2023 K-12 Legislative Recap

SOSAZ Supported Bills
Signed Into Law

SB1231, repealing Arizona’s inequitable “results-based funding” (RBF) program and redirecting the money to early childhood education. A similar provision was wrapped into K-12 budget bill SB1729. 

SCR1041 & HCR2001, waiving Arizona’s archaic school spending cap (AEL) for 2024. 

HB2456, continuing the Arizona Schools for the Deaf & Blind (ASDB) for 4 years

SOSAZ Opposed Bills Signed Into Law or Referred to 2024 Ballot

SCR1015, asking voters to restrict Arizona’s initiative and referendum process by requiring ballot measures to collect signatures from a percentage of voters in each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts. Not able to be vetoed, referred to 2024 ballot.

HB2538, allowing live, remote instructional courses for students in grades 9-12 at district and charter schools in exchange for a portion of school funding, with incentive bonuses for each remote student who passes. Wrapped into K-12 budget bill SB1729. 

HB2809, redirecting $100 million in state sales tax revenue toward infrastructure for private manufacturing companies LG, TSMC and Intel.

SOSAZ Priority Bills that Failed or Were Never Considered

SB1266, requiring schools that accept ESA voucher funding to run fingerprint clearance checks on their staff to ensure child safety. 

SB1674, requiring the state Auditor General to complete a cost study of Arizona online instruction. 

SB1675, giving public district and charter schools that serve students in grades 6-12 $1 million to make menstrual hygiene products available free of charge in all women’s and gender-neutral restrooms. A similar provision was wrapped into the budget. 

SB1706, creating reporting that requires the ADE to release more information about who is using ESA vouchers and how taxpayer funds are being spent. 

SB1706 / HB2764, codifies the quarterly reporting on ESA that ADE had been doing voluntarily, and expands that reporting into other areas such as racial and family income data, so that we have information on who is using the program and what they are spending the funds on.

SB1707 / HB2782, requires ADE to monitor enrollment and requires the legislature to appropriate sufficient funding to meet ADE’s estimate. Applies to the universal program only.

SB1708 / HB2662, mirrors existing state testing and reporting requirements for public school students onto all students in grades 3-12 who use taxpayer-funded ESA, except for students with disabilities. Districts and charters may require reimbursement for provided testing. 

SB1498, requires schools that accept ESA students with special needs to first inform families what special services they will provide before the families pay tuition or fees. Establishes a complaint process through SBE. 

SB1576, Repeals the 2022 universal ESA voucher expansion. Closes loopholes by specifying that siblings or previous recipients must have been eligible pre-expansion. 

SOSAZ Opposed Bills Vetoed By Gov. Hobbs

SB1001, banning teachers from using a student’s chosen pronouns without written parental permission. 

SB1005, banning parents from having to pay attorney fees or damages if they lose a lawsuit against a public school or teacher. 

SB1026, banning organizations that receive state tax dollars (including public schools) from hosting “drag shows” for people under 18. 

SB1040, banning trans kids from using the school bathrooms, changing facilities and “sleeping quarters” that align with their gender identities. 

SB1243, expanding STO (School Tuition Organization) vouchers by rolling the “individual” and “switcher” categories into a single category and increasing the maximum contribution amount. 

SB1255, kneecapping our ability to regulate unaccountable, wasteful spending by banning Arizona agencies from creating rules that would increase regulatory costs by more than $500,000 over 5 years after implementation. 

SB1305, banning teaching “controversial topics” in district and charter schools. 

SB1331, forcing school governing boards to allow parents to carry a firearm on school property with a concealed weapons permit. 

SB1410, requiring public school boards to establish a “teacher snitch line” for parents to report purported violations of their rights. 

SB1596, requiring school district offices to serve as polling places if elections officials ask for it and banning teachers from taking vacation days to keep them from working the polls. 

SB1696, banning district and charter schools from exposing minors to “sexually explicit materials,” banning classic works of literature from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou. 

HB2504, expanding the school tuition organization (STO) voucher program to students in foster care. 

HB2539, forcing the Arizona Department of Education to run a “public awareness program” to prop up school choice in Arizona, including free publicity for taxpayer-funded ESA vouchers. 

HB2786, forcing school boards to notify parents of recommended or funded “training opportunities” for teachers or school administrators as part of a hunt for social-emotional learning, diversity and equity. 

SOSAZ Opposed Bills that Failed or Were Never Considered

SB1138, banning banks from “discriminating” based on political affiliation or social or environmental values, meaning most banks would not be able to work with any Arizona counties to pay teachers. 

SB1163, banning contributors to bond or override campaigns from bidding on a contract that is funded as a result of the bond or override, dramatically limiting funding abilities for bonds and overrides. 

SB1182, privatizing teacher training programs by allowing private and for-profit universities in Arizona to give taxpayer-funded financial assistance to students on the same terms as those at Arizona’s three state universities. 

SB1323, jailing Arizona public school teachers for up to two years if they recommend a book to students that lawmakers consider too “sexually explicit.” 

SB1385, tying school discipline to school letter grades. 

SB1402, requiring the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB) to offer services to any children with a disability. 

SB1410, extending so-called “1487 complaints” to school boards. 

SB1425, banning district or charter schools from teaching “any courses or classes that include any educational program, curriculum, material or activity that is derived from or associated with an initiative by journalists to reframe this country’s history in a racially divisive manner.” 

SB1559, a state tax cut for corporations. 

SB1564, forcing public schools to allow ESA voucher students to try out for their sports teams. 

SB1577 and SCR1035, mandating 50% automatic cuts to income tax rates if Arizona has a budget surplus. 

SB1599, fining school districts $5,000 per day if they don’t post teacher salary information as already required by law

SB1657, reinstating required statewide testing to graduate from high school. 

SB1694, banning public schools from requiring “diversity, equity, and inclusion programs” for its employees, spending public funds on such programs, or setting policies to influence the composition of its workforce on the basis of race, sex, or color. 

SB1700, banning many books from schools and instituting public review of such books

SB1704, making it an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for public schools to ask for kids’ shot records. 

SCR1002, asking voters to restrict their own direct democracy powers by requiring a supermajority vote on constitutional amendments. 

SCR1024, asking voters to enshrine racism in the state Constitution. 

SCR1025, asking voters to insert the “parents bill of rights” into the state Constitution. 

SCR1034, asking voters to amend the state Constitution to automatically extend the previous year’s state budget if lawmakers don’t pass one in time. 

HB2003, slashing corporate income taxes nearly in half by 2025. 

HB2014, quadrupling over 3 years the amount Arizona spends on a specific type of STO (School Tuition Organization) voucher. 

HB2421, requiring CPR certifications and trainings for district and charter schools, without providing any funding. 

HB2523, requiring every K-12 student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily at district and charter schools. 

HB2533, forcing public schools to post a list of every single item teachers use or discuss with students. 

HB2546, forcing any school district with at least 35,000 students to call an election to decide whether to split the district into two or more. 

HB2705, creating a concealed-carry program for district and charter schools. 

HB2800, mandating raises for some district and charter teachers with many restrictions and without sufficient funds. 

HCR2038, asking voters to amend the state Constitution to automatically extend the previous year’s state budget if lawmakers don’t pass one in time.

Session at a Glance

This year’s 208-day session was by far the longest in state history. The 2023 session marks the most bills vetoed in Arizona history, as well as the fewest bills signed into law since 2009 (with the exception of 2020, which was marred by COVID interruptions). 

Bills Posted 1675

Bills Passed 348 

Bills Vetoed 143 

Bills Signed 205 

Breakdown: Around 20% of bills introduced were passed. Of those passed, Gov. Hobbs vetoed around 41%. This record high number of vetoes reflects the extreme nature of the bills passed, many of which centered on divisive, manufactured culture-war issues. 

Of the 205 bills signed into law this year, very few accomplished anything to help K-12 schools. Lawmakers waived the school spending cap (AEL) for this year and next; increased one-time funding for school facilities by $368 million and capital expenses by $300 million; and redirected former Gov. Ducey’s backwards and inequitable results-based funding program toward helping all students. They also increased the 2% mandatory annual increase for inflation to 2.9% and invested $36 million in miscellaneous one-time programs. 

Lawmakers allowed the unaccountable ESA voucher program to continue to explode unchecked. The only changes were to codify into statute the reporting requirements already being followed by ADE and to create an ad hoc committee to study “appropriate governance and oversight” for the program, with members appointed by House Speaker Toma, a strong proponent of the program remaining as-is. The committee has no obligation to make any changes.