Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pancrazi honored by Cities and Towns

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma (District 24) has been honored with an award for her support of the relationship between local and state governments by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

Pancrazi received a Friend of Cities and Towns Award at the League’s 2010 Annual Conference Legislative Luncheon last week in Glendale.

“Arizona’s cities and towns are the driving force behind our economy, jobs and our state’s future prosperity,” Pancrazi said. “We need to work together to get Arizona back on track.”

In Yuma County alone, unemployment is 23 percent. La Paz County has a more than 10 percent unemployment rate. Both are higher than the state average, according to the Arizona Workforce Employment Report.

“We are very fortunate to have a legislative team that has always been responsive to the City’s needs,” said Yuma Mayor Al Krieger. “It is a proven fact that most of the economic activity that provides the state with their sales tax revenue is generated within the local cities and towns. Therefore, what is good for our local communities is good for the state. By continuing their dedication to Yuma, our legislative delegation does what’s best for Arizona. I am honored to be able to work with them.”

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns represents the 90 incorporated cities and towns in Arizona at the state legislature.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Escaped prisoners captured, Brewer still on the run

Action taken on prisons spurred by Democrat, ignored by governor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Authorities have taken into custody an escaped murderer and his accomplice, but Gov. Jan Brewer is still on the run from Arizona’s prison problems.

It’s been 24 days since three murderers escaped a private prison then killed a couple in New Mexico, and Brewer has managed to successfully evade Arizonans and the media without saying a word or taking any action.

During Brewer’s time of failed leadership as governor, House Democrats have offered solutions to address Arizona’s private prison security problems. But Brewer and Republicans ignored House Democratic Leader David Lujan’s bills to address private prisons:

HB 2067 - private prisons; regulation (Lujan, 2009)
Cracks down on private prison infractions
Provides more accountability and safety
Never heard in GOV or MAPS committees
No votes taken on bill

HB 2208 - private prisons; regulation (Lujan, 2010)
Cracks down on private prison infractions
Provides more accountability and safety
Never heard in GOV or MAPS committees
o No votes taken on bill

House Democrats also sponsored other bills addressing the private prison issue such as:

HB 2674 - private prison contractors; public records (Sinema, 2010)
o Requires private prisons to make public information regarding their costs, staff, inmates and operations making them adhere to the same requirements as state operated prisons.
o Never heard in GOV or COM committees
o No votes taken on the bill

“Gov. Brewer’s inaction on this public safety threat on Arizona is absolutely atrocious,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “She is getting away with doing nothing on Arizona’s prison security problems. Governor, it’s past time for you to explain yourself to the family of the murdered couple in New Mexico and anyone else who has been terrorized by the five escaped convicts in the last two months.”

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Ariz. unemployment hovers at nearly 10%, Brewer fails on job creation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona’s unemployment rate continues to hover at nearly 10 percent, making Arizona’s unemployment figures higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Despite a January promise to create jobs, Gov. Jan Brewer has allowed Arizona to fall behind while other states like Michigan, had the highest over-the-month gains in jobs for July with nearly 28,000 jobs.

“Gov. Brewer has done nothing to create jobs, and she has let Arizona go down the drain while other states are on the mend,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “Instead of creating jobs like she said she would do, she cut them and continued to push our state down the wrong track.”
In January, Gov. Jan Brewer raved about job creation in a speech to business leaders. She then cut thousands of jobs during an economic crisis, including taking police officers off the streets. (See speech)

“Clearly Gov. Brewer has failed to be a leader with her wrong priorities,” Campbell said. “She can’t seem to keep her promises, and in this type of economic climate, Arizonans need real leadership. It’s time for a change.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

House Democrats want Brewer aides fired, prison system reformed

21 days since murderers escaped, no word from governor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats are calling on Gov. Jan Brewer to fire any aides associated with the private prison industry and conduct an independent review to reform Arizona’s prison system.

“We want Gov. Brewer to show herself and finally take some action after five prison breaks in two months, one which resulted in the killing of two more people,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “It’s time for her to fire the people around her associated with the private prison industry, show a good faith effort at reform and act.”

House Democrats want Brewer to clean house and deal with Arizona’s prison problems as an elected official who should do her job. House Democrats also are calling for an independent review that would serve as the basis to reform the state’s prison system so Arizona families are more secure and public safety is restored.

In her 1 ½ years in office (appointed), Brewer signed a budget that increased the amount of taxpayer dollars and business going to private prisons.

“After 21 days of Arizona escaped murderers running through Western states and killing more people, Gov. Brewer has completely failed to act,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “That’s Jan Brewer. She’s got nothing to offer Arizona. No solutions, no plans, nothing. Meanwhile, our state is in a security crisis.”

Under pressure from the public and House Democrats, Brewer sent Department of Corrections Director Chuck Ryan today to release a prison review her office conducted, showing major faults and flaws detrimental to prison security. Brewer still was no where to be found and has not taken any action on the public safety threats Arizona faces as a result of lax prison security.

“Where is Gov. Brewer?” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “I haven’t seen her on FoxNews talking to Greta about this issue. What’s the plan, Jan?”

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another inmate missing, and so is Brewer, from Ariz. prison problems

20 days since murderers escaped, another breaks out today, still no action from governor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Gov. Jan Brewer still has taken no action on Arizona’s prison problems, despite another inmate escaping today.

Jeffrey Douglas, 44, who was serving 7 ½ years on weapons and theft charges, walked away from a work site in Tucson, and police now search for him. He is the fifth escaped inmate in two months.

“How many more prisoners have to escape for Gov. Brewer to do something?” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Arizona’s taxpayers deserve public safety and accountability, and Gov. Brewer has completely failed.”

It’s been 20 days since three murderers escaped a medium-security private prison in Arizona and reportedly killed a couple in New Mexico, and Brewer still hasn’t said anything on the issue. She also has not released a security review her office said it conducted on the prisons.

“This is just ridiculous,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “It’s Brewer’s failed leadership at its best. She’s failed to do her job. It’s time for a change.”


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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

House Democrats to Brewer: ‘Show the public the prison report’

19 days since murderers escaped, no word from governor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Gov. Jan Brewer still hasn’t released a security review she said her office completed after three murderers escaped from a private prison in Arizona, despite House Democrats’ calls to reveal the report and conduct an investigation.

It’s been 19 days since the murderers escaped a medium-security private prison in Arizona and reportedly killed a couple in New Mexico.

“Where is Gov. Brewer on the prison escape?” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “She still hasn’t provided any transparency or action on this statewide, and now national, public safety issue. Here’s another issue where she failed to provide any leadership whatsoever. Gov. Brewer, let’s see the report.”

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Convict on the run; Brewer on the campaign trail this weekend

13 days since prison break, Democrats still want hearings and “security review” report

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats continue to press for legislative hearings to gather information about how the recent escape of three convicts from a private prison facility in Kingman occurred.

And Democrats were outraged about a recent news report that Governor Jan Brewer’s weekend schedule appeared to be campaign “business as usual” when she still has not directly addressed calls from legislators to provide an accounting to the public of what happened.

“Brewer is scheduled to be politicking with fellow candidate John McCain this weekend. She may want to swing by Kingman and see what happened at that facility firsthand. We need a governor that is on the job, not phoning in from the campaign trail,” said Representative Steve Farley (D-Tucson). Go to this link for details: http://www.kswt.com/Global/story.asp?S=12966127

With thousands of prisoners being held in private prison facilities – and more to be added due to recently-enacted budget plans – Democrats and Republicans alike have demanded that questions regarding oversight and accountability of private prisons be answered by the Brewer administration.

A “security review” that Brewer’s office presumably conducted after the escape still has not been made public.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

No response on call for Legislative hearings despite bipartisan concerns

12 days since prison break, Brewer yet to release “security review” report

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Legislative Democrats have not yet heard a response to their request of Republican Legislative leaders yesterday for legislative hearings on the recent private prison break that resulted in the escape of three convicts that subsequently killed two people.

In that last 24 hours, Republican lawmakers too have demanded answers, despite Governor Jan Brewer’s claim that concerned legislators have “politicized” the issue by merely calling for more information about how the prison break was allowed to happen at the private prison facility in Kingman. Go to this link for more information: http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/PoliticalInsider/92607

“Private prisons are still running the show and who is asking them for answers? Information the Governor’s office claims they have has not been released despite Republican and Democratic legislators calling for legislative hearings. Brewer needs to stop complaining about politics and take some responsibility for this situation. If dangerous inmates in private prisons are not being appropriately secured, the public is at risk,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell.

Lawmakers did receive an email today from a Department of Corrections lobbyist providing a summary of much of the information about the prison break that has been already published in news reports, but the “security review” that Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman told the Arizona Republic two days ago was done has yet to be released.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Legislative Democrats call for special hearings to investigate cause of private prison break

12 days since prison break, and Brewer still has not released "security review" report

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House and Senate Democrats are calling on Speaker Kirk Adams and President Bob Burns to conduct special hearings on the recent private prison debacle that resulted in three convicted convicts escaping and the subsequent murder of an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico.

Democrats said they hope that, at these hearings, Governor Jan Brewer will share a "security review" her spokesman said has already been conducted. The "security review" report has not yet been released to the public but was mentioned by Brewer's spokesperson in an August 10 Arizona Republic article. To read the interview, go to this link: http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2010/08/10/20100810arizona-cons-escape-jan-brewer.html (the security review is discussed in the second to last paragraph).

Democrats sent their Republican counterparts a letter containing the text below (a signed copy of the letter is also attached):

"Dear President Burns and Speaker Adams,

On July 30, three extremely dangerous inmates escaped from a privately-run prison near Kingman. One fugitive is still on the loose. The escapees are tied to a violent crime spree following their prison break, including kidnappings and the murder of an innocent couple from Oklahoma who were visiting New Mexico.

The public deserves answers and accountability. We urge you to immediately hold legislative hearings to investigate the causes of the escape, review security at Arizona’s private prisons, and address the assignment of violent criminals to low security facilities inside private prisons. We need to find out how this situation was allowed to happen and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.

We ask that the Legislature also call on Governor Brewer to share the findings of the “security review” her spokesperson states in an August 10, 2010 Arizona Republic article was already conducted following the escape. To date, this important report has not been made public and the public deserves answers.

The Legislature should determine what went wrong and do so without further delay. We hope you will join us in our call for hearings right away."

Members of both the Senate and House Democratic Leadership teams signed the letter.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

House Democrats ask Brewer to release security review to public

11 days since prison break, still no action from Brewer

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats are calling on Gov. Jan Brewer today to share with the public a security review her office told The Arizona Republic it already did on all of Arizona’s private prisons.

Arizonans have heard nothing from Brewer about the three escaped murderers from a medium-security private prison in Arizona since they broke out 11 days ago, then reportedly murdered a couple in New Mexico.

“Where is Gov. Brewer when Arizona is facing a public safety threat?” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Instead of addressing the lax security at Arizona’s private prisons, she’s calling a special session on a non-issue. Maybe she should tell that to the family of the murdered couple in New Mexico. This is the most blatant example of her failed leadership yet.”


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House Democrats ask Brewer to release security review to public

11 days since prison break, still no action from Brewer

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats are calling on Gov. Jan Brewer today to share with the public a security review her office told The Arizona Republic it already did on all of Arizona’s private prisons.

Arizonans have heard nothing from Brewer about the three escaped murderers from a medium-security private prison in Arizona since they broke out 11 days ago, then reportedly murdered a couple in New Mexico.

“Where is Gov. Brewer when Arizona is facing a public safety threat?” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Instead of addressing the lax security at Arizona’s private prisons, she’s calling a special session on a non-issue. Maybe she should tell that to the family of the murdered couple in New Mexico. This is the most blatant example of her failed leadership yet.”

Brewer does nothing on the private prison escape? Why?

Goddard: Too many killers in private prisons
AG accuses governor of sacrificing security to cut costs
CBS5

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is accusing Gov. Jan Brewer of sending too many convicted murderers to medium-security private prisons.

Goddard contends those facilities are less secure than prisons run directly by the Department of Corrections.

Goddard's accusations come 10 days after three inmates escaped from a private, for-profit prison in Kingman.

Tracy Province and John McClusky were serving sentences for murder. Daniel Renwick was convicted of attempted murder.

Investigators believe McClusky had a role in a double slaying in New Mexico last week, after he escaped.

"I believe a big part of our problem is that the very violent inmates, like the three that have escaped, ended up getting reclassified quickly and then sent to private prisons that were just not up to the job," said Goddard, a Democrat who is challenging Brewer for the governorship.

A recent CBS 5 News investigation found that two of Brewer's top advisers have ties to the private prison industry.

One is a current lobbyist for Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA. The second is a former lobbyist for the same company.

(Read more)

Brewer wants to focus on anti-Arizona worker bill, not prison escape

GOP puts secret ballot measure in motion

Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

With only Republicans in favor, state lawmakers took the first steps Monday to putting a measure on the November ballot to throw a potential roadblock in the path of future union elections.

Both the Senate Judiciary and House Commerce committees agreed with lobbyists for business interests that the Arizona Constitution needs language which would require an election by secret ballot before any group of workers could organize as a union. The full House and Senate are set to debate the measure Tuesday.

Monday's votes came over objections from Democrats, and not only because of what's in the measure itself.

House Minority Whip Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said if lawmakers are at the Capitol they should deal with serious questions, like how two murderers and one convicted of attempted murder were placed in a medium security private prison from which they escaped. Two have since been captured, one just Monday, but not before the murder of a couple in New Mexico believed link to two of the escapees and an accomplice.

"The question is, why is the governor and why is the state not investigating this?'' Campbell said. He said Gov. Jan Brewer should amend the call for the special session that began Monday to also include looking at the classification system which allowed the three to be placed in the Kingman facility.

(Read more)

Monday, August 09, 2010

House Democrats want special session to focus on better security at prisons

3 murderers escape from private prison, kill two, but GOP focuses on anti-Ariz. worker bill

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today House Democrats are calling on Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans to stop wasting taxpayers’ time and money on a special session that doesn’t address Arizona’s real problems like security at the state’s private prisons.

“Arizona is at risk, and we want Gov. Brewer to use this special session to call an investigation into how three murderers were able to escape from a private prison in our state, then reportedly kill a couple in New Mexico over the weekend,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “These security breakdowns resulted in people dying, and we need to do something now to ensure public safety and that no others are killed because of the irresponsible decisions of the administration.”

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to spend more money to fund a special session that doesn’t address Arizona’s real problems like:
Lack of security at private prisons
An unbalanced budget
The 10 percent unemployment rate
Our schools’ rank of dead last in the nation for education funding

But Brewer called a special session to get an anti-Arizona worker bill on the ballot.

“It’s a slap in the face that right now our kids are heading back to crowded classrooms, fewer teachers and a still a lack of education funding,” said Rep. Rae Waters, D-Ahwatukee. “It’s disappointing that the special session wasn’t called to fix Arizona’s ranking of dead last in education funding.”

Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Phoenix, said when he talks to constituents in his district, their concerns aren’t with an anti-union referendum.

“People in my district ask me why is the legislature wasting our time and money?” Meyer said. “They want to see results on important issues facing our state — jobs, education and the economy. Arizona taxpayers already have paid for too much, and they’re not getting what they paid for. It’s time to get Arizona working again.”