Wednesday, March 31, 2010

District 29 Legislators Invite Public to Tucson Town Hall

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Sen. Linda Lopez, Rep. Matt Heinz and Rep. Daniel Patterson invite the public to a town hall on Saturday, April 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Santa Rosa Learning Library, 1075 South 10th Avenue, Tucson, Ariz. This will be the 6th legislative district 29 town hall over the past year.

Where: Santa Rosa Learning Library, 1075 South 10th Avenue, Tucson, Ariz.
When: Saturday, April 3, 2010 from 2 to 4 p.m.


“Since our last district town hall, the Governor and legislative Republicans passed a budget that makes extreme cuts to education and healthcare,” said Lopez. “This forum is especially critical for sharing information about how these cuts will impact the district and for hearing from constituents on how they may have already been impacted.”

“We are at a critical time in our state's history and all of us, including Tucsonans, will have to bear the burden of Republicans' wrong-track budget cuts to jobs, education and health care,” Patterson said. "I look forward to hearing from the people I represent and taking their concerns back to the Capitol.”

“I want to make sure southern Arizona voices are heard at the state legislature,” said Heinz. “It is incredibly important that we hear your ideas to help get our state back on the right track.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sexual Offenders Need to be Held Accountable

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Senator Amanda Aguirre called on legislative Republicans to hear SB 1292, a measure regarding civil actions brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as a minor, in the Senate Rules committee.
“Our laws do not adequately protect child abuse victims,” said Aguirre. “We have an opportunity to amend our laws to allow abusers be brought to justice. Not making these changes allows offenders to continue the cycle of abuse.”

SB 1292 eliminates the civil statute of limitation for a child sex abuse victim to bring a cause of action against the person or entity that perpetrated the abuse or negligently allowed it to happen. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary committee on Feb. 22 by a bipartisan and unanimous vote of 7-0.

“I have made numerous attempts to work with President Bob Burns and the insurance industry, but their decision is to hold this bill and not allow victims to hold predators accountable for their actions in a civil court within a reasonable amount of time,” said Aguirre.

The bill also creates a one-year "window" of time that allows adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to bring an action against the persons who abused them. Many child sexual abuse cases are not prosecuted; this bill creates a tool for many victims to hold the perpetrator accountable in civil court. The “window” applies to those survivors whose civil statute of limitations has already expired and who have not already sued the persons who abused them.

SB 1292 is important because it exposes sexual predators and holds them accountable for the harm they have caused. When sex offenders are not held accountable for their behavior, they are more likely to continue to sexually abuse other children; the freedom to continue abusing results in more assaults on children and more victims.

Support the Arizona Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Act SB 1292

What is SB 1292?
SB1292 eliminates the civil statute of limitation for a child sex abuse victim to bring a cause of action against the person or entity that perpetrated the abuse or negligently allowed it to happen.

The bill also creates a one-year "window" of time that allows adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to bring an action against the persons who abused them. Many child sexual abuse cases are not prosecuted; this bill creates a tool for many victims to hold the perpetrator accountable in civil court. The “window” applies to those survivors whose civil statute of limitations has already expired and who have not already sued the persons who abused them.

What is the current civil statute of limitations and how does this bill change that law?
Under current Arizona law, to sue a sexual abuser of a child, an adult survivor of that childhood sexual abuse must file that lawsuit by the time he or she turns the age of 20. The reason for this is that Arizona has a 2-year statute of limitations, but the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child reaches the age of 18.

How does Arizona law compare with other states?
Arizona has one of the most restrictive civil statutes of limitation in the nation for victims of child sex abuse. 44 other states offer some type special provision for victims of childhood sexual abuse.

What about criminal prosecution?
Less than 10% percent of child molesters are prosecuted. Most victims of childhood sexual abuse are too young or confused to realize that they are being harmed by an abuser, and most child sex offenders successfully intimidate witnesses, threaten victims, destroy evidence, and otherwise prevent victims from disclosing the abuse.

Why should there be no statute of limitations?
Many adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are not able to file a lawsuit during the time period currently allowed by law. Childhood sexual abuse is by its very nature secret. The abuse is often the end result of a grooming process through which the perpetrator pressures the victim to keep the abuse secret or carefully selects victims whom the perpetrator believes will not tell others about the abuse. Injuries caused by childhood sexual abuse include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, debilitating depression and suicide attempts. Sometimes these symptoms do not develop until the victim is an adult. Because of these injuries, and the threats and intimidation that often accompany them, many victims are unable to file a lawsuit during the time allowed.

Why is this bill important?
SB 1292 is important because it exposes sexual predators and holds them accountable for the harm they have caused. When sex offenders are not held accountable for their behavior, they are more likely to continue to sexually abuse other children; the freedom to continue abusing results in more assaults on children and more victims.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Democrats vote against dangerous Republican budget in Senate Appropriations Committee

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Senate Democrats voted against the dangerous Republican budget heard today in the Senate Appropriations committee.

“Today, this is a sad day for the state of Arizona after hearing all of the people who have come to the Senate to testify. This budget makes cuts to working families and the future of Arizona. We are turning our ears away from their pleas,” said Aguirre. “This budget contains extreme healthcare and public safety cuts and shifts enormous costs to counties. We are shortchanging our future by eliminating programs that help create a viable workforce. I cannot vote for this budget.”

“Throughout the day we consistently heard from members of the community that this budget will make an enormous impact on Arizonans,” said Aboud. “This budget will cost the state hundreds of thousands of jobs and add years to the economic recovery in Arizona. While other states are coming out of the recession, this budget proposal will cause us to sink deeper into a recession. We’ve balanced this budget sheet, but we are also devastating our state. This is a sad day for Arizonans.”

Among the many devastating cuts, the Republican budget cuts 310,000 people from AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid program, 47,000 children from KidsCare, eliminates funding for all-day Kindergarten, cuts state employee pay and closes the Department of Juvenile Corrections.

SB 1001, the main budget bill, passed committee 6-2 with all of Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In case you missed it: Democrats Hold Rally in Support of State Employees

Check this video out -- Democrats Hold Rally in Support of State Employees

Republicans vote to allow guns on university and community college campuses

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Sen. Linda Lopez offered an amendment during the Senate’s Committee of the Whole to exclude universities and community colleges from SB 1168, a bill that expands the restrictions on the ability of political subdivisions to regulate the transfer, possession, storage, licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition.

“To those of you who vote for this bill without my amendment to exclude community college campuses, please know that you will not be able to claim that you did not know that this bill allows guns on university and college campuses,” said Lopez. “This bill is a back door way to allow guns on university and college campuses. Neither the universities or community colleges want guns on their campuses.”

The amendment failed to be adopted to the bill. The bill, as it stands, allows guns on university and college campuses. It still needs a “Third Read” vote to pass the Senate and move to the House.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

State Employee Rally Sponsored by Legislators

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Legislators are holding a rally in support of state employees on Thursday, March 4, 2010, from noon to 1 p.m. on the Senate Lawn.

When: Thursday, March 4, 2010
Time: Noon - 1 p.m.
Where: Senate Lawn, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Ariz.


“It is time that the Arizona Legislature realizes that state employees are more than just FTEs,” said Cheuvront, referring to the acronym for full-time equivalent generally used to describe a state employee. “They are hard working, tax paying individuals who want to maintain their employment like other Arizonans. State employees should not be ignored when legislators discuss job creation and job maintenance.”

Cheuvront has sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 1038 that, subject to voter approval, reduces legislative salaries by the same percentage that state employee’s salaries are reduced.

“At a time when legislators are asking our state employees to make substantial sacrifices and take pay cuts, legislators should also be willing to make those same sacrifices themselves,” said Cheuvront.