Thursday, November 21, 2013

The safety of Arizona’s children is the first priority

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar and Senator Katie Hobbs released the following statements today following the revelation that Child Protective Services failed to investigate 6,000 reports of abuse.

Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar:
Sen. Tovar

"We appreciate Governor Brewer's call to investigate how and why 6,000 reports of child abuse went uninvestigated by CPS," said Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar. "For the sake of Arizona's children we need to thoroughly investigate these reports and we need to do it quickly. Our children are our first priority."









Senator Katie Hobbs:
Sen. Hobbs

"It is essential that we find answers to what happened with these 6,000 reports," said Sen. Katie Hobbs. "But even then, there is more to be done. To ensure the safety of our children we must be serious about finding solutions for all the problems facing CPS."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tea party Republicans continue campaign to gut Arizona schools

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Caucus leadership released the following statements on today's tea party-choreographed "Common Core Symposium."
 
Background: Contrary to claims, the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards were not created by the federal government and are not an attempt to eliminate local control of our kids' education. These standards were created by educators, experts and business leaders with the goal of preparing our children to compete in a global economy and succeed in life. It is still up to individual school districts to determine the curriculum that will best help their students achieve these goals.
 
 
Senate Democratic Whip Steve Gallardo (District 29):
Sen. Gallardo
 
"The truth is this - our Republican-controlled Legislature has systematically gutted Arizona's education system by more than $3 billion. The results of those devastating cuts are struggling schools and students who aren't performing at the level these new standards would require," said Sen. Gallardo. "How do tea party Republicans solve the problem they've created? By vilifying the higher standards and harming our students further. That isn't going to work."
 
 
 
 
 
 
Senate Democratic Assistant Leader Lynne Pancrazi (District 4):
Sen. Pancrazi
 
"Forty five states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories and the Department of Defense have adopted these standards, which will provide much-needed consistency for the many military and agricultural families in my district who must move from state to state for work," said Sen. Pancrazi. "As a former school teacher, I know that these new standards will prepare Arizona's children for future success, but only if we end this witch hunt and fully fund education in Arizona."
 
 
 
 
 
 
Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar (District 19):
Sen. Tovar
 
"Arizona's business community is unified in their support for these new standards because they know that they can't succeed, and Arizona can't succeed, unless we are producing the very best workforce possible," said Sen. Tovar. "It's time for tea party Republicans to drop the smoke screen, accept that these standards will help Arizona's children prepare for the future and start restoring the funding our schools so desperately need."

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sen. Farley will host tele-town halls to help Arizonans navigate the new health insurance marketplace

Sen. Farley
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – On October 1, the new health insurance marketplace will open for business. If you are currently buying your health insurance on the open market, or would like to get insured but have been unable to find an affordable plan due to your self-employed status or your employer not offering benefits, the marketplace will help you find a good plan at reasonable cost and will likely save you real money as it increases your peace of mind.

To help answer your questions about the new health insurance marketplace, State Senator Steve Farley is convening two tele-town halls next week and will be joined by Herb Schultz, the Region IX Director for the Federal Department of Health and Human Services and a representative from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). Together, they will tell you all you need to know about how the marketplace works and how you can put it to work for you.

If you are on Medicare, or receive benefits from your employer, you won't see much difference in the next year. If you own a small business, are self employed, currently receive care from HealthCare Group or your employer does not provide benefits, this virtual town hall is for you.

Please tell your friends and family, especially those who are self-employed and/or have pre-existing conditions. For them, this call could literally be life-changing.

Senator Farley will convene two separate calls:

Tuesday, September 24, at 2:00 p.m.
and
Wednesday, September 25, at 7:00 p.m.

To take part, dial 559-726-1200, then punch in your access code: 448012 followed by the # sign.

The calls should last about an hour each and Senator Farley, Director Schultz and the AHCCCS representative will field as many of your questions as time allows.

For a preview of the health insurance marketplace and to get more info in advance of the call, visit healthcare.gov at any time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sen. Landrum Taylor appoints San Carlos attorney to CCEC

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor today announced the appointment of Steve M. Titla to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

Mr. Titla is an attorney and Marine Corps veteran from San Carlos and is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

"I am very pleased that Steve has agreed to serve on the Citizens Clean Elections Commission," said Sen. Landrum Taylor. "With 30 years of experience in both state and tribal law, he will bring a wonderful perspective and make an outstanding contribution to the Commission's important work."

Mr. Titla is a partner in the Titla & Parsi law firm and is admitted to practice law both in Arizona and on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. The firm represents the San Carlos Apache Tribe as special counsel and has also served as legal counsel for the election boards of the San Carlos Apache and San Juan Southern Paiute Tribes.

Previously, Mr.Titla was an attorney with the Navajo Nation Department of Justice and has served as president of the National Native American Bar Association.

In addition to a B.S. and J.D. from Arizona State University, Mr. Titla earned an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.

From 1974-76 Mr. Titla served in the U.S. Marine Corps, leaving with an honorable discharge. He also served in the Arizona National Guard until his honorable discharge in 1980.

Mr. Titla's term on the Citizen's Clean Elections Commission expires in January of 2018.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Senator Jackson appointed to U.S. State Department position

Will resign seat to begin work in D.C.


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Today Senator Jack C. Jackson Jr. announced he will resign his seat in Legislative District 7 on July 12 to accept a White House appointment to the U.S. Department of State.

Sen. Jackson
Senator Jackson will serve in Washington, D.C. as Senior Advisor and Liaison for Native American Affairs in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs (OES), within the State Department's Office of Environmental Quality and Transboundary Issues (EQT).

In this newly created position, Senator Jackson will advise the OES and the State Department on consultation with Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and Executive Order 13175.

Senator Jackson leaves a legacy in the Arizona Legislature that started with his father and will live on through legislation that helps make his district and the state a better place for future generations.

Some of Senator Jackson's successes from this year include:
  • SB 1317, which allows Indian reservations to receive monies from the State Aviation Fund for planning, design, development, acquisition of interests in land, construction and improvement of publicly owned and operated airport facilities on land that is held by an Indian or Tribal government.

    The State Aviation Fund receives revenue collected primarily from taxes on aviation properties and fuel and from aircraft registration fees. These are paid by all sources, including tribal airports, yet for decades the statute that created the State Aviation Fund ignored tribal facilities.

    This bill, which has been signed by Governor Brewer, corrects that exclusion and allows the State Transportation Board to award grants from the State Aviation Fund to make improvements at any of the 14 tribal airports in Arizona.
  • Included in this year's budget is annual funding for the Navajo Technical College to build a permanent campus in Chinle, Ariz. There is great demand for higher education in Senator Jackson's district and this support will help it set permanent roots in the community for continued growth and success.
  • Working in conjunction with Senator Kimberly Yee (R-20), a provision to her SB1447 was amended to provide a repayment plan for the Red Mesa School District.

    Located in the Four Corners region, the district had for years erroneously claimed out-of-state students as part of their average daily membership and therefore received excess student funding from the state of Arizona, which they must now repay. The district discovered the error and promptly self-reported it to the Arizona Department of Education.

    The district and Department of Education came to a repayment agreement last year, which this legislation puts into place. Instead of being devastated by an over $2 million one-time payment in the 2013-14 school year, they will now be able to repay the amount over the next four years.
“Arriving at the Arizona House in 2003 to serve alongside my father, Senator Jack C. Jackson Sr., was an incredible honor. We both vigorously continued his 19 year legacy of championing the needs of native communities, which still face many economic and social challenges. Every day I came to work at the State Capitol I endeavored to represent my people with an honorable and strong voice,” said Senator Jackson.

“In my new position I will continue striving for that same goal by ensuring a successful cooperation between Indian tribes and the federal government in areas of environmental and cultural impact.

“I have seen many successes here at the Legislature, including this year's historic restoration and expansion of AHCCCS that will help more than 300,000 Arizonans get healthcare. There is still much work to be done such as tackling the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse and negotiating the return of tax revenue collected on tribal lands, as occurs in Arizona's counties and municipalities.

“I trust my successor in the Senate will represent our district well.

“Although my husband and I are saddened to be leaving the beloved state in which we both grew up, I am excited to embrace the challenges this new position in the U. S. Department of State presents. My appointment is an incredible honor and an immense responsibility that I will undertake with the same passion I have given to representing my home district in the Arizona Legislature. In creating this position, the Obama Administration has shown its commitment to creating a purposeful dialogue with Indian country and I am confident my almost quarter century of public policy experience will serve me well as I continue to speak on behalf of Native peoples at this national level,” concluded Senator Jackson.

Democratic leaders: Arizonans can help grieving families, evacuees

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor and House Democratic Leader Chad Campbell released the following statements on the deaths of 19 Prescott firefighters and the devastating Yarnell Hill Fire. Donations to help the firefighters’ families can be made at http://www.100club.org. For the hundreds of evacuees, help can be given at http://www.redcross.org/az/phoenix/ways-to-donate.

Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor (D-27):
Sen. Landrum Taylor

"Our families grieve with the loved ones of the courageous firefighters who selflessly answered the call to help protect the lives and property of fellow citizens," said Sen. Landrum Taylor. "Our hearts ache for the Arizona families who have been displaced by this catastrophic fire. Please join me in doing anything you can to help all who are affected by the catastrophic Yarnell Hill Fire."







House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-24):
Rep. Campbell
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the heroes that Arizona lost yesterday and the residents of Yarnell," said Rep. Campbell. "I also want to thank all those still putting their lives on the line fighting wildfires around the state and country. I encourage everyone to do all they can to send help to those whose lives have been devastated by this horrific situation."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SCOTUS decision will wash away minority voting rights


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act:
Sen. Gallardo

“For over 40 years the Voting Rights Act has ensured the voices of Arizona's minority voters cannot be suppressed. Numerous attempts by the Republican-led Legislature at discouraging minority voting have failed to obtain preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice,” said Sen. Gallardo. “Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the preclearance formula, isn't perfect but it is crucial to ensuring fair representation for our minority communities and certainly should not have been declared unconstitutional.”

“By asking a gridlocked Congress to fix this provision, Chief Justice Roberts and his conservative colleagues know full well that they have doomed this law to the waste bin. I fear history will show this decision to be the opening of floodgates washing away decades of progress and with it the voting rights of minority Americans.”

Without preclearance formula, minority voters lack protection


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key section of the Voting Rights Act.
Sen. Landrum Taylor
“Arizona is the poster child for why preclearance is needed as much today as it was when Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement fought to create this historic protection of minority voting rights,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor. “Just look at what we've seen so far this year: one of our state's top law enforcement officers was found guilty of racial profiling; the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the voter ID law; and new elections laws were passed and signed by Republicans that will disenfranchise minority Arizona voters.”

“Today our nation's top court has effectively neutered the historic Voting Rights Act by stripping the formula to determine which states must comply with preclearance. The right to vote is the foundation upon which our democracy is built. With today's ruling and Arizona's new election laws going into effect, that foundation is at risk of crumbling.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

Legislature passes Sen. Jackson bill to fund tribal airport improvements


Tribal airports will finally qualify for funds they have been contributing to for years


State Capitol, PhoenixSenator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. and Representative Albert Hale released the following statements on the Legislature’s passage of Sen. Jackson’s bill, Senate Bill 1317.

Background:
SB 1317 allows Indian reservations to receive monies from the State Aviation Fund for planning, design, development, acquisition of interests in land, construction and improvement of publicly owned and operated airport facilities on land that is held by an Indian or Tribal government.

The State Aviation Fund receives revenue collected primarily from taxes on aviation properties and fuel and from aircraft registration fees. These are paid by all sources, including tribal airports, yet for decades the statute that created the State Aviation Fund ignored tribal facilities.

SB1317 corrects that exclusion and allows the State Transportation Board to award grants from the State Aviation Fund to make improvements at any of the 14 tribal airports in Arizona.

Senator Jack C. Jackson Jr.:
"Arizona's tribal airports are critical to the entire state for commerce and emergency transportation as well as bolstering our tourism industry," said Sen. Jackson. "By finally qualifying for the State Aviation Fund resources to which they have long been contributing, they will be able to improve their facilities and ensure their long term viability."

"It is deeply gratifying to see this legislation finally pass after years of hard work. Crucial support was given by the Arizona Airports Association, as well as Representatives Hale and Peshlakai and the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation. I respectfully request that Governor Brewer sign this important piece of legislation.”

Representative Albert Hale:
"I am thankful for the support this bill received and that the members of the Arizona House and Senate recognized its importance,” said Rep. Hale. “This legislation addresses public safety issues within Indian Nations. Current law prevents Indian Nations from accessing state resources designated for airport improvements. Many of the airports in our communities are in need maintenance and repair work. This becomes readily apparent during medical emergencies that require air transportation. Some of the airports are just not equipped to handle these situations safely. This legislation will help correct that problem.”

“It is also important to remember that people living in Indian Nations are taxpayers. They deserve an equal share of state resources and services."
###

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bipartisan budget balances needs of AZ with fiscal responsibility


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic leaders released the following statements on the adoption of a state budget during the Fifty First Legislature, First Special Session:

Senator Leah Landrum Taylor (District 27), Senate Democratic Leader:
“This budget is a result of bipartisan collaboration and represents a delicate balance between the needs of Arizonans and the resources available to the state. It reflects priorities that will encourage our economy's improvement, protect vulnerable adults and children and help our schools to begin recovering from the $2.9 billion in cuts they've seen over the past few years,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

“Including the expansion of AHCCCS in this budget is the responsible decision for Arizona, both fiscally and morally. Hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans will soon qualify for healthcare and we will see billions of our hard-earned federal tax dollars return to our state.

“Today we did what's right for the people of Arizona and for the future of our state.”
Senator Linda Lopez (District 2), Assistant Democratic Leader:
“The vulnerable children of Arizona have suffered long enough. Today we dedicated $64.4 million in new funding for Child Protective Services to provide supportive and preventative services and more case workers to make sure our children are safe,” said Sen. Lopez.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure our kids are living in safe conditions and stay with their families. Protecting them is protecting the future of Arizona.”
Senator Anna Tovar (District 19), Senate Democratic Whip:
“The budget passed today invests $116 million in our kids' schools and $31.7 million for our universities. While that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the cuts they have suffered, it's an important step toward seeing our education system improve and succeed,” said Sen. Tovar.

“We have always stood for finding common-sense solutions to the challenges facing our state and today we delivered on that promise by working across the aisle with fellow legislators and the governor's office and by standing up for the people of Arizona.”

Senator Jack C. Jackson Jr. statement on budget passage with support for Navajo Technical College

State Capitol, Phoenix – Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. released the following statement on today’s passage of the state budget, which included funding for the Navajo Technical College to build a permanent campus in Chinle, Ariz.

Sen. Jackson
“The Navajo Technical College is a crucial resource for the people of my district and the Navajo Nation,
especially given the region’s struggle with economic and job opportunities,” said Sen. Jackson.

“Since opening its two Arizona campuses beginning in 2006, Navajo Technical College has shown retention and graduation rates that far exceed the national average and its students are entering the workforce with high-demand skills like computer science and engineering. This budget directs much needed funds to help Navajo Technical College continue and expand its successful mission of education to even more members of our community.”

“There is great demand for higher education in my district and I’m proud to help Navajo Technical College with the support it needs to set permanent roots in our community and continue its growth and success.”


Navajo Technical College Facts

Background
  • 1979- The Navajo Skills Center was established to meet the growing demand for higher education.
  • 1985- The Skills Center became the Crown Point Institute of Technology in Crown Point, New Mexico, when the Center started to offer Associate Degrees.
  • 2005- The College changed it’s name to Navajo Technical College (NTC) in part because of it’s expansion of educational services, including Bachelor Degrees on the Navajo Nation.
  • 2006- NTC opened an instructional site in Chinle, Ariz.
  • NTC is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association for Colleges and Schools.
  • NTC was recently recognized as one of the top 120 colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute College Excellent Program. For this distinction, community colleges must demonstrate high standards for learning, college completion without delay, and successful training grounds for jobs that pay competitive wages. 
  • As a top forming college, NTC provides technical education, vocational programs, and courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 
  • NTC now offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineer and recently applied to the Higher Learning Commission for permission to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resources.

Enrollment, Retention and Graduation
Since 2006, NTC has provided classes out of temporary buildings and Chinle High School and currently serves 436 students. As one of the most successful minority institutions of higher learning in the United States, NTC student retention rate exceeds 65% every year and has an overall graduation rate of 81%.
Job Placement
Out of 191 graduates from 2011, 47% were placed in jobs and 42 students continued their education. 58 students didn’t respond to the survey. Although NTC has a job placement counselor on staff, collecting data or tracking students is a challenge due to the poor infrastructure needs of the area (no internet, poor telephones, etc.).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Arizona Republicans protect guns, not people


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Democratic senators released the following statements on the signing of HB2455, which requires law enforcement agencies to sell unclaimed or forfeited firearms.

Senator Linda Lopez (District 2), Assistant Democratic Leader:

“Over the past few years we have witnessed a steady stream of tragic gun violence in America, including the shooting in Tucson that killed six Arizonans and wounded 13 others. The horror of Sandy Hook has finally sparked a national discussion on sensible ways to decrease gun violence and keep our communities safe,” said Sen. Lopez.

“Here in Arizona, Republicans swiftly moved into action as well. Unfortunately their reaction was not to protect the people of Arizona from guns, but to protect guns from the people of Arizona.”

Senator Steve Gallardo (District 29):

“This bill is classic overreach by Republican legislators. It takes away local control by prohibiting local law enforcement from destroying guns in their possession, even if a gun was willingly turned in by the owner. This is on top of a law passed last year forcing guns used in violent crimes to be put back on the streets,” said Sen. Gallardo.

Senator Steve Farley (District 9):

“Imagine this scenario: If a teenager commits suicide with a gun, under this bill their grieving family would have to choose between taking that gun back home or giving it up with the knowledge that it would soon be in a display case of a local gun store,” said Sen. Farley.

“This bill takes away that family’s right to destroy their own property as a means of finding closure.”

Senator David Bradley (District 10):

“Republicans are tone deaf to all but the NRA on this issue and completely out of touch with the people of Arizona. A poll released just yesterday shows that 70% of Arizonans support universal background checks,” said Sen. Bradley.

“The sad truth is this: right now it's safer to be a gun in Arizona than a child.”

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Republican senators refuse texting while driving ban


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Farley released the following statement after his proposed floor amendment to HB 2312, which would ban texting while driving, failed along party lines.

Sen. Farley
“I have been working for six years to pass common-sense legislation to ban texting while driving and during that time I’ve heard from families across the state whose loved ones have been seriously injured or killed by texting drivers,” said Sen. Farley. "Forty four other states now ban this dangerous practice. Why can't Republicans and Democrats come together on this issue in Arizona?"

“Despite innocent people dying on the roads and endless studies underscoring the dangers of texting while driving, the ban, SB1218, has been ignored this session and now this amendment has been refused by the Republican majority, tragically politicizing a non-partisan issue. For no good reason, lives of Arizona motorists will continue to be at risk because the Legislature refuses to allow law enforcement to stop irresponsible drivers from looking at their phones instead of the road.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tea Party Republicans work hard to protect guns, not people


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today, the Arizona Senate passed HB 2455 to prohibit law enforcement agencies from destroying a firearm and requiring the agencies to sell unclaimed firearms in its possession. This bill comes after a law by Republicans last year that sets the same requirement for any firearm associated with felony crimes – even murder. Floor discussion on this bill and amendments proposed by Democratic senators was cut off prematurely by Republicans.

Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Linda Lopez, D-2:

“Our state and our nation have witnessed horrific gun violence over the past few years, prompting a national discussion on gun safety and anti-violence legislation. But here in Arizona, the response of Tea Party Republicans has been to require that there be as many guns on the streets as possible and shutting down any legislation aimed at increasing safety in our communities or helping the mentally ill,” said Sen. Lopez.

“This bill bans forfeited guns from being destroyed, even if a gun owner voluntarily turns in a weapon as part of a buyback program. Tea Party Republicans at the Legislature appear to be more concerned with the lifespan of guns than the lifespan of Arizonans.”

Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor, D-27:

“The amendments to HB 2455 brought by Democratic senators addressed the many problems related to gun violence, including protecting domestic violence victims,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

“By shutting down discussion on these issues, Senate Republicans brought the motion to the floor broke our chamber’s rules of decorum and showed disdain for issues that are important to Arizona families. This was a disservice to both the victims of gun violence and to the people of Arizona who elect us to represent them at the Legislature.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sen. McGuire’s CPR training for students bill advances out of the Senate

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Barbara McGuire released the following statement on the passage of her bill SB1337 by the Senate. It now proceeds to the House for consideration.

Background: SB1337 requires every Arizona public school student be provided at least one CPR training session between the 7th and 12th grades.

Sen. McGuire
“I am grateful for my colleagues’ support of this bill,” said Sen. McGuire. “CPR is a simple technique that can be learned in just half an hour, but is an invaluable skill to have when a life is at risk. I look forward to working with members of the House to keep this bill moving forward.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Republicans green light plan to disenfranchise Arizona voters


Sen. Landrum Taylor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor, Senator Steve Gallardo and Senator Jack C. Jackson Jr. released the following statements on today’s passage of SB1003 and SB1261 by the Senate.
  • SB1003 places limitations on who can collect and drop off a voter’s early ballot, making it a felony to do so if you aren’t authorized with proper paperwork. Republicans passed a similar bill in 2011, which was repealed after the U.S. Department of Justice expressed concerns.
  • 
    
    Sen. Jackson
    
  • SB1261 allows elections officials to remove voters from the permanent early voting list (PEVL) if they didn’t vote in both of the two previous primary and general elections and do not opt back in to the list. Senator Michelle Reagan added an amendment to make this bill retroactive to the 2010 elections, meaning it will affect voters who don’t even know it. Someone who has been on the PEVL since 2010 but just now decides to vote will already have to opt back in.

Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor, D-27:
Sen. Gallardo
“The early voting program has given Arizonans across the state, including our minority populations, a greater voice in their representation. But current legislation working its way through the Legislature aims to make it much harder to vote using an early ballot,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor. “We agree that we must take steps to streamline how our votes are counted, but those steps cannot come at the expense of anyone’s ability to vote.”

Senator Jack C. Jackson Jr., D-7:
“Republicans want to make a felon out of someone helping their neighbors to vote, but many members of our tribal communities live in remote areas and depend on help to deliver their early ballots.” said Sen. Jackson. “SB1003 could have a devastating impact on their vote.”

Senator Steve Gallardo, D-29:
“Republicans are trying to roll back the clock on the early voter list by removing Arizona voters who have signed up in the last few years, many of whom are minority voters. By making SB1261 retroactive, they will immediately disenfranchise countless voters just in time for next year’s elections,” said Sen. Gallardo. “By advancing these bills, Republicans have shown that there is no maneuver too contemptible when it comes to protecting their power at the state capitol.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Senator Gallardo introduces ethics reform legislation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today Senator Steve Gallardo introduced ethics reform legislation to increase the transparency and accountability of Arizona's elected officials.
  • SB1280 increases the frequency and detail of elected officials' financial disclosure statements. Statements would require a description of a relationship between any organization from which an official or their family members receive compensation, a detail of any of the official's debts, and an itemized list of any gifts worth more than $100. For members of the Legislature and the governor, reporting would be required monthly when in session and every six months otherwise.
  • SB1281 changes the definition of those required to declare a conflict of interest to include a public officer or employee, or relative of either, who, in taking an action in the discharge of official duties, has a direct or indirect personal financial interest of more than $500.

Sen. Gallardo
"These bills let the voters see behind the curtain which special interests are influencing their representatives, both financially and with gifts," said Sen. Gallardo.

"As elected officials, we are chosen by the voters to represent their interests. To do that effectively we must earn and keep their trust not only in us, but in the system of government."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Senator Gallardo introduces equality legislation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo has introduced four bills to eliminate sexual preference discrimination in employment, adoption and marriage.
  • SB1163 - Prohibits discrimination by an employer or prospective employer against an employee or job applicant based on their gender, gender identity or expression or sexual orientation.
  • SB1164 - Removes from statute the current requirement that adoption preference be given to a married man and woman over that of a single adult.
  • SCR1004 - Proposes an amendment to repeal Article 30 of the state constitution, which states that only marriages between a man and a woman may be legally recognized. If passed by the Legislature, final approval from the voters would be required.
  • SB1165 - Would remove ARS 25-101, Section C, which states that marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited. Enactment is conditional upon passage of SCR1004 by the voters.
    Sen. Gallardo

"While other states have been moving forward to make equal rights for every American, Arizona has moved backward. In 21 states it is illegal to fire someone because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Nine states and the District of Columbia recognize same sex marriage. But in Arizona, adoption agencies are actually required to discriminate against single, gay and lesbian adults," said Sen. Gallardo.

"It's time we have the conversation about how we treat each other in this state. Every Arizonan deserves the right to succeed on their skills at work, marry who they love in their heart and adopt a needy child into their home."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Democratic leaders respond to State of the State address

Sen. Landrum Taylor
Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor (D-27):

“For the past few years our state has endured a Tea Party Legislature that pushed extremist ideologies over common sense solutions and put special interests ahead of Arizona families,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

“Arizonans are tired of elected officials who disregard the common good. It's time for our elected leaders to work together to find real answers that address the problems facing our state.

“Those problems are not insurmountable. We must begin restoring the more than $2.9 billion that have been cut from our kids' schools, while ensuring the classroom is an environment safe from danger. The governor's words on this are encouraging, but will prove empty if she caves to the extremists in her party.

“We must also take a serious look at expanding Medicaid and dedicating more resources to CPS to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of. The health and well being of Arizonans cannot be exploited simply to make petty political gestures against Obamacare.

“We can afford to put families first instead of spending hundreds of millions on tax cuts for special interests and more money for private prisons.

“Senate Democrats are willing to work with Republicans to find solutions to these challenges. We always have been. It’s up to them to finally reject extremist policies by creating laws and crafting a budget in an open and bipartisan way. That's what voters want from us and that's what they sent us here to do.”


Rep. Campbell
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-24):

“We have a lot of work to do this year and I am hopeful that the governor’s remarks are the start of an over due conversation about priorities in this state,” said Rep. Campbell.

“We are committed to developing a long-term plan for Arizona. That plan needs to include a budget and tax system that prioritizes the needs of the middle class. It should restore and protect funding for education and safety programs that were gutted during the recession. It should focus on job creation and future economic security.

“Additionally, we need to work toward getting access to quality and affordable health care for all Arizonans. We have an obligation to reach these goals without sacrificing transparency or government accountability. The bottom line is, we have to make government work for the people of Arizona and we have to make decisions with the future of this state in mind.”