Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Senator Miranda statement on the passing of Congressman Pastor


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on the passing of Congressman Ed Pastor.

"My heart is broken. This is a sad day for Arizona. Congressman Pastor leaves us a legacy of dedication and leadership. We shared the ideals of so many Americans and immigrants that have fought for the American dream," said Senator Miranda.

"Ed was a patriot and a man of deep convictions, and it is hard for me to imagine Arizona without Ed Pastor. My deepest sympathies and respect go to the family of Congressman Pastor."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Democratic Caucus announces committee members


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senate Democratic Leader-Elect David Bradley (LD10) today announced committee assignments for Democratic members during the 54th Legislature.

(*) Denotes ranking member

Committee on Appropriations
Sen.-Elect Lela Alston*
Sen. Sean Bowie
Sen. Lisa Otondo

Committee on Commerce
Sen. Sean Bowie
Sen.-Elect Sally Ann Gonzales
Sen.-Elect Tony Navarrete*

Committee on Education
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro*
Sen.-Elect Sally Ann Gonzales
Sen. Martin Quezada

Committee on Finance
Sen.-Elect Lela Alston
Sen. Sean Bowie*
Sen. Lupe Contreras

Committee on Government
Sen.-Elect Lela Alston
Sen. Juan Mendez*
Sen.-Elect Victoria Steele

Committee on Health & Human Services
Sen.-Elect Tony Navarrete
Sen.-Elect Rebecca Rios
Sen.-Elect Victoria Steele*

Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development
Sen.-Elect Sally Ann Gonzales*
Sen.-Elect Tony Navarrete
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai

Committee on Judiciary
Sen. Lupe Contreras
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro
Sen. Martin Quezada*

Committee on Natural Resources & Energy
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro
Sen. Juan Mendez
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai*

Committee on Rules
Sen. David Bradley
Sen.-Elect Rebecca Rios*
Sen. Martin Quezada

Committee on Transportation & Public Safety
Sen. Lupe Contreras*
Sen. Lisa Otondo
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai

Committee on Water & Agriculture
Sen. Juan Mendez
Sen. Lisa Otondo*
Sen.-Elect Victoria Steele

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Indigenous People's Caucus calls for criminal investigations into alleged Antiquities Act violations and termination of Parks Director Black


Arizona Legislative Indigenous People's Caucus

Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (LD 7)
Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock (LD 7)
Rep. Eric Descheenie, D-Chinle (LD 7)
Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson (LD 3)


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Arizona Legislative Indigenous Peoples Caucus sent letters to acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Strange and Attorney General Brnovich asking that they open criminal investigations into alleged violations of the Antiquities Act that have been reportedby the Arizona Republic.

The Caucus also sent a letter to Governor Ducey calling for the immediate termination of Arizona Parks Director Sue Black and the launching of an administrative investigation to determine if any further violations of the Antiquities Act occurred during her tenure.

The letters can be downloaded here, here and here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Senator Miranda's "in the meantime" solution to the education of Dreamers in Arizona



STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda is glad to announce the opening of a Phoenix Extension of the Tohono O'odham Community College (TOCC) that will serve DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) recipients as well as undocumented students, at in-state tuition rates.
 
Senator Miranda
Following the Arizona Supreme Court's ruling that DACA recipients were ineligible for in-state tuition at public universities, Senator Miranda decided to collaborate with the Tohono O'odham Nation to open a Phoenix Extension of TOCC that will offer all students, including Dreamers, an $80 per credit hour in-state tuition rate, instead of the $326 per credit hour charged at the other state public universities.

To accomplish this undertaking, Senator Miranda worked closely with: Mr. Verlon Jose, Vice Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation; Dr. Paul Robertson, President of TOCC;  Petra Falcon, Director of Promise AZ; Dr. Tom Nerini of the Phoenix Union School District; and Roberto Sanchez Garcia to find a solution for those DACA beneficiaries who are suffering the consequences of the recent suspension of the program by President Trump. 

In 2011, Senator Miranda, partnered with the Navajo Technical College to create the Manzana Foundation which helps students to prepare for college and extend accredited courses into the Phoenix area.

After partnering with Senator Miranda, the Tohono O'odham Nation and the Tohono O'odham Community College Board of Trustees have recently authorized the opening of a Phoenix Extension of TOCC which will welcome DACA beneficiaries at in-state tuition rates to ensure that they don't interrupt their education while their immigration status is on hold.
 
"Today we thank the Tohono O'odham Nation for generously joining us in the fight against this Administration's anti-immigration policies and to assist those DACA beneficiaries who have worked so hard to attain a higher education," said Senator Miranda. "The United States of America is a country that has been shaped by immigration and it is precisely its diversity which has made it so great. We cannot remain inactive in the face of our Congress' lack of action," she concluded.

The new Manzana/Phoenix Extension of TOCC will start a pilot program the week of September 24th, 2018 that will initially offer three courses (transferable to Arizona's three public universities):  English Composition I; College Algebra I; and Tohono O'odham Language I

Courses will be offered at the Phoenix Indian Center, located at 4520 N. Central Ave., Suite #250 in Phoenix.  Please see the Tohono O'odham Community College website: http://www.tocc.edu for further information. Instructors are sought to teach the courses.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

AZ Indigenous Peoples Caucus calls for immediate reunification of separated families


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Arizona Legislative Indigenous Peoples Caucus held a press conference to ask tribal nations to work in unity on behalf of the immigrant families who have been separated and imprisoned. On Wednesday the Caucus delivered letters condemning the separation of immigrant parents and children to the following elected officials: President Trump, Governor Ducey, Speaker Paul Ryan, and U. S. Representatives McSally and Grijalva.

Speaking at the press conference were Senator Jamescita Peshlakai (LD-7), Representative Wenona Benally (LD-7), Representative Sally Ann Gonzales (LD-3) and Pascua Yaqui Tribe Vice Chairman Peter Yucupicio.

Senator Jamescita Peshlakai:
"A sacred tribal teaching tells us we have a duty to each other and right now we have a duty to help these families that have been separated by the Trump Administration's cruel policy. Many caught in this nightmare are of indigenous descent who fled victimization by their governments only to be victimized by ours. As moral U.S. citizens, we denounce the Trump policy and the inaction of Governor Ducey to prevent this inhumane treatment from happening here in Arizona. I encourage tribal members and every American who is outraged by what is happening to write their elected officials to pressure them to end family separations."

Representative Wenona Benally:
“Indigenous children, who do not speak Spanish, but languages indigenous to their Central American countries, are among those being rounded up and detained. We are once again experiencing the horrible policy of forced removal of our children. Separating Indigenous children from their families is a form of cultural genocide and a violation of their human rights. We've seen this happen before in our history and we must not let it happen again.”


Photo from press conference featuring (L to R): Rep. Charlene Fernandez, House Democratic Whip (LD-4), Rosetta Walker, community volunteer, Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai (LD-7), Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales (LD-3), Pascua Yaqui Tribe Vice Chairman Peter Yucupicio, Rep. Wenona Benally (LD-7)

Video of the press conference can be seen here: https://youtu.be/qVxSZPGLtCw

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

AZ Indigenous Peoples Caucus to condemn separation of families at the border


Indigenous Peoples Caucus

Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (LD 7)
Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock (LD 7)
Rep. Eric Descheenie, D-Chinle (LD 7)
Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson (LD 3)


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Indigenous Peoples Caucus sent letters condemning the separation of immigrant parents and children to the following elected officials: President Trump, Governor Ducey, Speaker Paul Ryan, and U. S. Representatives McSally and Grijalva.

At a press conference this Thursday morning, members of the Arizona Legislative Indigenous Peoples Caucus and tribal leaders will call on state and federal policymakers to stop the practice of the Trump administration’s inhumane "zero tolerance" policy.

Who: Indigenous Peoples Caucus         Other community leaders

When: 10 a.m. Thursday, June 21

Where:   State Capitol Rose Garden, north side of historic Capitol building        1700 W. Washington St        Phoenix, Arizona.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Senate Democrats call for Special Session to enact gun safety measures

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leadership released the following statement after another deadly school shooting occurred today at Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas:

“We demand that Governor Ducey immediately call the Legislature back into session to adopt comprehensive and effective gun safety legislation that will keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of dangerous people and provide resources to identify and help troubled individuals,” said Senator Katie Hobbs. “Offering thoughts and prayers for the thousandth time won’t keep our kids safe in their schools, taking action will. Let’s work together like we did on the Opioid Epidemic Act and enact meaningful legislation to protect the people of Arizona, including comprehensive background checks and Severe Threat Orders of Protection that have the teeth to be effective.”

This session Senate Democrats introduced the following gun safety bills. None were allowed a hearing by Senate Republican leadership.

  • SCR1015 would require universal criminal background checks for people buying firearms, closing the so-called "gun show" or "private sale" loophole by requiring a private person selling or transferring a firearm to go through a licensed firearm dealer.
  • SB 1224 would require a person on probation for a domestic-violence offense to hand all their firearms over to a law enforcement agency for the duration of their probation.
  • SB 1348 would ban bump stocks and other devices designed to make semi-automatic weapons fire similarly to fully-automatic weapons.

Additionally, we offered the following amendments to Governor Ducey’s gun lobby-endorsed SB 1519. All were voted down by Senate Republicans.

  • Universal Background Check: Background check at every point of sale
  • Child Access Prevention: Requires firearms to be secured and add penalties for parents who allow access
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders: GIFFORDS version of the STOP orders
  • Bump Stocks: Ban on bump stocks and other accessories
  • Age to 21: Raises age to all gun sales from 18 to 21
  • Right of ways repeal: Repeals the guns on rights of ways by high schools and universities from 2016
  • Stolen/Theft Reporting: Class 6 Felony for failure to report to police the theft/loss of a firearm
  • SRO/Counselor Menu: Allows SRO appropriation to be requested by schools for counselors
  • Firearm Tax: Sales tax on all gun purchases with 50% of funds directed to a Counselors on Campus Fund and 50% to a Gun Violence Victims Restitution and Assistance Fund.
  • Appropriation for counselors: $5 million appropriation for counselors/social workers in schools
  • Custodian Removal: Under STOP, removes option to give guns to a custodian for safe keeping