Maricopa resident and District 23 state senator Steve Smith calls his first year in the legislature a smashing success and hopes to build upon his accomplishments in the next session.
Smith was elected to the state’s legislature last November when he defeated incumbent Rebbecca Rios by nearly 10 percentage points, or 29,330 votes to 24,641 votes.
At the time Smith said his top priority would be “stopping all funding for illegal aliens. We need to stop the food stamps and welfare immediately. At emergency rooms, there is always a sign that says you will not be refused treatment. OK, good. Treat them, but there will be someone waiting there when they wake up.”
It was a campaign promise Smith kept.
The first year state senator introduced four bills designed to deal with illegal immigration issues. They included:
● SB 1405-Hospitalization
Senate Bill 1405 requires hospital staff to confirm a person’s citizenship status either prior to admittance or during emergency or non-emergency treatment if they don’t have health insurance.
● SB 1407-Education
Senate Bill 1407 requires the Arizona Department of Education to collect data from school districts on populations of students who are enrolled and who cannot prove lawful Arizona residence.
● SB 1409-Election Materials
Senate Bill 1409 amends state policy to require Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission information pamphlets to be mailed in English only.
Clean Elections pamphlets are the hefty booklets mailed to every Arizona resident during a statewide election that describe the issues and provide testimony from community members on ballot measures. Currently these pamphlets come in both English and Spanish.
● SB 1406-Border Fence
It would allow the state to enter into an interstate compact to create a border fence along the Arizona-Mexico borderline. Smith said the bill would establish a private fund to which citizens could make donations to pay for construction of the fence.
Of the four pieces of legislation Smith was able to get SB 1407 passed and signed by the Governor, and SB 1406 is currently awaiting action by the Governor. The other two bills (hospitalization and election materials) failed.
“It was great to get these two bills passed; hopefully, we can start to get a handle on the illegal immigration issue,” Smith said.
In addition to legislation passed, Smith scored as the ‘Regan Republican’ in the Senate as named by the Pachyderm Coalition headed by Don Goldwater (nephew of Barry Goldwater) hhttp://www.pachydermcoalition.com/2011GeneralSessionLegislativeReports/tabid/259/Default.aspx).
While Smith was proud of his individual accomplishments this session, he also lauded the accomplishments of the legislature as a whole.
“We did some pretty amazing stuff this year,” Smith said. “That includes two bills designed to create jobs, balancing the budget and pension reform.”
In terms of next session Smith said he is already working on some legislation, including a bill that would create performance pay initiatives for teachers.
“All in all, I believe this has been an incredible session where a great deal has been accomplished, and I now feel that Arizona is a much better place today than it was just 100 days ago. Once again, I cannot thank you enough for your trust and confidence in me, and I never forget that I work for you and would not be here without your support,” Smith added.