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Study: Arizonans' top issues not same as lawmakers

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

It's a message state lawmakers don't seem to be getting: Arizona residents don't believe lawmakers represent their best interests.

A new study reveals the issues most important to Arizonans are education, job creation and the environment.

However, those aren't the big issues coming from the state Capitol.

According to a new study by the Center for the Future of Arizona, only 10 percent of Arizonans believe that elected officials represent their interests.

Some of the latest bills being proposed by lawmakers would make it a crime to enforce federal gun laws, require hospitals to check for citizenship, reimburse lawmakers for recall election expenses and make Arizona a national test range for drones.

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, is sponsoring three of those bills and told CBS 5 News that he doesn't think any of them are out of touch with what Arizonans want.

"When you think about stripping away Second Amendment rights from people, or potential to, that's a good thing you want to stop," said Smith. "That's what you want to protect citizens on."

Just last week CBS 5 News presented state leaders with a stack of emails from viewers who demanded that lawmakers focus their attention on schools, jobs and the economy.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said that it is unfair to judge them so early in the legislative session.

"Viewers should keep in mind that just because one member introduces a bill doesn't mean the legislature will pass that bill or even seriously consider that bill," said Kavanagh. "Judge us on what comes out of the process, not what one individual suggests."

CBS 5 News also asked House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, why so many Arizonans don't think lawmakers represent their interests.

He said that politics have far too often become the priority over what is best for Arizona.

"Email your state legislator. Call their office. Write a letter," Campbell said. "Whatever you want to do to let them know what you want to see as a legislator. Tell them what is important to you."

Republican leaders told CBS 5 News that big issues like education, job creation and child protective services are being addressed and they don't want the public to think they are not priorities.

They are wrapped in the budget process, which takes a little longer to unfold, lawmakers said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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