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.”


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:

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.



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.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

House Democrats Statement on vote to repeal AZ's outdated 'no promo homo' law

PHOENIX – House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez released the following statement after the House voted 55-5 today to repeal Arizona's outdated 'no promo homo' law that prohibits discussion of homosexuality in public school sexual education classes. Democrats have pushed for years to repeal the 1991 law, and helped negotiate an amendment to Senate Bill 1346 after the law was challenged in court. The bill now faces a potential final vote in the Senate.

"Today we had the opportunity to stand together in a bi-partisan manner and right a wrong. We are repealing a law that has stigmatized untold numbers of Arizonans, and has led to erroneous and dangerous stereotypes, discrimination and bullying. Schools should be a safe, inclusive environment where every student has the opportunity to  learn free from harassment and bullying. In Arizona we can't say that's the case. For the past 28 years, this law has amounted to an official state-sanctioned climate of discrimination. I am so proud of my colleagues who voted yes today to put this chapter in the rear-view mirror and move our state forward."


Friday, March 29, 2019

Speaker Bowers and Representative Fernandez Release Joint Statement on Stringer Investigation

Arizona House of Representatives
Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers (R-25)
House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez (D-4)
1700 West Washington l Phoenix, Arizona l 85007-2844


Speaker Bowers and Representative Fernandez Release Joint Statement on Stringer Investigation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-25) and House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez (D-4) today released the following statement regarding the investigation of David Stringer:

“While we disagree on matters of policy every day, each of us regards our colleagues as friends and family. The shock and horror we felt when we learned the details in this report are indescribable, not just as elected officials but as parents. This is not about politics, it's about the safety and security of children. It will not be easy, but for the sake of our state, for children, and for this institution that we love, we must resolve to move forward from this. The public must know that we hold each other to the highest standards of character, and that they are safe and protected in the Arizona House of Representatives.”

Speaker Bowers and Representative Fernandez will hold a media availability today at 4:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 1 to respond to documents released by the House Ethics Committee.