Onward: Issues in 2019

On behalf of our Center for Arizona Policy Team and Board, thank you and may God bless everyone who has stood with us throughout 2018 with their prayers, support, encouragement, and resources. The faithfulness of many enabled CAP to reach its budget goal for 2018.

Onward! Our CAP Team is ready to meet the challenges and opportunities in 2019. The year will be off to a fast start with the inauguration of statewide officials next Monday, January 7, and the convening of the legislative session the following Monday, January 14. Already, Arizonan’s new congressional delegation has taken office.

Brush & Nib v. City of Phoenix: The extent to which our state constitution protects free speech and free exercise of religion will be before the Arizona Supreme Court on January 22 at 10:15 a.m. The decision could provide a roadmap as to how and whether citizens like florists, calligraphers, photographers, and cake artists will be free to live and work according to their faith in Arizona or whether the government will compel them to choose between their faith and their livelihood. Read more about this case from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom. Attorney General Mark Brnovich and various members from the Arizona Legislature filed separate briefs in support of Brush & Nib.

State Capitol: When the Arizona Legislature convenes on Monday, January 14, any one Republican member in the House and any two Republicans in the Senate can team up with Democrats to thwart any budget or legislation put forth by Governor Ducey, Republican leadership or any fellow party member. Whether any significant legislation will pass remains to be seen. Bipartisanship has not been very evident in the past few years. From my viewpoint, bipartisanship most often results in more liberal leaning public policy for our state.

January Hot Topics:

              Conformity. When the federal government makes changes in the tax code, the state typically “conforms” to the federal changes. Typically, those changes are minimal and a routine matter for legislative passage and governor’s signing. However, changes made by the federal tax reform passed by Congress and signed by President Trump made substantial changes to the federal tax code, resulting in a tax cut for many Americans. Arizona has yet to conform to the new changes. Governor Ducey and legislators differ on how to conform.

Governor Ducey has said that he wants to conform and only put the tax conformity money from tax year 2018 into the rainy day fund, leaving the current and future tax years open for discussion on what can be done with the money.

Many Republican legislators support a “conform and reform” approach that would return the additional tax conformity money to Arizona taxpayers. To understand more about this issue read House Speaker, now Senator-elect J.D. Mesnard’s op ed column and Bob Robb’s column.

            Water. When people ask me whether I would run for elective office, my standard quip is “no, because I’d have to understand water law.” The Governor and the legislature have a January 31 deadline to determine whether to join a drought contingency plan. Read more on this issue from Governor Ducey, incoming House Speaker Rep. Rusty Bowers, and Cronkite News.

              Arizona’s Two Senators. Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema bring two different political philosophies, belief systems, and approaches to governing to the U.S. Senate. At today’s swearing in, the differences were clear. Senator Sinema took her oath of office with her hand on a law book (starting at 15:22 in video). Senator McSally took her oath of office with her hand on a Bible recovered from the USS Arizona (starting at 12:44 in video). Arizonans will be watching their votes closely to see where they agree and where they disagree, especially on confirmation of judges.

              Life. Defending against any legislative moves to weaken Arizona’s pro-life laws or legalize doctor-prescribed death will be key issues for the legislative session.

              Parents’ Rights. The freedom of parents to choose the education best meeting their children’s needs via Arizona’s robust school choice programs will continue to be debated at the state capitol. Additionally, we continue to see threats to parents’ rights to oversee the health care, education, and upbringing of their children through the aggressive agenda to prohibit parents from seeking counseling for their children and to deny parents’ being the ones to discuss sensitive issues of sexuality with their children.

ICYMI – Latest News & Articles of Interest

  • This Friday the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to review an Indiana law that prohibits abortions performed solely because the unborn child has Down Syndrome or another disability. For more details read this article from Public Discourse.
  • 2018 Heritage Foundation “President’s Essay” by Robert P. George.
  • “Taking away a birth mother’s choice,” a video from The Daily Signal highlights the importance of faith-based adoption agencies being able to operate according to their religious convictions.
  • Planned Parenthood puts on 2019 Teen Conference in New Jersey, which includes “informative and interactive workshops” where students will engage with various topics including gender identity, healthy relationships, bullying, and healthy decisions.

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