June 2021

Legislative assembly

Maharashtra government reclassifies Manora MLA hostel as residential areas, eligible for higher ISF

The Manora MLA hostel, which is being rebuilt by the state’s public works department, will now be eligible for an increased floor space index (FSI), after the government reclassified it as residential neighborhoods on Wednesday. on the model of the staff of the CISF and BMC. quarters.

The state’s urban development department sanctioned an FSI of 4 for the project. Shift benefits under Rule 33 (3) (A) (1) will now apply to the hostel.

When Manora was demolished, PWD had requested an ISF of 6.87, which was not acceptable to the government. He later demanded the ISF of 5, which was also shot.

FSI is the extent of the constructible zone authorized on a given parcel.

Built between 1994 and 1998, parts of Manora had been declared unsuitable for human habitation. Later, the whole structure was declared dilapidated.

In May, a global tender was launched for the reconstruction of the hostel, which is being carried out by the PWD at a cost of Rs 900 crore. The proposed hostel will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including a swimming pool.

The redeveloped MLA Hostel, known as Amdar Niwas, is designed to accommodate 289 members of the Legislative Assembly and 78 members of the Legislative Council. The site will also be connected to metro corridor 3 connecting Colaba and SEEPZ.

The hostel is expected to have 367 accommodation units. Each legislator will be accommodated in a 1-BHK with a toilet attached to the bedroom. The apartment will have a carpet area of ​​600 square feet, which will be well equipped with all comforts.

In addition, an adjacent 400 square foot area is to be provided as a dormitory with adjoining restrooms for accompanying visitors. In total, the project will have a built-up area of ​​approximately 7,75,000 ft2.

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Upper house

Dynarski testifies before House committee on expanding access to higher education

New HGSE professor Susan Dynarski, formerly of the University of Michigan, testified on June 29 before the Oversight Subcommittee of the US Ways and Means Committee in a hearing titled Expanding Access to Higher Education and the Promise it Holds . Dynarski was joined as a witness by Marshall Anthony Jr., senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress; Susan Whealler Johnston, President and CEO of the National Association of College and University Business Officers; Steven Rose, president of the Passaic County Community College; and Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governors University.

Here is the testimony of Professor Dynarski:

Chairman Pascrell, Committee Members, I am honored to testify before you today.

College is a great investment

A college education is a great investment. Over the course of their lifetime, a person with a bachelor’s degree will earn an average of $ 1 million more than a worker with less education. Even with record tuition fees, a BA pays for itself many times over.

Growing educational gaps

But as the university has gained in value, it has also become more unequal. Low-income children are very unlikely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree when they grow up: only 9% do. The odds are six times higher for children from high-income families: 54% obtain a bachelor’s degree. And this gap is not closing – rather it is widening.

Expanding access to college

I’m giving you these statistics to get us thinking about our goals for tax incentives for education. Whether they were successful, after all, depends on the goals we set for them.

Is our goal of easing the tuition fee for high-income families whose kids attend expensive colleges? If so, then the tax incentives do a passable job.

But I think that our goal is much more ambitious: that we want to open the doors of the college to all those who can benefit from it. If this is our goal, then the current tax incentives are a complete failure.

Why? Tax incentives can only increase education if they put money in the hands of those for whom price is a barrier, when and where they need it.

  • Most of these potential students come from low-income families. They attend community colleges, where tuition and fees average $ 3,800, or state university, where they average $ 10,600.

This is what we need to keep in mind when designing tax incentives for college: a low income person attending a public college.

Education tax incentives are not reaching the right students

Unfortunately, education tax incentives do very little for low-income students in public colleges. Perversely, they provide the most money to high income students in private colleges.

Here are some facts to make this claim clear:

  • Tax credits are only partially refundable. A low-income student gets a loan of only $ 1,000 per year, while a richer student gets $ 2,500.
  • The Full Lifetime Learning Credit only goes to students who pay tuition and fees over $ 10,000. Community colleges, which form a majority of undergraduates, charge less than half that amount.
  • The tuition deduction and the interest deduction on student loans pay the most to families with the highest tax rates.
  • The Coverdell and 529 savings plans benefit those who can afford to save and face high tax rates – i.e. the rich. And, if a low-income family saves, they are punished: Their assets count towards eligibility for federal student aid and safety net programs like SNAP.

Education tax incentives are complex and confusing

The regressiveness of tax incentives is not the only obstacle to their effectiveness. They are simply too complicated and confusing to affect school decisions. The IRS publication devoted to their explanation fills 95 pages! Families cannot respond to a price subsidy if they do not know or understand it.

We had better fund simple programs that work rather than trying to explain complex programs that do not work.

The limits of fiscal policy as an educational policy

If the goal is to expand access to college, tax incentives for higher education are a terrible policy. We must put aside the illusion that they are increasing education. The evidence is clear on this issue.

Simplify and target tax incentives for education

Right now, education tax incentives are basically a transfer program. They receive money for the households that have sent people to university. To do this modest job well, they should impose a minimum of paperwork and go to the families who need the money the most.

Here are some recommendations:

First, create a single, fully refundable credit that covers not only tuition and fees, but also books, room, and meals.

  • This comprehensive definition of education expenditure is used for the 529 and Coverdell accounts, which primarily benefit affluent families. A narrower definition is used for loans, which help at least some low-income families.

Second, issue the credit at the time of college enrollment.

Endowment tax

Finally, you asked me to talk about the endowment tax. It is proposed that this tax be waived if schools make sufficient efforts to be affordable. Here is one way to define such an effort:

Does a college meet all of the financial needs of its students, as defined by the FAFSA and Federal Methodology?

Many private colleges (and a handful of public ones) require students to complete the College Board’s PROFILE form and use its expanded data to measure need. This more than doubles the burden of paperwork for students and increases uncertainty for families.

PROFILE questions distinguish between the rich and the extremely rich. But even a student who gets an automatic EFC of zero has to fill out this complicated form. PROFILE should not be required of low income students.


Education tax breaks provide relief for high income earners who have gone to college. But they offer relatively little help to low-income families.

Clearly, tax incentives do nothing to expand access. They are not a substitute for federal financial aid or free college.

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Puerto rico government

El Salvador is racing to be the future of bitcoin

Eric Grill sits on the patio of a house with multicolored walls, the cries of nearby tropical birds covering his voice as he exposes the future of bitcoin in El Salvador. Grill, an American with blue eyes and short black hair, is only slightly offended. “It’s like a jungle here,” he says. “There has been a little adjustment but I’ve had this place for a month, I’m here for the long haul.”

A few weeks ago, Grill listened to Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s announcement at a bitcoin conference in Miami that the country would adopt bitcoin as legal tender – and ignored it as the usual political boast. . When the country did pass a law implementing the Bukele promise on June 9, Grill packed up and descended on the Central American country. Despite the slow internet in the house and the lack of hot water, he feels optimistic.

As the CEO of Chainbyte – a company that makes Bitcoin ATMs converting dollars into cryptocurrency and vice versa – Grill decided to move his company’s production here from China. “We had a lot of shipping problems with China,” he says. “We’re going to export them from here to the United States. But we’re going to keep a lot here. He expects that, as the bitcoin law begins to be enforced on September 7, El Salvador’s demand for its machines will increase; it is already receiving requests from several local banks.

The passage of Bukele’s Bitcoin Law has been met with skepticism and concern by virtually every financial institution on the planet, starting with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Bitcoin’s volatility, exemplified by its drop to around $ 30,000 (£ 21,000) this week, after hitting close to $ 65,000 in April, has been castigated as a recipe for financial disaster. Citizens will be allowed to pay taxes in a currency that could depreciate within hours, suddenly emptying government coffers. Confidence in Salvadoran government bonds should be shaken. Anti-corruption experts fear that local and foreign gangs could take advantage of an announced government trust fund to exchange bitcoin of dubious provenance for US dollars – El Salvador’s other currency, with which convertibility will be ensured. But one crowd has enthusiastically greeted Bukele’s initiative – and that’s the bitcoin crowd.

Young, bearded, brash and fluent in memes, Bukele, 39, has always had the role physics to meet the laser eye brigade. Since his announcement in Miami, he has become a regular on bitcoin podcasts and crypto-confabs in English on Clubhouse. Building on his dealings with crypto insiders, he skillfully landed more public relations hits, announcing that anyone willing to invest three bitcoins (today, around $ 100,000) in El Salvador will immediately be granted residency. permanent, and that capital gains on bitcoin will not be taxed. Bukele has also touted the country’s volcanoes as ideal locations for bitcoin miners hungry for cheap geothermal energy amid China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency. The volcano boasting, in all its wicked Bond glory, was to stay, and now a group of bitcoin entrepreneurs are sporting volcanic emojis – alongside the El Salvador flag – in their Twitter bio.

The highlight of El Salvador’s advertising offensive was the invitation of some 30 bitcoin entrepreneurs to visit the country and meet with government officials two weeks ago. Leading the delegation was Brock Pierce, a flamboyant former child actor and current cryptocurrency investor and advocate who ran for President of the United States last year on a pro-tech platform. . (Prior to his visit, Pierce was mocked for tweeting the front page of a Spanish language newspaper from Long Island, apparently about his trip, which was nowhere found in the newspaper’s online archives. The front page finally appeared in the archives two days later, as a “special edition.”)

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If you run out of take-out alcohol, blame the legislature

We hope you enjoyed your last chance to drink take out alcohol at your local bar or restaurant. Too bad lobbyists pushed the legislature to ignore the transformation of the temporary privilege in the event of a pandemic into a permanent privilege.

Sadly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s surprise lift of all COVID-19 emergency warrants left the battered industry just 24 hours to adjust, and no way to make up for lost revenue and thousands of dollars. unsold alcohol.

But it was the State Assembly and Senate that really broke down, failing to act on any of the multiple bills aimed at expanding the emergency rules first granted more than a year ago. a year. Never mind that a New York Restaurant Association poll showed that 78% of New Yorkers want takeout alcohol to become a staple.

Legislative leaders took inspiration from liquor lobbyists who feared the practice would reduce their industry profits.

It doesn’t matter that liquor stores have done well during the closures, while small restaurants are still worried about their survival. Over Memorial Day weekend, 34% fewer people dined at a New York state restaurant compared to the 2019 vacation (and New York City was down 54%), while as Connecticut saw a 50% jump and New Jersey 29%.

Perhaps one day the legislature will begin to consider the wishes and best interests of the public, and stop letting special interests rule.

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Legislative assembly

The government approves the 17th tranche of electoral obligations; the sale opens on July 1st

New Delhi, June 29 (PTI) Ahead of assembly elections in five states, the government on Tuesday approved the issuance of the 17th tranche of Election Bonds, which will be open for sale July 1-10.

Election bonds have been touted as an alternative to cash donations to political parties as part of efforts to ensure transparency in political funding. However, opposition parties have raised concerns about the alleged opacity of funding through these bonds.

“The State Bank of India (SBI), in the 17th phase of sale, has been authorized to issue and cash election bonds through its 29 authorized branches with effect from July 1 to 10, 2021,” the ministry said. of Finance in a press release.

The specified 29 SBI branches are located in cities such as Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, Srinagar, Dehradun, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur, Mumbai and Lucknow.

The sale of the first batch of election bonds took place from March 1 to 10, 2018. The 16th tranche of the bond sale took place from April 1 to 10, 2021.

Depending on the provisions of the scheme, election bonds can be purchased by a person who is an Indian citizen or entities incorporated or established in the country. Registered political parties which obtained at least one percent of the votes cast in the last election of Lok Sabha or a Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

SBI is the only bank authorized to issue such bonds.

The electoral deposit will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment would be made to a recipient political party if a bond was posted after its validity period expired, the statement said.

A bond posted by any eligible political party in their account would be credited on the same day. PTI DP RC

Warning :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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Upper house

House to vote on bill launching investigation into January 6 insurgency

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new committee to investigate the January 6 insurgency on the U.S. Capitol would have 13 members and the power to subpoena witnesses, according to legislation released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi . The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.

The effort comes after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the attack, in which hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump violently stormed into Capitol Hill and interrupted the certification of the victory of President Joe Biden.

The new House partisan panel would have eight members appointed by Pelosi and five appointed “after consultation with” Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. A Pelosi aide said the speaker was considering including a Republican among his nominations, which would bring the likely partisan split to 7-6. The assistant was granted anonymity to discuss her thinking.

Pelosi said in a statement Monday that January 6 was “one of the darkest days in our country’s history” and that the committee will seek the truth about it.

“The select committee will investigate and report on the facts and causes of the attack and make recommendations to prevent any future aggression,” she said.

Many Republicans were concerned about such a partisan inquiry, as majority Democrats are likely to investigate Trump’s role in the siege and the right-wing groups therein. Nearly three dozen House Republicans voted to create an independent panel, which would have had an even partisan split among members. Seven Senate Republicans backed this bill forward, but the 10 Senate Republicans who would be needed to pass it were missing.

As stated in Pelosi’s legislation, the new select committee would have subpoena power and no specific end date. The panel may issue interim reports as it conducts the investigation.

Trump is not explicitly mentioned in the legislation, which directs the select committee to investigate “the facts, circumstances and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 national terrorist attack on the United States Capitol complex and concerning interference in the peaceful transfer of power. . “The panel would also study” the influencing factors which fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while being engaged in a constitutional process. ”

The House passed the bill to form an independent commission last month, and Pelosi, D-Calif., Said she preferred an independent panel of experts to lead the investigation. But she said last week that Congress couldn’t wait to begin a more in-depth look at the insurgency so she forms the selection panel. She didn’t say who will run it.

Still, Pelosi said the select committee could be complementary to an independent panel, if ever a panel is formed, and that she “hopes there might be a commission at some point.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has said he could hold a second vote, but there is no indication that the GOP votes have changed.

Many Republicans have made it clear that they want to move on to the Jan.6 attack, brushing aside the many unanswered questions about the insurgency, including how the government and law enforcement agencies lacked intelligence leading to the riots and Trump’s role before and during the insurgency.

Other GOP members went further, with one suggesting the rioters looked like tourists and another insisting that a Trump supporter named Ashli ​​Babbitt, who was shot while trying of breaking into the chamber of the Chamber, was “executed”.

Two officers who fought off the rioters, Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, pressured Republicans to back an independent commission and met with McCarthy on Friday. They later said they asked McCarthy to speak out against GOP comments downplaying violence.

In the absence of an independent commission, Fanone said he asked McCarthy to pledge not to put “the wrong people” on the new selection panel and that McCarthy said he would take that off. serious. McCarthy’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the meeting or legislation to form the select committee.

Officers also called on McCarthy to speak out against 21 Republicans who voted earlier this month against awarding Medals of Honor to the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police to thank them for their service on Jan.6. Dozens of these officers suffered injuries, including chemical burns, brain damage and bone fractures.

McCarthy, who voted for the measure, told them he would deal with these members in private.

Seven people died during and after the riots, including Babbitt and three other Trump supporters who died from medical emergencies. Two police officers died by suicide in the days that followed, and a third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and later died after engaging with protesters. A medical examiner later determined that he had died of natural causes.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Puerto rico government

Delta variant brings death toll in South Africa to over 60,000 – latest updates

The new coronavirus has infected more than 182 million people and killed more than 3.9 million. Here are the latest developments related to Covid for June 29:

Undertakers wearing personal protective equipment carry a coffin during the funeral of a COVID-19 victim at Olifantsvlei cemetery, southwest of Joburg, South Africa, January 6, 2021 (Reuters)

Tuesday 29 June

New Zealand to partially restart travel bubble with Australia

New Zealand said on Tuesday it would partially resume non-quarantine travel with Australia and remove all virus brakes in place in Wellington, as no community cases have been reported in the capital after more than a week restrictions.

Non-quarantine travel will resume with South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and Victoria from July 5, COVID-19 Response Minister Chrish Hipkins said at a press conference.

Restrictions in Wellington will be relaxed from midnight Tuesday, Hipkins said.

Australia’s New South Wales sees more cases

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported 19 locally acquired cases on Tuesday as it battles an outbreak of the highly contagious variant of the Delta virus.

Seventeen cases are linked to previously confirmed cases while the source of infection for two cases is under investigation

Delta variant brings death toll in South Africa to over 60,000

South Africa, the continent’s worst-hit country, crossed the threshold of 60,000 deaths from the virus on Monday, health officials said, a day after a stricter lockdown was enforced. .

At least 512 new hospital admissions were reported early on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people hospitalized to 11,801.

The health authority said 12,222 new cases had been registered in the past 24 hours, 28.3% of those tested.

Gauteng province, home to the administrative capital Pretoria and Johannesburg’s financial hub, is the current epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for around 69% of the latest daily increase.

The government and scientists announced this weekend that the highly contagious Delta variant was behind the surge in South African infections, which is testing the capacity of hospitals.

Puerto Rico to receive nearly $ 4 billion in US pandemic funds

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Puerto Rico will receive nearly $ 4 billion in federal education pandemic relief funds to help bolster the U.S. homeland’s fight against the virus.

The announcement was made during Cardona’s official three-day trip to Puerto Rico, the first for a cabinet member in the Biden administration. This is the first time that the island has had full access to these funds.

“The students of Puerto Rico have suffered enough,” he said. “It’s time to get back to school safely and quickly.

About half of the nearly $ 4 billion will be released under the American Rescue Plan Act, which was enacted in March to help offset the impact of the pandemic on the economy and public health.

Mexico reports nearly 1,700 new cases

Mexico’s health ministry reported 1,661 new confirmed cases in the country and 44 additional deaths, bringing its total to 2,507,453 infections and 232,608 deaths.

The government has said the actual number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data suggests the actual death toll is at least 60% higher than the confirmed figure.

Brazilian senators file a complaint against Bolsonaro for vaccine mischief

Three Brazilian senators formally accused President Jair Bolsonaro of embezzlement in the Supreme Court on Monday over allegations he failed to investigate a prominent ally on suspicion of massive corruption in the purchase of vaccines.

“I filed a criminal complaint today with the Supreme Court over the serious accusation that the president took no action after being informed of a massive bribery scheme at the Ministry of Health,” said a lawmaker, opposition senator Randolfe Rodrigues.

Rodrigues is the vice-chairman of a senatorial commission investigating the administration’s response to the pandemic.

Last week, the commission uncovered explosive accusations that Bolsonaro was aware of suspicion of corruption in Brazil’s $ 300 million deal for India’s Covaxin vaccine and did not intervene.

A congressman close to Bolsonaro, Luis Miranda, said the president told him he suspected the scheme was the work of Ricardo Barros, a powerful congressman who heads Bolsonaro’s coalition in the lower house.

Miranda said Bolsonaro told her in March that he would order police to investigate, but never did.

A criminal case against Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court could see him removed from his post, although attorney general Augusto Aras, an ally, is expected to lay charges.

Nigeria will receive nearly 4 million vaccines by August

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, will receive another batch of nearly four million doses of vaccine under the Covax program by August.

Covax was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

Nigeria, home to some 200 million people, received around four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in March with which it launched a nationwide immunization program.

The virus has killed 2,119 people and infected 167,467 in Nigeria since the first index case in February last year.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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Follow live coverage on budget

The Arizona House and Senate meet again on Monday to consider final bills as the legislative session draws to a close. Reporters Andrew Oxford and Mary Jo Pitzl cover what’s going on hour by hour at the State Capitol.

Read recent coverage here:

Friday June 25 at the Legislative Assembly

Thursday June 24 at the Legislative Assembly

3:30 p.m .: Resumption of bills with veto

Maybe the second time is charm.

The Arizona House of Representatives on Monday completed passage of 22 bills that Governor Doug Ducey vetoed last month as he sought to push the legislature to approve a budget.

Ignoring the governor’s vetoes would have required qualified two-thirds majorities in both chambers, which would have doomed some of the bills that had only been passed on the basis of parties.

Instead of attempting to override the governor’s veto, senators tabled the bills as new legislation and the Senate suspended its rules for voting on each Thursday.

Although the governor did not go into details of the bills, some were controversial.

A measure, now called the Senate Act of 1840, prohibits state spending on any form of cultural or racial sensitivity training.

Other measures, however, received broad support. The proposal now titled Senate Bill 1831 would allow adopted adults aged 53 and over to access their original birth certificates.

However, some measures encountered a problem during the second passage through the House.

House Speaker Rusty Bowers R-Mesa sponsored a law that would allow those convicted of certain sexual offenses while under 22 to petition in limited circumstances after the age of 35 years to have their name removed from the state sex offender registry. The bill did not get enough votes to pass in the House on Friday, but was passed 38 to 20 on Monday.

There is also the question of whether the House will override one of the governor’s vetoes, as the Senate did on Thursday in a very unusual and entirely ceremonial vote.

Senator Tyler Pace, R-Mesa, decided to override the governor’s veto on a technical bill that Ducey had vetoed, and the Senate agreed with a 25-5 vote. Only the main Republicans in the Senate opposed this decision.

Pace acknowledged that the vote would not have a major effect on politics, but instead suggested that it was meant to represent the independence of the legislature.

If the House votes to do the same, it would be the first time in decades that the Arizona legislature has overruled a governor’s veto.

Andrew Oxford

2:30 p.m .: Bill to extend college credit

The Arizona Senate overwhelmingly approved a proposal on Monday to allow students in the state to receive more credit for courses they take at community colleges and universities while working towards a degree. high school and let more freshmen and sophomores participate.

High school students can currently enroll in post-secondary courses and receive credits towards a college diploma and a high school diploma.

Under state dual-enrollment policies, students can receive no more than half of what’s known as a Carnegie unit – a basic measure of credit hours used to calculate credits for earning the high school diploma. House Bill 2021 would allow students to receive more than half a credit and would lift a limit on the number of freshmen and sophomores who can enroll in dual enrollment courses.

“If you have freshmen and sophomores who are ready for double credit, there shouldn’t be a random percentage that has to be higher (students),” State Representative Michelle said. Udall, Republican of Mesa and sponsor of the bill, House Education Committee hearing in January.

The Senate approved the measure with a 28-0 vote.

With the Senate running out of a few members, the chamber adjourned until 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

1:45 p.m .: Sine die … in July?

The state budget is nearing completion, but two of the 11 bills that are part of the spending plan still need work from the state Senate. This pushes the legislature to the June 30 constitutional deadline to approve a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The two budget bills – one dealing with Kindergarten to Grade 12 and the other dealing with criminal justice – arrived in the Senate on Monday. It takes three days to pass a bill, through a normal legislative process, which means the earliest those two bills could get a vote in the Senate is Wednesday.

If the Senate disagrees with the House’s changes to Senate Bills 1821 and 1826, more work is needed to match the different versions – and that could extend beyond Wednesday. .

In the Criminal Justice Bill, the House and Senate versions differ in how they define when a local government rule or policy would trigger possible state preemption. The House version is more stringent.

In Bill K-12, an expansion of the government bond program is involved. The Senate approved the expansion of the program to cover up to 60% of Arizona schoolchildren; the House rejected enlargement.

There’s also up in the air a proposal that the House added to Bill K-12 that would require the state’s Board of Education to adopt a civic education program that would highlight the benefits of education. democracy by contrasting it with other political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism.

These differences can be ironed out by the Senate accepting the changes in the House, or by a conference committee that would bring together members of the House and Senate to find a compromise.

Marie Jo Pitzl

11:30 am: Public access to DPS body camera images under review

The House and Senate have both approved a budget bill funding body cameras for Arizona Department of Public Safety soldiers, but a separate bill that would severely limit public access to footage is still pending. in discussion.

The Legislature approved $ 6.9 million for DPS body cameras, $ 6.6 million for overtime funding and $ 23.5 million for a 10% pay rise during the fiscal year 2022.

The House and the Senate passed slightly different bills this would allow the DPS to withhold body camera images if the department determines that there is no significant public objective in releasing them. Both houses must approve the same version of a bill in order for it to be transferred to the governor’s office.

The DPS is the largest law enforcement agency in the state where the majority of its forces are not equipped with body cameras.

– Perry Vandell

10 a.m .: Bill would transfer election disputes to AG’s office

GOP lawmakers on Thursday passed a measure to give Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, sole power to represent the state in election-related disputes and barred Democrat Katie Hobbs, Secretary of State, from d ” hire their own lawyers.

The bill gives Brnovich’s office control over these lawsuits until January 2, 2023 – when Brnovich and Hobbs must both leave their respective offices. Brnovich is running for the US Senate and Hobbs is running for governor in 2022.

Bill then goes to Governor Doug Ducey.

The Brnovich and Hobbs offices have a controversial relationship in addition to the fact that the leaders are from different parties. In October, Hobbs filed a complaint with the Arizona State Bar on legal representation provided by several members of the attorney general’s staff. She alleged that the attorney general’s office violated ethics rules in several cases, for example by advising her office in a lawsuit and later intervening on the opposite side.

– Andrew Oxford

9 a.m .: Chamber, Senate must reconcile the differences

The House and Senate are in the final days of their 2021 session. Senate Speaker Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said on Friday that she expects the legislature to function on Monday and Tuesday as well as potentially Wednesday. , the last day of the current fiscal year.

Questions still on the table include a final decision on an expansion of the state’s education bond program, which was defeated in the House on Friday after being approved earlier last week in the Senate.

Other issues on the table include a last minute measure by Republicans who would demand that the State Board of Education work with three particular organizations to develop new civic education standards that include instructions on “desirable citizenship” and the stories of people who fled communism .

The House and Senate must approve the same version of a bill before it can be sent to the governor for enactment.

– Andrew Oxford

Friday at the Legislative Assembly:The bill on education passes without extension of the vouchers; Home is coming home

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Legislative assembly

Public Meeting Teleconferencing Expansion During Pandemic To Expire In California | Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

In response to the urgent need for public agencies to adapt to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20 (partially amending Executive Order N-25-20) suspend parts of Brown’s Law that usually restrict the use of public meetings by teleconference. In anticipation of California’s supposedly reopening on June 15, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-08-21 on June 11, 2021, in which he provided a timeline for the expiration of various parts of its previous executive decrees. In it, he set September 30, 2021 as the deadline by which public agencies can hold virtual meetings under the amended provisions of Brown’s Law in Executive Order N-29-20. Subsequently, full compliance with the Brown Law is required, in the absence of the adoption of pending legislation that amends the Brown Law.


The Brown Act is California’s “open meeting” law that requires meetings of local agency legislative bodies to be open and public. Historically, a key principle of Brown’s Law was the requirement for local agencies to hold “in-person” meetings, with a few exceptions for individuals who can join by conference call. Brown’s Law Teleconferencing Rules, found in Government Code Section 54953, require that:

  • Each teleconference location should be open and accessible to the public;
  • Each teleconference location must be equipped to allow for public comment;
  • An agenda is posted at each meeting location; and
  • A quorum of the legislative branch participates from teleconferencing venues under the jurisdiction of the local agency.

These rules were suspended by Executive Decree N-29-20 from Governor Newsom (“COVID-19 Executive Decree”), which allows:

  • Hold public meetings “by teleconference and allow members of the public to observe and address the meeting by telephone or otherwise electronically”;
  • Meetings by teleconference without having to provide a physical location from which members of the public can observe the meeting and make public comments;
  • Implement “a procedure for receiving and promptly resolving requests for modifications or reasonable accommodation from persons with disabilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and resolving any concerns in favor of accessibility”;
  • Give notice of the public meeting and post agendas according to the deadlines and procedures already prescribed by Brown’s Law (ie 72 hours for regular meetings and 24 hours for special meetings); and
  • Give notice of the means by which members of the public may observe the meeting and provide comments to the public, in each case a notice or agendas are posted.

Where are things now

The COVID-19 executive decree was initially intended to last “only during the period in which state or local public health officials have imposed or recommended social distancing measures.” However, Executive Decree N-08-21 removed and replaced parts of the COVID-19 Executive Decree to allow these amended teleconferencing rules to remain in place until September 30, 2021. In the absence of the adoption of pending legislation that affects Brown’s Law teleconferencing rules, on October 1, 2021, local public agencies must fully comply with Brown’s Law.

What’s on the table

A variety of bills intended to permanently incorporate some of the flexibility of the COVID-19 Executive Order into Brown’s Law have been introduced this year. AB 703 and AB 1419 have already failed; however, the outcome for other bills remains to be seen.

AB 361 – Virtual meetings allowed only in case of declared emergency. AB 361 would leave in place the existing Brown Law teleconferencing rules, but prevent agencies from complying when the legislative body meets (1) for the purpose of declaring or ratifying a local emergency or (2) for a declared state of emergency or local emergency. AB 361 aims to ensure that local agencies do not have to rely on a governor’s decree to serve their communities remotely during future emergencies.

Under AB 361, the public must be provided with an option of service by telephone or the Internet, but it is not necessary to provide them with a physical location from which to observe and comment on the meeting. If there is a disruption that prevents the meeting from being broadcast through telephone or internet service options, an organization cannot take any further action until access is restored. Within 30 days of the first virtual meeting, and every 30 days thereafter, the legislature must issue conclusions ratifying the state of emergency.

On May 5, this bill was heard by the Assembly’s local authorities committee in the first chamber, where it was adopted. The bill will be heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on July 1.

AB 339 – Allow virtual meetings indefinitely; Mandatory virtual meetings for large cities. AB 339 allows jurisdictions to choose to continue to hold virtual meetings; for jurisdictions with 250,000 or more people, however, virtual access would be mandatory. When a teleconferencing option is available, a quorum of the legislative branch would be required to participate from locations within the territorial limits of jurisdiction.

Additionally, in an effort to encourage public participation regardless of national origin or language, earlier versions of AB 339 also required agencies to provide translation services. The most recent amendments to this bill, however, removed this requirement.

On April 28, this bill was heard by the Assembly’s Local Authorities Committee in the first chamber, where it was adopted 7-0. The bill was then referred to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, where it passed 11-2. Subsequently, the bill was sent to the Assembly, where it was also adopted by 54-9. The bill has since been referred twice to the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance and the Senate Judiciary Committee; the process will continue in the second house. The bill will be heard in the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance on July 1.

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Upper house

Sangil: Duterte “failed” in his fight against corruption

BUILD, Build, Build is great. It has a significant impact on the economic well-being of our country. This is the positive side. The downside is that almost all contracts are accompanied by corruption. It is so clear that in many infrastructure contracts the bid selection process is most likely influenced by a senator, congressman, or big government boss.

Not all presidents, past and present have succeeded in stopping corruption at the Customs Office, the Tax Office and several other agencies. Duterte “failed” in his anti-corruption campaign. “Cancer” is spreading. This is what is funny. I read last week in a nationwide daily that there was a new House of Representatives investigation into the dubious purchase of laptops for public school teachers. Maybe the upper chamber can do the same. You may scratch your head if both chambers can investigate their own colleagues who are publicly known to lower their development funds by 20-30% nationwide. It is common knowledge. It’s an open secret, you exclaim. And them?

I remember that in the early years of his administration, President Rodrigo Duterte said that there were many people involved in the abnormal tendering of government projects. He said then that bogus auctions are frequently made. He even mentioned that arrangements have been discussed on the golf courses. In the provinces, this is done in restaurants which must not be far from the government agency where the actual call for tenders will take place. Let’s explain further. Official tendering takes place in the office of the agency, for example in a district office of the Ministry of Public Affairs and Roads, the National Irrigation Agency, the Ministry of Education, etc. the winning bidder is already identified and including the price of the winning bid. The arrangement is for the prearranged winner to set aside three percent of the total cost of the package to be divided equally among the designated participants. “Pamalengke”, is their term for it.

Let’s be graphic to better understand how things were done and are still done with complete impunity despite repeated denunciations. The Public Procurement Act states that all government projects must be tendered and that project tenders must be published in mass circulation newspapers and on PHILGEPS, the website of the government. government. Once this is done, the relevant agency will start selling the tender documents, and the amount will depend on the cost of the project. Now the participants will be known and who will participate in the tender. Work begins here for the “sindikato”.

The successful bidder has their money ready for distribution to auction participants. The three percent will now be distributed evenly and everyone will be happy to come to the bank. They have had their “pamalengke”, but not yet the people from the regional and district offices whose sticky fingers have to be greased, otherwise. This is how they do people. But when confronted, they feign innocence and make themselves appear as white as lilies.

When you think about it, why most government infrastructure projects are substandard is because every project is marked by corruption. In this rigged offer, the district congressman must receive his requested share. It is another story if the person involved is a senator. It is more important if it follows up with the Department of Budget and Management. This is only the first instance. There is a long list of people who will assert their due on the basis of what is euphemistically called SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). Maybe 10 or 15 percent for the congressman, 5 or 10 percent on the head of the agency, small percentages on each office like quality control, resident auditor, cashier and a few others who will receive balato. You less the 12 percent VAT and the 10 percent of the contractor’s eligible profits, you now have ladies and gentlemen how much has been spent on this road project. Two years later you will see cracks and craters.

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