According to the Associated Press, "Arizona became the first state in the nation on Thursday to enact a law requiring high school students to pass the U.S. Immigration citizenship test on civics before graduation."
Both the House and the Senate rushed the bill without first addressing:
COST. How much will it cost schools in order to implement the INS test? Senator Abelser cited concerns with failed previous legislation implemented with regard to AIMS testing and how he sees a similar pattern with regard to the INS test. He also expressed concerns with rushing SB 1029 without first answering cost-related questions to Arizona taxpayers from a fiscally responsible standpoint. Ableser also reminded Arizona lawmakers how the former superintendent of Arizona public education via Lisa Keegan helped enact AIMS only for the measure to end in 2014 replacing it with another tougher academics test that could cost Arizona tax payers an additional 9 million to implement new testing.
BUDGET. Senator Katie Hobbs addressed concerns regarding Arizona schools who are already experiencing a budget crisis and the shortage of computer resources already in some schools today in order for the INS test to be conducted online. How will Republican Senators be fiscally responsible with addressing the current school budget crisis and computer shortages of some schools considering we have a looming $1 billion shortfall Governor Jan Brewer left Arizonan taxpayers with?
EDUCATION REGRESSION. Senator Catherine Miranda addressed regression concerns in Arizona education. Arizona high schools are already teaching more complex American history and it does not make sense overall to go backwards particularly when the new assessment test replacing AIMS testing reflects tougher academic standards.
COURT CHALLENGE CONCERNS. This is yet another Arizona Immigration-related Bill that adds more bureaucracy and large government ideas now being introduced into Arizona education. SB 1070 was mostly struck down by the Supreme Court that cost Arizona taxpayers. Currently a challenge of Ethnic Chicano studies not being taught in Arizona schools is tied up in the 9th Circuit Court of Appealsth Circuit Court of Appeals because Arizona Republicans simply cannot leave the immigration issue alone and to the feds. Arizona Senator Steve Farley pointed out the hypocrisy of some Arizona Republicans who were against President Obama's “common core” in education, yet, some of these very Republicans are okay with larger government ideas that uses “federal” Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) testing standards that essentially introduces more bureaucracy just because it is immigration related.
Additionally, our women-led organization was disappointed in President Senator Biggs for not publicly addressing Tea Party Senator John Kavanaugh in public for violating legislative rules when Kavanaugh inappropriately addressed female Arizona lawmaker Senator Catherine Miranda by name during the SB 1029 session. We hope this does not indicate how future legislative sessions will be conducted. Kavanaugh is a seasoned public servant in Arizona state legislature and he should know the rules with regard to the professional legislative decorum required by everyone else.
Below is the list of Arizona Senators who voted in support of tying public education to an immigration test:
Senators Biggs, Allen, Barto, Begay, Burges, Dial, Driggs, Farnesworth, Griffin, Kavanaugh, Lesko McGuire, Pierce, Shooter, Smith, Ward, Worsely, Yarbrough, and Yee.
Arizona Senators who did not support the immigration federal testing tied to high school are:
Senators Ableser, Bradley, Carjero Bedford, Contreras, Dalessandro, Farley, Hobbs, Mora, Miranda, and Quezada (with
Senator Pancranzi a no-vote).
Finally, it appears the new Republican Governor Doug Ducey is following the footsteps of Governor Jan Brewer with regard to eagerly signing another Arizona bill tied to immigration via INS testing. This bill was rushed through Arizona legislation and it is the first bill Ducey will sign. Cost and budget concerns were not addressed and Arizona taxpayers will foot the bill without knowing the collateral damage of a bill that has been fast-tracked putting us at risk of potentially fighting another State bill that could end up in the 9th Circuit court of appeals if challenged.