Thursday, July 13, 2017

Senator Peshlakai welcomes completion of school lead testing

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Jamescita Peshlakai released the following statement as the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) nears completion of its statewide Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program.

ADEQ has coordinated with multiple state and local agencies, public water systems and public schools to proactively conduct a six-month, fast-track screening program for the presence of lead in school drinking water. More on the program and test results can be found here:
Sen. Peshlakai

"ADEQ has kept me apprised of any samples collected from our community schools that have tested positive for lead and I want to assure parents that remediation is currently in process and every effort to keep our children safe is being made."

This effort by ADEQ to rapidly and comprehensively test for lead in our schools is a successful program and I appreciate their focus on keeping our kids learning in a safe environment."

I will continue to monitor the final test results as they come in and look forward to Arizona's students starting the new school year with clean, safe water in their schools."

Sen. Miranda to receive Exemplary Leadership award from Valle del Sol

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD-27) has been selected to receive the 2017 Profiles of Success Exemplary Leadership Award from Valle del Sol in recognition for her service to the Latino community.
Sen. Miranda

Valle del Sol's Profiles of Success Hispanic Leadership Awards recognize Latino leadership and service in the Valley. Senator Miranda will receive the award on September 8th, 2017, during the 27th Annual Hispanic Leadership Awards Celebration at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event, which draws more than 1,400 attendees, also kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month in Arizona.

"What I do is not for a day such as this. However, I am honored and dedicate this recognition to the community I serve. Thank you Valle del Sol for your leadership that makes all of the difference," said Senator Miranda.

Funds raised from this event will support Valle del Sol's mission of investing in health and human services to strengthen families with tools and skills for self-sufficiency and by building the next generation of Latino and diverse leaders. More information on the event can be found here:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Senator Bowie named legislative 'Arts Champion'

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senator Sean Bowie has been named a 2017 Arts Champion by Arizona Citizens for the Arts for being a strong supporter of the arts and advocating for a $1.5 million appropriation to the Arizona Commission on the Arts for grants to nonprofit arts and culture organizations across Arizona.

Sen. Bowie
Senator Bowie and ten of his legislative colleagues were chosen “for ensuring that critical funding for arts and culture will benefit the entire state of Arizona,” said Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts. “Those vital dollars will be invested in local nonprofit arts and culture organizations which will reinvest the funds in local economies all around the state.”

"As someone who grew up in Chandler and Ahwatukee participating in theatre and music programs, it is a huge honor to receive this award from the Arizona Citizens for the Arts. The arts community is a critical part of the community and economy in my district, and I will always advocate for additional support to strengthen our local arts programs."

About Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Arizona Citizens for the Arts, a 35-year-old 501 c3 organization, acts as the eyes, ears and voice of the nonprofit arts and culture sector in Arizona at the State Legislature, in local city halls and partnerships with business and community leaders involved in building and supporting quality of life in Arizona.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tuition ruling will be devastating for Arizona's Dreamers

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today, Arizona State Senator Catherine Miranda expressed her deep concern regarding the recent ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals that DACA recipients are not in this country legally and are, therefore, not eligible for in-state college tuition.

Sen. Miranda
Judge Kenton Jones argued that despite the fact that in 2006 Arizona voters approved Prop 300, which establishes that in-state tuition is reserved for those with "lawful immigration status", DACA is not a law and the legal status of those in the program has never been approved by Congress. Thus, since the Court does not consider "Dreamers" to be state residents for purposes of Prop 300, more than 28,000 current DACA beneficiaries in Arizona may be required to pay burdensome out-of-state tuition.

Arizona attorney Danny Ortega, who represents DACA recipient students said he was, “very disappointed in the decision because it will triple the students’ tuition costs and likely force many of them to not pursue their education. At this point, we urge the Maricopa Community College District to appeal the Court’s decision and we stand ready to continue the fight for justice in education.” 

Senator Miranda stated:

"I stand with DACA recipients and will continue to fight for justice for them,” said Senator Miranda. “For Arizona's Dreamers, our state is their home. They are decent, hard-working students who every day contribute to our society in positive ways. They love this country and have worked hard all their lives to one day have an economic impact in their community,” she continued.

“This ruling will not only impact the more than 2,200 DACA students currently attending our universities and community colleges. It will also impact those who are studying hard and saving up to enter college in the near future, but who may now be forced to put those plans aside. Our nation is strengthened by its diversity. Let us all work together and continue to reinforce our democracy by supporting those who seek a brighter tomorrow and are motivated by the dream of greater opportunity."

Friday, June 2, 2017

ADEQ school lead screening program deserves praise

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement as the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) wraps up its Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program, which is testing schools statewide:

  "I have been following ADEQ's Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program ever since I was first
Sen. Miranda
notified in March that a schools in my district was found to have excessive levels of lead in its drinking water," said Senator Miranda.
"Since then, ADEQ has kept me and the school superintendents in my district updated on test results and have provided prompt and clear instructions on how to remediate sources of lead. So far 12 schools in my district have been found to have high lead levels in sources of drinking water.
"Our Superintendent in the Roosevelt School District, Jeanne Koba, has been following ADEQ's directions explicitly regarding precautions to take where they have found lead. ADEQ has assured Superintendent Koba that they will be working with her on permanent fixes to remove sources of lead and that in the meantime shutting down the tainted fixtures and flushing water lines will keep everyone safe.
"Exposure to lead is a serious threat to developing children and ADEQ deserves praise for initiating this ambitious program to test every school in the state within just six months. I have been informed that they expect to receive the last test results by mid-July to ensure Arizona children will learn in lead-free schools by the beginning of next school year."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Climate agreement departure threatens AZ economy, future

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Leaders of the Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statement on President Trump removing the United States from the Paris Agreement:

"President Trump's decision to back out of the Paris Agreement is an act of ideological folly that will cause long-term damage to Arizona's environment and our economy.

The first decade of this millennium was warmer than any of the 20th century and temperatures are rising still. Multiple climate models show the Southwest will experience some of the worst climate change in the U.S. over the next 40 to 80 years. Those higher temperatures will amplify drought conditions, making water more scarce, and require more energy to cool buildings.

Of the historic "Five C's" of Arizona's economy, the one whose value has never fluctuated is climate. Arizona's weather and natural beauty still draw millions of visitors from around the world each year. In 2015 alone, those visitors put $21 billion into our economy and supported almost 180,000 jobs.

And Arizona's climate provides the nation and the world with fresh fruits, vegetables and grains from our $17 billion-per-year agriculture industry. A lack of water and shifting growing seasons would be devastating to Arizona's farms and the 77,000 jobs they create.

With our abundance of sunshine and our renowned entrepreneurial spirit, Arizona can benefit immensely by welcoming innovative clean power companies that will help us transition from fossil fuel dependency, safeguarding the health of our environment, our economy and our people while creating new, high-skilled jobs.

By pulling out of the Paris Agreement, President Trump is abandoning the majority of Arizonans, and Americans, who support the Agreement and acting counter to the advice of U.S. Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Sticking your head in the sand is not leadership, it's cowardice. Climate change is an issue where the U.S. should be a world leader. Leading in this area can grow our economy at the same time as we protect our world for our children and grandchildren."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Budget prioritizes partisanship over greater good

Senator Katie Hobbs, Senate Democratic Leader
Senator Steve Farley, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader
Senator Martin Quezada, Senate Democratic Whip
Senator Lupe Contreras, Senate Democratic Whip

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Leaders of the Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statement on the passage of this session's budget:

"A state's budget reflects the priorities of those in power and the priorities of Arizona's Republican legislators and governor are crystal clear.

Governor Ducey and Republican legislative leaders had every opportunity to work together with Democratic legislators, who represent more than 40% of our state, to find realistic solutions to the real problems facing our state.

But they chose to ignore us.

For weeks, legislative Democrats offered our support for Governor Ducey's forward-thinking university bonding plan. With our cities and counties held harmless, his plan is a reasonable start to restoring the billions of dollars Republicans have cut from our state universities.

But he chose to put partisanship over collaboration.

Without the full support on bonding from Republican legislators, Governor Ducey needed our votes. For our support, we asked for a meaningful four percent raise for Arizona teachers, who have the lowest salaries in the nation, and a clean restoration of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to 24 months.

Instead of prioritizing Arizona's struggling families and hard-working teachers, Governor Ducey chose to spend your hard-earned tax dollars buying off Republicans with $1 million to the Koch brothers' pet project at ASU, $10 million in tax cuts and a petty swipe at cities.

Governor Ducey proclaimed in his state of the state speech, "Along with Leaders Hobbs and Rios, I’m excited to continue working together on areas of common ground."

It's hard to imagine, but Governor Ducey must not consider teachers, the working poor and our universities to be areas of common concern.

The priorities reflected in this purely Republican budget are that of partisanship over democracy, special interests over the public interest and hollow talking points over meaningful substance.

Legislative Democrats, by contrast, have always stood for Arizona's poor, our students and teachers, our universities, our public servants and our businesses. We strive every day to serve all Arizonans.

Such was our intention with our gesture of bipartisanship, a missed opportunity to collaborate for the greater good of Arizona because of wrong priorities."