A scathing ad campaign was launched on Sunday by the Club For Growth targeting Sen. Mark Kelly for his decision to vote against a student’s right to an education. Specifically, Kelly voted against Senator Ted Cruz’s Amendment #969, which would have helped students find open classrooms.
The amendment, which would have expanded parental choice in education, narrowly failed, with 49 Republicans voting in favor and all 50 Democrats voting against.
The Club for Growth announced the launch of the issue ads to be aired in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire, as part of its effort to support parental educational choice.
The Club noted in a press release that it hopes to “hold Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) accountable for siding with education bureaucrats and voting against Senator Ted Cruz’s Amendment #969.”
The amendment, according to the Club, “would have allowed our taxpayer dollars to follow students and parents, not education bureaucrats and would have provided children with an option for in-classroom education instruction if the child’s local public school does not commit to reopening.”
The Covid pandemic initially forced many K-12 schools closed. Across the country, many public school classrooms still remain closed due to pressure from the teachers unions.
Parents, like those in the Peoria Unified School District, are praising a bill, SB1058, which requires district and charter schools to post a list of procedures used to review and approve learning materials and procedures by which a parent can review learning materials in advance.
If the district does not have procedures used to review and approve learning materials, the bill requires them to post a “clear statement that no such procedures or processes are in effect at the school.”
While the bill has been stripped of meaningful reforms, supporters say the bill is a baby step in the right direction even if it only brings much needed attention to what is going on in Arizona’s K-12 classrooms.
Last week, Peoria parents attempted to share their concerns with district officials about lesson plans that involve and appeared to be based on the principles forwarded by the political organization, Black Lives Matter.
Not only were parents not advised that students would be exposed to curriculum of a highly controversial and clearly partisan nature, they were denied access to review the learning materials.
Barto’s bill at least provides them with a clear path to curriculum review, say education experts.
This week, the Arizona Department of Education released a report showing a dramatic decrease in public school enrollments compared to last year. Public enrollment is down by approximately 38,000 students for the 2020-2021 school year compared to last year.
On Monday, March 1, the Mesa City Council will consider a new ordinance to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes in the city’s nondiscrimination laws. While the new rules are welcome by city leaders and residents, how they will be implemented has raised concerns.
The “nondiscrimination laws” which are meant to be a shield to protect people from unjust discrimination have raised concerns for parents of young children and individuals with closely held religious beliefs.
For young parents, the prospect of allowing children to use bathroom facilities with people who identify as sharing the same gender but are of the opposite sex has raised both safety and privacy concerns.
For religious advocates, like Cathi Herrod, Director of the Center For Arizona Policy (CAP), the concern is that the “ordinance would be used as a sword against individuals and organizations who have a historic understanding of marriage and gender.”
Supporters say the ordinance would merely replace the city’s existing fair housing code to provide a much broader set of protections, some of which already exist under state and federal law.
In contrast, Herrod’s group claims that the proposal would mean the following:
● Fitness centers, water parks, public swimming pools, and similar facilities would have to allow all men identifying as women access to women’s showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
● Women’s domestic violence shelters would be forced to allow a man identifying as a woman to share living quarters, showers, and bathrooms with vulnerable and abused women.
● Sex-specific jobs like an employee at a women’s shelter could not be denied to a man identifying as a woman.
● Faith-based adoption agencies would be forced to choose between placing children in same-sex households against their beliefs or closing down their adoption services.
● Wedding vendors like cake bakers and florists would be forced to choose between their livelihood and their faith.
● A religious bookstore would not be free to require all employees to adhere to their religious beliefs.
Herrod and others say the proposed “ordinance undermines constitutional freedoms of speech and religion, threatens women’s and girls’ privacy, and limits religious organizations that serve communities.”
PHOENIX – As Big Tech continues to flex it monopolistic powers, State Rep. Regina Cobb is hoping to help consumers save money and innovators compete in the tech market. Rep. Biasiucci has thrown his support behind Cobb’s bill, HB2005, which will allow app developers avoid what the two lawmakers call “devastating” fees imposed by big tech monopolies.
Currently all app developers must sell their products through Apple and Google’s app distribution stores. As a result, app developers are stuck using Apple and Google’s in-app payment processing. HB2005, if passed, would restrict the ability of certain digital application distribution platforms to require use of a specific in-application payment system.
HB 2005 would allow small app developers to provide payment options to their customers rather than being forced to use solely the dominant platform’s service, freeing them from the “App Tax” and lowering costs for consumers.
HB 2005 will be heard in the House Appropriations on Monday, February 22.
House Overview of Provisions
1. Prohibits a provider of a digital application distribution platform whose cumulative downloads from Arizona users in a calendar year exceed 1,000,000 from:
a) Requiring an Arizona-domiciled developer or Arizona user to use a specific in-application payment system as the sole method of accepting payments for either a software download or a digital or physical product; or
b) Retaliating against an Arizona-domiciled developer or Arizona user for using an inapplication payment system or digital application distribution platform not associated with the provider. (Sec. 1)
2. States that an agreement which violates the prohibition is unenforceable. (Sec. 1)
3. Exempts digital distribution platforms used for specialized categories of applications that are provided to users of hardware intended for specific purposes (such as gaming consoles and music players) from the prohibitions. (Sec. 1)
4. Allows the Attorney General to bring an action on behalf of aggrieved parties and seek legal or equitable relief on their behalf. (Sec. 1)
5. Defines Arizona user, developer, digital application distribution platform, domiciled in this state, in-application payment system, provider and special-purpose digital application distribution platform. (Sec. 1)
According to the two lawmakers, developers are charged a 30% processing tax referred to as the “App Tax” for a service they are forced to use, rather than a traditional payment processing fee of 3%.
The lawmakers argue that the “App Tax” tax not only “penalizes small app developers but also limits choice for consumers and forces Arizonans to pay more.”