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Mark Finchem’s Legislative Journal  
 
March 22, 2020- "The Arizona House and Senate have been working diligently to craft an Emergency Funding Budget that funds only critical state service operations such as Departments of Economic Security, Public Health, Public Safety and Public Education. This is an effort to exercise prudence and conservation of taxpayer dollars in case we must rapidly fund a larger response to healthcare. In two to three weeks we will take up the rest of the budget and bills once we know how much impact we have made on ‘flattening the curve’ of COVID-19 contagion.”
-Rep. Mark Finchem, Chairman of the House Federal Relations Committee

 
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WE ARE READY TO HELP WITH FOOD AND SHELTER ASSISTANCE

House Members and Staff are “all hands on deck” to assist constituents with identifying resources to feed and shelter those people in our communities who have lost their source of income through government-ordered shutdowns of business. Low wage earners and families with young children will be especially hit hard because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need is great, and resources are going to be stretched to the limit. If you need assistance, Please contact Rep. Mark Finchem at his office at 602-926-3122. We are already helping connect constituents with program resources that will help them. If you are blessed with more than you need, I urge you to give to your local food bank, to Gospel Rescue Mission, or to your local houses of faith. They are closest to those in need and will help to maximize the effect of your contributions to the greatest effect.
 

 
UNLIKELY BATTLE OVER EMERGENCY BUDGET

The Arizona House majority took a very prudent posture last week, crafting an Emergency Funding Budget, allocating funds for only the most critical operations. The measure was designed to make sure that critical State services were funded and that public education providers had sufficient assurance so they could begin their process of budgeting for Fiscal Year 2021. The measure stalled when House Democrats attempted to attach funding for other priorities, knowing full well that the budget process is not over. The issue with what House Democrats have attempted to do is that there is already funding on its way from Federal resources. 

“We don’t demonstrate leadership when we just throw money at problems. Members should know there are resources already allocated and assistance programs already in place to address food and shelter problems. Acting as if we have somehow made the problem go away helps nobody.” said Rep. Mark Finchem in an interview with Phoenix news media. For the 6th time in 6 years House Democrats voted NAY to fund public education, knowing full well that we are not done yet.
SPEAKING OF MEDIA...

Enough already! We can no longer call some of these  “news” organizations reliable news sources. In an unbelievable display of rank hypocrisy and poor taste this week, CNN showed that it has lowered itself to a trash media standard. The caption and photo says it all. This is a disgusting display by elitist entertainment personalities that do not serve to unite, but divide. So, a message to CNN, "Isn’t it time to grow up and act like adults?"

Free speech is a great thing.  It sometimes shows the true colors of crass actors who are incapable of reporting news but great at displaying childishness hypocrisy. How many good people have lost their jobs for the same type of behaviors, while these guys get a regular pass? While left leaning activists applaud such behavior, the ability to govern is brought down. I'm glad that these guys aren’t leaders, and I also relieved that most of America recognizes them for what they are, and poor entertainers at that.

 
COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET PLAN

The Arizona House and Senate plan to meet on Monday, March 24 to pass an Emergency Funding Budget, no frills of any kind attached. On or about April 6, the House and Senate plan to re-convene to take up additional budgeting actions as may be necessary, and to hear bills that have been stopped in the legislative process due to the “Pause” in activity. Briefings pertaining to the progress that public health officials and providers are making on shutting down the spread of COVID-19 for House and Senate Members will be on-going. Progress on reducing the COVID-19 infection rate will be a key determining factor for future budget priorities.  We are very fortunate that for the last 5 years, Rep. Finchem has focused on shrinking government and reducing taxes, resulting in more money left in taxpayers pockets so they are better equipped to respond at an individuals level to economic forces working against them.
Republican Legislators Propose Emergency Measures to Ensure Arizona Students Can Finish School Year

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Michelle Udall (R-25) and Senator Sylvia Allen (R-6) are today proposing legislation that prioritizes student learning during the current mandated statewide school closures.
 
“Our students can’t afford to lose the last quarter of the school year,” said Representative Udall. “We trust our educators and school leaders to do everything in their power to ensure students have stability and the opportunity to continue to learn during this challenging time.”
 
“We can’t give up on our students during this crisis,” said Senator Allen. “Our proposal gives schools the flexibility and certainty needed for students to keep learning and finish the school year strong.”
 
The joint proposal provides teachers and schools the necessary flexibility and authority to use resources and personnel in creative ways to deliver education to Arizona students while schools remain closed. Teachers and other school employees will be able to work remotely during the closure period to help provide educational instruction, support, and resources to students.
 
The proposal outlines two sets of guidelines depending on the length of the mandated statewide closure and provisions for paying staff during the closure.
 
If schools open by March 30, 2020:
  • Suspend the calendar and instructional hour requirements for school year 2019-2020.
  • Extend statewide assessment window until May 31, 2020.
  • Hold harmless school letter grades for school year 2019-2020.
 
If schools are closed beyond March 30, 2020:
  • Suspend the calendar and instructional hour requirements for school year 2019-2020.
  • Require public schools to offer general educational delivery in alternative formats to complete the school year for their students as a condition of receiving continued formula funding based on their 100th day average daily membership (ADM).
  • Direct the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to provide guidance to schools on how they must attest that they are providing alternative modes of educational delivery, which could include partnerships with other public or private schools, online platforms, email, or mail correspondence.
  • Provide, to the greatest extent possible, flexibility, to public schools for special education programs, including alternate modes of service delivery for students on IEPs and 504 Plans.
  • Hold schools harmless for transportation funding generated by route miles and allow public schools to use transportation fleets to be used for school operations that support students and families during the statewide closure.
  • Allow schools to continue to pay employees to work from home or perform alternative reassignments through the end of the school year.
  • Allow schools to use funding generated in the current school year to provide summer school instruction in the summer of 2020 only.
  • Cancel statewide assessments for school year 2019-2020.
  • Hold harmless letter grades for the school year 2019-2020.
  • Waive “Move on When Reading” promotion requirements for school year 2019-2020.
  • Require the SBE to immediately develop rules for graduation for school year 2019-2020 only.
  • Allow up to 1.25 ADM for students in fiscal year 2020-2021 if the student has taken an online course during June or July of 2020.
  • Direct the Auditor General to work with school districts for modified timelines for financial and performance data reporting.
  • Provide temporary suspension of statutes that prohibit supplanting of federal and state funds, for school year 2019-2020 only.
  • Provide the same flexibility for the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) and Career and Technical Education Districts (CTEDs).
  • Require ADE, with approval of the SBE, to submit waiver requests by April 15, 2020 to the appropriate federal agencies for food and nutrition, assessment and accountability requirements, or any other issues that impact educational attainment that cannot be met in this school year due to the public health crisis.
  • Emergency clause and retroactivity to March 16, 2020.

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If you are interested in entering the world of politics, we need you!  In Arizona, a precinct committeeman is the most important elected official to our Republican Party – the dedicated men and women who hold this position constitute the foundation of our party in all fifteen counties. A precinct committeeman is a party worker at the grassroots level. Precinct committeemen are elected by voters in their precinct at the time of the Primary election, during general election years. If there is not an elected committeeman, the county chairman can appoint a committeeman to fill a vacancy. Whether you live in Legislative District 11 or in another "LD" you and your talents are needed.   For more information about what it means to be a PC click here.  Click the button below to learn more about where meetings are held, what PC's do and how you can join the team.
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AZ Rep. Mark Finchem, Constituent Services · PO Box 69344 · Oro Valley, AZ 85737 · USA

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