Arizona needs strong champions for children’s issues at the State Capitol. Twenty-three percent of Arizona children live in poverty. Arizona has the fourth-highest rate of children without health insurance. Our public schools rank 47th in per-pupil funding. The number of Arizona children in foster care is increasing. And two years of a pandemic have created new and worsened challenges. It doesn’t have to be this way. Arizona can be a state where all children and families thrive. But it requires state lawmakers who will support policies that will provide all Arizona families with equitable access to the resources and conditions they need to succeed.
The 2022 legislative session provided state lawmakers with great opportunities to address many of the long-standing barriers that block the road to a better future for many Arizona children. Legislators had an unprecedented $5 billion revenue surplus that could be used to make desperately needed new investments. They followed through on some of those needed investments, including increasing the stipend paid to grandparents and other relatives who are caring for children family members placed with them through the foster care system; investing $15 million in the successful Healthy Families home visitation program; and expanding AHCCCS eligibility to include 12 months of postpartum coverage.
In addition, many legislators introduced bills that would make important policy changes that impact children. Policies like increasing the subsidy amount that kinship providers receive for taking care of relative children in the foster system; improving access to children’s health care; and expanding eligibility for child care assistance to job seekers and full-time students. While some of these bills became law, others never received any consideration.
This scorecard summarizes the voting record of all current state senators and state representatives on some of the key legislation in 2022. It cuts through the promises they made when running for office to see how they actually voted on some of the most important issues impacting Arizona children and families. We hope it is an important resource for all Arizonans to know which state lawmakers are for kids and who is just kidding.