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days of session: 103


Regular sessions shall be adjourned sine die no later than Saturday of the week in which the one hundredth day from the beginning of each regular session falls. The President and Speaker of the House may by declaration authorize the extension of the session for a period of not to exceed seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can be extended only by the Senate and House by a majority vote of the members present in each body. 

in focus

One year after the largest teachers’ strike in Arizona history, the debate over education funding rages on at the State Capitol. 

Discussions this week centered on a pair of mirror bills sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) and Rep. Michelle Udall (R-Mesa) that would refer to the 2020 ballot a proposal to hike the state’s existing .6-percent sales tax (enacted under Prop 301) to a full cent. Doing so would generate an estimated $1 billion or more annually for public education in Arizona – with K-12 schools receiving 75% of the funding, universities 20% and community colleges the remaining 5%. Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward stunned onlookers this week with her public endorsement of the tax referral, though she later walked back her initial comments by saying she would likely not campaign or vote for the proposal if it makes the ballot.

Conservatives are wary of the penny proposal. Democratic legislators are also, with many arguing the plan is either insufficient or that any sales tax increase is regressive in nature and would harm low-income Arizonans.

The absence of a legislative referral doesn’t mean the 2020 ballot won’t see a tax proposal for education, though. Players behind last year’s failed Invest in Education measure are rumored to be plotting a sequel. The 2018 proposal, which would have increased income tax rates for high earners, was tossed from the ballot by the Arizona Supreme Court due to a filing error. Opponents likely can’t count on similar good fortune this time around.

Will the 2020 ballot see Invest in Ed, Part II? Do lawmakers attempt to derail an education initiative with a tax referral less onerous to small businesses and the wealthy? Is #RedforEd dead?

Check back in a month.

Phoenix scored well on a recent ranking from LendingTree's Magnify Money, which compared the 50 largest U.S. metro areas on several factors to determine which cities were the best and worst for working women.

[...] The final score for each metro area was determined by a number of factors: the percentage of women who are unemployed, the percentage of businesses owned by women; the percentage of women who are managers; the median earnings gap between men and women; the percentage of women with employer-based health insurance; the percentage of median women's earnings needed to pay for daycare; the percentage of state legislators who are women and the Parental & Pregnancy Workplace State Protection score.

[...] Phoenix scored near the top in terms of the percentage of businesses owned by women, at 38.6%, while 39.2% of managers in the area are female. The city also reported on of the lowest gaps between the median earnings of men and women, at 15.6% — but didn't score as well with the percentage of state lawmakers who are women (38.9%).


Phoenix and Tucson may still merge by 2040.

A 2005 prediction for the cities with downtowns separated by 120 miles didn't seem far fetched when proclaimed by growth experts during the housing boom.

But when the bust started in 2007 and stretched to 2011, such a prediction seemed unlikely.

Now, metro Phoenix is on another growth streak.

New census data shows Maricopa County grew faster than any other county in the nation for the second year in a row.

Population projections for metro Phoenix could mean it will join with Tucson somewhere in Pinal County in about two decades, if the numbers are right and the Valley's growth engine doesn't stall again.   [...]

He’s running.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday entered the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, after months of will-he-or-won’t-he speculation.

"The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America — America — is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States," Biden said in a video posted just after 6 a.m.

A 2020 presidential bid has hung over Biden since he opted out of the 2016 primary race, won by former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton. Since Clinton's upset loss to Republican opponent Donald Trump, Biden has grown in esteem among many Democrats, who contend he could have better appealed to the white working-class and rural voters who helped decide that election.  [...]  

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“The idea was that we needed a way for teachers to create what they knew would answer a need in students,” former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan (AZ-R) said.

In 1994, Arizona became the 11th state to pass a charter school law and the state received an overwhelming number of applications for new schools.

According to Keegan, Arizona was the first state to open its own State Board for Charter Schools, which provides oversight for Arizona charter schools.

“If you wanted to start a new school, you were a group of teachers, you had to go to your school board and ask for a charter school,” Keegan, who founded A for Arizona at the Arizona Chamber Foundation, said. “[Teachers] were able to go to the State Board for Charter Schools or State Board of Education and that was unique to Arizona. That is the reason Arizona developed so quickly.”

By the end of 2003, there were nearly 500 charter schools in the state.

This year Arizona’s public charter schools surpassed 200,000 students for the first time.

[...] For more information, click here.

PHOENIX – State and local leaders and correctional personnel from across Arizona came together at the State Capitol to commemorate Arizona Correctional Professionals Day.

Florence Mayor Tara Walter provided special remarks for the occasion. Also in attendance was Director Charles Ryan of the Arizona Department of Corrections, as well as multiple state legislators.

“Correctional professionals are the unsung heroes of public safety,” said Mayor Walter. “This event is an important opportunity to recognize the vital but sometimes overlooked contributions of Arizona’s 15,000 correctional officers and personnel, and to express our heartfelt thanks.”

Arizona Correctional Professionals Day, commemorated annually, is an opportunity to honor the women and men who do the important work to maintain safety in Arizona correctional facilities, protect the public and provide critical rehabilitation opportunities for inmates.

Across Arizona, more than 15,000 correctional professionals work in state and local facilities. Besides maintaining a safe environment for inmates and staff, these men and women are devoted to helping inmates learn the skills necessary to successfully reintegrate into society after release.

“The men and women who work in Arizona correctional facilities are among the most dedicated public safety professionals,” said Rep. TJ Shope (R-Coolidge). “We owe them our gratitude and support, and that’s what Arizona Correctional Professionals Day is all about.”

“Correctional facilities play an essential role in public safety,” said Sen. Vince Leach (R-Tucson). “We owe a debt of gratitude to the correctional officers and staff members who ensure the safety of these institutions and that inmates receive the services they need to turn their lives around and successfully rejoin society upon release.”

Arizona Correctional Professionals Day precedes National Correctional Officers Week, commemorated the first full week of May. In 1984, President Reagan issued the national designation to recognize correctional officers and personnel as “essential to the day-to-day operations of these institutions.”

Care coordination platform to connect providers across Arizona to reduce readmissions and improve care outcomes

BOSTON, April 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) today announced a new partnership with PatientPing, the nation's most comprehensive care coordination platform, to improve patient care outcomes across the state of Arizona. The statewide partnership, coordinated through AzHHA's Affiliated Partners Program, will connect all of AzHHA's member hospitals and participating providers. Participants will have access to real-time patient information and insights from care events across the entire continuum, enabling more seamless care transitions and overall improved care quality.

"At AzHHA, we're committed to improving care for patients across the state, and ensuring that our providers have the ability to coordinate care in real time will play an imperative role in that," said Ann-Marie Alameddin, president and CEO of AzHHA. "Accessing PatientPing's real-time, interoperable data will accelerate our state-wide care coordination efforts and ensure that we're keeping with our mission to improve healthcare for Arizonans."

[...] In addition to AzHHA, PatientPing has also partnered with several leading health systems in Arizona, including Innovation Care Partners, affiliated with HonorHealth, which serves an area of 1.6 million people across the greater Phoenix area. PatientPing's national network includes thousands of hospitals, health information exchanges, health plans, providers, and other entities, all of which are working together to collaborate on their shared patients, improve care outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

Arizona State University economic analysis finds American consumers will pay dearly if U.S. withdraws from Tomato Suspension Agreement with Mexico

NOGALES, Ariz., April 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- April 23, 2019 – American consumers could soon be paying 40 to 85% more for vine-ripened tomatoes, according to a consumer economic analysis of impending punitive duties on Mexican tomatoes, which are set to go in effect in early May.

If the U.S. Department of Commerce withdraws from the Tomato Suspension Agreement on May 7 and applies duties on Mexican tomatoes, consumer prices could rise up to 40% in the period from May to December, according to the analysis, conducted by economists at Arizona State University.

During other periods, such as the winter, prices for certain varieties like vine-ripened tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine and Romas could rise more than 85%, according to the analysis, which relies on data from AC Nielsen.

“This makes no sense. Most Americans crave certain kinds of vine-ripened tomatoes, and now they are going to have to pay more, significantly more,” said Lance Jungmeyer, President of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, Nogales, Ariz.

[...] Terminating the suspension agreement, the ASU analyst found, will reduce the supply of tomatoes in the U.S. market, and raise prices paid by American consumers, particularly during the winter tomato season (October through June).

[...] Prices would skyrocket even more when weather events and crop failures are considered, according to the analysis.

Such weather disruptions occur often during the wintertime, when the sole U.S. supply is in the southeast U.S., primarily Florida, which is seeking the imposition of duties.

[...] For a copy of the analysis, which was commissioned by FPAA, or for an interview with FPAA or with study authors, contact Erika Dominguez at, or (520) 287-2707.

Earth Day Announcement Illustrates Film and TV Industry’s Ongoing Commitment to Environmentally Friendly Practices

WASHINGTON ­­– In commemoration of Earth Day, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) today released highlights of the environmental sustainability efforts of its member studios,[1] including waste diversion statistics and newly incorporated data on donated food.

In all, last year, studios donated the equivalent of over 130,000 meals[2] from production and commissary donations throughout the United States. Member companies also continued to prevent studio sets and other solid waste from entering landfills, achieving a 64 percent diversion rate in 2018. Set materials, costumes, and other items were sent to over 150 non-profit organizations throughout the country, including in Virginia, New Mexico, Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, and California.

These figures are compiled through the Solid Waste Task Force, a joint program between the MPAA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The Task Force was designed to promote environmentally friendly practices across the film and television industry.  [...]

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