Following in the footsteps of the federal Congressional House Freedom Caucus, legislators in the Arizona House have started an Arizona Freedom Caucus. A group of conservative lawmakers announced during a press conference last week that nearly a third of the Arizona House’s 31 Republicans have already joined it.
The founding chairman is State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who said he was humbled to “to lead them in battle against the left and the establishment GOP that refuses to answer to the will of the people and instead chooses to answer to special interests and lobbyists’ groups that reside down here — they fill the halls.”
PHOENIX, Arizona – Three Arizona House Republicans voted against an amendment to significantly expand school choice during Friday’s budget discussion. State Representatives Joel John (R-Buckeye), Michelle Udall (R-Mesa), and Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear) all voted against the school choice legislation sponsored by State Representative Regina Cobb (R-Kingman) as amended by State Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix).
HB 2898 as amended under Bolick would have added 14 provisions addressing Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program. In part, Bolick’s amendment would have opened up children of veterans and children in free or reduced-price lunch programs to ESAs, decreased the amount of time students must attend government schools full-time to be eligible for ESAs, allowed ESAs money to be used for educational therapies not covered by insurance and public transportation services, entitled children to equitable shares of funding otherwise allocated to school districts or charter schools for that child, and mandated the state to include ESA children in the statewide weighted student count for calculation of per pupil amount from the Classroom Site Fund (CSF).
PHOENIX, Arizona – In an effort to speed along passage of the budget, Arizona House Republicans pushed through a rule change to limit debate on bills to 30 minutes. After that, amendments on that bill would be moved, explained, and voted on without debate, explanation of vote, or questions. Additionally, all protests were directed to be made in writing and submitted to the chief clerk.
The rule change passed along party lines, 31 to 29.