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Senate and House leaders issue bipartisan joint statement

Senate President Bob Burns, Senate Democratic Leader Jorge Garcia, House Speaker Kirk Adams and House Democratic Leader David Lujan issued the following joint statement today:

“House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle have agreed to immediately address the governor’s veto of more than $3.2 billion in education funding and violation of federal stimulus funding requirements.

With bipartisan support, we introduced and passed legislation today to ensure school districts and charter schools can proceed with adopting their budgets and put the state back in compliance with requirements to receive federal stimulus funds. The bills passed unanimously out of both chambers and are on their way to the governor.”

The four bills passed today are described below:

1. Appropriates basic state aid to school districts and charter schools at the FY09 level of funding following the spending adjustments passed during first special session in January 2009, plus the full 2% inflator.

2. Allows school districts to budget for career ladders and desegregation at FY 2009 levels until October 1, 2009, prohibits excess utilities budgeting, and reduces spending for soft capital by $175 million. Additionally, funding is eliminated for a second year of kindergarten for children with birthdates after September 1, 2009, grandfathering current kindergarten pupils.

3. Ensures county contributions to AHCCCS and distributions of Medicaid stimulus monies are consistent with the requirements of the federal stimulus legislation. This language, which was part of one of the BRBs vetoed by the executive, ensures that Arizona receives more than $1.7 billion in federal stimulus monies for Medicaid.

4. Limits legislator pay during the special session to those days when the legislature convenes and attendance is recorded.

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