Play the video above to see these stories on AZ Illustrated Politics for Friday, March 21:

Host Jim Nintzel sat down with Arizona Daily Star columnist Sarah Garrecht Gassen, former state lawmaker Frank Antenori, and Pima County Democratic Party Latino Caucus Chairman Vince Rabago. Among the topics discussed:

STATE BUDGET: The Arizona Senate passed a budget this week that was amended after negotiations with House Speaker Andy Tobin and Gov. Jan Brewer. Gassen said the budget neglected key areas to help children, such as subsidies to help low-income families afford childcare programs while their parents work. Antenori said he wasn’t a fan of those kinds of programs because it was outsourcing childcare responsibilities and undermining family structure. Rabago said those kinds of programs aided low-income families, particularly those headed by single moms who need reliable childcare programs if they are going to hold down jobs and work toward escaping poverty.

COMMON CORE: Republican lawmakers have been attempting to undermine the implementation of the new national Common Core teaching standards in Arizona. Antenori said that local school districts should decide curriculum rather than having to adhere to national standards. Rabago said that while local control was an admirable goal and it was important to devise programs that did not simply encourage teaching material for standardized testing, Common Core allowed for flexibility. Gassen said that the business community was supporting national standards because in an increasingly mobile society, it was important that kids who enter new schools have some continuity on their educational path.

PROPOSED BOND FOR STRAY ANIMALS: The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to ask voters to approve a $22 million bond proposal to build a new Pima Animal Care Center to take better care of stray dogs, cats and other animals. Antenori said the price tag was too much to build a “cat condo,” while Rabago said he expected voters would approve the measure to replace an outdated facility and Gassen said it was important for pet owner to spay and neuter their animals.

AZ Illustrated Politics is produced by Jim Nintzel. Contact him at