Recapping the 2011 legislative session - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Recapping the 2011 legislative session

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Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2011 4:00 pm | Updated: 1:35 pm, Wed Oct 10, 2012.

Our legislative session wrapped up this year on April 20, in exactly 100 days. This is the earliest adjournment in more than a decade. Despite the relative brevity, it was the most productive session in my seven years at the state Capitol.

First and foremost, for the first time in five years, we passed a truly balanced budget. The Legislature avoided any borrowing, rollovers or accounting gimmicks that had been implemented in previous budgets. While the cuts are painful, particularly in the areas of health care and education, it was necessary to get the state's financial house in order. We cannot support the habit of higher mandated expenditures relative to our state revenue.

Early in the session we passed the Arizona Competitiveness Package, commonly called the "Jobs Bill." The Competitiveness Packages makes Arizona a much more attractive place to do business, and levels the economic development playing field among our neighboring states.

It is an important, and necessary, step forward for economic development and job creation in Arizona. After months of study and negotiation, we also passed SB 1609, which created significant reforms for the state retirement systems. Other major reform bills reduced the potential for probate abuse and settled the ongoing debate between home builders and municipalities relating to impact fees.

On a personal basis, I am pleased to report that 10 of the 14 bills I sponsored were signed into law. Relative to the total legislation drafted, my bills had a success rate of almost three times compared to the legislative total of 1,350 bills filed and only 357 signed by the governor. I am proud that my bills had such a high success rate and I believe my time was productive and spent efficiently.

For more than two years, I have been working with the Goldwater Institute on a lawsuit to remove the "matching funds" portion of the Clean Elections Act based on its constitutionality.

Our long journey through the court system finally arrived at the United States Supreme Court the last week in March.

It was the thrill of a lifetime to sit in front of the Supreme Court and hear oral arguments for a case named McComish v. Bennett. The expectation as a ruling will be issued in June and the final decision will be made, solidifying the impact to the program.

While the Clean Elections Act, in theory, is a good start, I don't support the idea of financing political campaigns through taxpayer contributions and legal penalties.

I am proud to call District 20 home. It is an honor and a privilege for me to represent the citizens of District 20 in the state Legislature and I am always open to your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at (602) 926-5898 or at jmccomish@azleg.gov.

• John McComish, R-Ahwatukee Foothills, is a member of the Arizona State Senate. He was elected in 2010 and represents District 20, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. He served on the Arizona House of Representatives in District 20 from 2005 to 2011. Reach him at (602) 926-5898 or jmccomish@azleg.gov.

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