Thursday, October 28, 2010

GOP lets special interest friends make decisions, money on major Ariz. issues

Republicans fail to solve state problems, ignore Dem bills on private prisons, border security

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today NPR uncovered that Republicans’ special interest friends and lobbyists were the ones who made the decisions behind closed doors about one of the most serious issues affecting our state.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s and Republicans’ friends in the unsecure private prison industry reportedly drafted in four days in a Hyatt conference room the legislation that became SB 1070, a law that would benefit their own companies.

"Jan Brewer and Republicans are allowing special interests and lobbyists to run our state,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “They don’t care about solving the real issues people deal with like the Krentz family’s tragedy or the couple in Oklahoma who was burned to death by two private prison escapees.”

Brewer’s top advisers are former lobbyists for private prison companies. This summer, three convicted murderers escaped from an unsecure private prison in Kingman before killing a couple in New Mexico. Brewer has refused to address the lax security at private prisons.

“This just proves that once again, Republicans failed to get the job done on border security by creating laws that do nothing to address Arizona's real immigration problems — crime and violence along the border and in our neighborhoods,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “They continue to ignore Democrats' bills that secure our border in favor of back-room deals and political games with very real consequences for our state."

Brewer and Republicans ignored Democratic bills to address private prisons and border security:

House Democratic bills on 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
No votes taken on bill

HB 2674 - private prison contractors; public records (Sinema, 2010)
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
Never heard in GOV or COM committees
No votes taken on the bill

House Democratic bills on BORDER SECURITY:
· HB 2201 (misconduct involving weapons; fraudulent transactions): Gives authorities better tools to combat weapons trafficking and increase public safety by making it a felony to purchase weapons under false pretenses. Sponsor: Lujan, 2010
· HB 2149 (drop houses; human smuggling): Combats the use of drop houses and human smuggling across the border. Sponsor: Sinema, 2009
· HB 2354 (forgery; human smuggling; classification): Makes it a Class 3 felony if a person commits forgery in connection with purchase, lease or renting of a dwelling used as a drop house. Sponsor: Sinema, 2010
· HB 2148 (human trafficking; violation): Provides law enforcement with more resources to prevent human smuggling in Arizona by clarifying and expanding the definition of trafficking. Sponsor: Sinema, 2009
· HB 2152 (human trafficking; liability; victim services): Deters human smuggling by allowing victims to collect damages from traffickers. Sponsor: Sinema, 2009
· HB 2151 (human trafficking coordinating council): Establishes a council to collect and organize data on human trafficking in Arizona in order to offer better, more effective solutions. Sponsor: Sinema, 2009

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Young Wright to be honored with education award

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Nancy Young Wright, D-Tucson (District 26), will be honored with an award on Friday for her support and dedication to education in Arizona.

Young Wright will receive the University of Arizona’s College of Education Alumni Council Public Service Award.

"We thank Rep. Young Wright for her continuous and passionate support of education programs," said Tyrone Copeland, Ph.D., President of the UA College of Education Alumni Council and member of the UA Alumni Association Board. "We need leaders like Rep. Young Wright to stand up for education during these tough times."

The Public Service Award recognizes individuals who are current or former public officials. Recipients have demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to the public. The College of Education will recognize Young Wright for her continuous and passionate support of education programs.

“This truly is an honor,” Young Wright said. “I proudly work every day at the capitol to make sure education is protected because our students need to be prepared to enter the global economy. UA’s College of Education Alumni Council does the same every day and I’m thankful for their efforts. Supporting public education is the key to creating a strong economy for Arizona’s future.”

Young Wright will accept the award Friday at 6 p.m. in the Kiva Auditorium in the UA College of Education in Tucson.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waters applauds Intel’s Southeast Valley investment

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Rae Waters, D-Ahwatukee (District 20), is congratulating Intel today for making the decision to upgrade two Intel factories in Chandler that will boost the Southeast Valley’s economy.

Waters, who represents parts of Chandler, Ahwatukee and Tempe, including many Intel employees and residents of District 20, said the upgrade will be beneficial for District 20 residents.

“Intel has always been a big part of the Southeast Valley’s community and economy, and these improvements will bring a much-needed boost,” Waters said. “Right now, we’re all working together to get our economy moving and bring jobs back to Arizona, and that includes companies like Intel making the investment.”

Intel announced today that the company will invest between $6 billion and $8 billion on future generations of manufacturing technology in its American facilities, including upgrades for four existing factories in Arizona (known as Fab 12 and Fab 32 in Chandler).

“Intel has set the example for getting Arizona back on track,” Waters said. “As District 20’s representative, it’s encouraging to see new growth and it’s what I work toward every day at the state capitol.”

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McGuire congratulates new hospital, jobs in District 23

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Barbara McGuire, D-Kearny (District 23), is congratulating Pinal County and hospital officials for a much-needed new hospital in Queen Creek to serve the San Tan area.

Banner Ironwood Medical Center will bring District 23 more than just a much-needed oasis of medical care for rural families; it will create more jobs and revenue for Pinal County.

“I was proud to sign my name on one of the first support beams that would be used in Banner Ironwood’s construction,” McGuire said. “Rural Arizona needs better access to doctors and hospitals, jobs and economic growth, and Banner Ironwood is bringing that to Pinal County. We can all be thankful for that.”

The new hospital opens on Nov. 1 and will employ 300 people at first and will have an economic impact of $100 million annually.

“Banner Ironwood has set a perfect example of what needs to be done to get Arizona back on track,” McGuire said. “As a representative of District 23, it’s encouraging to see new growth in our district and it’s what I work toward every day at the state capitol.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

House Democrats offer thanks to Garcia

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats are deeply saddened by the loss of Senate Democratic Leader Jorge Luis Garcia and offer their deepest condolences to his family.

“Sen. Garcia was a true leader in the sense that he stood up for what he believed in and was always there for the most vulnerable,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “And at a time when Arizonans are most vulnerable, Sen. Garcia fought for them. We truly have lost a great public servant.”

Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema said Garcia was “a true believer in helping others.”

“We have lost a friend today, and Arizona truly is grateful for Sen. Garcia’s tireless work on behalf of Arizonans, working every day to help others,” Sinema said. “He will be missed as a steward, as a colleague and as a family member. We offer our condolences to his loved ones.”

House Democrats encourage people to leave their comments and offer their condolences by clicking on “Comments” below the post.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sinema makes TIME magazine’s 40 Under 40 list of U.S. rising political stars

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – TIME magazine selected Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema as one of their first ever “40 Under 40 — Rising Stars of U.S. Politics.”

“This is such an incredible and humbling honor,” Sinema said. “As a lawmaker, I go to the state capitol every day to work for Arizonans by standing up for education, jobs, the economy and small business. It is my hope that we can make our state better sooner.”

Sinema, 34, was selected because as a former Phoenix social worker, she lobbied on housing, education and tax issues before joining the legislature herself. As a third-term Democrat, she co-sponsored a bill to bring high-tech jobs to Arizona to bolster its slumping economy. She joins other rising stars such as Tom Perriello and Rachel Kleinfeld.

The story will be featured in the Oct. 25, 2010 issue, on sale Friday, and viewable online now at www.time.com/40under40. View on Twitter: #TIME40. An online video featuring TIME DC Bureau Chief Michael Duffy and Washington Correspondent Alex Altman talking about the creation of the list can be found at www.time.com/time/video.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Democratic group strongly opposes foreign countries’ participation in 1070 appeal

Lawmakers ask Republican colleagues to join

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – A group of Democratic lawmakers is denouncing the efforts by other countries to weigh in on the constitutionality of SB 1070 and is asking Republican colleagues to join them.

“We agree that the effort by other countries to meddle in the United States’ and Arizona’s immigration policies is absolutely wrong,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “This is a U.S. and Arizona problem and we will work toward our own solution.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed Monday to allow other nations to submit amicus briefs, but the group says that infringes on the United States’ and Arizona’s sovereignty.

House Democrats were one of the first groups to take a stand for our state and nation against special interests by opposing the boycott (see attached letter).

“Now we urge Republicans to join us in defending and protecting our sovereignty as a nation and state and upholding the U.S. and Arizona constitutions,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “These are our decisions and other nations have no business interfering. We don’t interfere with their immigration policies. We need to protect our borders, and the federal government needs to do its job.”

The following Democratic lawmakers are opposing foreign countries’ participation in an appeal of SB 1070:
House Democratic Leader David Lujan
Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema
House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell
Rep.Patricia Fleming, D-Sierra Vista
Rep. Nancy Young Wright, D-Tucson
Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley
Rep. Rae Waters, D-Ahwatukee
Rep. Barbara McGuire, D-Kearny
Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe
Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe