Monday, November 28, 2016

Democratic Caucus announces committee members

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs (LD24) today announced committee assignments for Democratic members during the 53rd Legislature.

(*) Denotes ranking member

Committee on Appropriations
Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford*
Sen. Steve Farley
Sen. Katie Hobbs
Sen. Martin Quezada

Committee on Commerce & Public Safety
Sen. Sean Bowie
Sen. Robert Meza*
Sen. Catherine Miranda

Committee on Education
Sen. David Bradley
Sen. Catherine Miranda*

Committee on Finance
Sen. Sean Bowie
Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford
Sen. Steve Farley*

Committee on Government
Sen. Lupe Contreras*
Sen. Juan Mendez
Sen. Robert Meza

Committee on Health & Human Services
Sen. David Bradley*
Sen. Katie Hobbs

Committee on Judiciary
Sen. Lupe Contreras
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro
Sen. Martin Quezada*

Committee on Natural Resources, Energy & Water
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro*
Sen. Lisa Otondo
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai

Committee on Rules
Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford
Sen. Katie Hobbs*
Sen. Martin Quezada

Committee on Transportation & Technology
Sen. Juan Mendez
Sen. Lisa Otondo*
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai

Friday, September 16, 2016

Courts reject SB1070 and Arizona should, too

Sen. Hobbs
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX The Senate Democratic Caucus leadership released the following joint statement on the Valle del Sol et al. v. Whiting et al. lawsuit agreement against SB1070:

“This lawsuit permanently blocks the cruel and unconstitutional provisions of SB1070 that criminalized free speech and everyday activities like driving a family member to the store.

“While most of SB1070, the law that brought Arizona international disgrace, has been struck down by our courts, the shell of it is still on the books and is vigorously defended by legislative Republicans. Every session since its signing six years ago members of our caucus have introduced bills to repeal this hateful and racist law. And every session those bills have been denied a hearing by Republicans.
Sen. Farley

“Under this agreement the Arizona Attorney General agreed to issue an opinion dictating that law enforcement officers cannot base suspicion of unlawful presence based on race or ethnicity, cannot stop anyone solely to investigate their legal status and cannot hold a person to investigate their legal status any longer than is needed to address the violation for which the person was detained.

Sen. Contreras
“We trust that Arizona’s dedicated and hard working law enforcement officers will follow the AG’s directive. But to elected heads of law enforcement agencies who prefer grandstanding and self-promotion over following the law: know that we and our communities will keep a close watch and will not hesitate to once again use the full power of the courts.


“The courts have effectively rejected SB1070 and the people of Arizona reject the politics of hate, division and fear its supporters champion. Let’s stop wasting valuable taxpayer dollars defending this racist law and continue Arizona’s recovery from the damage it wrought on our reputation by finally repealing SB1070 in its entirety in January, bringing closure to one of the ugliest chapters of Arizona's history.”
Sen. Quezada

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Statement on the passing of Governor Mofford

Sen. McGuire
"Arizona's mining country lost one of its native daughters today with the passing of Governor Mofford," said Senator McGuire.

"Her wit, humility and energy were well known throughout the district where she grew up and whenever you saw her, whether at an event or around town, you knew you were in for a treat.

"I was privileged to get to know Governor Mofford over the years, to learn from her political advice and to call her my friend.

"Her tenacity and grace exemplified the spirit of Arizona. She was a special person and a rare leader who will be deeply missed."

Statement on the passing of Governor Mofford

Sen. Hobbs
“Governor Mofford has always been an inspiration to me, both politically and personally,” said Senator Hobbs. “I first met Governor Mofford at Arizona Girls' State, when I was a high school junior and she was secretary of state, and I remember how gracious she was to everyone. She gave us all small mirrors and talked to us about loving ourselves the way we are, which, coming from our state's first female secretary of state, was very powerful to a group of teenage girls.

“With her unique blend of Arizona toughness and genuine kindness Governor Mofford not only broke historic barriers, she also healed our state after years of controversy. She was a leader who truly put the good of the people first.

“I mourn with all Arizonans the loss of a true Arizona legend.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

$54M grant will improve safety, efficiency on I-10 corridor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Barbara McGuire (LD-8) released the following statement on the awarding of a $54 million federal FASTLANE grant to widen and improve I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix:
Sen. McGuire

"The I-10 corridor is critical to the people of LD8 and to our economy. As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I know that this grant will improve our ability to safely and efficiently travel throughout Central Arizona and between Tucson and Phoenix," said Sen. McGuire.

"In this year's budget we included $30 million for these improvements, contingent on receiving this FASTLANE grant. Now, thanks to Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick's strong leadership on behalf of our district, a combined $84 million will ensure the I-10 corridor will be ready to handle future growth in LD8."

Historic grant will benefit the long-term health of Arizonans

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Barbara McGuire (LD-8) released the following statement on the awarding of a $43.3 million peer-reviewed National Institutes of Health grant to the University of Arizona Health Sciences and Banner Health to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program:

Sen. McGuire
"The health of Arizonans is vital, especially in rural areas where medical care can be hours away, which is why I championed UA/Banner's application for this NIH grant and am thrilled they received what is the largest NIH peer-reviewed grant in state history," said Sen. McGuire.

"The addition of Arizona to this critical research will also allow the inclusion of our Native American and Hispanic communities in order to provide a more diverse view of disease treatment and prevention. I am proud that the University of Arizona's world-class bioscience research is has been recognized and rewarded with this far-reaching grant."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

DACA/DAPA families deserve Congressional action on immigration reform

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on the split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on United States vs. Texas:

Sen. Miranda
"I am deeply disappointed with today’s U.S. Supreme Court 4-4 split decision on the United States vs. Texas case regarding DAPA and the expansion of DACA. The hopes and dreams of countless immigrant families hung on this decision. Their future is now unclear," said Senator Miranda.

"As disheartening as this is, we must stand united against the divisive rhetoric and policies that sprout from many across the aisle. It is imperative that Congress finally act and pass a comprehensive immigration reform. Its lack of action on nearly anything, particularly on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, had a direct effect on this decision. Its continued lack of action in favor of partisan obstructionism will only keep damaging the fiber of American families they are sworn to protect.

"Through unity and determination we must continue to utilize all available resources in order to create change. We will continue to push. The fight will go on."

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sen. Pancrazi law allows adoptive families avoid legal limbo

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senator Lynne Pancrazi (D-Yuma) released the following statement on the signing of her bill SB1330, which allows counties to finalize adoptions by ending the custodial rights of biological parents who cannot be located.

The Yuma County Attorney's office was forced to stop providing this service to family members and foster families who were in the process of adopting when a judge ruled the office lacked the authority to do so.
Sen. Pancrazi

"This one-sentence change to statute allows families in Yuma, and across the state, to finally escape their legal limbo when a child's biological parent cannot be found or refuses to be found. I thank my legislative colleagues for passing this legislation and Governor Ducey for signing it," said Senator Pancrazi.

"I am thrilled and relieved that these children will finally become members of loving, stable families and they can all move on with their lives, permanently together."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We can honor Officer Glasser’s sacrifice by helping his family

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on the death of Phoenix Police Officer David Glasser:
Sen. Miranda

“It is with sincerest condolences that our hearts are grieving for the recent death of Officer David Glasser who was fatally wounded in the line of duty yesterday afternoon. May his wife and beautiful children find solace during this trying time,” said Senator Miranda.

“I encourage all to donate to The 100 Club, which is an amazing organization that focuses on helping the families of first responders who have been injured or fatally wounded in the line of duty, online at www.100club.org or by calling 602-485-0100. All funds donated in honor of Officer Glasser go directly to The 100 Club’s “Survivor’s Fund” and are made available to first responders’ surviving families - no administrative costs are taken from the Survivor’s Fund. Organizations such as ABC 15 are holding phone banks benefiting The 100 Club in memory of Officer Glasser. I urge you to find the specific information for these efforts on their website or social media accounts.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Defendants now must take next step in funding K-12

KSTATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs released the following statement on the passage of Prop 123:

"The passage of Prop 123 resolved the inflation funding lawsuit, but that only happened after
Sen. Hobbs
legislative Democrats, educators and parents insisted on holding the defendants accountable. It does not make our schools whole, does not restore other devastating cuts the Legislature has made, and it keeps Arizona at the bottom of the barrel in terms of per-pupil spending.

“Governor Ducey has stated that passage of Prop 123 is just a start toward adequately funding our schools and we will hold him to that. The conversation about next steps must start right now.

“As a show of good faith, the governor should begin efforts to restore the additional cuts made to schools and work with the education community and legislative Democrats to find a sustainable and responsible plan to fund our schools moving forward.

“Next year's budget must provide our students and teachers the resources they need to succeed, like updated textbooks and technology, and it must sustain a workforce of quality teachers.

“As always, we stand ready to work across the aisle for a sustainable way to fund our schools. For too long we have starved our schools. Now is the time to honestly and earnestly take steps to make them whole again.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Budget is a shameful failure of leadership

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs released the following statement on this year’s budget:

"One word sums up this year's budget: Shameful.
Sen. Hobbs

“It's shameful that the Republican majority refused to restore KidsCare and provide health coverage to 30,000 Arizona children. It's shameful that the Republican legislators who supported it caved to pressure and either voted against it or went into hiding. And it's shameful that Republican leaders at the Capitol are so devoted to ideology that they are willing to deny Arizona children their health just to prove a point.

“This budget does some good in areas for which legislative Democrats have long advocated. But even then, we could do so much better for the people of Arizona.

“HURF funds that for years have been swept by Republicans will finally be given to our counties where they are desperately needed to repair and maintain neglected roads. Accelerating the State Route 189 expansion will end the economic bottleneck that has seen us lose vital trade to Texas and its efficient ports. And for the first time in many years our public schools will not see a cut in their funding, though even that did not happen without a fight and does not restore the $116 million that was cut last year.

“This budget also adds $32 million in funding to our universities, after having slashed them by $99 million last year, but earmarks $5 million of that specifically for Koch brothers-backed "freedom schools" that actively advocate for the complete elimination of public education.

“What this budget leaves on the cutting room floor is hundreds of millions in surplus revenue - a fraction of which could be used for a down payment on a true ‘next step’ toward adequately funding our K-12 schools, restoring the spiteful 12 month reduction of temporary assistance for needy families made in last year's budget back to 24 months, and prison reforms that prevent recidivism.

“But what we wouldn't even need one dime for, and what is most shameful of all, are the 30,000 Arizona children of families who earn too much to qualify for AHCCCS but not enough for private insurance. It was literally the least we could do in this budget, but the Republican ideologues who control this state chose to leave those children and their families to suffer.

“It's a shameful failure of leadership.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Executive action on immigration is proper, necessary

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on today’s oral arguments challenging President Obama’s executive action on immigration:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing of opening statements today regarding President Obama’s
Sen. Miranda
executive actions on immigration has set forth a process that will impact the near future of Arizona and the country as a whole,” said Senator Miranda.

“As a strong supporter of President Obama’s executive actions I find the Republicans' challenge against them extremely disrespectful to both President Obama and all immigrant families who will ultimately be affected by the decision. With Republican senators blocking President Obama’s new U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee, the possibility of a 4-4 split decision is very real. This split decision would ultimately prove to be the same as a ruling against the executive actions. It’s imperative that we as legislative officials, concerned citizens, and civil rights activists turn the Republicans' unprecedented disrespect into an enormous and powerful civil action. 

“Over the past couple of days I have received dozens of calls from worried immigrant families in my legislative district. There is one word that resonates with each and every one of these calls: angst. It is disheartening to think that the future of millions of American families hangs on one decision, but I stand alongside these families very hopeful of a positive ruling in the next couple of months.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Allowing Dreamers to drive will allow AZ to thrive

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Arizona cannot deny licenses to Dreamers:
Sen. Miranda

"Once again the courts have said that Arizona cannot deny drivers licenses to Dreamers, and once again our top office holders say they are considering whether to appeal," said Senator Miranda.

"It's time for this state's ruling party to relinquish this fight, stop wasting taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars and acknowledge that the children of undocumented immigrants play a crucial role in our economy and make important contributions to our communities. Allowing Dreamers to drive to work, to drive to school and to have an official I.D. will allow our state to thrive."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FDA label update negates the need for SB1324

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs released the following statement regarding the updated Food and Drug Administration labeling of mifepristone:

Sen. Hobbs
"The drug label that SB1324 would require Arizona doctors to follow was written based on a regimen developed in the 1990s. Almost two decades of evidence-based practice and research since then has demonstrated the safety of mifepristone's use beyond the old label's restrictions," said Senator Katie Hobbs.

"The ultra-conservative group Center for Arizona Policy claims this bill is needed simply for the safety of women. If that is truly the case, they should call for the veto of this bill. But the group that has forced upon Arizona numerous bills attacking women's rights, not to mention the international embarrassment of 2014's right-to-discriminate SB1062, won't do that because their true intention is to deny the rights of women and their doctors to make the best medical decisions for themselves.

"I urge Governor Ducey to veto this bill because politicians should not require Arizona's medical professionals to practice 20th Century medicine in the 21st Century, forcing them to violate their Hippocratic Oath by putting what's best for their patient second to the ideological tyranny of conservative extremists."

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

AZ Agribusiness & Equine Center HS sets standard we should achieve for every student in our state

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Last week the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center Early College High School at South Mountain, located in LD27, was named a "Top School" by the Education Equality Index in closing the academic achievement gap.

According to the Education Equality Index:
The Education Equality Index score is calculated by identifying the percentage of students from low-income families that reach proficiency averaged across every subject/grade, and comparing it to the percentage of all students across a given state that reach proficiency averaged across every subject/grade.
Schools classified as “Top Schools” are those with small or nonexistent achievement gaps that serve a student population where at least 51 percent of students are from low-income families as measured by the free or reduced price lunch (FRL) program. 51 percent FRL is the national average school concentration of students from low-income families.
Sen. Miranda
"I am extremely proud that LD27's own Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center Early College High School at South Mountain has been labeled a "Top School" in closing the achievement gap by the Education Equality Index," said Senator Miranda. "For nearly two decades the teachers and staff at AAEC have taught their diverse students to not only achieve academically, but also the importance of giving back to their community.

"But one achieving school does not solve the systemic challenges facing our public and charter schools in Arizona. The Education Equality Index gives Phoenix a score of 41.7 out of 100, and 43 for the state as a whole. It classifies a score below 49.9 as a 'Large Achievement Gap' - their next-to-lowest score. This is unacceptable and avoidable. We must address the teacher retention crisis in our state and we must sufficiently fund our schools in a sustainable and equitable way.

"I look forward to the day when we can say that every school in Arizona provides equal opportunity to all of our students, no matter where they live or how much money their family earns."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Yesterday’s voter disenfranchisement inexcusable, avoidable

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXSenator Martin Quezada released the following statement on the handling of yesterday’s presidential preference election in Maricopa County:
Background:
Sen. Quezada
Senator Quezada introduced the four bills this session that would have alleviated the issues of multiple hour waits to vote and independent voter confusion. None were given a hearing by the majority party.
  • SB1027 (presidential preference election; independent voters) Would have opened up the presidential preference to Independent voters. Included an emergency clause so it would apply to yesterday’s vote.
  • SB1028 (early voting centers; extended hours) Would have extended early voting center hours and required them to be open the two weekends preceding Election Day and the Monday before Election Day.
  • SB1031 (voting centers; on-campus voting) Would have mandated on-campus polling locations for universities and community colleges and in-person absentee voting for out-of-state voters. The number of polling places would be one for every 10,000 students enrolled, up to six polling locations.
  • SB1032 (election procedures; workers; precincts; provisionals) Would have mandated a maximum allowable wait time for voting of 30 minutes and create mechanisms to ensure less wait time, such as a secondary line for those voting provisionally. Also provided that the officer in charge of the precinct must determine what measures need to be taken to ensure wait times do not exceed the 30 minutes, including but not limited to: bilingual poll workers, more polling places or creating secondary lines. Voters who initially went to the wrong polling place would be provided a type of ‘front of the line pass’ for their correct polling place.
“Traveling across the West Valley yesterday, I saw only one polling place for my entire legislative district and none in neighboring district 30, both of which are heavily minority and Democratic. This disgraceful situation was allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to gut the Voting Rights Act, with formal support from our previous Republican attorney general,” said Senator Quezada.

“No responsible calculation could assume 60 polling places to be adequate for Maricopa County. At a minimum, there should have been a contingency plan to handle higher turnout. Instead, Maricopa Recorder Helen Purcell told a Fox 10 reporter it was the fault of "the voters who got in line."

“Purcell also blamed Independent voters who are banned by state law from voting in presidential preference elections. This isn't the first time we've seen election officials complain that voter confusion causes delays at the polls, yet it is their job to properly educate voters.

“Governor Ducey properly stated this morning that waiting for hours to vote is unacceptable and Independents should be allowed to vote. That's easy to say in the face of voter outrage, but he and his fellow Republican legislators ignored the opportunity to prevent this from happening in the first place with my bill, SB1027, to allow Independent voters to participate in yesterday's election.

“I also had bills to make voting easier for Arizonans, not harder, but those, too, were ignored while Republicans advanced bills that strengthen dark money's influence in our elections and turn citizens into felons for helping others vote.

“We learned some valuable lessons yesterday at the expense of suppressing many votes. One lesson is we must ensure there are enough polling places so everyone who wants to vote can do so conveniently. The other lesson is this - the concerted Republican effort to suppress minority, Democratic and Independent must and will be fought both in the courts and on Election Day.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

AZ’s business, community leaders must defend our image, economy from damaging anti-immigrant bill

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on anti-immigrant bill SB1377 (sentence enhancements; unlawful presence; release), which will be heard in the House Military Affairs and Public Safety committee at 9 a.m. tomorrow in HHR5.

Sen. Miranda
"In the six years since SB1070 devastated Arizona's reputation, damaged our economy and violated the trust of Hispanics, we have managed to heal that self-inflicted wound through the hard work of our business and community leaders. But moving its way through the Legislature is a new bill that would rip open that wound, announce to the world that our state doesn't welcome immigrants and undermine efforts to improve relations with Mexico - our largest trading partner," said Senator Miranda.

"SB1377 would force Arizona judges to ignore their best judgement and give mandatory increased sentences to any undocumented immigrant convicted of a crime. It would also cost taxpayers their hard-earned dollars to cover the additional cost of the longer sentence, which would have to be served in state facilities instead of being transferred to federal facilities halfway through their sentence as is current practice.

"It is my sincere hope that the community and business leaders who have worked so hard to repair Arizona's image in the wake of SB1070 will speak out against SB1377 and defend our state's reputation as a business and tourist destination that welcomes everyone."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Restoring KidsCare can’t wait

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs released the following statement urging Senate President Andy Biggs to allow HB 2309 (children's health insurance program) to be considered in the Senate:

Background:
For six years, enrollment in our state's KidsCare health insurance program has been frozen and tens of thousands of Arizona children from low-income working families have been denied quality, affordable health care. But beginning in October 2015 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now pays 100 percent of state costs through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through at least FY 2017 and likely through September 2019.

This is not a hand-out program. Participating families share the cost through required monthly payments. In fact, CHIP programs help stimulate businesses and our economy. A Harvard Business School study found that CHIP families have a 23 percent higher rate of self employment and a 31 percent higher rate of business ownership.

HB 2309, which would restore KidsCare, passed out of the House with an overwhelming bipartisan majority a week ago and awaits first read and assignment to committee in the Senate. Next week is the last week to hear bills in committee.
Sen. Hobbs

"Restoring KidsCare would help an estimated 30,000-40,000 kids get health care at absolutely no cost to the state and would infuse more than $75 million of our hard-earned federal tax dollars into our economy. And if the federal government ever decided to end their fiscal support of this program, state law would automatically limit or freeze enrollment to protect the state budget," said Senator Hobbs.

"Arizona has the nation's third highest percentage of uninsured children at almost 160,000. We should restore this program for the children and families who could see their futures change for the better, and we should restore it because it's simply the right thing to do."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Anti-immigrant bills stir hatred, damage AZ’s economic prospects

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on this year’s slate of anti-immigrant bills:
Sen. Miranda

“Yesterday two anti-immigrant bills were killed in the Senate, SB 1017 and SB 1378, but one passed. The one that survived, SB 1377, was arguably the worst. Not only does it tie the hands of our courts, forcing them to give mandatory increased sentences to any undocumented immigrant convicted of a crime, but it saddles every Arizona taxpayer with the additional cost of the longer sentence and requires the entire sentence be served in Arizona facilities. Currently, these criminals are transferred to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement  facilities after serving fifty percent of their sentence. The only beneficiary of this irrational legislation is the private prison industry.

“There are still more working their way through the House of Representatives: HB 2024, HB 2223, HB 2682, HB 2691, to name a few.

“The fact that the Legislature even gave these bills a hearing, let alone let them get this far in the process, risks re-opening the wound to Arizona’s national and international image that was caused by SB1070.

“These bills also jeopardize the enormous strides that have been made to rebuild our relations with Mexico - our largest trading partner whose impact on our economy is critical to our continued recovery. Governor Ducey and many of Arizona’s legislators and mayors understand the importance of this relationship and have taken an active role in making improved relations with Mexico a priority.

“Believe me, Mexico is watching these bills. In a column published Sunday, Victor Martinez Remigio Cantu, professor of public policy at Hermosillo’s Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, explained that these bills give Arizona the chance to choose between sending a negative message to the Latino community and the world, or acknowledging that immigration is a “complex problem that requires intelligent solutions.”

“I commend the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for working with me to successfully fight SB1017 but our work is certainly not done. This effort cannot and should not involve that chamber alone.


“This is why I call on the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and every chamber of commerce in our great state to speak out against these damaging bills that do nothing but stir up an atmosphere of hatred, and stand up for the integrity of Arizona’s welcoming image and our economic security.”

Monday, January 25, 2016

Senator Dalessandro named State Director for the Women In Government Foundation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Andrea Dalessandro (LD2) was recently sworn in as a State Director for the Women In Government Foundation, Inc. (WIG). Senator Dalessandro joins 199 other women state legislators to serve in this role for 2016. As such, Senator Dalessandro serves as an ambassador for the state of Arizona, helping drive commerce and educational opportunities while assisting WIG with its state-based policy events across the region. WIG nominates four directors from each state every year to ensure all sides of the electorate are fairly represented.

Sen. Dalessandro
“I'm excited to join this group of women leaders to share ideas on how to make government work harder and better for our states. As a state director, I will encourage my colleagues at the Arizona Legislature to utilize the valuable resources available from WIG,” said Senator Dalessandro.

“We at WIG sincerely appreciate Senator Dalessandro’s willingness to serve in such an important capacity on behalf of our organization,” said Dyan Alexander, Executive Director, WIG. “As we work with organizations and corporations interested in sharing the most cutting-edge research and information on pressing policy issues with legislators, having Senator Dalessandro’s assistance is critical. They help ensure those who represent the electorate make sound decisions based on the latest information available. We sincerely thank Senator Dalessandro for all she does on behalf of those she serves.”

WIG is a national 501(c)(3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves the 1,804 (or 24.4%) women state legislators across the nation. It is based in Washington, DC and supports women state legislators across the United States. WIG provides leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues. Its goal is to empower state legislators to make the most informed policy decision based on the most up-to-date information available. WIG has been serving in this capacity for 27 years to date.

For more information about WIG, please contact Cherisse Eatmon, Manager of Legislator Outreach, at 202-333-0825, ext. 200. www.womeningovernment.org.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Senator Sherwood intros bills to curb discrimination, register voters

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXSenator Andrew Sherwood (LD-26) has introduced two bills: one to expand the prohibition of discrimination and one to make voter registration available to students when they take the new high school civics test.
Sen. Sherwood

·  SB1199 (employment; housing; public accommodations; antidiscrimination) expands the prohibition of discrimination in public places, employment, or housing  due to a person’s gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status.

“Even after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBT individuals do not have equal protection under the law. They are still at risk of losing their jobs and not being able to live in the neighborhood of their choice,” said Sen. Sherwood. “These protections should also apply to veterans who have sacrificed so much and risked their lives so we could enjoy the security and freedoms we have.”


·        SB1201 (civics test; voter registration materials) would require voter registration materials to be available at locations where the new high school civics test is administered.

“This form of voter outreach, which is already done in 27 other states, has no cost for schools to implement. The purpose of the high school civics test is to ensure students know the government and civics of our country, so it makes sense the next step would be to make available voting materials where they can put into practice what they’ve learned as part of their graduation requirement.”

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cardinals make Arizona proud

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD27) released the following statement on the Arizona Cardinal’s defeat of the Green Bay Packers:
Sen. Miranda

"There's a reason we call them the ‘Cardiac Cards’ and Saturday's game against the Green Bay Packers was one of the most exciting games we've ever seen," said Sen. Miranda.

"Michael Bidwell and our Arizona Cardinals have made their home state proud as they've shown time and again this season that they are a team with heart, unity and tenacity. I wish them a well-earned congratulations and look forward to seeing them beat Carolina on their way to the Super Bowl!"

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ducey plan has small hits, big misses

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released statements on Governor Ducey’s 2017 budget proposal.

House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer:
Rep. Meyer
“Governor Ducey does a good job of covering up the glaring lack of substance in his proposal with bold claims to get attention. In actuality, his budget does nothing to improve education in Arizona,” said Rep. Meyer.

“Despite widespread, bipartisan support for restoring money to career and technical education programs, the governor plans to strangle them with red tape by forcing them into a bureaucratic grant scheme. These programs improve graduation rates and increase employment opportunities. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it; just fund it.

“He again illustrates his true priorities by planning to provide more money for prisons than for universities. And the governor’s budget for K-12 education does nothing to solve the teacher retention, mentoring and recruitment problems in our public schools.  The executive budget fails to offer real solutions to real problems.”

Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
Sen. Hobbs
“Governor Ducey’s proposed budget has some wise investments but does not go far enough in areas of critical need. We are pleased to see investments in areas like vocational rehabilitation, adult preventive dental and a community correction center in Maricopa County that will help offenders adjust to life out of prison,” said Sen. Hobbs.

“However, we are disappointed to see the status quo maintained at DCS. The failures there are systemic from the top down, with caseloads at historically high levels and staff morale at historically low levels, yet this budget ignores recommendations from independent experts and stakeholders on how to keep kids safe. The funds proposed to address the backlog simply aren’t enough to solve the problems and come with no accountability to ensure the funds are spent effectively.

“This budget provides no new money for preventive services, like restoring TANF and eliminating the child care wait list, that are proven to keep kids in their homes and out of the system in the first place. It appears that Governor Ducey’s staff spent more time and energy into putting together a $31.5 million border strike force that nobody wants than finding a solution to our state’s child safety crisis.

“We hope that the governor and Republican leaders will acknowledge that they serve all Arizonans, not just Republicans, and engage in meaningful discussions on reasonable changes to this budget that will protect Arizona’s children, help those in need and position our state to excel economically and improve quality of life for everyone.”

Monday, January 11, 2016

State Democratic Leaders Announce Legislative Priorities

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 24), and Arizona House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), released the following joint statement regarding Democrats’ legislative priorities for the upcoming session.
Sen. Hobbs

“Arizonans are independent and innovative. There is no good reason why, nearly a decade after the Great Recession, so many people are still struggling in this state, especially when most of the country has already recovered. It is a failure of leadership from the Republicans, and that has to change now. 
Rep. Meyer

“Democrats have a clear vision that will move us all forward by focusing on five key areas:  public education, supporting the community, public safety, economic development, and responsible stewardship of our natural resources. Public schools and universities should have the resources needed to prepare our students for the future. Vulnerable children in our communities should be able to trust agencies like the Department of Child Safety to ensure their well-being. Arizona’s taxpayers should feel confident their hard-earned tax dollars will be used to encourage job growth, and they must no longer shoulder the burden of special interest tax cuts that show no real benefit to the economy. Public safety should not be a for-profit endeavor; the corrections system needs oversight, transparency and meaningful sentencing reform. Our state’s natural resources should be managed to guarantee their availability for generations to come and to keep tourists visiting our great state. These are the priorities that will get our state back on track. 

“We cannot afford to remain mired in the failed policies of the past. Democrats will work to reform, restore and reinvest in policies that will strengthen our state. This needs to be a year of progress.”