, “At this time, it is our hope to reconvene at the Capitol at the appropriate time to resume the legislative session, taking up consideration of additional budget items and pending legislation.”
 
HB 2910 (public school closures; coronavirus disease)
 
On March 15, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman announced that Arizona schools would remain closed until March 27. The closure was then extended for an additional two weeks, and on March 30, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman announced that schools would remain closed through the end of the school year.
 
HB 2910 (public school closures; coronavirus disease) was introduced on March 19 in an effort to provide schools guidance as they address the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill contains guidance for schools if they open by March 29, 2020, and guidance for schools if they remain closed after March 29, 2020. In light of the announcement that schools will remain closed through the end of the school year, the provisions providing guidance to schools if they open by March 29 are inoperative.
 
It is important to note that HB 2910 is an emergency measure – meaning it became operational immediately upon receiving the Governor’s signature – and is retroactive to March 15, 2020. For a complete summary of HB 2910 prepared by the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA), please click   HERE .
 
Pending Legislation & the Community Legislative Network’s (CLN) Priority Bills
 
As of this writing, all pending legislation is effectively “suspended” in place until the legislature resumes its business on April 13. However, given ongoing and increasing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is highly possible that the legislature will adjourn again until a later date, or possibly adjourn Sine Die. In the meantime, below is the current status of CLN’s priority bills. If you would like to know the status of any other bills, please reply to this email or email   CLN@pvupc.org
 
  • SB 1224 (NOW: empowerment scholarships; qualifications; appropriations)
  • Bill Status: Signed by Governor Ducey on March 20, 2020
  • CLN Position: Oppose
 
  • SB 1234 (additional assistance; restoration)
  • Bill Status: Awaiting House Rules
  • CLN Position: Support
 
  • SB 1357 (schools; access; instructional materials; review)
  • Bill Status: Awaiting House Education
  • CLN Position: Oppose
 
  • HB 2015 (schools; supplemental materials; approval)
  • Bill Status: Retained in House COW on February 12, 2020
  • CLN Position: Oppose
 
  • HB 2706 (interscholastic athletics; biological sex)
  • Bill Status: Awaiting Senate Committee Assignment
  • CLN Position: Oppose
 
  • HCR 2001 (English language education; requirements)
  • Bill Status: Awaiting House Rules
  • CLN Position: Support
 
Additional Information
 
State Revenue Impact:  The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) sent out its monthly fiscal report, which revealed an anemic month for February, but JLBC believes that was due to income tax processing, not COVID-19. JLBC warned, however, that it’s about to get worse stating, “The impact of the significant economic disruptions from COVID-19 will begin to appear in the revenue results reported next month, which will reflect March economic conditions.”
 
Campaigns & Elections:  With the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the fate of ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments as well as the ability of candidates to qualify for the ballot is unknown. Some candidates have already stated that they will not be able to qualify for the ballot as a result of COVID-19. Of the planned 2020 initiatives, only Smart & Safe Arizona (recreational marijuana) says it has already collected enough signatures to get on the ballot. On April 2, four initiatives filed a petition for special action with the Arizona Supreme Court seeking emergency relief to allow them to use the same online signature-gathering technology that Arizona elected officials utilize to get themselves on the ballot.
 
Combating COVID-19 & State Resources:  The Governor and his team recently launched the “Arizona Together” website, which is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource to assist individuals and businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. That website can be found   HERE .
 
The Arizona Department of Health Services created a webpage intended to provide the most recent information relating to the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona. That webpage can be accessed   HERE .
 
As many of you are already aware, the Governor has issued a number of executive orders, including Executive Order 2020-12, prohibiting the closure of “Essential Services,” as well as Executive Order 2020-18, asking Arizona residents to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected,” which is intended to serve as Arizona’s version of a shelter-in-place order. All of the Governor’s Executive Orders can be viewed   HERE .
 
Finally, ASBA has established a webpage to serve as a resource for school districts and educators who continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. That webpage can be viewed   HERE .

 

 
Thank you for supporting public education.
- Community Legislative Network