The Arizona legislature has considered a number of measures that impact higher education in the state. What follows is a brief overview of the most relevant issues. I’ll provide more analysis and commentary once the new session begins.
Guns on Campus
Both the NRA and the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL) regularly introduce bills to expand gun rights, and these bills generally pass both the house and the senate. Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed Campus Carry bills, but she is not seeking reelection. AzCDL will likely introduce Campus Carry legislation again next year, this time with a new governor.
Like most states facing fiscal shortfalls, Arizona legislators are looking to rewrite laws that protect the state pension system with the goal of instituting a defined contribution program as opposed to the current defined benefits program. This would be akin to a 403-b or 401-k.
Both universities and community colleges have taken significant budget hits over the last number of years. Twenty years ago, state funding accounted for about 20% of the community college budget. Today, state contributions account for less than 1% of the budget.
Employee Organizational Rights
As has been happening around the nation, legislators have introduced bills that would hamstring employee organizations’ ability to effectively represent their constituents.
Stay tuned. . . .