Tempe and Beyond: What’s Going On In Politics
National/State/Local: Week of April 2nd, 2018
Representatives from domestic meat and fruit industries asked President Trump to intervene in mitigating the looming trade war with China. Starting on April 2nd, Chinese officials enforced 25 percent tariffs on pork and scrap aluminum products and 15 percent on 120 other U.S. goods. Pork exports to China alone were valued at $1.1 billion in 2017.
The most recent participants in a series of national walk-outs, Oklahoma teachers are now demanding more education funding and better pay. Oklahoma stands at 49th in the nation for average teacher pay at $45,276. States like Arizona, Kentucky, and North Carolina are all seeing similar movements in which teachers are walking out or even striking over education funding and teacher salary.
Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about Amazon allegedly robbing the Post Office of billions in delivery fees. This caused the retail giant’s stock value to fall sharply, continuing an almost 8 percent decline (nearly $60 billion in market value) since it was first reported that the President was eyeing Amazon for regulatory action.
We are 86 days through the 2018 Regular Session of the Arizona Legislature. This week is the final week that bills may be heard in conference committees between the chambers.
At the Capitol last week, Arizona teachers gathered to demand a 20 percent pay raise for teachers in Arizona. The “RedForEd” rally brought about 2,500 teachers and supporters outside the Governor’s Office, where they chanted and held speeches in support of salary increases and greater public education funding.
Senate Bill 1387, introduced by Rep. Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler), is an attempt at reviving the previously failed House bill regarding business regulations and cities. If passed, this revived bill would prevent cities and counties from prohibiting “no-impact” businesses or requiring permits for businesses run out of one’s home. Changes from the dead House bill to this revived one include certain allotments for municipality regulation. The new bill must still pass the House and Senate before the Governor can sign it.
In addition to Governor Ducey’s school safety proposal, Republican legislators want to include armed guards at schools. This “school marshal” program would put secured firearms in the hands of specially trained school staff. Senate President Steve Yarbrough and House Speaker J.D. Mesnard both said they support the idea. The governor’s office said such an idea was not included in the Governor’s plans because it lacks support in law enforcement and education communities.
In an effort to address rising housing costs in Tempe, the City is advancing a plan to create a community of tiny homes. Called everything from “micro-estates” to “humble homes,” these 600-square-foot affordable housing solutions seek to provide all the perks of home ownership without the associated financial risk. Tempe purchased the land for the homes using federal funds and hopes to sell the homes at around $100,000. Construction begins next spring.
The City of Phoenix concluded its investigation into alleged misconduct by Councilmember Granville. Tempe had asked Phoenix to investigate these allegations when they first came out. Three women who came forward alleging inappropriate behavior from their former teacher testified to Phoenix Police, but in the end, no charges were pressed. Tempe is expected to proceed with a separate code of conduct investigation.