A 2014 Session Synopsis

June 3, 2014

First - 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 to prioritize education and safety of Arizona’s children, with a full 75% of the new money going to three areas:  K-12, higher education, and the new Dept. of Child Safety.

  • K-12 – Total K-12 spending increased by $187.6 million
  • Child Safety – DCS spending increased by $120 million for a total of $845 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 – FY 2014, not counting an add’l 112 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

[Read more]

Barto tops ranking in bills signed into law

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]

What if you were diagnosed ‘terminal’?

May 30, 2014

Wouldn’t you want the option to try an experimental drug that might save or extend your life?

That option may be up to YOU, the Arizona voter.   This session, after learning what terminal patients go through to even be considered for a clinical trial to test  drugs in the FDA pipeline, the Arizona Legislature passed HCR 2005 , also known as the Terminal Patients Right-to-Try Act.  The measure allows patients diagnosed as terminal greater access to potentially life-saving drugs that have not completed final FDA approval.  The approval we’re talking about are drugs or therapies that have passed Stage 1, which means the drug won’t cause further harm to the patient, but the efficacy and side effects haven’t been fully vetted.  [Read more]

Common Core – Should we be concerned?

April 13, 2014

Common Core standards are being implemented in Arizona.  In Arizona, they are called Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.  And yes, Parents, educators and Legislators ARE concerned and for good reason.  And what about Arizona’s sudden withdrawal from PARCC?  Check out this article and these links to a Common Core Q and A.

Are the CC standards internationally benchmarked?  Who is behind the CC?  Why did the only educators on the 30 member Validation Committee refuse to sign off on the CC standards?  Get up to speed – Watch the recently released documentary, “Building the Machine”[Read more]

Public schools don’t work for every child

April 13, 2014

Courts uphold Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

On October 1st the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld Arizona’s landmark Education Savings Accounts 3-0,  again denying teachers’ unions efforts to strike down this school choice program and affirming that public education is not for everyone.  And in March the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the ruling – delivering a major victory to parents & students.

Adopted in Arizona in 2011, ESAs allow parents to direct their education tax dollars from a scholarship account designed to pay for private school tuition, online classes, educational therapies, tutoring, college tuition, and more for their children.  Eligible children include students in failing schools, with special-needs, and those adopted out of the state foster system.   This decision ensures that families who are relying on this innovative educational opportunity can continue to do so. [Read more]

Is Your Doctor Qualified? Ariz. Medical Board issues

October 24, 2013

As a patient you ASSUME your doctor was properly vetted before he began practicing medicine in Arizona and treating your family.  That may not be the case.  A recently released 192 page Ombudsman investigative report substantiated that the AMB’s Executive Director Lisa Wynn and Deputy Director Amanda Diehl knowingly disregarded 28 licensing rules and statutes resulting in 2,041 physicians’ licenses granted in Arizona over an 18 month period without proper vetting of their credentials – and thousands more renewing their licenses.  Credentials like physicians’ medical education, hospital employment, if they had any disciplinary actions pending and more.

You can thank the whistleblowers.  [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]

EPA’s Mindless Regulations

July 9, 2013

It is rare when union workers, teachers, health care professionals, Native Americans, businesses, energy consumers and their producers speak with one voice - but when it comes to the new EPA regulations, they are.  Here’s how the Legislature is responding to their voices.  [Read more]

Barto on Obamacare Med. Expansion

June 24, 2013

Many members of the House & Senate argued eloquently against the Governor’s Obamacare Medicaid Expansion plan.  Watch American Commitment’s video online here.  The following are mine:

Like many of our constituents, today I am extremely disappointed and saddened that our state – the State of Arizona – is willingly imposing this key provision of Obamacare – expansion of government health care – upon its citizens.  This after standing as an example to dozens of states that followed our lead in passing health care freedom initiatives guaranteeing citizens’ rights to health care freedom.  [Read more]

Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is not conservative

June 8, 2013

If you’re a registered voter, particularly a Republican, you’ve probably received at least one slick glossy in your mailbox telling you what a “conservative” idea it is for Arizona to accept the Federal Obamacare bribe to expand Arizona’s AHCCCS program.  It’s not…and voters need to know the other side of the story: [Read more]

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