AZ GRASSROOTS ALERT – Federalism and HB2318

| March 11 2013
AZ News

While the state fights over Medicaid expansion and debates taking federal dollars related to Obamacare, there’s another quiet battle happening at the Capitol that strikes at the heart of the federalism debate and the proper role and level of control that the federal government has in our state.  HB2318 is sponsored by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth   His bill, which just passed out of the House of Representatives on party line vote, now advances to the Senate where it is sure to face a heated partisan debate.

The bill is very short and simply states that charter schools and district schools that do not accept federal funding can be exempt from certain federal and state regulations.  The proposed law would allow roughly 130 district and charter schools that don’t receive federal money to ignore federal and state mandates. The exempted schools would still need to follow any health, safety, civil rights and insurance mandates.

(note: Farnsworth owns several charter schools here in the Valley and knows how public and charter schools can be forced to jump through federal hoops even though they don’t accept federal funds).

According to Farnsworth, schools that don’t benefit from federal dollars shouldn’t be forced to meet all federal standards:

“It simply says, `Yes, we as a state have a right to decide what we are going to do on education,”’

More from KFYI.com:

Critics fretted that if the measure becomes law, it would result in a significant hit to Arizona’s education budget. Federal education funding is generally linked to compliance and income.

“When we exempt these few schools from complying with federal regulations, all of our schools in the state are at risk for losing federal funding,” said Democratic Rep. Eric Meyer.

Farnsworth countered that Arizona lawmakers need to support good policy over federal threats. He said federal education funding and regulations are unconstitutional.

“When you talk about the federal government, I have no idea what they are going to do. … Anytime I try to do anything, that’s what I hear: `We are going to lose federal funding, we are going to lose federal funding,”’ Farnsworth said. “There’s really not a lot of risk, but if it does happen then at some point, we have to say, `This is the best policy for our state, and we will defend it if we need to.”’

Republican Rep. Justin Pierce also urged lawmakers to ignore the Democrats’ fiscal warnings.

“It’s a bit of a red herring when we ask people whether something is possible or not,” he said. “Anything that is not impossible is possible.”

What can you do to help?  Contact AZ Senate Republicans today and ask them to support HB2318.

 

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