Legislative Recap - May 2018

May 8, 2018
Maria Syms

Friends,

Since starting at the legislature in 2016, I have been a consistent voice in favor of more public education funding. Specifically, in my meetings with leadership and the Governor, I have repeatedly advocated the need for increased teacher pay in order to attract and retain quality teachers for our children. I am proud that in my short time as your Representative, my efforts and those of our community have paid off with substantial strides in teacher and education funding.

This session saw a record breaking investment of $1.5 billion to public education over the next three years, including 20% teacher raises ($982.4 million) in the base level that is permanent, ongoing and adjusted for inflation. Also included is a $503.4 million investment in District Additional Assistance that districts have the discretion to use as they see fit for priorities such as support staff, textbooks, technology and school buses.

The budget also includes millions for the School Facilities Board. In addition, I was a proud cosponsor of the 20-year extension of Prop 301, which maintains $650 million in annual education funding.

Red for Ed

There is always more to be done and I have already started the conversations with my colleagues and community members about funding reforms to make the system more fair, secure and transparent.

I appreciate the many parents, teachers and students who visited with me both at the Capitol and in LD28 to provide feedback on school funding and discuss the work we still have to do to increase the quality of education for all Arizona children.

As a public school mom myself, I share this priority and understand how important our public education system is to the economic prosperity and quality of life of our state.

I am proud to work for you to encourage Arizona's continuing prosperity.

In addition to the historic investment in education, we also passed the groundbreaking Opioid Epidemic Act. It improves access to treatment, expands access to the overdose reversal drug for law enforcement, holds drug manufacturers accountable for fraud, protects Good Samaritans who report overdoses, and limits first fill of an opioid to five days while exempting prescriptions for chronic pain sufferers. This comprehensive and bipartisan package is a big first step in combatting the epidemic and saving lives.

I am also the proud, primary sponsor of several other wins for Arizona this session. These include:

  • HB 2107 -- Prescription Drug Pricing Patient Protection Act – lowering the costs of prescription drugs by allowing pharmacists to inform patients of lower priced payment options.

  • HB 2053 -- Making it a crime for sexual predators to extort our children for online sexual photographs, videos or acts.

  • HB 2522 -- Pam's Law -- Closing a loophole that allowed a serial DUI offender driving on a suspended license to get off with a slap on the wrist after killing a young mother and seriously injuring her two young children.

  • SB1273 -- A regulatory reform bill that helps small businesses by permitting motions for summary judgment and encouraging settlement conferences in administrative appeals on unemployment insurance claims.

  • HB2020 -- Closes the sexual predator loophole of nondisclosure agreements so victims can come forward and stop the Weinstein's and Nassar's of the world form preying on others.

With a stronger economy, Arizona is on the rise and we are focusing on important issues that have a direct impact on your quality of life. There is a reason people are moving here in droves and Maricopa County is the fastest growing County in the country.

I am proud to work for you to encourage Arizona's continuing prosperity. I will continue to fight for a stronger economy, better education and secure communities for all Arizona families.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Warm regards,

Maria Syms