2012 Legislative Review

I’m happy to report that:

  • Arizona has moved from #32 to #5 in the nation for job growth (source: ASU W.P. Carey School of Business)
  • Moved from #13 to #1 in the nation for new business start-ups (Kauffman Index)
  • Moved from #8 to #4 in business competitiveness in the Mountain West states (Greater Phoenix Economic Council)
  • and the state budget is projected to be $257 million better off than expected for fiscal year 2012.

The actions taken by the Republican-led legislature and Governor Brewer are clearly paying off.

We have taken this state from shortfalls as high as $3 billion in the last 3 ½ years to this year being able to balance our budget, add funding to education, healthcare, and public safety and still put money aside for a rainy day.

Part of our success can be attributed to two “Jobs Bills” the legislature passed in the last two years and legislation that cuts down on burdensome regulations and frivolous lawsuits.

Contrary to what some believe, the legislature is doing a lot of positive things for our state.  And although I am disappointed that no Democratic legislators voted for the “Jobs Bills” and they fought us on our legislation to balance the budget, you may be pleased to know that 90% of the  legislation that became law this year had both Republican and Democrat support.

Some of the legislation I sponsored this year includes:

  • HB2621 increases government transparency so taxpayers can see how government is spending their money. (The photo shows Governor Brewer signing this legislation)
  • HB2622 improves educational opportunities for special needs children, students in failing schools, adopted foster children, and children of active duty military families.  It has been recognized as model legislation across the country.
  • HB2628 helped a school in Peoria and similar schools whose teachers and staff were trying to claim unemployment insurance during the summer vacation.
  • HCR2061 became part of the Military’s official record to show that the Arizona Legislature wanted the F-35 fighter mission at Luke Air Force Base.
  • HB2625 protects our 1st amendment right that guarantees freedom of religion and allows religious-affiliated employers to opt out of the intrusive government mandate that forces them to pay for and provide abortion-inducing drugs, birth control, and sterilization drugs, even if it violates their religious belief.  Currently, the Obama Administration is only allowing churches to opt out of his mandate.  My legislation will allow religious charities, like St. Vincent De Paul, and faith-based schools and hospitals to opt out too.  Many say they want government out of this issue…that is exactly what my legislation does.  It allows religious employers to opt out of the government mandate.
  • HB2629 repeals the individual use tax, a little known tax on online purchases that individuals are supposed to self report to the state.  Hardly anyone knows about it, the amount collected is relatively small, and it is nearly impossible to enforce. (Although this legislation had unanimous support in the House of Representatives, it was stopped in the Senate, and thus didn’t become law…maybe I’ll try again next year)

In the next newsletter, I’ll update you on the businesses I’ve been visiting, the testimony I’ve given in front of the EPA to oppose utility rate increases, the constituents I’ve been meeting with, and the meetings I’ve been attending on your behalf.

Together, we can make a difference.


Debbie Lesko

Arizona State Representative
Legislative District 21

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