Friday, May 22, 2015
By Arizona House Democrats at 4:12 PM
House Dems Make Second Request for Current DCS Info
In light of reports of ongoing issues facing the Department of Child Safety, House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), have called on the governor's office to provide up-to-date and accurate information regarding the department.
Today, they sent a second request, after a delayed response from the governor's office did not yield current information. Below is a copy of the letter delivered this afternoon.
This letter follows a request Meyer and McCune Davis sent in April. Below is a copy of the original letter.
By Arizona House Democrats at 3:23 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2015
By Arizona House Democrats at 10:11 AM
Bolding encourages Arizona police departments to utilize new online body-worn camera toolkit
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix (District 27), is urging police departments across the state to use a new online body-worn camera toolkit recently published by Arizona State University professors.
“This toolkit offers an important opportunity for police departments in Arizona and across the nation,” Bolding said. “The professors who developed it understand this issue well.”
One of the authors of the toolkit was also the primary researcher in a study of the use of body-worn cameras that spanned 15 months. The study’s findings showed that cameras:
- Increased productivity significantly
- Decreased the number of complaints against officers wearing the cameras
- Increased officer accountability
- Increased the effectiveness of criminal prosecution
Bolding is a vocal advocate for the use of body-worn cameras.
“I’ve had many conversations with people in my district who are concerned about the number of police-involved shootings,” Bolding said. “And I have talked to law enforcement officers who want the public to be more engaged in protecting their communities. The use of body-worn cameras helps foster a more trusting relationship between law enforcement officers and the community.”
Earlier this year, Bolding introduced a bill, HB 2511, that would have required local and state law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while on duty, to ensure both their own safety and the safety of the communities they protect. It would have also established a study committee for law enforcement officer use of body-worn cameras. While Bolding’s bill did not pass, the Legislature did approve a Senate bill that created a study committee similar to the one Bolding proposed. Bolding said he expects the committee will recommend the use of the new toolkit.
“The practice of wearing body cameras speaks directly to the safety and accountability needs of both community members and law enforcement officers,” Bolding said. He added that he intends to offer a bill to require the use of body-worn cameras again next year.
To see a full version of HB 2511, go to http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=2511&Session_Id=114&image.x=0&image.y=0.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
By Arizona House Democrats at 10:14 AM
Republicans put AZ in first place for funding education last
Arizona has the dubious distinction of being first in the nation for college budget cuts and tuition hikes. So once again, the state is garnering national attention for the wrong reasons. The headlines could have been different. For years, Republican leaders chose to cut education – showing that they have no real plan to invest in the future of our children or our state.
A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that when states divest from universities they make college less accessible for students and jeopardize economic stability. The report identifies Arizona as the worst offender.
From the report:
“These (budget) cuts led to steep tuition increases that threaten to put college out of reach for more students. They also raise concerns about diminishing the quality of education at a time when a highly educated workforce is more crucial than ever to the nation’s economic future.”
According the study, Arizona’s in-state per student spending dropped 47 percent, the most in the nation, between 2008 and 2015. And this finding does not include the $99 million cut to Arizona universities or the more than $100 million cut to community colleges that Republicans served up in the budget they passed this year.
This news comes shortly after an announcement that Arizona dropped to 41st in the nation for per capita personal income – with no indication that will change soon. There is so much research pointing to a relationship between education and economic opportunities. Clearly, any real economic recovery plan must include a substantial investment in education.
Instead of slashing education funding in an attempt to balance the budget, Republicans could have stopped special interest tax credits and closed tax loopholes that cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Most Arizonans disapprove of the governor’s decision to gut education funding. Maybe that’s why a recent poll shows that his approval ratings are not good…
We must hold the Republican leadership accountable for their choices. To learn how to get involved to make education a priority at the Legislature, click here.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
By Arizona House Democrats at 2:20 PM
Monday, May 11, 2015
By Arizona House Democrats at 11:00 AM
Republicans might want to put the party hats away for right now …
Arizona’s Republican leaders spent a good amount of time patting themselves on their backs after Moody’s Investors Service, a credit rating provider, increased the state’s credit outlook last week to “stable.” The governor celebrated this news, calling it a “testament to the good work we’ve done.”
He has said repeatedly that they had to make tough choices to balance the budget. He and legislative Republicans did have to make choices. They chose to rush the budget process, and they chose to try to balance the budget on the backs of Arizona’s school kids.
Instead of slashing education and social safety net programs, Republicans could have stopped special interest tax credits and closed tax loopholes that cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. If they had done that, they could have invested more in education, which is the real solution for economic recovery. Research shows a positive relationship between education and economic opportunities . Education is the best way to build a foundation for economic success.
So we think the Republican celebration may be a little premature. In their descriptions, they seemed to have left out the part of the Moody’s report indicating that the credit rating could go back down if:
- The budget is not structurally balanced and/or the reserves are further depleted
- The state faces a significant increase in funding requirements for Medicaid, education or other mandated services
- The state’s economic recovery stalls
Arguably, the state’s budget is not actually structurally balanced. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) reported that a law the governor signed after the budget will leave the state’s budget structurally imbalanced for years. The Legislature also passed several other bills after the budget was signed that will affect the General Fund.
Moody’s report also listed the state’s ongoing K-12 inflation funding litigation as a potential challenge. The Republicans included $74 million for this obligation in the budget but a judge ruled the state owes the schools more than $300 million. This would impact the state’s reserves.
And Arizona’s economic recovery is in a precarious position – because Republican leadership refuses to invest in education. A recent report indicates that Arizona dropped to 41st in the nation for per capita personal income – with no indication that will change soon. Any real economic recovery plan must include a substantial investment in education. The Republicans’ most recent budget cuts $115 million from higher education and $117 million from K-12 education.
Arizona’s economic future will remain in jeopardy until funding education becomes a priority for the Republicans. So while the news from Moody’s is positive, it comes with a number of caveats. When the Republicans attempted to balance the budget by sacrificing support for education, they set the state up for future failure.
Those who are touting this as proof of “The Great Recovery” may want to put the party hats away… at least for right now. There is still a lot of work to do. To learn how to get involved to make education a priority at the Legislature, click here.