Jevin Hodge: Vocal advocate of bill to reward students who perform community service. — Photo courtesy Jevin Hodge

Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a bill aiming to promote community service among Valley high school students is being called “disheartening” by the bill’s originator, McClintock High School senior Jevin Hodge.

Jevin serves as co-chair of the Governor’s Youth Commission.

The bill, SB 1066, sought to create an award for high school students who completed more than 200 hours of community service.

Hodge says he created the bill to boost a student’s chance of college acceptance.

“Colleges aren’t looking for just a high GPA anymore; they’re looking for student leaders,” he said.

“This award would reassure colleges that a student has the qualities they are looking for.”

In a letter, Brewer called the bill is unnecessary, redundant and a violation of Constitutional separation of powers, meaning that the legislative branch of the government cannot tell the executive branch what it can and cannot do.

However, Hodge and his sponsor, Democratic Sen. David Schapira, are not convinced by Brewer’s reasoning behind the veto.

“The only reason she vetoed this bill is because it was sponsored by a Democratic legislator and the idea originated with a student who identifies himself as a Democrat,” said Sen. Schapira in a press release.

SB 1066 passed through every level of government with “overwhelming bipartisan support”, according to Schapira, before it was struck down by the governor.

Added Hodge:

“It’s disheartening to see that partisanship played a factor in nullifying an attempt to formally recognize students for their service and volunteerism in the community. Arizona would have been the first state to formally recognize youth for their community service…it could have possibly persuaded other states to follow suit.”

Although Hodge will be graduating this month, he says he will continue to fight for the bill’s passage.

“This bill wasn’t for myself, it was for the future generations of Arizona,” he says.

Linda Littell, director of communications for the Tempe Union High School District, says the district will “certainly look at a process for acknowledging those students” as well.

Dr. Kenneth Baca, superintendent at TUHSD, added:

“While I am very disappointed in the governor’s decision, I know Jevin understands that this is a part of the democratic process.

“I hope politics did not play a role in a young person’s desire to better his community so as to ensure that all young men and women are recognized for the positive contributions they make to this great nation of ours each and every day.”