Monday marked the first day of the 2020 legislative session. Last week, Arizona Democrats in the state Senate and House unveiled their joint legislative priorities for the 2020 session, titled a Blueprint for a Better Arizona.
The plan asserts, “Democrats are ready to deliver” and are prepared to work across the aisle to shape an accountable state government that works for every Arizonan and to pass a budget that reflects the values of all who live here.”
Priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session include support for:
- Fully Fund Education
- Restore Trust in Arizona Government
- Put Arizonans’ Tax Revenue Back Where It’s Needed
- Protect Arizona’s Water
- Increase Access to Healthcare for Working Families
- Make Our Schools, Homes, and Public Spaces Safer
- Make Our Justice System More Just
- Expand and Protect Democracy
- Invest in Economic Opportunity and Infrastructure
- Enshrine Equal Rights Statute
specifics of the plan:via the Arizona Democrats
Fully Fund Education
For Arizona to compete in a 21st century innovation-driven economy, we must create a seamless and more effective from early childhood to higher education – regardless of zip code. That commitment begins by restoring funding to public schools, community colleges and universities. Despite some progress, Arizona public schools remain $800 million short of their funding levels before the Great Recession. We have no more important next step than to work with Republicans and the Governor to provide the full pay raises promised to our educators – including support staff – and fix crumbling classrooms.
Restore Trust in Arizona Government
Hard-working Arizonans deserve a government that is honest, transparent and accountable. Restoring that trust begins with charter school financial accountability reform. After a series of explosive investigative media reports, both the Governor and The Attorney General have finally acknowledged deep problems with Arizona’s charter school system and its baked-in lack of accountability and oversight.The time is now to safeguard taxpayer money and to end the self-dealing procurement irregularities and legislative conflicts of interest with charter schools.
Put Arizonans’ Tax Revenue Back Where It’s Needed
Voters said loudly that they are sick and tired of the Legislature diverting tens of millions of their tax dollars intended for public education and other priorities into universal vouchers to subsidize private and parochial schools. We should listen. And we should also shut off the spigot diverting even more taxpayer money for private school Student Tuition Organization scholarships.
Protect Arizona’s Water
With climate change causing water levels in Lake Mead to plummet and a looming deadline for a Drought Contingency Plan, Arizona faces a water crisis that requires every leader to set aside partisan and regional political differences and work together. Arizona’s history on landmark water legislation, stewardship and conservation is one of bipartisan cooperation and common sense. Working together, we must get there again
Increase Access to Healthcare for Working Families
Arizonans because too many still cannot afford quality healthcare. Families should not face economic ruin because of a medical emergency or chronic condition. We must take steps to protect and expand KidsCare and AHCCCS and explore innovative solutions from private and public health to insurers to lower costs.
Make Our Schools, Homes, and Public Spaces Safer
Gun violence remains a public health crisis. Republicans promised to address it with modest “school safety” measures last session but backed down. Our public spaces and schools are no safer than they were this time a year ago, and mass shootings remain a near weekly tragedy throughout the country. Domestic violence and suicide remain epidemics made worse by easy access to firearms and inadequate access to counseling and mental health services. Waiting until the next tragedy before passing widely supported common-sense reforms is not an option.
Make Our Justice System More Just
For too long, meaningful and needed criminal justice and sentencing reforms have been blocked by a handful of influential legislators and prosecutors. This has resulted in the 4th highest incarceration rate in the nation, consuming more than 10 percent of our state budget. We now have a rare opportunity to pass significant bipartisan reforms to reduce the number of people in prison for non-violent offenses and to reduce recidivism.
Expand and Protect Democracy
Faith in our election system is the bedrock of our democracy. We must ensure that our county recorders and secretary of state have the resources, equipment and training they need to increase voter access and to build on the record voter engagement we experienced in 2018. We will fight for automatic voter registration and will fight back efforts to increase restrictions on voter access.
Invest in Economic Opportunity and Infrastructure
We must deliver on pressing needs throughout our state, including rural and Tribal communities. To create good jobs, we must invest to repair crumbling roads and bridges that hinder economic development, improve access to healthcare deliver clean water and expand broadband access
Enshrine Equal Rights Statute
Arizona is far behind other states in ensuring equal rights for all citizens. Women should earn just as much as men for the same work and make medical decisions without interference from the Legislature. Arizona should ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. And no Arizonan should be fired or discriminated against because of how they identify or who they love.