Republicans respond to the end of the 2018 legislative session

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Republicans respond to the end of the 2018 legislative session, which saw former Representative Don Shooter expelled from the House and a promise for a 20 percent increase in teacher salary by 2020.

“In many ways, it was a remarkable and productive session,” Republican Senate President Steve Yarbrough says. “We passed a significant teacher pay raise, we extended prop 301, we did additional assistance and we did a lot of other things in a variety of areas.”

J.D. Mesnard, Republican Speaker of the House, recognizes the bad that the year saw. The House expelled a member for the first time in over 70 years which is never easy, Mesnard says.

Related: Democrat leaders give their view of the end of the 2018 legislative session

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON, REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS ASSESS THE RECENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. ALSO TONIGHT, A VALLEY ART MUSEUM GETS A NEW DIRECTOR, WE'LL HEAR ABOUT HER PLANS TO HELP SHAPE THE "FUTURE" OF MUSEUMS. AND HOW FOOD STYLISTS CAN MAKE ADVERTISED FOODS LOOK SO TEMPTING. THOSE STORIES AND MORE, NEXT, ON ARIZONA HORIZON.

PROMO: "ARIZONA HORIZON," MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE SUPPORT OF ARIZONA HIGHWAYS MAGAZINE. AND BY APS AND BY CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE FRIENDS OF 8, MEMBERS OF YOUR

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO PBS STATION. ARIZONA HORIZON. I'M TED SIMONS. SENATOR JEFF FLAKE TRIED AGAIN TODAY TO PASS A BILL THAT EXTENDS PROTECTION TO DACA RECIPIENTS. THE WHITE HOUSE DID NOT DISPUTE THE REMARK BUT SAID WE RESPECT SENATOR MCCAIN'S SERVICE TO THE NATION. HE AND HIS FAMILY ARE IN OUR PRAYERS DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME. SENATOR JEFF FLAKE TRIED AGAIN TODAY TO PASS A BILL THAT EXTENDS PROTECTION TO DACA RECIPIENTS. THAT ATTEMPT, AGAIN, WENT NOWHERE. THE LEGISLATION PROTECTS DREAMERS FROM DEPORTATION FOR THREE YEARS AND ALSO CALLS FOR SEVEN-AND-A-HALF BILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING TO FURTHER SECURE THE BORDER. THE KEY, FOR FLAKE, IS TAKING CARE OF DACA RECIPIENTS.

JEFF FLAKE (R): THEY ARE FOR ALL INTENSE PURPOSES, AMERICAN. MANY GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, FACE AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN THE JOB MARKET. MANY ARE IN SCHOOL LOOKING TO CONTINUE THE EDUCATION. MANY SERVED IN OUR MILITARY. WE HAVE TO DO RIGHT BY THEM.

TED SIMONS: FLAKE SAYS THAT HE WILL CONTINUE PUSHING PASSAGE OF THE BILL. THE 2018 LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDED AFTER TWO LATE NIGHT MARATHONS LAST WEEK. IT WAS A REMARKABLE SESSION IN A NUMBER OF WAYS, INCLUDING ISSUES RANGING FROM TEACHER DEMANDS FOR INCREASED EDUCATION FUNDING TO THE EXPULSION OF A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE. LAST NIGHT WE HEARD WHAT DEMOCRATS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE SESSION, TONIGHT WE HEAR FROM REPUBLICAN LEADERS. WE WELCOME SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE YARBROUGH. AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, J.D. MESNARD. GOOD TO SEE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE SESSION?

STEVE YARBROUGH: IN MANY WAYS, A THOUGHTFUL AND REMARKABLE SESSION.

TED SIMONS: PRODUCT I HOW?

STEVE YARBROUGH: WE EXTENDED THE TEACHER PAY RAISE, EXTENDED PROP 301 AND A LOT OF THINGS IN A VARIETY OF AREAS IMPORTANT AS WELL.

TED SIMONS: YOUR THOUGHTS OVER ALL ON WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CAPITOL THIS SESSION?

J.D. MESNARD: IT WAS A HISTORIC SESSION GOOD REASON AND NEGATIVE REASONS. WE HAD TO EXPEL A HOUSE MEMBER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 70 YEARS. WE MADE AN UNPRECEDENTED HELP IN TEACHER'S EDUCATION.

TED SIMONS: HOW MUCH DID THE EXPULSION OF DON SHOOTER COLOR THINGS AFTERWARDS?

J.D. MESNARD: WE EXPELLED HIM FEBRUARY 1ST. IT PROVIDED FOR CLOSURE. WE GOT A NEW MEMBER AND MOVED ON. NOW HE'S SUING THE HOUSE AND ME PERSONALLY. IN TERMS OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND MOVING ON WITH THE SESSION, WE WERE ABLE TO DO THAT ONCE WE EXPELLED HIM.

TED SIMONS: THEN THE HEADLINES CHANGE, SPECIFICALLY TEACHER WALK OUTS AND DEMAND FOR FUNDING AND EDUCATION, YOU GOT THE BILL THROUGH. A LOT OF FOLKS HAD PROBLEMS WITH IT. IT WENT THROUGH. NOW WE HEAR FROM TUCSON THAT THEY CAN'T GIVE THE PROMISED INCREASE. THEY HAVE OTHER OPTIONS.

STEVE YARBROUGH: THEY DO INDEED HAVE OTHER OPTIONS. THE BUDGET FOR TEACHER PAY HAS BEEN IN THE HANDS OF THE DISTRICT. I READ AS YOU DO THAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO OTHER THINGS WITH IT. WE HAVE DONE OUR BEST TO COMMUNICATE THAT WE PREFER THIS TO GO TO TEACHER PAY INCREASES. BUT, IT'S ULTIMATELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE DISTRICT.

TED SIMONS: IS THIS WHAT YOU HAD IN MIND?

STEVE YARBROUGH: WE KNEW IT WAS A POTENTIAL. MOST, IF NOT ALL OF THE DISTRICTS WILL CARRY OUT THE INTENT WHICH IS TEACHER PAY INCREASES.

TED SIMONS: YOUR THOUGHTS HEARING ABOUT TUCSON AND OTHERS SAYING, THIS WOULD BE GREAT.

J.D. MESNARD: I FIND IT UPSETTING. TIME AND TIME AGAIN, IT'S TEACHER PAY TO MOST PEOPLE. NO ONE WANTS TO BE A TEACHER. THE AVERAGE SALARY THIS STATE COMPARED TO OTHERS. PRESIDENT'S RIGHT. ULTIMATELY, THE DISTRICTS CAN MAKE WHATEVER DECISION THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE AND THEY SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE. MY DISTRICT LAST NIGHT, WENT TO CHANDLER. THEY ARE PUTTING IT TO TEACHER PAY. THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE IN TUCSON. DOESN'T SURPRISE ME TO BE HONEST WITH YOU. I DON'T THINK MOST WILL BE HAPPY ABOUT IT.

TED SIMONS: VOUCHER EXPANSION, THERE SHOULD BE SOMETHING ON THE BALLOT. THERE WAS A MOVEMENT TO REPEAL THE LAW LOOKED AT BY VOTER IN THE FALL. DID YOU WANT TO REPEAL THAT VOUCHER EXPANSION?

STEVE YARBROUGH: I WAS NEVER PURSUING THAT. I WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE HAD THE BILL BEEN REPEALED AND TAKEN OFF OF THE BALLOT. IT'S NOT SOMETHING I WAS TRYING TO PURSUE.

TED SIMONS: WOULD YOU PURSUE A REPLACEMENT IF IT WAS REPEALED?

STEVE YARBROUGH: I'M A FIRM BELIEVER IN THE VALUE OF ERAS. IT WAS NOT SOMETHING HIGH ON MY LIST.

TED SIMONS: IF IT WAS REPEALED, THE INITIATIVE GOES AWAY. IF YOU PUT IT BACK IN THERE, PEOPLE SAW FUNNY BUSINESS GOING ON THERE.

STEVE YARBROUGH: ADMITTEDLY. I THINK THAT'S THE WAY A LOT OF FOLKS LOOKED AT IT. IT WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN TRUE, BUT I UNDERSTAND THE PERCEPTION.

TED SIMONS: DID YOU PUSH FOR A REPEAL OF THE SHOW?

J.D. MESNARD: AS I BROUGHT UP ON A PREVIOUS SHOW. THE FRUSTRATION IS THAT WE VOTE FOR THINGS WE SUPPORT, AND I SUPPORT THE BILL, BUT WE DON'T VOTE FOR IT TO BE LOCKED IN STONE. IF IT GOES TO THE BALLOT I'LL BE HAPPY BUT FRUSTRATED THAT IT'S LOCKED IN STONE. THERE ARE THINGS I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY NOW OPPOSED TO LAST YEAR'S BILL. THAT DYNAMIC CREATES A CHANGE FOR US. IT GOES TO THE BALLOT, SO IT SEEMS MOOT.

TED SIMONS: YOU WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED A REPEAL?

J.D. MESNARD: I WOULD. IN GENERAL, IT'S BAD POLICY TO HAVE THINGS LOCKED IN STONE.

TED SIMONS: WOULD YOU SUPPORT LAWMAKERS IN GENERAL DOING THE LAW AGAIN, PASSING IT AGAIN?

J.D. MESNARD: I'M CERTAIN IF WE PASSED IT AGAIN, IT WOULDN'T BE THE SAME LAW. IT'S OUR FUNCTION TO ADAPT EVERY YEAR TO DETERMINE WHAT MAKES SENSE ANY GIVEN TIME. SOME FOLKS GOT SIGNATURES WHILE TRYING TO AVOID SITUATIONS WHERE WE CAN'T DO OUR JOB BECAUSE SOMETHING IS LOCKED IN STONE.

TED SIMONS: WHY WAS THERE NO ANYTHING REGARDING GUN VIOLENCE? THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN FOR SCHOOL SAFETY. WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?

STEVE YARBROUGH: WE WORK HARD ON IT IN THE SENATE AND MANAGED TO PASS A SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURE OUT OF THE SENATE THAT WE SPENT SEVEN HOURS ON THE FLOOR THE DAY THAT WAS ADVANCED, BUT IT DIDN'T GET ENOUGH TRACTION TO GET ALL THE WAY HOME. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE SEEN BY ANY MEANS THE END OF THE ISSUE.

TED SIMONS: WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN TO THE BILL? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE IDEAS? WAS THE STATUS QUO BETTER THAN WHAT WAS IN PLACE BY THE GOVERNOR?

J.D. MESNARD: WE DIDN'T END UP WITH THE STATUS QUO. SOME OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL, MENTAL HEALTH, BACKGROUND CHECKS, AND THE COST ASSOCIATED WITH ENHANCING THOSE, THEY WERE PUT IN THE BUDGET. THE VAST MAJORITY OF WHAT WAS LEFT WERE STOP ORDERS, SEVERE THREAT ORDERS OF PROTECTION. THE PRESIDENT IS RIGHT. THE CONVERSATION IS NOT ENDED. THEY'LL CONTINUE INTO THE FUTURE. WE DID DO THINGS WE THINK WILL HELP WITH SCHOOL SAFETY.

TED SIMONS: UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, HAS THAT ENDED?

J.D. MESNARD: THAT'S ONGOING WITH INDIVIDUALS. SOME OF US WILL WONDER WHAT THAT ACCOMPLISHES. IS THERE EVIDENCE THAT, THAT WILL MAKE THINGS SAFER? THAT'S OUT THERE. THE FULL GAMUT OF DISCUSSION WILL CONTINUE INTO THE FUTURE.

TED SIMONS: LAST QUESTION HERE, THERE WERE NO BIG CHANGES IN ARIZONA WATER LAW. THE GOVERNOR MADE A BIG DEAL ABOUT THE STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS. I HAVE TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, AMONG THE LAWMAKERS I TALKED TO, THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE ALL THAT WELL. WHAT HAPPENED?

STEVE YARBROUGH: WATER LAW IS IMMENSELY COMPLICATED. ONE CLASS ON WATER LAW IN LAW SCHOOL, DOESN'T MAKE ME AN EXPERT TO SAY THE LEAST. IT'S COMPLICATED. WE NEED TO DO POLL CITY REFORM THERE, BUT IT'S THE ISSUE THAT TAKES SEVERAL YEARS TO ADVANCE.

TED SIMONS: IT SEEMED AS THOUGH THE GOVERNOR WANTED TO SEE URGENCY, AND IT DIDN'T SEEM THERE IS THE URGENCY.

J.D. MESNARD: THAT IS WHY WE HAVE THE PROCESS WE HAVE IN PLACE. THE GOVERNOR WITH THE GOVERNOR'S POSITION, LEGISLATORS WITH THEIR POSITION. WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND STAKEHOLDERS. THE PRESIDENT IS RIGHT, USUALLY TAKES YEARS TO COME UP WITH REFORM. THE CONVERSATION WILL CONTINUE AND AT SOME POINT, WE'LL HAVE SOMETHING.

TED SIMONS: WHAT DID YOU NEED TO HEAR?

J.D. MESNARD: I DON'T KNOW THAT THERE WAS A SPECIFIC THING. FORBEARANCE SEEMED TO BE AN ISSUE. THERE WERE AREAS OF AGREEMENT. IF WE WEREN'T TRYING TO FOCUS ALL OF OUR PAY ACROSS THE FINISH LINE, THERE MAY HAVE BEEN OTHER THINGS WE COULD HAVE DONE.

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US EACH WEEK DURING THE SESSION. GOOD TO HAVE YOU. COMING UP LATER IN THE SHOW, THERE IS A REASON FOOD AND ADVERTISEMENTS LOOK SO GOOD. WE HEAR FROM THE ARTISTS BEHIND THE APPETIZING ADS.

Steve Yarbrough: (R) Senate President
J.D. Mesnard: (R) Speaker of the House

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