Thursday, June 27, 2019

House Dems: SCOTUS rejection of citizenship census question a victory; Now we must ensure accurate count


 PHOENIX – House Democrats, including plaintiffs in the case, called today's Supreme Court ruling to block a citizenship question in the 2020 Census a cautious victory, especially for a diverse fast-growing state like Arizona. But the 5-4 decision -- which left in place lower-court rulings that the citizenship question was improperly added for political reasons to advantage Republicans in redistricting – does not guarantee an accurate census count. Democrats stressed the Trump Administration might try to add the question again under a new rational, and we must now work "harder than ever" to ensure all Arizonans are counted.  

"I hope today's ruling permanently blocks the Trump administration's purely political effort to punish increasingly diverse states like Arizona and put the thumb on the scale for Republicans in Congressional and legislative redistricting after 2020," said House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma. "Adding a citizenship question would have intimidated potential respondents and resulted in a severe undercount in Arizona. That would have diverted hundreds of millions of dollars away from vital federally funded programs that support roads, public education, nutrition, healthcare, victims of crime, community development, assistance for utilities to prevent heat-related deaths and more. We must now work harder than ever to encourage all Arizonans to respond to ensure an accurate count."

Rep. Diego Espinoza has led Democratic efforts in the House to fund census outreach efforts, and was one of four members to sign onto an amicus brief opposing the citizenship question in the Department of Commerce v. New York case decided today.

"Undermining the integrity of the of the census has been defeated for now. But we must remain alert for any attempt to discredit the census to protect a fair and accurate count of our state," said Espinoza, D- Tolleson. "That will require resources and an action plan, as well as a complete count committee that truly represents our state. We must continue to be vigilant to ensure our state coordinates an accurate count that will provide the fair representation, fairly appropriated resources and deliver to our constituents our share of investment to move Arizona forward."

Rep. César Chávez, co-chair of the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus, was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

"Our government should not be instilling fear in the American people. Its job is to serve and preserve the wellbeing of all," said Chávez, D-Phoenix. "Today’s Supreme Court decision only reaffirms that the President’s divisive agenda towards certain communities is not welcomed. As the Co-Chair of the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus, I'm proud to acknowledge that we joined this lawsuit from the beginning. It has taken bold stances to get to this moment, and we intend to move forward with efforts that protect the values and constitutional rights of every individual."

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Monday, May 27, 2019

'May they never be forgotten' - Veteran Andrade delivers Memorial Day Message

PHOENIX, State Capitol – Representative Richard Andrade, along with the House Democratic Caucus, were in session today but took time to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our country for Memorial Day. Andrade is an Air Force veteran and Co-Chair of the Veterans Caucus. His uncle Bernie Lopez was killed in action at Okinawa during World War II. 

“Many who have served in our military never came home during times of conflict," said Andrade, D-Phoenix. "Today we remember they made the ultimate sacrifice so that many in our nation remain free.  We salute our fallen they may never be forgotten.”



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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Andrade idea to provide adult changing tables in public restrooms on its way to governor's desk


PHOENIX, State Capitol – Adult and adolescent members of the disability community – and their parents and caregivers – could soon have more dignified and sanitary options than dirty public bathroom floors to change diapers when out in the community.

A bill championed (and originally sponsored) by Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Phoenix, to require the state to install at least one adult changing station in new or refurbished buildings gained final passage on Wednesday and is headed to Gov. Ducey's desk. In the end, House Bill 2113 passed overwhelmingly 56-2-2, but it had to overcome many obstacles along the way.

Members of the disability community approached Andrade prior to the session with shocking stories of their struggles to find adequate and private areas to change adult diapers when out in public. Andrade then sponsored House Bill 2529 and shepherded it through committee with strong bi-partisan support. But House Rules Chairman Anthony Kern chose to hold the bill, preventing a floor vote. The idea appeared dead, but Republican Rep. Gail Griffin stepped in and allowed the language to be attached to a bill of hers in the Senate, HB2113, with a strike-all amendment.

During his vote explanation, Andrade expressed gratitude to Griffin on behalf of the group Dignified Changes and their loved ones who first approached him, and who rallied at the Capitol when his bill hit its snag.

“This started with an email from a frustrated father to three advocates from Dignified Changes who then brought forward this issue of changing loved ones with disabilities on dirty restroom floors, out in the public, or in a vehicle," Andrade said. "Passing this bill brings dignity, respect and privacy to our family members and especially our family members with disabilities."

"The passing of bi-partisan legislation, like our bill, proves there is hope for our community in regard to protecting basic human rights. Our bill aimed to ensure that privacy and dignity can be afforded to all individuals using a restroom. For individuals like my daughter, and so many others in our community, they deserve to be changed in a dignified way. Today is a day I will remember forever, as it marks a significant milestone for Arizona and its citizens. Our state will be on the right side of history and will serve as an exemplar in our Union to affording safe and accessible changing places for all. This bill was made possible by the significant efforts of many," said Nicole Anderson, cofounder of Dignified Changes.

Find HB2113 online using this link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/GetDocumentPdf/469672


From left to right, Dignified Changes cofounder Marianne Scott, her daughter Macyee, and Representative Richard Andrade at an earlier event this session at the Capitol.

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Monday, April 29, 2019

State Budget Town Hall Presentation (4/27/2019)

Democratic members from both the House and Senate met with constituents this past weekend at a town hall regarding the state budget. Together they were able to break down the process, discuss numbers and answer questions about state budget priorities. The presentation from this town hall is posted below:


























Thursday, April 18, 2019

House Democrats Unanimously Support Texting and Driving Ban

PHOENIX – Saying it was a vote to make Arizona a safer place to live, House Democrats voted unanimously Thursday to ban texting and driving in the state. Their votes helped propel House Bill 2318 to the Governor's desk with a final read vote of 44-16.

The bill bans texting while driving and makes it a primary offense. That was a request of family members who have lost loved ones in accidents involving drivers using cell phones, including the family of Officer Clayton Townsend of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Police Department, who was killed on January 8.

“It has taken almost a decade of efforts from numerous individuals to reach today, Thursday April 18th – a day in which the Arizona State Legislature acts upon this epidemic that haunts the roads of the state of Arizona," said Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix, who sponsored a texting ban as well this year. “To the Townsend Family – I know that there are no words and no actions this body can take to heal the loss of Officer Clayton Townsend. But I do thank you for letting us have him through his service and the work that you have all done in Clayton’s name that are being engraved in the walls of this institution.”

House Democrats opposed a Republican effort to confuse the issue with a second, overly broad ban on "distracted driving" that will increase racial profiling and other unintended consequences. Senate Bill 1141 passed along party lines with all Democrats voting no.

Several Democratic members applauded the efforts over the past decade to pass the ban, including multiple bills sponsored by former Senator Steve Farley of Tucson.



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