Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema talks about Prop 123, Mueller investigation and background checks

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema elaborates on the Prop 123 fix, the importance of the Mueller investigation and the intense courage of students participating in marches for stricter gun laws.

Prop 123 

Prop 123 was voted in by the people in 2016 to allow money to be taken out of the state trust fund and use it to fund education. Now there are questions of legality having to do with whether Congressional approval should have been required.

Sinema worked with Sen. John McCain to get the proposition passed. She says they spent months working with Gov. Doug Ducey to make sure “the will of the voters was honored.”

“We expect upon further review the judge, or if needed an appellate court, will agree with our interpretation that the Congress enabling act covers the entire intent of the Prop 123,” Sinema says.

The congresswoman explains that since the entire $3.5 billion in the trust fund isn’t being used, the proposition isn’t crossing any legal bounds. If the judge were to disagree with the interpretation, the state would be expected to put $344 million back into the fund.

Related: Teacher protests, Prop 123 and proactive school shooting protections

In order to get it passed, Sinema says that she and McCain touched the four corners of Congress. McCain wrote a letter to Republicans in Congress while Sinema reached out to both sides of the House and Democratic colleagues in the Senate.

Mueller investigation

The Mueller probe continues to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including any ties between President Donald Trump and the Russian government. There has been a significant amount of push back from Republicans to stop the investigation. As Sinema says, however, there are Republicans who are standing up for what what Special Counsel Robert Mueller is doing.

“I think it’s very important that the Mueller investigation continues. Anytime there’s a prosecutorial function, it’s the job of both Congress and the executive to leave that alone and allow it to continue,” Sinema says. “That’s how you know that you’re finding the truth, and it also ensures that you’re honoring the integrity that our forefathers intended when they created this system of checks and balances.”

Student marches and gun safety laws

“I have tremendous respect for the young people who are organizing this in this way,” Sinema says. “I’m inspired by them… I think it takes a lot of courage for these kids – teenagers – not just standing up for what they believe in but organizing and mobilizing from all around the country.”

The congresswoman says that whether or not Congress does anything about their demands is still yet to be seen. Since campaign season is just over the horizon, things in the political sphere are going to become even more hectic. Congress isn’t doing nothing though, Sinema says.

“Congress has taken some recent action that’s a start down the road of what should be done,” Sinema says. “In the major omnibus bill that passed just recently, along with our Prop 123 fix, there’s a bill that I’m particularly proud of called the Stop Act. This was legislation that appropriates new dollars for mental health professionals in schools.”

As a former school social worker, Sinema says that one of the first things we can expect to change is the rules surrounding background checks. The FixNICS bill was recently passed with bipartisan support, addressing some of the gaps within the background check system. It will work to stop domestic abusers, violent felons and people who are dangerously mentally ill from getting their hands on weapons.

Sinema will be running for Senate in the upcoming election to take the place of Sen. Jeff Flake.

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Kyrsten Sinema: (D) Arizona District 9

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