Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Late Night Live Blogging: AZ Senate Debates Budget Bills

10:28 p.m. As this budget appears destined for the AZ House, we're going to wrap up our late night live blogging. Thank you for hanging with us. Next time we hope to get enough notice to have milk and cookies for all. :)


10:25 p.m. SB 1617 passes.

Time to call your state representatives, as bills will be heading to the House for their consideration!

10:13 p.m. SB 1616 passes. SB 1617 K-12 passes 20-10. Looked away, so unsure who that 10th "no" belongs to. On to SB 1618. Sen. Cajero Bedford rises to explain her vote to point out that members who have children or grandchildren who may go off to school some day, that we're cutting the universities substantially and putting our state at a disadvantage.

Sen. Sinema rises to explain her vote on SB 1617 to point out that this budget will be the deepest cut to universities in Arizona's history. "Shifting the cost of teaching and learning farther onto the students themselves." Cuts to universities in this budget are larger than all the cuts from the last four years combined.

10:11 p.m. SB 1615 passes the way they all are. The rest of the bills will go this way. We'll stay through the higher ed bill, in case anything interesting is said on the Senate floor, though the steam is quickly leaving the room. It's been a long day there, folks. Although, by the looks of this budget, it'll be a longer day for many Arizonans tomorrow and the day after that.

10:07 p.m. SB 1614 passes, 21-9. Yup. On its way to the House.

10:05 p.m. SB 1613, passes 21-9. Bill will now be transmitted to the House. On to SB 1614.

10:01 p.m. On to third reading of bills. It's the whole thing all over again. Just with amendments.

Up first, SB 1612. Sen. Lopez rises to explain her vote. "I hope the members of this body remember the victims of the Arizona tsunami in their prayers. And I vote 'no.'"

21 yes, 9, no bill passes. Secretary will transmitted bill to the House.

9:57 p.m. Sen. Pearce back in the saddle. The Senate secretary is reading the report. Sen. Gallardo has requested a roll call vote, Sen. Lopez has seconded, to include the Gallardo Floor Amendment to SB 1612. 6 yes, 20 nos, 4 not voting. Amendment fails.

9:54 p.m. On to 1624. Baring someone breaking out into a tarantella on the senate floor, it looks like this thing is about to wind down.

9:50 p.m. On to SB 1621. Sen. Biggs Floor Amendments now. And those have been adopted. So bill has been moved and now we're on to SB 1622.

SB 1622 moves on. Now to 1623. Seven minutes to bedtime!

9:44 p.m. Floor amendments being offered by minority party to SB 1620 to reinstate funds for vulnerable Arizonans, seniors and children.

9:41 p.m. Sen. Sinema explaining her floor amendment to SB 1619, which would close a tax loophole and direct funds to AHCCCS. And the amendment fails.

SB 1619 moves forward. On to SB 1620.

9:39 p.m. Sen. Aboud Floor Amendment to SB 1619 would have taken $1.4 million from a fund set aside for auto theft and transfer that money to AHCCCS for transplant services. Amendment fails.

Sen. Gallardo Floor Amendment. Revives the floor amendment from SB 1612, another attempt to put $1.4 million to AHCCCS for transplant services. Amendment fails.

9:36 p.m. On to SB 1619. If they keep up this pace, COW should be done before our bedtime.

More floor amendments. We'll stay online until we're sure the work of the day has concluded. Stay tuned or check back in the morning.

9:32 p.m. SB 1618: Higher Education FY 2011-2012 Budget Reconciliation Bill.

Sen. Biggs Floor Amendment removes language that community colleges provide braille text books. Amendment adopted.

Sen. Schapira Floor Amendment up now re: student aid. Amendment fails.

9:24 p.m. SB 1617 has an Appropriations Committee Amendment. And there's a Schapira Floor Amendment as a substitution to the Appropriations Committee Amendment. Got that?

Sen. Schapira on amendment relates to removing language in the bill that relates to excess utilities, as well as removing the kindergarten tuition language, and "backdoor" tax increases.

Sen. Schapira Floor Amendment fails.

Appropriations Committee Amendment passes.

Sen. Biggs Amendment removes language for school districts and charters to charge all day kindergarten tuition. Sen. Biggs amendment is adopted.

9:24 p.m. Sen. Aboud "On behalf of Pima County, I don't like we have to pay $6 million to the state to help them pay off their debt."

SB 1616 goes forward. On to SB 1617: K-12 FY 2011-2012 Budget Reconciliation Bill.

9:18 p.m. On to SB 1616. There is a Sen. Sinema Floor Amendment, that creates revenue by closing a loophole, that can then fund transplants for AHCCCS patients. The loophole is the Accounting Tax Credit, which allows businesses to claim a tax credit for $10,000 a year for filing their business tax credits.

Sen. Sinema Floor Amendment fails.

9:14 p.m. And now SB 1615. Sen. Biggs Floor Amendment. Sen. Aboud rises in support of Sen. Biggs Floor Amendment. Amendment passes.

9:12 p.m. Now SB 1614. Looks like tonight's COW found it's groove. [COW = Committee of the Whole]

9:11 p.m. On to SB 1613.

9:09 p.m. Sen. Gallardo rises in opposition to SB 1612.

SB 1612 passes COW.

9:06 p.m. Sen. Pearce speaking about the transplant patients, his work to raise private funds for transplants, and the state check book being empty.

9:04 p.m. Sen. Aboud rises in opposition to SB 1612, mentions testimony from representatives from the various counties who spoke out about the cost shift this budget would transfer from the state to the counties across the state.

9:00 p.m. Sen. Landrum Taylor Floor Amendment. Would restore funding to universities. Floor amendment fails.

Sen. Schapira Floor Amendment up now. "It addresses issue re: excess balances in school districts. State law says if they have excess balances they have to stop accessing the property taxes. Assuming the districts are following the law, those districts, if we take that money from them, they'll no long be able to give property owners that tax break. We are indirectly increasing property taxes for tax payers in those school districts."

Sen. Schapira Floor Amendment fails.

8:58 p.m. Sen. Sinema explaining her floor amendment re: to Prop. 204 re: tobacco tax settlement. Hold with us, folks. These floor amendments aren't available online just yet.

Sen. Sinema Floor Amendment fails.

8:57 p.m. Gallardo Floor Amendment to SB 1612 fails. Sad.

Sen. Sinema Floor Amendment is up now.

8:51 p.m. SB 1612 being amended on the floor. Sen. Biggs Amendment passes.

Sen. Gallardo Amendment up now. "I pay $18.00 a pay period and the state pays the rest. What I propose is that the state takes that appropriation and pays for the health care for others first. We're the first ones to stand up and accept government paid health care. I say we cut our health care and cover transplants. Let's make sure we pay for the health care for the most vulnerable people in our state. Let's lead by example and cut our health care first."

Sen. Landrum Taylor and Sen. Lopez rise in support of Gallardo Floor Amendment.

8:47 p.m. Sen. Gould reviewing points of order. "You're only allowed to rise to speak once per motion. If a senator asks you to yield, that is part of your three minutes. You're only going to have three minutes. Sponsor allowed three minutes to open, and three minutes to close. It's gender neutral."

Here we go again....

Senate floor session underway after the conclusion of the Senate Rules Committee hearing. How long tonight's session goes, is anyone's guess. Will live blog for as long as our eye can stay open.

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