Gov. Doug Ducey has had a rough time in the last few weeks, but some insiders argue that’s just the nature of the political cycle as he campaigns for another term in his office.
A lot is riding on how he finishes out the legislative session, and his school safety plan may be paramount. Ducey’s office says the National Rifle Association is behind his proposal, but that’s yet to be seen.
And all the while, public school teachers continue to contemplate a strike. But the ultimate effectiveness of that move will depend on what the largely grassroots effort can accomplish and when.
Gov. Doug Ducey offered teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020, but will that be enough to satisfy their demands?
Leaders of Arizona Educators United took to Facebook to respond to the governor’s plan, pointing out Ducey had left out support staff and overall funding for public education.
Members of the grassroots movement who have been debating a potential strike are also raising questions of where the proposed funding will come from and how Ducey can ensure the plan remains in place in the years to come.
And all the while, the governor’s proposal is not yet a guarantee. The Legislator still has to approve it.
Public school employees voted last week, and they’ve decided to strike – but leadership behind the Red for Ed movement pumped the breaks.
They’ll walk out, Arizona Educators United organizer Noah Karvelis said, but not until Thursday, leaving Gov. Doug Ducey and lawmakers time to take action if they so choose.
But whether the elected officials at the Capitol will hear teachers’ call is yet to be seen. Ducey’s plan already threw budget talks into disarray, and they’d have to do some serious digging through the state coffers to find the money to fund AEU’s other demands.
The National Rifle Association will back Gov. Doug Ducey’s school safety plan – or so says the governor’s staff.
Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said Ducey staffers told him the NRA will support the governor’s plan when a bill is introduced, perhaps next week. As drafted, the legislation includes provisions to take guns away from those deemed a danger to themselves or others, more dollars for mental health training and school counselors, and a proposed $11 million to boost the number of school resource officers in Arizona public schools, among other provisions.
“We were told that the NRA is going to sign off on the school safety plan,” Yarbrough said, adding he expects they’ll support the proposal in its entirety. “I presume that if they’re going to sign off, surely they have to understand you don’t pick and choose parts of it. That’s what we have been led to believe is forthcoming.”
Yarbrough has passed along that message to his Republican colleagues. Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Chandler, said that he was told in meetings with Senate leadership and fellow senators that the NRA will support votes for Ducey’s plan.
Whether they back the governor, the NRA won’t say. Lars Dalseide, spokesman for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said the NRA won’t comment on Ducey’s proposal until a bill is introduced at the Arizona Legislature.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato sidestepped questions about what message the governor’s staff had conveyed to Yarbrough. Scarpinato also claimed ignorance as the NRA’s official position on Ducey’s school safety plan.
“I don’t know if they have taken an official position,” Scarpinato wrote in an email. “I would suggest reaching out to NRA for that. I do know that members of the legislature have asked about where they stand on some of the provisions of the bill. “
Republican lawmakers lean heavily on the opinion of pro-gun lobbying groups, according to Yarbrough, who has said many in his GOP Caucus are looking to the NRA and the Arizona Citizens Defense League for guidance. The Citizens Defense League has made clear it opposes Ducey’s plan, but support from the NRA could give reason for GOP lawmakers to vote yes.
Democrats have vowed to vote against any school safety legislation that doesn’t include universal background checks or a ban on bump stocks. Those measures are supported by the March For Our Lives movement, a student-led effort lobbying the governor for gun control. Jordan Harb, the organization’s co-chair, called the draft of Ducey’s school safety legislation “51 pages of utter BS.”
“Your plan sucks,” he added in a statement. “Stop throwing pennies and empty promises at a problem that demands real funding and real action.”
That means Ducey may need to garner enough votes from his own party to marshall the school safety plan through the Legislature. Resistance from the Republican party could doom that effort. House Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, said lawmakers are concerned about the cost of the proposal, like the $11 million for more police officers in schools.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.