The Legislative Committee and all AzLA members have been busy with advocacy efforts during one of the shortest Arizona Legislative Sessions on record – only 81 days this year.
A $9.1 billion dollar state budget was approved in the early morning hours of March 7. $350 million dollars were cut from state spending to balance the budget. Cuts included:
- Loss of all state support for Maricopa and Pima Community Colleges ($15.6 million)
- State university funding was cut by $99 million
- Healthcare and social service programs were cut or held flat to balance the budget
Active legislation this Session
- Firearms Bill (2320) sought to allow persons with a valid concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm into a public establishment, including all libraries and public events, unless the public establishments had security personnel and electronic weapons screening devices at all entrances. AzLA strongly opposed this bill, and worked with other opponents after the bill passed the House to defeat the measure in the Senate by a narrow 15-14 vote. Thank you for your quick action!
- Some rural libraries throughout the state questioned House Bill 2186, which expands the powers and duties of the county school superintendent to include providing assistance to county free library districts and municipal libraries on the use of student data, staff development, curriculum alignment and technology to improve student performance. The bill affected the County Libraries control since schools could contract with libraries but there wasn’t legislation in place for libraries to contract with schools for services. There was clarification of the bill’s intent and purpose by the Yavapai County Attorney. AzLA took a neutral position on the bill and it passed and was signed by the Governor on March 30th.
- A budget measure (proposed SB1076) that severely impacts Pima County Public Library (PCPL) system’s funding will be challenged in court by the PCPL. Funding will negatively impact both Pinal and Pima counties between $8-18 million next fiscal year, if action is not taken.