February 24, 2015
And thereâ€™s plenty of good news to report. Here are some highlights on Barto-sponsored & supported bills:
- Good News for Patients.Â SB 1284 Â - passed the Senate 23-6 last week, moving on to the House.Â Under the Obamacare mandates, patients are faced with a whole new set of challenges â€“ including incredibly high deductibles and narrower physician networks.Â SB 1284 will help patients avoid having to pay twice to satisfy their insurance deductibles if they have to (or choose to) pay directly for covered health care outside their networks.Â The cash payments could apply under the same rules in current law, which passed in 2013.
- Student Civics Requirement. Â Shouldnâ€™t every high school graduate know who is in charge of the Executive branch of the Government?Â Believe it or not, many donâ€™t!Â The first bill signed into law this session will make passing the same Civics Test required for new U.S. citizens mandatory for Arizona students, too: SB 1029.Â Check out the test yourself at www.citizenshiptestus.com.
- Good News for LIFE and Taxpayers!Â 85% of Americans abhor their tax dollars paying for elective abortions, yet 41 out of the 199 Arizona health plans in the health care exchange include abortion coverage and taypayers ARE paying for them.Â SB 1318Â stops subsidized elective abortions in the Obamacare federal exchange plans.Â The bill passed the Senate on 17-12 and awaits a hearing in the House. Learn the details: Fact Sheet.
- Good News for the Welfare State. Â How is it that between 1983 and 2012 population increased by 83 million and yet people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million?Â In fact, the fastest growing source of personal income in America are welfare entitlements. SB 1092, which passed the Senate 17-12 today can potentially help reduce disincentives to work by adding work requirements to Arizonaâ€™s Medicaid program, as well as sensible cost-sharing and caps on the number of years one can receive these benefits. Â Federal regulators just approved cost-sharing elements in Indianaâ€™s Medicaid waiver a few weeks ago.Â Arizona should be asking for the same and other common sense reforms so the program is sustainable for those who truly need it.Â Read Whoâ€™s on Welfare?
- Good News for Businesses! Â Â SB 1241 will ensure AHCCCS providers of in-home support services, which benefit seniors and save taxpayers millions of dollars, can choose how they conduct their businesses. A 2015 National Federation of Independent Business â€“ (NFIB) priority bill, the legislation passed the Senate today 25-4 â€“ and moves to the House. Â
- Good News/Bad News:Â SCM 1005 â€“ the Regulation Freedom Amendment urges Congress to put the brakes on excessive Federal regulations. See Government isnâ€™t supposed to work this way. The bill passed the Senate Committee, but has not been scheduled for floor votes yet by Sen. President Biggs, who has not committed to doing so (Bad news for moving our Republican form of government back to Constitutional sanity). Â Read more about the Liberty Amendments and what they entail.Â All states, especially Arizona, should get on board!
- Good News â€“ CO 2 is good for the Environment! Â Last week Craig Idso from the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change presented the latest on global climate change before the Senate Federal Mandates & Fiscal Responsibility Committee.Â You can check out the facts, too, at CO 2 Science.org, which is regularly updated with new information.
Question or Comments?Â Let me knowÂ by e-mail atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 8, 2015
Ahhhâ€¦2015!Â The New year always comes with hopes and expectations.Â And after the November elections, our political hopes loom even larger. Â Â Here is what Iâ€™m hoping â€“ and will be working for this session at the Capitol.
- Fiscal restraint.Â Arizonaâ€™s budget picture is bleak for sure, but Gov. Duceyâ€™s commitment to grow the economy without dinging taxpayers is something I can get behind.Â He gets it!Â [Read more]
September 29, 2014
It is common knowledge that Arizona’s complicated K-12 funding system is in need of reforms that would serveÂ students better.Â Three bills last session were proposed to move us forward.Â
First the good news –Â the one that was signed into law: SB 1182 (school district overrides; bonds; information) addresses the problem of school districts inserting advocacy within the purpose statement in an election pamphlet. The bill requires the purpose statement to present factual information in a neutral manner. Advocacy for expenditures would be limited to where they belong–in the arguments section of the pamphlet and must include an estimated amount of property tax increase for specified properties in addition to other important info.
Unfortunately – for both taxpayers and schools, two otherÂ important bills didn’t pass in the 2014 session – [Read more]
August 25, 2014
A STRONG ECONOMY and more…
Government doesn’t create wealth, but it can impede it.Â Low tax and regulatory environments attract business investment andÂ allow existing businesses toÂ thrive, creating theÂ jobsÂ that provideÂ stableÂ state revenues for education, public safety and infrastructure.Â Â Check out myÂ recordÂ of promotingÂ policies supporting a prosperous economic futureÂ for Arizona. [Read more]
July 30, 2014
Laws mean what they say â€“ even Obamacare:Â Last weekâ€™s D.C. Circuit Court ruled the administration cannot change the law to fit the circumstances, meaning the insurance subsidies folks are getting in 36 states, including Arizona, are illegal.Â From here the question is almost certain to go to the Supreme Court.
- Sen. Barto featured in Sunday Republicâ€™s â€śWhat ifâ€ť question of the week. Check out What if: The Supreme Court rules subsides canâ€™t be used and other Obamacare news and what it means to the future of the law.
- Was it or wasnâ€™t it a tax hike?Â Robert Robb says it is fair to call the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion a tax increase, which is one of the main reasons Legislators who voted against it hope to prevail in court.Â The tax passed with only a majority of legislators voting aye, rather than the required 2/3 required by voters in order to increase taxes.Â Arizona should expand the Medicaid program onÂ our ownÂ terms and within Arizona’sÂ budget constraints â€“ not the Federal Government’s.
- Is reporting rape worth the â€śhassleâ€ť?Â Â Legislators joined the Arizona Life Coalition Thursday outside a Tempe Planned Parenthood to demand an investigation of a mandatory reporter that didnâ€™t think so â€“ and a rapist went on to commit other crimes.Â Â See clips of the rally and other photos and Channel 3 coverage.
- On the Border Crisis & Arizona.Â Apparently Arizona licensed foster parents are being recruited to care for the unaccompanied minors illegally immigrating through the Rio Grande Valley over the next 12 months.Â Unlicensed families are being recruited and offered an expedited licensure & training process, as well.Â Lots of questions remain unanswered, like â€śwhether this will affect the pool of available foster homes for Arizonaâ€™s children awaiting loving homes in our child welfare system?â€ť and â€śwhy isnâ€™t an expedited licensure process available for qualified homes for Arizonaâ€™s kids â€“ is our crisis over?â€ť and â€śare these families being paid hundreds of dollars more/child to care for these children than for those in DCS?â€ťÂ So far â€“ no answers.
- Senate defeats Democrats’Â bill to “overturn” Supreme Court decisionÂ protecting Hobby LobbyÂ – thankfully, even the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate couldn’t pass such an anti-religious freedom measure!
June 3, 2014
First –Â Where did the money go?
The State budget has General Fund spending $482 million above FY 14, for a total of $9.83 billion. The Republican Legislature continues toÂ prioritize education and safety of Arizonaâ€™s children, with a full 75% of the new money going to three areas:Â K-12, higher education, and the new Dept. of Child Safety.
K-12 – Total K-12 spending increased by $187.6 million
- ChildÂ Safety â€“Â DCS spending increased by $120 million for a total of $845Â million for DCS in ’15
SB 1224 (child safety positions) Appropriated $6,859,300, funding 192 full-time employees early in the session to CPS in this fiscal year – FYÂ 2014,Â not countingÂ an add’lÂ 112Â investigators, caseworkers and support staff in Special Session for the new Dept. of Child Safety (DCS).
- Higher Education – Total University spending increased by $45.0 million
June 2, 2014
OfÂ my 23 Prime Sponsored bills, 15 were signed into law this session.Â All passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, if not unanimously.
At 65%, that is the highest % of bills passed by a lawmakerÂ this session.Â Â Here’s the Arizona Capitol Times piece: Barto, Lovas lead in percentage of bills signed into law.
I am proud of these successesÂ becauseÂ each of them addressÂ concernsÂ that areÂ important to our state – and don’t increase theÂ scope of government.Â Â InÂ fact,Â in many cases, they reduced regulation, solved a criticalÂ issue,Â expanded consumerÂ informationÂ or choice orÂ kept anÂ “out-of-control” board government agency in check.Â Â Here are some examples: [Read more]
May 30, 2014
The Department of Child Safety is officially separate from the huge DES bureaucracy it had been part of. Â That is progress.
The bill is a product of months of work among a diverse group, of which I am honored to have had a part, to create what we all hope will be a new and positive beginning for helping safeguard abused children in the state.
Here are the billâ€™s main provisions:Â [Read more]
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. Â How much do you know about his â€śI have a dreamâ€ť speech? Check out other important African-Americans in our nationâ€™s history: Neglected Voices. Now for the highlights of Opening Day and the weekâ€™s issues:
- Starting the session right – with prayer. The Center for Arizona Policy again organized their (early morning) annual prayer event at the Capitol.Â 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. Â Along with my husband, Joe, Troop 616 scout, Alex Murr, and his mom, Heather, were my special guests for Opening Day ceremonies.Â It was an honor to host this bright aspiring space explorer.
- Inspiring Keynote.Â Cardinals kicker Jay Feely â€śkicked offâ€ť the 2014 Senate session with an inspiring message on staying focused amidst failure.Â Hereâ€™s a shot of my husband, Joe, with Feely and Cards owner Michael Bidwell. [Read more]
July 26, 2013
Every session has its disappointmentsÂ Â –Â butÂ Arizonans should be more than disappointedÂ thatÂ these major boo-boosÂ were imposed upon themÂ this session. Â They deserve an apology –Â and to haveÂ these top 5Â mistakesÂ rectified. [Read more]