Thursday, June 21, 2007

AZ Legislative accomplishments this session


  • To improve access to higher education, the Legislature created a deduction for a 529 college savings plan that allows individuals to contribute $750 - $1,500 for a married couple – for a child’s college education.
  • The Legislature accelerated the business property tax ratio reduction to reduce the inequity between commercial property and residential property. The 5 percent reduction will be accomplished in six years rather than the planned 10 years.
  • To bring the 2009 NBA All-Star game to Phoenix, the Legislature waived the sales tax on tickets sold for the game and related activities if Phoenix is selected.
  • The Legislature created a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for people to donate money to a new fund that helps the families of wounded military members.
  • The Legislature also voted to accelerate the business personal property tax reduction..


  • The Legislature passed a meaningful employer sanctions bill that punishes businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Penalties include loss of a business license for multiple offenders, a significant deterrent.
  • Day laborers were prohibited from obstructing traffic in order to solicit employment. However, the governor vetoed the measure.
  • The Legislature gave further instruction to judges to follow the voter approval of Proposition 100, which prohibits illegal immigrants accused of serious felonies from receiving bail.
  • The Legislature set guidelines for state and local agencies to follow so illegal immigrants do not receive certain state benefits prohibited by the voters in 2004 and 2006.


  • Added about $500 million in K-12 spending, adding money for increased student enrollment and discretionary money for school districts. Of that money, $46 million is specifically set aside for teacher pay raises.
  • The Legislature expanded school choice by adding $2 million to the existing $10 million corporate tuition tax credit plan approved last year.
  • The Legislature retained the two, $2.5 million voucher programs for foster children and developmentally disabled students that were recently ruled constitutional.
  • Added about $100 million to the university system, including money to expand the Phoenix campus of the University of Arizona medical school and $1 million to expand the criminal justice program at Arizona State University West.


  • The Legislature enacted an emergency measure to prevent copper theft. The Measure mandates scrap metal dealers compile additional information from people who sell copper and requires dealers to mail a check for the scrap metal to a physical address.
  • Teen drivers face new restrictions, such as increased time behind the wheel before earning a regular driver license and a prohibition on driving between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • The Legislature cracked down on gangs by adding $2 million for additional prosecutors and for updated equipment for improved communication between law enforcement agencies.
  • Drunk drivers will have to install an interlock device on their cars after a first DUI conviction.
  • The Legislature passed a bill to prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility.
  • The penalties for engaging in child prostitution have been increased to a Class 2 felony.
  • The Legislature enacted new protections for homebuyers. Mortgage fraud, a major issue facing Arizona, is now a Class 4 felony with a first-time violator eligible for three years in prison.
  • The Legislature added 6,000 new in-state prison beds to relieve overcrowding, including 2,000 beds operated by private companies at a cheaper rate.


  • The Legislature appropriated $1 million to promote cord-blood donations that could be used for research for cures for a variety of diseases.
  • Continuing its commitment to fund important research and deal with diseases impacting Arizonans, the Legislature appropriated $4 million for Alzheimer’s research and $2.3 million for autism services.
  • To help eradicate a doctor shortfall, $3 million has been set aside to increase the amount of doctor residencies in state hospitals.
  • The Legislature gave the Board of Pharmacy the mandate to draw up rules to ensure pharmacists can dispense medication in time of a natural emergency or terrorist attack.
  • The Legislature passed a comprehensive air quality bill encompassing 20 new pollution fighting measures designed to reduce particulate matter emissions.


  • Clean Elections underwent changes to make it easier for both participating candidates and traditionally funded candidates. The Legislature increased the amount of money statewide candidates will receive.
  • The Legislature increased the amount of money for workers’ compensation benefits. The legislation also includes automatic increases based on the annual percentage increase in the state mean wage.
  • The Legislature extended the transportation bonds from 20 years to 30 years, freeing up about $500 million during the next three years.
  • The Legislature also set aside $62 million to build roads of regional significance.
  • The Legislature renewed the job training program, which is paid for through employer taxes, for four years.

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