Capitol Update

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We’ll get an update on what’s happening at the state capitol from legislative leaders.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," AN UPDATE FROM LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP ON THE LATEST AT THE STATE CAPITOL. AND ARIZONA OPERA STAGES A WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCE. THOSE STORIES NEXT, ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON," I'M TED SIMONS. THE FBI IS INVESTIGATING FORMER PINAL COUNTY SHERIFF PAUL BABEU AND FORMER PINAL COUNTY ATTORNEY LANDO VOYLES. THE TWO ARE BEING INVESTIGATED TO SEE IF THEY USED PROFITS FROM SEIZED PROPERTY FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL USE. THE "CURRENT" SHERIFF AND COUNTY ATTORNEY TOLD THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC THAT THEY ARE COOPERATING WITH THE INVESTIGATION IN AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE, QUOTE, "TRANSPARENCY AND TRUST" IN PINAL COUNTY. AND FORMER STATE LAWMAKER AND DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER CARLYLE BEGAY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT HE HAD A JOB AT THE WHITE HOUSE. BUT THAT WAS NEWS TO THE WHITE HOUSE, WHICH SAYS BEGAY IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE THERE. BEGAY, REACHED BY THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, SAID THAT HE WAS VOLUNTEERING TO HELP TRANSITION THE DEPARTMENTS OF INTERIOR AND EDUCATION, AND "HOPED" THAT HE WOULD BE ASKED TO BE AN ADVISER ON INDIAN AFFAIRS. BEGAY TOLD THE REPUBLIC, QUOTE: "IT WAS A LITTLE PREMATURE WHEN I POSTED, BUT I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS GOING TO BE MISCONSTRUED IN THE WAY THAT I GUESS IT WAS." ¶ ¶

TED SIMONS: IT'S TIME FOR OUR WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE, WHERE WE HEAR IN TURN FROM REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC LEADERS ABOUT BILLS AND IDEAS WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. JOINING US TONIGHT: SENATE MINORITY LEADER STEVE FARLEY AND HOUSE MINORITY LEADER REBECCA RIOS. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANKS FOR JOINING US. LET'S START WITH CASH ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES. THIS WAS CUT TO 12 MONTHS, THERE IS A BILL THAT WOULD RESTORE IT TO 24 MONTHS, DEMOCRATS NOT HAPPY HERE. WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

STEVE FARLEY: I'M GLAD YOU STARTED BY SAYING CUT FROM 24 TO 12 AND THE GOVERNOR WANTED TO RESTORE IT TO 24 MONTHS WITHOUT MENTIONING THAT HE CUT IT TO 12 MONTHS IN THE FIRST PLACE. NOW THE BILL COMES AND BE DOESN'T SAY I RESTORE IT TO 24 MONTHS. IF THE TANF RECIPIENT MAKES ONE SINGLE MISTAKE, THEY ARE CUT OFF FROM FUNDING FROM THE SECOND PERIOD AND KIDS WILL HURT. 70% OF TANF RECIPIENTS ARE KIDS IN POVERTY. YOU DON'T WANT KIDS PAYING FOR THE SINS OF THE PARENTS.

TED SIMONS: YOU VOTED ON THIS?

REBECCA RIOS: WE DID. THIS WAS A REAL BAIT AND SWITCH BY THE GOVERNOR. HE STOOD UP THERE AT THE STATE OF THE STATE OF ADDRESS AND TALKED ABOUT GIVING FAMILIES IN HARDSHIP A SECOND YEAR OF TANF. THERE ARE SO MANY STRINGS ATTACHED THAT THERE ARE FEW FAMILIES THAT WOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SECOND YEAR. ADDITIONALLY, THE LANGUAGE THAT THEY SHOWED US THURSDAY MORNING WAS NOT WHAT THEY TOLD THE STAKEHOLDERS NOR THE REPRESENTATIVES WHAT IT WAS GOING TO BE. IT WAS A BAIT AND SWITCH AT THE LAST MINUTE. THE GOVERNOR WAS UPSET AND HE COMMENTED IN A PRESS RELEASE THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BI-PARTISAN BILL AND IN FACT THE ONLY BIPARTISANSHIP WAS OPPOSITION, THERE WAS BI-PARTISANSHIP OF OPPOSITION, BUT IT WASN'T WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE.

STEVE FARLEY: THIS IS A CONTINUING PATTERN ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNOR WHERE HE CUTS THINGS LIKE THE PROGRAM HE CUT FOR $30 MILLION. THERE'S HUGE OUT CRY. EVERYONE PUSHED AS HARD AS WE COULD IN 2016 REFORCED HIM TO RESTORE $28 MILLION OF IT AND HE DECLARED HIMSELF SAVIOR END OF THE YEAR. I DON'T THINK IT'S RIGHT TO CUT SOMETHING IMPORTANT AND BRING IT BACK AND SAY HE'S A SAVIOR. THAT'S NOT LEADERSHIP.

TED SIMONS: REGARDLESS OF WHAT HE CALLS HIMSELF, THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAYS IT DOES NOTHING BUT EXPAND BENEFITS. ARE THEY WRONG?

STEVE FARLEY: THEY ARE WRONG AND I'M SHOCKED IF THEY ARE SAYING THAT. IF YOU TALK TO CHILDREN'S ADVOCATES, THIS BILL IS WORSE THAN NOTHING. WE NEED A FULL RESTORATION FOR 24 MONTHS. THIS WILL PUNISH THE KIDS. THEY NEED THE HELP.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE TALKING CASH ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES. THEY HAVE TO SHOW THEY ARE LOOKING FOR TRAINING OR WORK. THE KIDS HAVE TO ATTEND SCHOOL 90% OF THE TIME. ANOTHER STRING ATTACHED IS A TWO STRIKE CLAUSE, TWO STRIKES AND YOU ARE OUT. IF YOU DON'T COMPLY IN THE FIRST 12 MONTHS, YOU DON'T GET THE SECOND 12.

REBECCA RIOS: THE GOVERNOR STOOD UP THERE AND IMPLIED HE WAS GOING TO RESTORE WHAT HE HAD CUT. THIS IS SIMILAR TO HIS CLAIM THAT HE WAS GOING TO GIVE TEACHERS A 4% RAISE AND THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS. WHEN WE SEE THE DETAILS, IT'S NOT MATCHING UP TO WHAT THEY ARE PROMISING. I DON'T KNOW IF HE THINKS PEOPLE WON'T STAY TUNED TO SEE WHAT'S IN THE PROMISES, BUT IT FELL FLAT LIKE THE PROPOSED TEACHER RAISE.

TED SIMONS: AGAIN, GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAYING THAT PEOPLE NOT ELIGIBLE WOULD BE ELIGIBLE BECAUSE OF THE BILL. ARE THEY WRONG?

REBECCA RIOS: YOU ARE MAKING IT SO PUNITIVE THAT THERE WILL BE SO FEW FAMILIES ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SECOND YEAR, FAR FEWER THAN WERE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE BEFORE HE CUT THE BENEFIT.

TED SIMONS: SO AGAIN, NOTHING BETTER THAN THIS PARTICULAR SOMETHING?

STEVE FARLEY: THAT'S WHAT OUR ADVOCATES ARE TELLING US. THE PROBLEM IS ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WERE ELIGIBLE FOR 24 MONTHS OF SERVICES. THESE ARE FAMILIES IN CRISIS, THESE ARE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS, AND 70 PERCENT ARE KIDS. TO CUT 24 TO 12 MONTHS, WORST IN THE NATION WAS HORRIBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE, THAT WAS SOMETHING GOVERNOR DUCEY PUSHED FOR. TO SAY YOU CAN COME BACK BUT YOU MAKE ONE MISTAKE AS A PARENT, IT WILL HURT KIDS, THAT'S MEAN. THEY NEED TO AMEND THIS TO MAKE IT A FULL RESTORATION. THEY CAN'T PUNISH KIDS. WE ARE NOT GOING TO VOTE IT.

TED SIMONS: MOVING ON TO ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO CERTIFY TEACHERS. GOOD IDEA?

REBECCA RIOS: THERE IS ALREADY AN EMERGENCY PROCESS TO CERTIFY A TEACHER TO GET THEM IN THE CLASSROOM. THE MORE IMPORTANT THING PEOPLE NEED TO ASK IS WHY IS HE LOOKING AT THIS? WE HAVE A TEACHER SHORTAGE CRISIS THAT REPUBLICANS CREATED, AND INSTEAD OF PAYING TEACHERS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE PAID, HE'S TRYING TO IDENTIFY OTHER PEOPLE THAT CAN COME INTO THE FOLD. AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE WANT CERTIFIED, EXPERIENCED TEACHERS IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN'S CLASSROOMS. SO I THINK INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT HOW WE TRULY RECRUIT AND TRAIN TEACHERS BY PAYING THEM WHAT THEY ARE WORTH AND GIVING THEM CLASSROOM SIZES THEY CAN MANAGE, HE'S LOOKING FOR AN OUT. I DON'T THINK THAT'S FAIR TO THE STUDENTS.

TED SIMONS: IF SOMEONE IS CERTIFIED IN ANOTHER STATE, EXPERIENCED TEACHERS THAT HAVE LAPSED CERTIFICATION BEING ALLOWED BACK INTO THE CLASSROOM, IF IT GETS TEACHERS INTO THE CLASSROOM, IS IT NOT A GOOD IDEA?

IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MANY TEACHERS YOU GET IN TO THE CLASSROOM IF THEY ALL LEAVE AFTER TWO YEARS. HOW DO YOU RETAIN TEACHERS, NOT JUST GET THEM INTO THE SYSTEM. HOW YOU RETAIN TEACHERS IS YOU GIVE THEM A DECENT PAY RAISE, NOT .4 OF 1%. YOU GIVE THEM AN ACTUAL AMOUNT OF PAY. HE SEEMS TO BELIEVE THE BEST HE COULD DO IS 70% OF BASIC INFLAMMATION. IT'S IN OUR SCHOOLS RIGHT NOW. IT WASN'T THE BEST SOLUTION, BUT IT'S SOME MONEY. IT ISN'T WHAT WE NEED TO INVEST IN SCHOOLS. WE NEED TO BE SURE OUR TEACHERS GET THE MONEY THEY NEED AND THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE TO STAY BEYOND TWO YEARS.

TED SIMONS: CAN YOU MAKE SURE THEY GET THE MONEY THEY NEED AND RESPECT THEY NEEDLES FOR THOSE LAPSED CERTIFICATION AS AN AVENUE TO GET THEM BACK INTO THE CLASSROOM. DOES IT HAVE TO BE EITHER OR?

REBECCA RIOS: I THINK IT CAN BE BOTH, BUT MY CONCERN IS LOWERING STANDARDS, FINDING THOSE THAT WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE SAME JOB FOR LESS PAY. THAT'S THE CRISIS THEY HAVE CREATED. THE ONLY WAY TO FIX IT IS TO PAY THE TEACHERS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE PAID. WE CANT COMPETE NATIONALLY. THE ONLY WAY TO FIX THAT IS PAY THEM WHAT THEY SHOULD BE PAID.

TED SIMONS: IF IT COMES UP, WITHOUT TEACHER PAY INCREASES, WOULD THE DEMOCRATS SAY NO?

REBECCA RIOS: WE WANT TO LOOK AT THE LANGUAGE, DO WHAT WE CAN TO HELP, BUT WE DON'T WANT TO AVOID THE BIGGER ISSUE. A LOT OF WHAT THEY ARE PROPOSING ARE DISTRACTIONS TO FIXING THE REAL ISSUE.

TED SIMONS: SENATE SIDE?

STEVE FARLEY: I THINK THAT WOULD BE THE CASE TOO. WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE NUMBERS. WE HAVE A MAJOR CRISIS ON OUR HANDS. PLAYING WITH THE FIXES ISN'T GOING TO SOLVE THAT.

TED SIMONS: BEFORE WE GO, THERE IS THE THREAT OF ANOTHER LAWSUIT, THIS ONE OVER CAPITAL FUNDING. WE ARE TALKING $2 BILLION CUT SINCE 2009. GIVE US BACKGROUND. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT AND DO WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE BALLOT FOR PROP 345, 567, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

STEVE FARLEY: WE HAVE TO PAY WHAT WE OWE. WE MADE AN AGREEMENT THAT THERE WOULD BE FORMULAS TO FUND FOR K-12. TEXTBOOKS, COMPUTERS, SOFT CAPITAL IN THE CLASSROOM. ANOTHER IS BUILDING MAINTENANCE RENEWAL. THEY ARE FUNDED 10% MOST YEAR SINCE THEN. WE ARE NOT FUNDING THE FORMULAS WE HAD AGREED TO. THAT MEANS THAT THERE ARE COMPUTERS THAT ARE 12 YEARS OLD IN THE CLASSROOM, TEXTBOOKS WEARING OUT, OUT OF DATE. IT MEANS THERE ARE CLASSROOMS IN MY DAUGHTER'S HIGH SCHOOL WHERE 10% OF THE CLASSROOMS ARE SHUT DOWN BECAUSE THEY ARE DANGEROUS TO INHABIT. WE SHOULDN'T TOLERATE THIS FOR OUR CHILDREN. WE NEED TO PAY WHAT'S GOING ON INSTEAD OF GIVING AWAY YET ANOTHER UNACCOUNTABLE TAX CUT, THAT GOT US INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

TED SIMONS: LAWSUIT HASN'T BEEN FILED. SOUNDSLIKE IT WILL BE. WE ARE TALKING MAINTENANCE, TEXTBOOK, BUSES…WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY?

REBECCA RIOS: IF YOU RECALL, 20 YEARS AGO THERE WAS A LAWSUIT STUDENTS FIRST AS THE MECHANISM THROUGH WHICH WE FUNDED CAPITAL NEEDS. THE LEGISLATURE FAILED TO FUND THEM. IN 2014, THE BUDGET GIMMICK WAS TO REMOVE THE FUNDING FORMULA FROM STATUTE. THESE ARE THE TYPES OF ISSUES WE ARE DEALING WITH DOWN THERE IN THEIR EFFORT TO AVOID PAYING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION. YOU ALLUDED TO PAYMENT FUNDING. THAT'S THE SAME THING THEY DID WITH INFLATION FUNDING. AT THE END OF THE DAY AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO PLAY THE GAMES, WE'LL END UP IN COURT. I THINK MOST PARENTS WOULD RATHER HAVE THE DOLLARS GO TO CLASSROOM RATHER THAN COURTROOMS.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH AVAILABLE DOLLARS ON THIS SUBJECT AND OTHERS. DO THEY HAVE A POINT?

REBECCA RIOS: AGAIN, THIS GOES BACK TO, YOU CAN'T LOOK AT ONE YEAR. YOU HAVE TO LOOKAT THE TRAJECTORY. THEY GAVE TAX CUTS, AND WE'LL ALWAYS BE IN THE EDUCATION HOLE. SO IT IS A CONVENIENT EXCUSE.

TED SIMONS: CAN YOU WORK THROUGH THE PROCESS OPPOSED TO THE COURTS. THAT'S WHAT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WOULD LIKE TO SEE.

STEVE FARLEY: WE SHOULD WORK THROUGH THE PROCESS, BUT THAT MEANS WE NEED AN ADEQUATE FUND SOURCE. WE HAVE GIVEN AWAY UNACCOUNTABLE TAX CUTS THAT HAVE DONE NOTHING FOR THE ECONOMY WHILE OUR STUDENTS ARE STRUGGLING FOR TEXTBOOKS AND COMPUTERS AND OUR TEACHERS NEED RAISES AND 44% LEAVE AFTER TWO YEARS. WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON OUR SCHOOLS NOW INSETAD OF LIVING WITH 23% PER PEOPLE FUNDING SINCE 2009.

TED SIMONS: IF A BILL SHOWS UP WITH INCREMENTAL REFUNDS IS THAT A GOOD START?

STEVE FARLEY: ANY ADDITIONAL MONEY IS A GOOD START BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO BE THE BE ALL END ALL. WE HAVE TO HAVE A COMMITMENT TO GETTING RID OF CORPORATE LOOPHOLES. $12 BILLION WE GIVE AWAY IN THE SALES TAX CODE AND REINVEST IN OUR SCHOOLS.

TED SIMONS: I'M NOT SURE IF THE BILL DIED A SLOW AND QUIET DEATH, FIRST YEAR $150 MILLION FULL ADOPTION 2024. LIVING OR DEAD, THE IDEA ITSELF, WORKABLE?

REBECCA RIOS: IT'S SOMETHING WE ARE WILLING TO DISCUSS. AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY. WHEN YOU GO BACK TO THE TEACHER ISSUE, DEMOCRATS HAVE IDENTIFIED A WAY TO BRING $140 MILLION TODAY TO USE FOR A 4% TEACHER RAISE. THE MONEY IS THERE. THERE'S A WAY TO DO IT. IT'S A MATTER OF HAVING THE WILL TO DO IT.

TED SIMONS: ARE YOU CONCERNED A SUIT WOULD STALL EDUCATION ISSUES?

STEVE FARLEY: THE GOVERNOR AND THIS MAJORITY HAVE THE WRONG PRIORITIES WHEN IT COMES TO THIS STATE. WE HAVE TO TURN THOSE AROUND.

TED SIMONS: ALRIGHT WE WILL LEAVE IT AT THAT. WE APPRECIATE YOU BEING HERE. THIS IS "ARIZONA HORIZON." STAY WITH US AS WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE WORLD PREMIERE OF A WORLD-CLASS HORSE OPERA.

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