On Wednesday, Arizona legislators adjourned the 2017 General Session!
We are grateful for a legislature and governor willing to consider and enact groundbreaking legislation that advances foundational principles for life, family and freedom. Just as we don’t take freedom for granted, we don’t take for granted our state government. Arizona families are blessed to have courageous state leaders who don’t back down from doing what’s right.
To recap, 5 CAP-supported provisions have been passed into law. They will take effect in 90 days.
1) Babies surviving an abortion now get a chance at life in Arizona. Doctors and nurses will be required to provide basic medical care to try to save their lives. Read the bill here.
2) Health care professionals won’t face the threat of losing their jobs for following their consciences. A new law will prohibit discrimination against doctors and nurses who exercise their right to opt-out of end-of-life treatment that results in death. Read the bill here.
3) Homeschool students won’t be discriminated against in employment because they don’t have an “official” diploma from a public or private school. Government agencies will be required to recognize transcripts and diplomas from homeschoolers as they do all other educational entities. Read the bill here.
4) All Arizona students will be eligible for an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA). The ESA program was available only for certain groups of students, now all parents will have the opportunity to choose the best school setting for their children. Read the bill here.
5) Arizona Legislators directed action that should partially defund Planned Parenthood. State officials will now be required to apply to be a distributor of federal Title X family planning grants. If awarded, abortion providers would no longer qualify for the grants. Read the bill here.
Equally important to the legislature’s work is what did not pass. Over 50 CAP-opposed bills did not pass this session, including:
- Attempts to rollback life protections for preborn children and their mothers
- Legalizing physician-assisted suicide
- Mandated sex education for kindergartners
- Restrictions on religious freedom
- Expanding gambling
School choice program at risk
The session wasn’t even over before school choice opponents made their move to repeal the (ESA) expansion law. A group called Save Our Schools (SOS) announced plans this week to refer the ESA law to the 2018 ballot.
Governor Ducey signed the CAP-supported bill into law last month, opening eligibility for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program to all Arizona students over a four-year phase-in period. Opponents view the freedom of parents to choose other educational settings for their children as a threat to public schools.
At CAP, we respectfully disagree and oppose this referendum drive. Center for Arizona Policy supports a parent’s right to choose the best school setting for their children – whether that is public school, private, online, homeschool, or charter.
SOS has a long way to go to get the initiative on the ballot. They have 90 days to collect about 75,000 valid signatures.
We encourage you to not sign any petitions on ballot measures at this time.
We will continue to monitor the process. We remain committed to do all we can to preserve the rights of parents and the opportunities for all students.
CAP will be releasing voting records of state legislators in the next week or two. Stayed tuned to find out how your lawmakers voted this past session.