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Legislative Roundup

Christianna Silva / Arizona Sonora News Service

PHOENIX – This week was mostly playing catchup for last weeks marathon session. Last week, legislators pulled a total of eight hours for a single new bill that would bill that expands Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to allow students to take 90 percent of the state’s per-pupil funding and apply it private school costs. This week, the capitol was full of protestors and speakers voicing their anger that the bill passed so quickly, with such a small amount of public input.

Let the Games Begin

David Garcia, an Arizona State University professor, announced on Wednesday that he will be challenging Gov. Doug Ducey for the gubernatorial seat in 2018. He said he wasn’t planning on running, but the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts bill that passed last week made him feel like there had to be some changes. 

Specialty License Plates

There are more state-issued license plates in Arizona than there are people, by almost a million. License plates are more than just a way to boast your college, political affiliation and sports teams to the drivers behind you.

Just in this legislative session there have been multiple new special license plates introduced by Gov. Doug Ducey: an amateur radio plate, a collector car special plate that includes a special plate for military installations, and a science education special plate.

A specialty license plate in front of the Governor’s office in Phoenix. / Christianna Silva

In fiscal year 2016 alone, specialty plates generated a lot of money for charitable organizations: a total of almost $9.4 million. Break that down to universities alone, and the University of Arizona generated $400,996, the Arizona State University generated $301,920 and NAU garnered $46,172.

Not Your Property…?

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation into law that will make it more difficult for officers to seize property in civil forfeiture practices, getting the governor in a bit of hot water with prosecutors and sheriffs across the state.

The measure received unanimous support, sand one Republican representative Rep. Becky Nutt, R-Clifton, who voted against the bill.

House bill 2477, introduced by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, now increases the standard of proof for the state in forfeiture actions, requiring prosecutors to provide “clear and convincing evidence” to a judge for any and all property they want to seize before they can actually take the property.

Christianna Silva is the Don Bolles Fellow covering the Legislature for Arizona Sonora News, a service provided by the school of journalism at the University of Arizona. Reach her at christiannaj@email.arizona.edu.