Prop. 123 – Beyond the talking points

April 24, 2016

Yes, Prop. 123 will pump $3.5 Billion into Arizona’s schools immediately without busting the state budget.  But beyond that, I’d like to explain my support for Prop. 123:

Some critics of Prop. 123 balk at giving K-12 any more money – period.  The trust level on how it will be spent – evidenced in how few bond & override questions have passed recently – is near zero in some parts.  Voters blame schools for hiring too many administrators & not paying teachers enough.  For blaming lack of funding for poor student performance.  For saying there is never enough funding.  They want to see education reforms, too.

Okay – but what are we really dealing with?

It really IS time to stop paying lawyers and start paying teachers.  The school funding lawsuit is a critical consideration.  Voters may not realize how deeply divided we are on the disagreement that Arizona underpaid schools under Prop. 301.  That’s why the State is in court.  The Legislature believes we only owe schools about $75 million rather than $300 – plus there’s the back-payments they want, adding billions more.  But that’s beside the point now because Arizona lost. And the State’s appeal doesn’t look good either.  Prop. 123 settles the lawsuit, with the schools receiving about 72% of what the districts would likely have been awarded by the courts.  Continuing the lawsuit would cost everyone more.

But are teachers likely to benefit?  Prop. 123 does not designate where the funding is to be spent.  Under the agreement, it leaves it to the local districts to decide.  I’m okay with that because the public is VERY wary of how schools spend their funds already, especially additional funding authority at the ballot.   Because so much expectation from Prop. 123 is on paying teachers, I believe districts will do all they can to prioritize their teachers’ salaries.  Many need to in order to keep them from retiring or moving to higher paid positions elsewhere. [Read more]

Get to know Kelli Ward

December 28, 2015

Today Senator Kelli Ward announced her first round of endorsements for her 2016 run for the U.S. Senate.  I am proud to be among them.  Here’s why:

Over the last two years I have had the honor of working closely with Dr. Kelli Ward on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  In addition to chairing her own Committee – Senate Education – Kelli Ward was an exemplary Vice Chair of the Sen. HHS Committee, using her extensive expertise as an Osteopathic Physician in that capacity – promoting and supporting free market health care reforms, protections for the unborn and opposing the effects of Obamacare in Arizona.

We made progress in Arizona because of Dr. Kelli Ward.  Patients have more freedoms and choice today in Arizona because of her support and leadership. Arizona’s Medicaid system will have more accountability measures to protect taxpayers and to fight opioid addiction and doctor-shopping.  These are just a few ways Kelli Ward has made a difference in Arizona.

This is what we need in Washington D.C. –  Strong, fearless leadership.  Leadership that goes to the mat for health care freedom and that protects the vulnerable at every stage of life.

Let’s shake up Washington!  Join me in supporting Kelli Ward for U.S. Senate.

Barto Panelist for October 13th “Morning Scoop”

October 4, 2015

What are you doing for breakfast next Tuesday, October 13th?  Join the HEALTH CARE discussion at Alexi’s Grill (3550 N. Central Ave)!   I will  join Rep. Randall Friese and Greg Vigdor, Pres/CEO of the Arizona Health Care and Hospital Association on the panel for this special ‘Morning Scoop’.

If you plan to attend, reserve your spot pronto.  The full buffet breakfast is free, but seating is limited.

Here’s the ‘scoop’:  [Read more]

The Politics in Your Tax Bill

September 23, 2015

Recently, Maricopa County Treasurer Hoskins included a political opinion piece letter in our property tax bills at taxpayer expense.  Concerned taxpayers should know that Mr. Hoskins’ editorial is filled with inaccuracies, omissions, and misleading statements concerning Prop. 117 and the specific protections in place for homeowners.  View the discussion here. [Read more]

Obamacare Lives thanks to politically-motivated court

July 7, 2015

Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court has bent over backwards to rule in favor of the Obama administration and keep “Obamacare” alive in Thursday’s decision regarding the latest challenge to the health-care law, King vs. Burwell.  Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, leaders from around the country have tried to work with the feds to improve and mitigate the law’s impact on their citizens.

Unfortunately, many felt they couldn’t get the improvements they needed and have gone to court over the law, but the sad truth is that the court has regularly and consistently focused on a political agenda rather than following the law. [Read more]

Does Obamacare need saving?

May 27, 2015

In the next few days the Supreme Court could rule most O-Care subsidies illegal– if King prevails vs. Burwell – making an already worried Democratic party doubly apoplectic, because the world as we know it just might end.

After all 7.7 million Americans who qualified for subsidies may lose them and the chorus will chant the only way forward will be for Republicans to bail them out by having red states (like Arizona) which had rejected  state exchanges to implement one OR for Congress to keep the status quo & save the law.  Hold on!  Let’s remember what patients will GAIN if they don’t. [Read more]

Pushing back regulations – intentionally

April 20, 2015

We’re Movin’ Up!  The respected Rich States Poor States report recently ranked Arizona #5 for economic outlook.  Here’s how the Legislature pushed regulations back this session:

SB 1241   Stopping excessive government regulation it’s about more than plastic bags.  Some localities are contemplating – and some have already implemented – ordinances that mandate energy usage reporting and dictate which containers and bags are acceptable.  SB 1241 reins in intrusive jurisdictional mandates before they become major job-killers in Arizona.  While responsible energy use is obviously a worthy goal, mandatory energy reporting in the name of energy consumption benchmarking is problematic on many levels and unnecessary as businesses are already highly incentivized to reduce their energy costs and do not need additional regulations.  Piecemeal mandates are not only labor intensive, but difficult to comply with. Read the Arizona Chamber’s informative piece on SB 1241 – Overregulation: Local Edition.

HB 2603   Tort Reform – Ending Asbestos Litigation “Double Dipping”.   This measure increases necessary transparency in Arizona’s legal system ensuring that, while victims are still entitled to compensation, the tort process is fair for all parties involved, and double dipping recovery is curtailed.  Read more about the issue here. [Read more]

Focus on Children & Internet Sex Crimes

April 20, 2015

HB 2517   Rescuing children from internet sex crimes –  There are 15,000 known active internet addresses identified in Arizona – but not nearly enough investigators to track down & save these child victims.  There are only 4 fulltime investigators working these horrific torture, rape and molestation cases – the same number since the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force was formed in 2001!  HB 2517 allocates $900,000 a year in lottery revenue to the Internet Crimes Against Children Enforcement Fund, and $100,000 to the Victims’ Rights Enforcement Fund.  What is the scope of these crimes?  Watch the compelling committee testimony.  View Rep. Paul Boyer’s piece here.

HB 2519   Parent moves and the best interest of kids – After numerous attempts to pass legislation curbing devastating abuse of current (post divorce) relocation statutes, HB 2519 made significant headway protecting both parents and the child.  Although in the end the 100 mile rule was restored, the most important part of the bill was left intact – that relocation issues are to be written into final orders rather than post decree orders.  Also supervised parenting time can no longer be used against the non-moving party with no penalty. [Read more]

Are your public school’s textbooks lawful?

October 25, 2014

Gilbert’s aren’t – but will be soon now that the Gilbert School Board voted to have their science/biology books come into compliance (Read Townhall news coverage).

Some may remember that in 2012 Arizona passed a law I sponsored (SB1009) that gives preference, encouragement & support to childbirth & adoption over elective abortion in our public schools.   Nonetheless, efforts to openly flout the law continue.  Last January, for instance, the Tempe Unified School District ALMOST adopted a Planned Parenthood sex education curriculum that did not adhere to the law, but when 240 concerned parents showed up to support the law, they backed off somewhat and only adopted part of it.  Alliance Defending Freedom and other groups got involved, as well.

Here’s what’s happening in Gilbert:  Recently I learned from an involved parent that five out of the seven BIOLOGY and SCIENCE textbooks used in Gilbert Public School District are not law-abiding either. [Read more]

Education candidates – about more than Common Core

October 1, 2014

Candidates run for office for many reasons – not just to replace Common Core.  Consider these candidates and their views on a host of issues before you vote:

Diane Douglas, candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction:  You know Diane’s stance against Common Core in Arizona, but did you know what else Diane will do when she’s elected?  [Read more]

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