Thursday, April 21, 2011

Community march on the anniversary of SB 1070

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and community leaders are coordinating a community breakfast and march on the one year anniversary of the signing of SB 1070 this Saturday, April 23.

The community breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. at El Portal Restaurant at 117 West Grant Street, Phoenix, Ariz.

At 10 a.m., marchers will gather at César Chávez Plaza at 200 West Jefferson Street. The march to the State Capitol will begin at 10:45 a.m.

“SB 1070 has been a black eye on Arizona for the past year,” said Sen. Steve Gallardo. “SB 1070 continues to drag down Arizona’s economy in addition to the hundreds of millions already lost in tourism dollars. I am calling on Gov. Brewer and the Republican leadership to do what is right for Arizona’s economy and repeal this unconstitutional legislation to remove Arizona from the costly legal battle and the negative light that came with it.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Statement from Sen. Jack Jackson Jr. - Increase in tuition tax credits hurts public school students

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, legislative Republicans voted to increase tuition tax credits for private corporations despite a recent veto by Gov. Brewer on a like measure.

Sen. Jack Jackson Jr. stated, “Increasing student tuition tax credits is a drain on General Fund dollars which are used to fund our public schools.”

A 2009 investigative report by the East Valley Tribune showed that tuition tax credits primarily help students from wealthy families who already attend private schools.

“Today, Republicans continued to pander to special interests instead of working to improve public schools where the majority of Arizona's students are educated,” said Jackson. “I question the logic of sending similar legislation to the Governor despite her recent veto.”

A conference committee amendment to SB 1186 expands student the tuition tax credit. The bill will need to be final read by the Senate prior to being sent to the Governor.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More guns on higher education campuses is not the solution

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1467, which would have allowed guns on community college and university campuses.

Sen. Steve Gallardo released the following statement:

“Having additional guns on a university campus is not the solution to making our campuses safer. The Arizona Legislature needs to address the accessibility of firearms. We should do everything we can to make sure that the bad guys are not in possession of firearms.

The solution to campus security is locks on all the classroom doors, a proper alert and messaging system, a process by which faculty or staff can direct a student to the proper mental health authorities if needed and finally closing the gun show loophole. These are the ways that we should be addressing gun safety on campuses, not with more guns on campuses.”

Death Resolution read for Lloyd Oliver, one of the original Navajo Code Talkers

Today, Sen. Jack Jackson Jr. read Senate Resolution 1013 in honor of Lloyd Oliver, one of the original Navajo Code Talkers. Mr. Oliver's granddaughters Cecilia and Danielle Oliver were present at the Senate for the reading.

SENATE RESOLUTION 1013

Lloyd Oliver, one of the original Navajo Code Talkers, died on March 16, 2011 at the age of eighty-eight.

Lloyd Oliver was born in Shiprock, New Mexico on April 23, 1923 into Bit'ahnii (Folded Arms Clan), born for Kinlichíi'nii (Red House Clan). His chei was Naakaii Dine'é (Mexican People Clan) and his nálí was Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan). He graduated from Shiprock Agricultural High School in 1941 and enlisted in the United States Marines a year later at the age of nineteen. He became one of the first of the original group of twenty-nine men who became known as the Navajo Code Talkers, an elite group of Native American men who used their knowledge of the unique Navajo language to create an unbreakable military code during World War II. Lloyd Oliver served his country with distinction as a code talker, scout and sniper, and in 1945, he was discharged from the Marines with the rank of corporal.

Lloyd Oliver eventually moved to Phoenix where he learned silver and metal smithing and went on to become a successful jewelry maker. He continued making and selling his distinctive designs until he was well into his seventies.

The heroism and dedication of the Navajo Code Talkers remained unknown and unacknowledged by the public until their work was declassified decades later. Lloyd Oliver and the other original Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their tremendous bravery and patriotism. With Lloyd Oliver's death, there remains just one living member of the original twenty-nine Navajo Code Talkers.

Industrious, kind and humble in all of his endeavors, Lloyd Oliver will be greatly missed by his wife, Lucille, five children, six stepchildren, nineteen grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren.

Therefore

Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona:

That the Members of the Senate express regret at the passing of Lloyd Oliver and extend their deepest condolences to his surviving family members.
http://www.azleg.gov//FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/1r/bills/sr1013s.htm&Session_ID=102

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Republicans ignore independents in Arizona, but will still use their money

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Sen. Steve Gallardo offered an amendment to allow independents to vote in party primaries and an amendment that would require political parties to pay for their respective presidential preference elections, a measure that would save the General Fund $5 million.

“Republicans confirmed today that they do not value the opinion of independents in Arizona and that they intend to continue using taxpayer money from independents, but not allow them to vote,” said Sen. Steve Gallardo (D-13). “Requiring parties to pay for their own presidential preference election is fiscally conservative.”

The Gallardo #1 proposed amendment requires each political party represented on the presidential preference election ballot to pay their share of the costs of the presidential preference primary. Currently, the estimated $5 million to fund the costs comes from the General Fund.

The Gallardo #2 proposed floor amendment authorizes independent voters or voters who are registered with a party that is not eligible for representation on the ballot to vote in the next presidential preference election. It also allows a party that is represented on the ballot to prohibit independent voters from voting in that party's primary by filing a written notice with the Secretary of State's office at least 85 days before the presidential preference election.

The amendments were proposed to HB2177, legislation requiring presidential candidates to prove citizenship. Both amendments failed.

Bill granting in-state tuition for veterans sent to governor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today, the Arizona Senate unanimously passed and sent to the Governor legislation which grants in-state student status to any person who was honorably discharged from the United Stated Armed Forces.

HB 2410, sponsored by state Rep. Ted Vogt, R-Tucson (District 30), grants in-state tuition status to honorably discharged veterans without requiring them to wait for one year’s residence in Arizona.

“Our veterans have given the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and to protect our freedoms,” said Representative Vogt, an Air Force veteran. “This is one effort to demonstrate to them that Arizona honors their sacrifice and is prepared to give them access to the best educational opportunities we can.”

The effort was bipartisan. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix (District 15) sponsored SB 1223, an identical bill.

“This bill will recruit veterans to live and finish their education here in Arizona,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix (District 15). “It will bring revenue and talent to our state to build a strong future, and it shows that Arizona values the contributions that veterans make to our state and country.”

HB 2410 was substituted for SB 1223 that was passed by the Senate on February 23.

“It was my please to work on this bill,” said State Rep. Ruben Gallego, also a sponsor of 2410 and a Marine veteran. “It’s the least we can do to honor the sacrifice of veterans. I hope to work on a bipartisan basis to pass more legislation to benefit our veterans in the future.”

Upon the Governor’s signature, the bill is effective beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.

The legislation is located online at:
http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/1r/bills/hb2410h.pdf

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lack of transparency, rushed budget results in mistakes

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – The Republican budget sent to the Governor April 1 contains an error that will require the Legislature to suspend the rules and recall the bill from the Governor.

SB 1621, the criminal justice budget reconciliation bill, contains an amendment that was never considered. The incorrect version of the bill was voted on by the full House and Senate on April 1.

“Mistakes happen when a budget is rushed through the Legislature and considered in the middle of the night without transparency,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira. “This is just another example of how the Republican Leadership hurries bills through the Legislature without accountability and an opportunity for adequate public input. This process is a disservice to the citizens of the state of Arizona.”

The Legislature will recall SB 1621 from the Governor and suspend the rules to allow the Senate and House of Representatives to vote on the intended version of the bill.

Friday, April 1, 2011

GOP budget breaks promises to Arizonans

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Legislative Republicans shoved a budget through the Senate and House that kills jobs, massively cuts education and kicks hundreds of thousands of people off of health care. Unfortunately, the attack on middle class Arizonans in this budget is very real.

“The Republican budget is devastating to Arizona’s economic recovery and confirms that Legislative Republicans do not prioritize education or Arizona’s families,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira. “Republicans blatantly ignore the cumulative effect of the hundreds of millions of dollars they have cut over the past several years. And despite their claims otherwise, there is no funding in this budget to restore transplant coverage that could save the lives of nearly 100 Arizonans.”

The Republican budget:
• Cuts $511 million, a higher cut than any proposal to date, from AHCCCS and results in an additional $1.2 billion loss in federal matching dollars.

• Cuts up to 280,000 people from health care coverage.

• Cuts $183 million from K-12 education in addition to the $600 million cut in the last four years.

• Cuts $198 million from universities in addition to the over $200 million cut in the last four years.

• Cuts $73 million from community colleges in addition to the over $50 million cut in the last four years.

• Cuts the Department of Economic Security by $50 million.

• Cuts 13,000 children from receiving daycare services.

• Cuts the Department of Health Services by $53 million.

“The message Legislative Republicans send in this budget is that they do not care about the middle class,” said Senate Assistant Minority Leader Leah Landrum Taylor. “This budget will make college unaffordable for many students and will result in tax increases for all homeowners.”

When the bills were deliberated in the Senate, Senate Democrats offered solutions to lessen the devastating cuts to education and Arizona’s families, but the Republicans voted against all of the amendments.

“This is the dawn of a dark chapter in Arizona’s history,” said Senate Minority Whip Paula Aboud. “We should be helping Arizonans to survive this economic crisis, but instead this budget cuts the lifeline to our vulnerable citizens and our fragile education system. The Republican message to Arizonans is ‘do more with less’, but instead they are asking Arizonans to do more with practically nothing.”

The bills are numbered SB 1612 to SB 1624 and are located online at:
http://www.azleg.gov/Bills.asp?FirstBill=SB1601&LastBill=SB1650

The budget now goes to the Governor, who is expected to sign it.