ARIZONA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Legislative Update (02/10/20)
Bill Filing Deadlines Arrive
The bill filing deadline for the Senate arrived last week with the Senate filing more bills than they have in the past two decades. Meanwhile, the bill filing deadline for the House is today where the final totals are already much higher than in the Senate.
Pro-Life and Vulnerable People
While the session is still relatively early, there was positive movement last week when two identical pro-life bills (HB 2388 and SB 1328) moved forward. The Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) supported and testified in favor of both bills which moved through the House Health and Senate Appropriations Committees respectively.
These bills would appropriate $1.5 million for abortion alternatives programs designed to effectively help abortion-minded women keep their babies and help them get the services they need. Additionally, these bills would provide another $1.5 million to finance a statewide community information and referral program with the caveat that referrals are not to be made to abortion providers.
Charities and Faith Based Organizations
Legislation to help charities and religious organizations by increasing the new state income tax deduction for donations to such organizations has also advanced. Specifically, HB 2356 would increase the amount that can be deducted from 25 percent of the donation to 50 percent. Meanwhile, HB 2355 proposes to increase this amount by indexing it to the rate of inflation. Both measures are expected to receive a vote on the floor of the House soon.
School Choice for Native American Students
Finally, an important legislative fix (SB 1224) to permanently allow a small number of children on Arizona’s Navajo nation to continue receiving ESA funding to attend their school just over the border in New Mexico was approved by the Senate Education Committee last week. Last year, legislators approved a temporary fix so that they could continue attending this school and SB 1224 simply makes this fix permanent.