Thursday, September 23, 2010

McGuire fights for reasonable EPA rule for farmers and Arizona’s rural economy

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Barbara McGuire, D-Kearny (District 23) is urging Arizona’s Congressional delegation to support farming and rural economic development by opposing a planned strict regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has drafted a new policy almost doubling the stringency of the standard by which dust is regulated. Many farming activities kick up dust, and the economic impact this regulation would have on farmers and rural communities in Arizona could be devastating, hindering farmers’ ability to maintain production and bringing economic growth to a standstill.

“The standards would be twice as stringent as the current standards and propel virtually all areas in the desert southwest into non-attainment and trigger costly, and quite frankly, unobtainable control measures,” McGuire said in a letter she wrote to Arizona’s Congressional delegation. “Arizona and the desert southwest will be greatly impacted by this change and further hinder our economic recovery. However, we need to balance jobs with the environment — we all want clean air, including rural families and farmers.”

McGuire has been a valuable advocate for rural Arizona. In May, her bill (HB 2133) was signed into law; it ensures that mines throughout the state are not penalized by the EPA for weather abnormalities that lead to inaccurate readings of air pollution by the mine. (See press release: http://www.azhousedemocrats.com/2010/05/mcguire-mining-bill-signed-into-law.html)

Attached is a letter from McGuire to members of Arizona’s Congressional delegation.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GOP ignored bipartisan solution, now state parks could be sold

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and her privatization commission want to sell state parks to private corporations, after she and GOP lawmakers ignored bipartisan bills last legislative session that would have solved the state parks issue.

“State parks not only serve an important historic and tourist value to Arizona, but also they bring vital dollars, jobs and business to these rural and small town economies,” Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said. “Who wants to see a roller coaster going through Kartchner Caverns or heavy advertising of a large corporation in front of Red Rock State Park? That’s not the Arizona we all know and love.”

Brewer’s Commission on Privatization and Efficiency wants to — big surprise — privatize state parks, giving private corporations the opportunity to run the parks, collect admission fees, sell food and other items, and even operate lodging.

HB 2628 and HCR 2040, sponsored by Democrats and Republicans would have created a sustainable parks fund that would keep Arizona parks open.

“Republicans ignored solutions earlier this year to keep our state parks open and preserve Arizona’s beautiful lands,” Patterson said. “Now it seems Brewer and her ‘Privatize Everything Commission’ are only intent on selling state parks. Arizonans know that when that plan fails, just like the private prison escapes, she’ll do nothing to solve it, and our state parks will be left in shambles.”

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Sinema discusses benefits of new law on six-month anniversary of health reform

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema will join advocates and Arizona families at an event highlighting the six-month anniversary of the signing of federal health care into law, the date on which many key and popular provisions of the new law are set to take effect.

These reforms include a ban on insurers denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, such as children with autism, or dropping patients after they get sick or develop a disease like breast cancer. They end lifetime caps on coverage and provide free preventative care under all new plans.

“It’s important that Arizonans know about the new law and how it will affect them after Republicans, including Gov. Jan Brewer, took health care away from so many of us,” Sinema said. “Under the law, insurance companies that prey on Americans every day won’t be able to take advantage of them anymore.”

Six-month anniversary of federal health care law
Who: Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema
What: Informational event highlighting the new provisions of the federal health care law which are set to take effect this week.
When: Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
Where: Organizing for America office, 103 W. Highland Ave., Phoenix

The event is part of a series of events in more than 30 states nationwide being organized by state legislators in collaboration with the Progressive States Network and the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform. For more information, visit http://progressivestates.org/statefedhealth


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sinema bill could have aided in prosecuting drop house, GOP ignored it

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Authorities rescued a 9-year-old Ecuadorian boy Monday from a drop house where he had been kidnapped and held hostage by a dangerous human smuggler for more than four months.

The boy became separated from his mother while they were smuggled across the border by human traffickers in May. The smugglers demanded $4,000 for the child’s release, which his parents were unable to pay.

“We must secure our borders,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “It’s clearer now more than ever that Republicans’ tactics have failed miserably to deal with crime and violence along the border and in our neighborhoods. They blatantly have ignored bills that offer real solutions to these problems.”

Sinema’s HB 2149 combats the use of drop houses and human smuggling across the border. The bill would have made it a tougher penalty for forgery if the crime is committed in connection with a drop house, but Republicans held the bill in committee.

“Human trafficking of children happens in drop houses in our neighborhoods every day,” Sinema said. “We need tough immigration reform that cracks down on human smugglers, the illegal sale of weapons to drug cartels and other violent criminals, and we need to give law enforcement the real tools they need to secure our borders. Unfortunately, Republicans have done nothing of the sort.”

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pancrazi tapped for homeland security committee

Group to address state programs

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma (District 24) has been selected to serve on the Joint Legislative Committee on Homeland Security.

The purpose of the committee is to provide a forum to express concerns about state programs that relate to homeland security and make administrative and legislative recommendations concerning homeland security issues.

“I look forward to discussing the public safety issues we face here in Arizona and I’m honored to be a member of this committee,” Pancrazi said. “My goal is to work in a bipartisan way toward border security and to make sure Arizonans are protected from all criminal activity, including drug smuggling and human trafficking.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sinema: Allen’s ad-hoc committee on federal law wasteful

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona continues to face a massive budget deficit under the GOP’s watch, but Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen wants to waste even more time and money by holding an unnecessary and politically-motivated committee hearing on a federal issue.

Allen called the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the impacts of the new federal health law even though that information already has been disseminated to the public and is a federal, not a state issue.

“This meeting will only reaffirm the positive impact that federal law will have on Arizona after Republicans, including Gov. Jan Brewer, took it away,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “Under the law, insurance companies that prey on Americans every day won’t be able to take advantage of them anymore. Some of those Americans include children with autism and women who have survived breast cancer.”

Brewer and Republicans kicked nearly 400,000 seniors and adults off of health care and eliminated federally mandated and funded health care for nearly 40,000 kids, making Arizona the only state in the nation to do so. (Democrats then restored health care for kids.)

“Arizonans are used to Sen. Allen’s wasteful committees on federal, not state, issues — her ad hoc climate initiatives committee last year solved nothing, but reminded us that she believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old,” Sinema said. “Perhaps Sen. Allen should stop creating government waste and start being a part of the solution.”

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

House Democrats’ staffer named in 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats’ staff member Cynthia Aragón will be recognized this month as one of 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 by Univision Radio Phoenix and Chicanos Por La Causa.

Aragón will be honored for being committed to working toward the greater good of the community through her leadership.

“This is such an honor, and I am so humbled to be chosen for this award,” said Aragón, House Democrats’ community and constituent liaison. “I try to work as hard as I can every day with House Democrats and my fellow staff to get Arizona on the right track. It’s an honor to work at the state legislature and I will continue to work toward bringing Arizona back.”

Aragón serves as a connection between Arizonans and their state Democratic lawmakers, working to make sure communities and constituents are able to engage in the legislative process. She will be recognized on Sept. 22 at the 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 Recognition Luncheon presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield at the Arizona the Arizona Biltmore.

“These exceptional individuals will build upon the next generation of talented Latinos,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa. “The honorees have undoubtedly demonstrated their commitment to serve and their natural-born leadership.”

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