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Thu, Feb. 20

Consolidation election bill gets through Senate caucuses

VVN/Dan Engler

VVN/Dan Engler

PHOENIX — A proposed bill that would consolidate the election requirements for school district mergers is one step closer to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

Tuesday, Arizona’s Democratic and Republican caucuses cleared SB 1122, according to Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

The purpose of the caucus, Fischer said, is to “explain the bill to those who were not members of the committee that heard it and see if there are any questions.”

Fischer also said that it “generally is procedural” for a bill to get through both party’s caucuses.

Now that SB 1122 has cleared the Senate caucus, it goes to the Senate floor, Fischer said. The Senate floor and the Committee of the Whole — COW — are “one in the same — sort of,” he said.

“Bills go first to COW, where they can be debated and amended, and then to third reading, usually on a subsequent day,” Fischer said.

Introduced by Sen. Sylvia Allen, SB 1122 was drafted as an amendment to Arizona Revised Statute 15-459, which considers Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Mingus Union and Clarkdale-Jerome and as three separate voting districts.

If SB 1122 becomes law, an election to consolidate the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts would count the total votes from the Mingus Union District. Since 1957, Clarkdale-Jerome and Cottonwood-Oak Creek have made up the Mingus Union district.

Provisions

According to the Arizona State Senate’s fact sheet for SB 1122, the proposed bill would do the following:

-Removes the requirement, for a school district consolidation, that the majority of votes cast in each district approve the consolidation, and instead requires only the majority of total votes cast approve the consolidation.

-Removes the requirement, for a consolidation of parts of two or more school districts, that a majority of voters in the unaffected parts of a school district or districts and a majority of voters in the part of a school district or districts proposed for consolidation, approve the consolidation.

SB 1122 can be seen in its entirety at azleg.gov.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @AZShutterbug42

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