Great Expectations for 2015

January 8, 2015

Ahhh…2015!  The New year always comes with hopes and expectations.  And after the November elections, our political hopes loom even larger.   Here is what I’m hoping – and will be working for this session at the Capitol.

  • Fiscal restraint.  Arizona’s budget picture is bleak for sure, but Gov. Ducey’s commitment to grow the economy without dinging taxpayers is something I can get behind.  He gets it!  [Read more]

Fixing School Funding

September 29, 2014

It is common knowledge that Arizona’s complicated K-12 funding system is in need of reforms that would serve students better.  Three bills last session were proposed to move us forward. 

First the good news –  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 other important bills didn’t pass in the 2014 session – [Read more]

The Recipe for a Prosperous Arizona

August 25, 2014

A STRONG ECONOMY and more…

Government doesn’t create wealth, but it can impede it.  Low tax and regulatory environments attract business investment and allow existing businesses to thrive, creating the jobs that provide stable state revenues for education, public safety and infrastructure.   Check out my record of promoting policies supporting a prosperous economic future for Arizona. [Read more]

Summer Update

July 30, 2014

Laws mean what they say – even Obamacare:  Last week’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.  From here the question is almost certain to go to the Supreme Court.

  • Sen. Barto featured in Sunday Republic’s “What if” question of the week. Check out What if: The Supreme Court rules subsides can’t be used and other Obamacare news and what it means to the future of the law.
  • Was it or wasn’t it a tax hike?  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.  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.  Arizona should expand the Medicaid program on our own terms and within Arizona’s budget constraints – not the Federal Government’s.
  • Is reporting rape worth the “hassle”?   Legislators joined the Arizona Life Coalition Thursday outside a Tempe Planned Parenthood to demand an investigation of a mandatory reporter that didn’t think so – and a rapist went on to commit other crimes.   See clips of the rally and other photos and Channel 3 coverage.

[Read more]

2014 Session Synopsis

June 3, 2014

SB 1379 – Removing health care red tape:  In addition to their jobs, many physicians & other health care professionals regularly treat those in need of care for free but are unable to access or pay for it – but state licensing restrictions make it more difficult for them to do so within our own country than across the oceans.  SB 1379 streamlines the process for voluntary health professionals wishing to serve in Arizona.  SIGNED by the Governor.

SB 1308 Obamacare Navigator Oversight:  Navigators and (CACs) Certified Application Counselors – those assisting with health insurance sign-ups through the Obamacare Exchanges – have access to a plethora of sensitive financial information.   SB 1308 & HB 2508 – a House version proposed by Rep. Lovas, help hold them accountable and will reduce the likelihood of ID theft and fraud by requiring background checks and licensure.  Read more on this issue here.    SIGNED by the Governor.

SB 1225 Women deserve more than the “happy-gram” – more important, lives will be saved as a result of SB 1225.  Here’s the story: According to the American College of Radiology, about 50% of women have dense breast tissue.  Dense breast tissue makes it harder for doctors to see cancer on mammograms because both dense breast tissue and tumors look white.  Consequently, normal dense breast tissue can hide masses or tumors.  Thanks to SB 1225, women with dense breast tissue will be told this information and be better informed about whether to seek additional diagnostics.  Read Barto press release here.  Learn more at  AreYouDense.org.   SIGNED by the Governor. [Read more]

Barto tops ranking in bills signed into law in 2014

June 2, 2014

Of my 23 Prime Sponsored bills, 15 were signed into law this session.  All passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, if not unanimously.

At 65%, that is the highest % of bills passed by a lawmaker this session.  Here’s the Arizona Capitol Times piece: Barto, Lovas lead in percentage of bills signed into law.

I am proud of these successes because each of them address concerns that are important to our state – and don’t increase the scope of government.   In fact, in many cases, they reduced regulation, solved a critical issue, expanded consumer information or choice or kept an “out-of-control” board government agency in check.  Here are some examples: [Read more]

Dept. of Child Safety – the new CPS

May 30, 2014

The Department of Child Safety is officially separate from the huge DES bureaucracy it had been part of.  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 bill’s main provisions:  [Read more]

2014 Session – Opening Week

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:

Opening Day

  • 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]

Arizonans deserve an apology

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]

Expanding Liberty, Protecting Taxpayers

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]

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