Thursday, August 19, 2010

Senate Democratic Statement on Prison Breaks

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Governor Brewer continues her bad faith ways with Democrats. After continuous pressure by Democrats for her to investigate the prison escape and make public the results, Governor Brewer calls Senate and House Leadership for a confidential briefing for Wednesday afternoon. That meeting was cancelled by Brewer and purposely rescheduled to occur after she called a surprise press conference releasing the report to the public Thursday morning.

“This is a slap to Democratic Leadership,” said Sen. Jorge Luis Garcia, Senate Democratic Leader. “Rather than play partisan political games, Governor Brewer should focus on trying to work in a bi-partisan manner to fix this public safety crisis.”

“We still need public hearings to determine what went wrong and how we can ensure that murderers are not escaping from prison and inmates are not walking away from work crews,” said Sen. Rebecca Rios, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader.

“We planned on attending this meeting in good faith to cooperatively hear about how Governor Brewer is addressing the public safety issues in Arizona,” said Sen. Linda Lopez, Senate Democratic Whip.

The Governor was not present at today’s press conference at the Department of Corrections, she was instead having lunch with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sen. Linda Lopez Statement on Aug. 18 Tucson Inmate Escape

“While awaiting answers from Governor Jan Brewer for a prison break resulting in a nationwide manhunt, yet another inmate walks away from state custody on her watch,” said Sen. Linda Lopez, Senate Democratic Whip (D-Tucson). “State budget cuts are creating real public safety issues in our local communities where now six schools are on lockdown.

“Governor Brewer has failed to protect the people in Arizona from dangerous inmates while also failing to provide support for prison employees who are working hard to secure our safety with fewer resources,” said Lopez.

Sen. Amanda Aguirre to Chair state Autism Task Force

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Sen. Amanda Aguirre was appointed to serve as the chair of the Arizona Joint Legislative Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force, which was created by her legislation and signed into law this year.

“The task force will bring together state and community experts appointed by the Senate President and Speaker of House in order to identify and coordinate services and resources available to families to ultimately enhance early intervention and education to improve the quality of life of children impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Sen. Amanda Aguirre.

The Centers from Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of one in every 110 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. This definition includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Aguirre was appointed by the Senate President Bob Burns as one of two Senate members to serve on the task force.

SB 1181, which creates the task force, will:

Review the coordination of services provided by state agencies, schools and organizations relating to the treatment of persons with autism spectrum disorder, including resources available to the families and other caregivers of persons with autism spectrum disorder.

Identify problems and recommend solutions regarding the availability of services to persons with autism spectrum disorder and their families and caregivers and the efficient delivery and coordination of those services.

Identify current funding sources for services provided to persons with autism spectrum disorder and determine if there are additional available federal or other funding sources that are not being used.

Identify and recommend opportunities for the sharing of resources of services to persons with autism spectrum disorder, including partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Identify evidence-based treatments and best practices for autism spectrum disorder.

Identify state models and service systems for persons with autism spectrum disorder.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Senate Republicans playing partisan games?

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Sen. Meg Burton Cahill (D-Tempe) proposed an amendment to SCR 1001 that would have allowed an employee to choose whether to have an additional person present when going to speak with their employer.

Partisan politics may have entered the fray when Burton Cahill was not allowed a roll call vote on the amendment despite having her desk light on, which signifies her desire to be recognized to speak by the Senate President.

“In the Senate, we have rules of procedure and these rules should be abided by in order to keep the process fair and diligent,” said Burton Cahill. “By ignoring the light, the Senate President circumvents the stated rules of procedure. I verbally asked to be recognized and was still denied the opportunity to make a motion. If it was a matter of the Senate President overlooking the light, he should have taken corrective action and allowed me to speak. If he saw the light and ignored it, that action is an abuse of our own rules.”

Senate Democrats introduce bill to return per diem

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – The Arizona State Legislature convened the 9th Special Session this week for the sole purpose of pushing an anti-union piece of legislation the courts kicked off the November ballot. Each day the legislature is in session legislators are paid a daily stipend.

Today, Sen. Rebecca Rios introduced SB 1001, legislation stating that legislators cannot accept the daily per diem if the bill is passed.

“Senate Democrats contend that given our state’s dire economic condition it is irresponsible for Republicans to convene this costly, partisan special session to fix their own legislative mistakes,” said Sen. Rebecca Rios, Assistant Democratic Leader.

“We believe that the fiscally responsible action is to not provide this additional pay to members and have introduced legislation stating so,” said Sen. Linda Lopez, Senate Democratic Whip.

Note: This is a corrected version.
The Legislature receives the same amount of per diem whether it is in Regular Session or in Special Session. The only change in per diem rates is that it is lowered once the legislature is in session for 120 continuous days.

The bill text states that the legislators will not receive per diem, but this only takes effect if the bill is passed and signed by the Governor.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sen. Aguirre named Legislative Advocate of the Year

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Sen. Amanda Aguirre was awarded the Legislative Advocate of the Year award at the Second Arizona Recycling Coalition/American Public Works Association (AzRC/APWA) conference on August 3, in Phoenix.

“An increasing population means that we have to be extra vigilant in order to protect our natural resources,” said Aguirre. “With the help of hundreds of volunteers, we have cleaned up tons of illegally dumped waste and have created an education curriculum on recycling education for 10,000 elementary school students.”

Along with receiving the award, Aguirre will be speaking about the International Alliance Project ‘No Contamine/ Don’t Trash the Border” of which she is the project leader. The organization is a joint effort to educate border communities in Yuma County and San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico about the importance of recycling, conservation, personal responsibility and illegal dumping prevention. It engages public, private, state, federal and tribal organizations to develop a clearinghouse of recycling center resources. The organization sponsors clean-up campaigns in target areas that are highly impacted by illegal dumping on both sides of the border.

A statement from the Arizona Recycling Coalition reads:
“This award recognizes Senator Aguirre's work promoting recycling and sustainability in the State of Arizona. Sustainability is in essence the idea that everything is interconnected. The Senator’s work and leadership with No Contamine La Frontera, the international alliance between Arizona and Mexico has shown tremendous stewardship of our land by cleaning up illegal dump sites and recycling and reusing when possible. The Senator has established various partnerships to help clean our borders. This has created a renewed sense of pride among the communities who live and work in the area; as well as teach the importance of taking care of the land and recycling.”

At the Senate, Aguirre is a member of the Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt committee and is a previous member of the Natural Resources and Rural Affairs committee.

The Arizona Recycling Coalition (AzRC) is a non-profit organization of professionals and citizens pledged to promoting recycling efforts in the public sector and in business communities throughout Arizona. AzRC provides strong leadership on waste reduction issues and promotes the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle ethic through education and membership involvement in the state.