ARIZONA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Legislative Update 03/17/23
Crossover Time for Legislation Arrives
The legislative session has now moved to the point where all bills need to have made it out of committees in their house of origin so that they may be approved and considered by the opposite chamber.
There are several important bills supported by the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) that are still moving including a bill (SB 1600) to make sure that all newborn babies receive basic healthcare. Following testimony from the ACC in both the House and the Senate, SB 1600 has now passed the Senate and awaits floor action in the House.
Meanwhile, legislation (SB 1544) to increase the monthly stipend to $600 per month for kinship foster care has now received preliminary approval in the Senate and will hopefully move to the House soon. SB 1544 is a significant effort to help families who are raising relatives when the birth parents are unable to do so. Keeping families together reduces the trauma on these children and typically leads to better outcomes.
With regard to school choice, this past week the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation (HB 2014) to increase the cap on the corporate tuition tax credit for disabled and displaced students to $20 million over the next couple of years. Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee passed SB 1243 which would streamline the individual tuition tax credits into one credit that would be simpler and easier to use. Both measures should receive floor votes as early as next week.
Finally, two significant efforts to help homeless and low-income people advanced in the Senate this past week and will hopefully move to the House soon. Specifically, SB 1462 would add a $25 million appropriation for coordinated homeless services and SB 1541 would increase the Housing Trust Fund to 55% of unclaimed property deposits.
To stay up to date on these bills and other matters of interest to the Catholic Church in Arizona please make sure that you are signed up to receive these updates at www.azcatholicconference.org.