The 2012 session is under way, and the Arizona Legislature is hard at work with meetings, discussions, and as usual, plenty of crazy bills are being introduced.

The perfect example is Rep. Terri Proud’s introduction of House Bill 2563, which would allow publicly-funded schools to offer an elective that would teach how the Bible has influenced Western culture.

In an email, Proud seems to be promoting her bill to teach the Bible by saying high school students who have biblical knowledge have higher GPAs than the average student who doesn’t read the Bible.

Wasn’t that the same argument proponents of the Mexican American Studies used? Didn’t they say that students became more interested, and tests scores and grades went up because they were taking these special elective classes?

Proud is right – the Bible has had a huge impact on society, it has created more than 700 religions, but it is controversial, and just like the Mexican American Studies, it is not needed inside high school classrooms.

The bill is going to create more unneeded controversy in our schools where more emphasis needs to be put on reading, writing and especially math.

Also in regard to schools, there is a crazy bill that would require parents of K-12 students to spend 30 hours per year in their children’s classrooms. HB 2145 was introduced by Democrat Rep. Macario Saldate of Tucson.

I volunteer where I can, and I attend field trips. I would love to spend more time in my daughter’s classrooms, but I know I am not the one who should be teaching them.

What exactly is Rep. Saldate trying to accomplish through this bill? Another question – How do you police this plan?

Then there’s HB 2675, which would impact that more cash-strapped population of students at local universities. Basically, the Republican-led legislature says if you are not on an athletic or academic scholarship you should be paying the university to allow you to learn.

This means those poor students who are simply trying to improve their lives would have to pay an added $2,000 per year. Oh and the kicker, that money can’t come from grants. Yep, it has to come from a loan or your own pocket folks.

I would comment more on education, or bring up the idea that the Republican majority is again trying to make guns on campus legal again, but I’ve got to move on.

House Bill 2656 has to do with the Northwest and Pima County as a whole. Rep. Proud seems to be busy this year. She has also introduced HB 2656, which relates to county bonding and how the funding is distributed. Apparently, the Town of Marana has an ally in Proud. This is the second time a bill has been introduced to go against Pima County and help Marana. Last year, a bill helped them gain full control of the wastewater facility.

I think some serious thought should be given to how much the State Legislature should be intervening in local politics, business and issues.

Are there some issues with how the money is being spent? Yes. Should there be more oversight into the county’s process? Yes. However, it’s the responsibility of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, and other regional leaders. It’s not a good thing for the state to intervene.

If Pima County isn’t getting the job done, and the elected officials continue to travel down the same road year after year, then stop re-electing them.

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath is concerned about the bill, and expressed them through a letter to Proud.

His primary concern is the fact that Rep. Proud didn’t even speak to Oro Valley before introducing the bill. And, apparently, she had plenty of time to do so in various meetings.

At some point, Marana and Pima County are going to have to start playing together in the same sandbox, and as a region, issues need to be worked out. The state is not going to be able to bail you all out every time there is a problem.

 — Thelma Grimes

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