Our View: Legislative session did little for Flag and rural Arizona | Local

As state legislative sessions go, it was nothing to write home about.

That might be because our hometown legislator, Bob Thorpe, distinguished himself primarily by introducing bills that never even made it to a committee hearing. Barring the teaching of “social justice” in college and forbidding students from registering to vote where they registered for classes prompted such an outcry that House leaders killed the bills nearly as soon as they were filed.

The Flagstaff Republican then avoided constituents, at least when it came to holding a town hall in person.

And that was all in the first weeks of the session. By the time it was over, Flagstaff and Coconino County had seen most of their legislative priorities either quashed or ignored.

 State road funds were once again diverted from the localities to DPS, and this during one of the worst winters ever for potholes on state roads in northern Arizona. To add insult to injury, legislative leaders refused to back a statewide gas tax hike, and lawmakers then killed a compromise that would have allowed voters in each county to decide on a tax hike.

 As expected, Republicans and the governor backed the expansion of private school vouchers after delaying them last year in order to get Prop. 123 past the voters. They capped them at 30,000, but that could change in subsequent sessions. To critics who accused the governor of defunding public education, he responded by offering a 0.4 percent raise to teachers each year for five years. Democrats wanted 4 percent right away, and the Republican majority eventually settled on 1 percent for each of the next two years. But with 40 percent of new teachers leaving within the first two years, it may be too little too late.

 Charter cities saw another prerogative killed when lawmakers voted to ban localities from conducting background checks…

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