Legislative Update from Sen. Kevin Johnson

This year’s session began on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. This is the second year of the 121st session, so everything that was unfinished on the agenda when we left in July 2015 was here waiting for us when we returned. As I alluded to in previous newsletter, funding for our crumbling roads system is our highest priority during this legislative year, which is the second and final year of this legislative session. However, as it is often stated, action speaks louder than words. Unfortunately, we (the Senate) have not been able to discuss, debate or vote on the roads bill. Despite statements that this is the most important issue, several Senators have decided to filibuster the bill which, by Senate rules, keeps us from considering this bill. To that end, little progress has been made thus far. Meanwhile, our roads and bridges continue to be in disrepair and are in dangerous conditions. In addition to being a safety issue, this is an economic development issue as many of our state’s biggest business leaders are urging us to end the delay and pass a roads funding bill immediately. I just hope we can accomplish this before something tragic happens on our roads. On a more positive note, Senate Bill 933, sponsored by me, passed the Senate unanimously and is now under consideration in the House. This bill allows students who did not get their high school diploma only because they did not pass the exit exam to petition their local school district to receive their diploma. Prior to a few years ago, if a high school student did not pass the exit exam they could not receive their high school diploma. About two years ago a bill was passed that made provisions for these students to apply with their school district and receive their diploma, however they would have to do so by the end of 2015. It was brought to my attention that many of these students were not aware of this bill and did not petition for their diploma by this deadline. My bill, S. 933 removes the deadline and allows these students to contact their school districts at any time to receive their high school diplomas. As I wrote last month, I am happy for these students because receiving their diplomas will enhance their future. Please remember to visit www.scsenate.gov to see the bills that I have sponsored and co-sponsored as well as to receive more information about the aforementioned bills. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time that I may be of service. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.


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