Arizona: Legislative Update

Legislative Update (02/10/12)
School Choice Expansion Moves Forward
Next week is scheduled to be the final week for bills to receive committee hearings in their house of origin. Any bills that have not been approved by their assigned committees at that time will essentially be presumed dead. Accordingly, long committee hearings are expected in order to keep bills moving.
One bill that is farther along than most is the proposed expansion of the individual tuition (scholarship) tax credit program. This bill (SB 1047) would essentially double the existing credit’s limits for both single people and married couples with the new donations going to those “switching” from public to private school.
SB 1047 has already cleared the Senate and was approved earlier this week by the House Ways and Means Committee. It is expected that SB 1047 may reach the House floor as early as next week.
In addition to the movement on school choice legislation this week, the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee approved an important measure (HB 2674) allowing the Arizona Department of Public Safety to continue performing background checks for the volunteers and staff at schools, churches, and any nonprofit organization serving children.
Furthermore, a timely bill (SB 1365) relating to the rights of conscience of various professionals licensed by the State of Arizona was approved by the Senate Government Committee this week. Similarly, the Senate Health Committee passed common sense legislation (SB 1359) that would prohibit parents from suing doctors for the wrongful birth of their child.

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