February 2, 2014
The first week of the 2014 session was action-packed, but before we get there – today we commemorate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. How much do you know about his “I have a dream” speech? Check out other important African-Americans in our nation’s history: Neglected Voices. Now for the highlights of Opening Day and the week’s issues:
- Starting the session right – with prayer. The Center for Arizona Policy again organized their (early morning) annual prayer event at the Capitol. I am grateful to everyone of you and the many pastors, including mine, who attended and who regularly pray for me and all elected officials in Arizona.
- Special Guests. Along with my husband, Joe, Troop 616 scout, Alex Murr, and his mom, Heather, were my special guests for Opening Day ceremonies. It was an honor to host this bright aspiring space explorer.
- Inspiring Keynote. Cardinals kicker Jay Feely “kicked off” the 2014 Senate session with an inspiring message on staying focused amidst failure. Here’s a shot of my husband, Joe, with Feely and Cards owner Michael Bidwell. [Read more]
July 26, 2013
Every session has its disappointments - but Arizonans should be more than disappointed that these major boo-boos were imposed upon them this session. They deserve an apology - and to have these top 5 mistakes rectified. [Read more]
July 9, 2013
July 9, 2013
Highlights from the 2013 Session
How was your money spent?: With the exception of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion pushed through this past session, the Republican Majority has made tremendous strides in the past three years in balancing the books of the State of Arizona. We are already seeing signs that Arizona is one of a small number of states poised to come out of the lingering recession with solid growth and strong balance sheets. Budgeting is now required to be done not just for the current fiscal year but three years out. By FY 2016, we can now predict that Arizona will have a structurally balanced budget. Leadership in the legislature managed to maintain spending levels, but increase funding in a few key areas. [Read more]
February 18, 2013
What’s happening at the Capitol? One thing is sure – since it is the final week for committees to hear Senate bills in the Senate, it will be a busy week for committees!
- The call for Medicaid expansion. Read Arizona should refuse Obamacare Medicaid bribe.
- HOA bill: SB 1278 unanimously passed Senate Public Safety Committee. Rather than falling short of success again, this bill clarifies authority over parking on public streets for new HOAs only – which Legislators seem to be good with. Progress!!
- Foster care: My bill aimed at improving counseling treatment for children in foster care, SB 1375, passed the Sen. Health & Human Services Committee on Wednesday 4-3.
- Board of Behavioral Health Examiners: SB 1374 -the bill significantly reforming this incredibly dysfunctional board, passed its first committee hurdle 7-0! Many thanks to all who attended this long hearing and sent e-mails in support of both SB 1374 & 1375. video testimony available here for both bills. [Read more]
November 27, 2012
Senator Barto praises Governor Brewer’s postponement on deciding whether to move forward on creation of health care exchange
Statement by Senator Nancy Barto
“I applaud Governor Brewer’s cautionary approach in deciding Arizona’s future and involvement with creating a state-based exchange. By postponing her declaration to the federal government, she will have more time to confer with leaders across this nation rejecting the pressures of Washington. Nineteen states have already determined it is not in their best interest financially or in principle, and seven more states are strongly considering it. [Read more]
August 28, 2012
“I have an 8-year old in third grade, and she’s doing great,” said an excited African-American mother whose child was a recipient of one of 2,666 education scholarships. “It’s miraculous the way she has changed.” It really wasn’t a miracle – it was opportunity.
When students in failing schools are given better options, guess what? They excel! Just last week, in fact, Brookings Institution researchers’ released a much-anticipated report proving the fact. The study tracked African-American kids in Albany, NY – chosen at random by lottery – from Kindergarten through college. The lucky kids chosen to receive education scholarships to attend a private school were 24% more likely to attend college than those who were not so fortunate. And at less than half the cost! They tracked 2,666 students out of 20,000. Read the study here.
Arizona, unlike New York, continues to expand students’ learning opportunities – especially for kids trapped in failing schools and other at-risk students.
But options alone are not enough! If we expect college-ready high school graduates, we must raise our standards beyond the requirement that students pass a minimum skills 10th grade aims test! Our 200 year old education model is leaving U.S. students in the dust – below the OECD average. Here’s how we’re changing that in Arizona: [Read more]
May 23, 2012
The 2012 session places Arizona on strong economic footing
- For the second year in a row the Legislature achieved a balanced budget, w/o gimmicks, sweeps & rollovers AND without additional cuts.
- Multi-year budgeting. Charting a new course of responsible fiscal management for the state, the 50th Legislature balanced budgets for Fiscal Years 2012, 2013 and 2014, even with the temporary one percent sales tax increase expiring.
- Saved $450 million in a rainy day fund for contingencies to prevent future cuts in an uncertain and slow economic recovery.
- Stability reaps results. 93,000 new jobs created in February, March and April
Economic/Jobs Initiatives [Read more]
March 18, 2012
Then why have common sense reforms that will produce one been opposed, defeated and/or vetoed at the Legislature for the last 2 years – even with a Republican Governor and Republican supermajority?
The short answer is swarms of lobbyists. The longer answer is Legislators succumbing to lobbyists on issues that should be very clear. [Read more]
March 18, 2012
The main purpose of the latest Electronic Medical Records bill - signed into law this year - was to include electronic prescribing as an acceptable method for prescribing controlled substances as long as they follow all the DEA rules and regs.
That’s good. Federal ARRA legislation (the loathsome “stimulus” bill) rewards doctors for e-prescribing, expecting fewer medical errors and better use of up-to-date patient records will result in fewer diagnostics, better care and lower health care costs. This is a great goal. The jury is still out as to whether it will do these things, but it’s likely to improve patient care….as long as patients’ consent and privacy rights and information are protected in these systems. [Read more]