By NORA THOMPSON
Several bills recently have passed the Arizona House and have moved into the Senate. If passed, they could affect Pima Community College and its students. They were brought up at the most recent board meeting by Chancellor Lee Lambert.
• HB 2172: The non-lethal weapons bill has passed the house, and it’s assigned to the Senate Education Committee. This bill would allow students to carry non-lethal weapons on Arizona public college campuses. If it passes, students would be allowed to carry weapons “with a low probability of fatality or permanent injury.”
• House Bill 2482: Foster care tuition waivers now are assigned to the Senate Education Appropriations Committee. Students in foster care or that were previously in foster care in Arizona can receive a tuition waiver scholarship for any Arizona university or community college. The person currently must be in foster care and be at least 13; previously in foster care at the age of 13; or be adopted out of foster care when the person was at least 13. They also must be Arizona residents and U.S. citizens.
• House Bill 2563: Free expression policies has passed the House and moved to the Senate. This bill would force Arizona colleges and universities to create a policy on free expression based on the fact that colleges’ primary functions are to teach students and discover new things. The college must try to achieve this by not infringing on individual rights or freedom of expression. The college is not responsible for protecting their students from speech protected by the First Amendment. HB 2563 also would allow students to sue each other for infringing on their freedom of expression.
• Proposal to extend Prop 301: Arizona legislature passed a bill extending Prop 301, the extra 0.6 percent tax rate that brings in $667 million annually. The bill will extend the tax rate into 2041 as it was set to expire in 2021.
• House Bill 2524: This has to do with under-utilized schools. It has not been cleared by the committee or the whole House. In this bill, the Arizona School Facilities Board would take control of a school if they deem the school is below 25 percent of its capacity.
• House Bill 2526 on Career Technical Education District: This will rename JTED to Career Technical Education District. It has cleared the house unanimously, and it has been transferred to the Senate.