The Arizona House of Representatives Appropriations Committee endorsed a controversial bill that would forbid student organizations from using tuition funds to influence elections or legislation Wednesday.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R- Fountain Hills, authored House Bill 2169 in response to the the Arizona Students’ Association’s use of tuition money to fund the failed Proposition 204, which would have extended a 1-cent sales tax funding education and infrastructure.
ASA is a student-run advocacy organization formerly funded by a $2 fee paid each semester by students at all three public universities. Earlier this month, the Arizona Board of Regents voted to make the fee available to opt in.
Controversy arose in late September after three of ASU’s four Undergraduate Student Government presidents resigned from the ASA’s Board of Directors.
Kavanagh said he proposed HB 2169 to prevent groups like ASA from using tuition fees to support local, state and federal politics. However, the bill could have had a negative impact on all student clubs and organizations that collect tuition fees.
The bill was amended to allow student clubs and organizations to receive tuition fees as long as they are recognized by the University and do not use the money to influence elections or legislation. The amendment focuses the bill so it impacts groups like ASA more specifically.
Kavanagh stopped pushing the bill when ABOR ruled to eliminate the fee, but he began again when ASA filed a lawsuit against ABOR on Feb. 12.
With Wednesday’s vote, HB 2169 has advanced to the House floor by way of the rules committee.
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