Monday, February 28, 2011

Republicans’ ridiculous bills form sixth Arizona ‘C’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats are holding government accountable today for ridiculous legislation that wastes Arizona taxpayers’ money and fails to fix jobs and the economy.

Republicans, who control all of state government, are backing irresponsible and divisive bills that do nothing for the people of Arizona.

“As a life-long Arizonan, I grew up with the five C’s on our state seal: copper, cotton, cattle, citrus and climate, but now we have a new C: crazy,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “Republicans have stooped to a new level by opting for wedge issues while Arizona’s budget is still out of balance, nearly 100 Arizonans still don’t have the transplants they need to survive and we have one of the worst poverty rates in the nation.”

Ridiculous Republican bills include:
HB 2675, Shaming struggling Arizonans: Makes food stamp cards safety orange and include in large black print the phase “Government Food Stamp Card,” which profiles food stamp holders. (Dial)
HB 2070, State guard: Authorizes the governor to establish the Arizona State Guard for any reason the governor considers to be necessary. (Harper)
SB 1519, Health care annihilation: Terminates the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which would make Arizona ineligible for $4.8 billion in federal funding and leave thousands of Arizonans without health care. (Biggs)
SB 1610, Declaring an official state firearm: Would make the Colt Single Action Army revolver Arizona’s official firearm, instead of focusing on the real issues – economy, jobs and education. (Gould)
HB 2490, Happy Meal toys: Would bar cities and counties from enacting regulations that limit the ability of restaurant incentives like toys, which restricts local governments’ rights. (Gowan)
HB 2384, HB 2416, HB 2443, Absurd anti-choice bills:
· Prohibits abortions sought based on race or sex of the child, when the sex of a fetus is not known when abortions are performed. (Montenegro)
· Dictates what colleges can teach by prohibiting them from using public funds, tax monies or tuition for medical training that includes abortions. (Lesko)
· Requires a woman performing an abortion to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus before termination. (Yee)
HB 2165, Kicking Arizonans when they’re down: Changes the Unemployment benefits paid to individuals temporarily from 26 weeks to 16 weeks through Oct. 31, 2012, which leave Arizonans stranded. (Olson)
HB 2471, Waste of taxpayer dollars: Prohibits the legislature from enacting any statute that involves a monetary federal mandate, which would be overturned due to federal law. (Gowan)
HB 2191, Benefits only one person: Prohibits any person who is illegally in this state in violation of federal immigration law from being awarded punitive damages by any Arizona court, which is a bill introduced to benefit one rancher. (Weiers)
HB 2313, Waste of taxpayer dollars: Broadens the classification of property to the state’s eminent domain laws by including property possessed by the federal government, which would be overturned due to federal law. (Jones)
HB 2077, Waste of taxpayer dollars: Requires any federal agency that comes into a county to conduct authorized business to register its presence with the county sheriff, which would be overturned due to federal law. (Lesko)
SB 1433, Waste of taxpayer dollars: Asserts that the state is not required to recognize or live under any federal legislation that has been nullified by simple majority vote of the legislature, which will bring the state costly lawsuits, which would be overturned due to federal law. (Klein)
HB 2140, Stops local control: Prohibits property rental agreements from requiring a tenant to waive any fundamental gun right. (Harper)
SB 1115, Eliminates ABOR: Would eliminate the Arizona Board of Regents and scrap the existing funding formula structure for community colleges and universities. (Biggs)
HB 2581, STO alcohol contributions: Would allow a credit for contributions to an STO, which would allow the makers and distributors of alcoholic beverages to contribute to the corporate private school tuition tax credit. (Mesnard)

House Democrats say it’s time for We the People to hold Republicans accountable for their irresponsible bills and their misplaced priorities.

“I see people in my own district and around the state fighting to just put food on the table or struggling with foreclosure,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley. “At the same time, Republicans’ priority bills will have no meaning because of the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause. It’s just embarrassing. It’s time to fix a broken system and preserve our communities. It’s time for honesty and effectiveness in government. That time is now.”


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Monday, February 21, 2011

Campbell honored for efforts to improve Arizona economy


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell was honored by the Arizona Economic Development Practitioners (AEDP) for his significant efforts to improve the economy.

As a legislator, Campbell has been an advocate for economic reform and has worked to create balanced, responsible solutions to Arizona’s economic woes.

“I am honored to receive this distinction,” Campbell said, “I’m grateful to AEDP for their dedication to creating a strong economy and I will continue to fight for economic reform so that Arizona can earn its title as an economic leader.”

AEDP is an organization dedicated to supporting policymakers and legislation that enhances Arizona’s economic competitiveness.

“I believe we need to put Arizona first again by harnessing our natural strengths to build a strong 21st century economy and create good-paying jobs,” Campbell said. “That includes making our state a leader in the development of solar power and renewable energy manufacturing.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tovar, Gravagna family urge investigation into transplant error

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13) is demanding an independent investigation on the transplant issue after government failed to notify a patient he was approved for a heart transplant.

Tovar, a two-time transplant recipient, sent a letter (see attached) to Gov. Jan Brewer and AHCCCS, Arizona’s version of Medicaid, to ask why Douglas Gravagna, who needs a heart transplant to live, was denied the procedure then approved, but never notified.

The letter also demands answers for faulty data that shows a dismal transplant success rate that AHCCCS presented to lawmakers before Republicans and Brewer axed transplants.

“How did a mistake of this magnitude happen?” Tovar said. “How many other patients were mistakenly informed that they would not be covered? Douglas Gravanga and the others waiting for transplants deserve an explanation. This is not a simple ‘miscommunication’ issue — protocols and procedures are lacking.”

Gravagna and his sister Kim Vega joined Tovar at the press conference to ask for accountability in government.

“I will not stand back silently and watch while Gov. Brewer continues to place a dollar amount on the lives of those awaiting transplants,” Vega said. “Just because they are allowing Douglas to have coverage doesn’t mean we’re going to stop fighting for those whose lives are at stake.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GOP votes for special interest tax breaks, blows another huge hole in budget

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Republicans voted today to pass a corporate bailout package that will leave the state more than half a billion dollars deeper in debt and give freebies to their rich CEO friends and special interests.

Republicans misled the public by calling their legislation a “jobs” bill when it doesn’t guarantee a single job.

“There are ways to make our business taxes more competitive and bring more jobs to Arizona, but this isn't one of them,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “The Republicans’ plan blows another half-a-billion-dollar hole in the state budget when we are already looking at a $1 billion deficit next year. A year after voters agreed to raise taxes on themselves to fund education, Republicans now are targeting our schools for cuts in order to give handouts to special interests. It’s time for some accountability.”

The GOP bill:
  • Raises taxes on middle-class homeowners while giving huge tax breaks to big corporations.
  • Funds tax breaks for special interests when Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget cuts universities, our state’s real economic drivers, by 20 percent.
  • Hands out $35 million for a new commerce authority/bureaucracy that is exempt from accounting and financial reporting standards, while life-saving transplants ($1.2 million) go unfunded.
  • Makes taxpayers prove they deserve a homeowner rebate instead of making government prove they don't.
“Instead of a corporate bailout package, we need a real jobs bill that harnesses our natu ral strengths to build a strong 21st Century economy and create good-paying jobs,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley. “Government can’t get that done by slashing education. It’s time we fix a broken system and take a balanced and responsible approach.”

Republicans just hiked the sales tax for Arizonans across the board, made the largest cuts to education in state history and nearly 100 Arizonans are dying due to cuts to life-saving transplants. Now they want to give away tax cuts to the richest Arizonans who already don’t pay their fair share during a time when middle-class families are struggling to find jobs.

“This is not a ‘jobs creation’ package and Arizonans know it,” said House Minority Whip Matt Heinz. “People on both left and right, including the Goldwater Institute, think this bill is a bad idea. It’s time that government comes up with a balanced, responsible approach that builds a strong future and preserves our communities.”

The Goldwater Institute article: http://goldwaterinstitute.org/article/5719

House Democrats' News of the Day

Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 15) introduces bill to protect students from bullying online.

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell and Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley hold GOP accountable for their proposed tax breaks for the rich.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GOP and special interests have ‘special’ Valentine’s Day, public not invited

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Republican lawmakers on Monday and Tuesday showed they are not on Arizonans’ side by rushing through a corporate bailout package without giving the public enough notice to be a part of the process.

“Republicans and Gov. Jan Brewer failed Arizona with their total lack of transparency and their insider deals to give tax breaks to special interests and rich CEOs,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “They are running government in Arizona and it’s time to hold them accountable.”

Republicans’ bill to dish out tax credits to special interests wasn't readily available for the public to review, and no public notice that there would be a special session was given until less than 24 hours before the committees met to hear the bills.

“It is absolutely outrageous that Arizonans weren’t allowed to be part of this process,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley. “Government should be honest and effective, and we the people should have a right to know how our money is spent.”

Republicans’ corporate bailout package raises taxes on middle-class homeowners while giving huge tax breaks to big corporations and the rich and driving Arizona deeper into debt. At the same time, school children are hurting due to massive GOP education cuts and nearly 100 Arizonans are dying due to cuts to life-saving transplants.

“Now Republicans want to give away tax cuts to the richest Arizonans during a time when middle-class families are struggling to find jobs,” said House Minority Whip Matt Heinz. “While they say it’s a ‘job creation package,’ the reality is that it’s a corporate bailout package, and they did not involve the public in the process.”

Meyer bill to boost school savings passes committee

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – A bipartisan bill by Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 11), that saves school districts money by allowing them to efficiently and cheaply store public records passed committee unanimously Monday.

“HB 2670 is a balanced, responsible solution for schools that makes schools more efficient and effective,” said Meyer. “It will save school districts thousands of dollars each year.”

School districts are required to store public records on microfilm in accordance with state law, which costs schools thousands of dollars each year.

Meyer’s bill instead allows school districts to store public records on either paper or in electronic format, or a combination of both. The records each district must maintain include transcripts and immunization records.

“Quality education is both a moral and economic issue — key to both our state’s economic recovery and children’s future,” Meyer said. “It is critical we fix Arizona’s broken education system to ensure it receives proper funding. I believe in a government that is honest and effective, but the current record-keeping system in Arizona is wasteful and burdensome. It’s time that taxpayer’s dollars are spent efficiently.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

House Democrats' News of the Day


Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley and Rep. Bruce Wheeler, D- Tucson (District 28), spend a Saturday in 'office hour' meetings with constituents.


Rep. Ed Ableser and Rep. Ben Arredondo to host 'office hours' in Tempe with Sen. David Schapira.

Several House Democrats propose legislation to counteract bullying.

House Democrats crack down on Republicans’ public safety missteps

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats introduced bills today that provide strong leadership on tough public safety in Arizona and hold government accountable for missteps with private prisons.

House Democrats’ bills dealing with border security, drugs and prisons crack down on Arizona’s broken system and keep families safe.

“We need to secure our borders and reform our lax private prison system,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “Republicans voted right along with their party leadership to hand over control of our prisons to private corporations that are more interested in profits than public safety. And right now it’s time to hold them accountable and bring more transparency and efficiency to government.”

House Democrats’ Public Safety bills include legislation that deals with:
Securing the border
· HB 2655: Grant programs created under this bill would allow counties along the Arizona–Mexican border to hire law enforcement and prosecutors to fight crimes. It also allows the Department of Public Safety to create a smuggling and domestic terrorism squad. The Attorney General will be provided with the means to hire prosecutors that will pursue cases involving the methamphetamines, human trafficking, human smuggling and ID theft. This will all be paid for with the removal of the tax loophole on 4-inch pipes. (Campbell)
Oversight of prisons
· HB 2298: An audit will be conducted of Arizona’s Department of Corrections’ private prisons. Security, inmate management and control, and personnel practices will be observed in particular. (Campbell)
· HB 2589: Legislative hearings will be held within seven days in the event that an inmate escapes. Testimony will be heard from both the ADC and the Governor’s office. (Campbell)
· HB 2590: In the event that an electrical malfunction occurs, private prisons are required to notify the ADC director immediately. Failure to do so will result in a $10,000 fine each day following. (Campbell)
· HB 2299: Requires that private prisons shall comply with the American Corrections Association accreditation capacity requirements or may adopt the state Department of Corrections' published prison construction standards, puts in place new reporting requirements, and puts into statute stringent standards and regulations regarding which out of state prisoners can be housed in private prisons. (Campbell)
· HB 2294: Prevents the use of restraints on any pregnant prisoner without an individualized determination that such restraints are necessary. (Tovar)
Dangerous drugs
· HB 2398: Makes it unlawful to sell or provide salvia divinorum to a person under 21 years of age. (Meyer)
· HB 2429: Drug offenses will be increased by one year if it occurs on the public grounds of a park or playground, or on a parking lot or sidewalk adjacent from the public park or playground. (Tovar)
· HB 2167: Synthetic marijuana, under this bill, will be considered illegal, adding it to the list of dangerous drugs. (Heinz)
Veterans
· HB 2382: An appointee would be provided to military veterans in need of services from various government agencies. (McCune Davis)
· HB 2651: Requires Medicaid screening agents to determine whether an applicant has served in the armed forces. If so, their name will be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs. From there on, it will be determined whether they are eligible for aid from the department, rather than from the state. (Gallego)
Law enforcement facility
· HB 2695: Authorizes an appropriation of funds to build a public safety facility in Pinon, within the Navajo Nation. (Hale)
Violent behavior
· HB 2559: In the event that an individual is removed from employment, expelled from an educational institution or suspended more than once should be reported to a law enforcement agency. The agency must then report the individual to a Regional Behavioral Health Agency. This bill requires good faith in reporting in the violence. (Heinz)
· HB 2694: In the event that of a crisis, first responders must participate in crisis counseling training sessions and must contact themselves the not-for-profit agency that will provide counseling. Also, all communication made by first responders must be confidential and should not be reported back to their employers. (C. Miranda)

“Republicans have showed they are more interested in doing what’s right for the lobbyists and special interests rather than for Arizonans,” Campbell said. “Now it’s time to put the handcuffs on them and give law enforcement the tools they need secure our borders and keep our kids safe.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

House Democrats' News of the Day

Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, supports bill that would raise awareness about concussions in youth sports.
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/arizona/politics/article_99d650ca-33d2-11e0-9432-001cc4c002e0.html

House Democrats hold 'office hours' to talk with constituents, honor U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, introduces bill to save money and lives.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 16), tells us how HB2651 saves money for health care

video

House Democrats' News of the Day

A month after the Tucson shooting, Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley introduces a bill that could help prevent similar events in the future.

Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson (District 27) defends a woman's right to choose.

No budget cuts, reform the state tax code

Gallego introduces bill for health care savings, quality care for veterans


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Ruben Gallego, D- Phoenix (District 16), has introduced a bipartisan bill that will create a more efficient government and savings for AHCCCS while assuring that veterans receive quality health care.


House Bill 2651 requires Medicaid screening agents to determine whether an applicant has served in the armed forces. If so, their name will be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs. From there on, it will be determined whether they are eligible for aid from the department, rather than from the state.


"This bill is going to allow Arizona to run more efficiently, making our financial system, as well as health care, more transparent,” Gallego said. “This bill will save health care dollars for Arizona at the same time as providing veterans, who risked their lives for our country, with the health care they need and deserve.”


In most cases, honorably discharged veterans who served at least two years, can apply to receive medical care from the Medical Department of Veterans Affairs. However, VA officials admit they have failed to contact many eligible veterans or their dependents about billions of dollars in unclaimed pensions and disability payments.


Washington, California, Montana and Colorado have adopted the measure, among other states, within the past couple of years. In 2010, Washington saved $4.4 million on health care by enacting a more efficient system.


“By passing this bill, we can act responsibly by putting to use the savings in needed health care areas such as transplants or care for kids and seniors,” Gallego said.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Democratic lawmakers to hold statewide ‘Office Hours’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Democratic lawmakers invite the public to meet and talk with them at a statewide “Office Hours” event this weekend.

Democratic legislators will host “Office Hours” in their districts to meet their constituents, address their concerns and answer questions. The event leads up to Statehood Day on Feb. 14.

“This is incredibly important that we continue to have open discussions and do our job as state representatives and senators,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 16), who pioneered the event. “I think we can keep Congresswoman Giffords in our hearts by standing up for democracy. We want to hear from our constituents so we can take their concerns to the capitol.”

Office Hours will occur at the following locations:
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis (District 14)
When: Feb. 12, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: 1020 N. First Ave., Phoenix

Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley, Rep. Bruce Wheeler and Assistant Senate Minority Leader Paula Aboud (District 28)
Martha Cooper Branch Library
When: Feb. 12, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Where: 1377 N. Catalina Ave., Tucson

Rep. Eric Meyer (District 11)
When: Feb. 12, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Our Lady of the Angels at Franciscan Renewal Center, Ventura Room in the Piper Hall, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale

Rep. Katie Hobbs, Rep. Lela Alston and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (District 15)
When: Feb. 12, 9 to 11 a.m.
Where: Lola's on Central, 4700 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Rep. Daniel Patterson (District 29)
When: Feb. 12, 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Quincie Douglas Library, 1585 E. 36th St., Tucson

Rep. Tom Chabin, Rep. Albert Hale and Sen. Jack Jackson Jr. (District 2)
When: Feb. 12, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: East Flagstaff Community Library, 3000 N. Fourth St., Flagstaff

Rep. Ruben Gallego (District 16)
When: Feb. 19, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Laveen Elementary School, 5001 W. Dobbins Road, Laveen

Rep. Anna Tovar and Rep. Richard Miranda (District 13)
When: Feb. 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Fuego Bar & Grill, 9118 W. Van Buren St., Tolleson

Rep. Lynne Pancrazi (District 24)
When: Feb. 12, 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Yuma Main Library, 2951 S. 21st Drive, Yuma

Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales and Rep. Marcario Saldate (District 27)
When: Feb. 12, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Pima Community Campus, 401 N. Bonita Ave., Tucson

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, Rep. Ed Ableser and Rep. Ben Arredondo (District 17)
When: Feb. 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Road, Tempe

Zimmerman’s family supports Farley’s bill to ban extended clips

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley’s bill prohibiting large capacity ammunition feeding devices was strongly endorsed today by the family and fiancée of Gabe Zimmerman, one of six people who died in the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting.

“Today we are not here to make sense of a senseless tragedy; today, we have the opportunity to be better and to fix a broken system,” said Farley, D-Tucson (District 28). “As an Arizonan, I support the Second Amendment, and I believe that law abiding citizens have the right to own guns. I also believe in common sense.”

HB 2711 makes manufacturing, possessing, transporting, selling or transferring a large capacity ammunition feeding device, a Class 4 felony.

The bill would include a magazine, drum, feed
strip or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

“I absolutely support [this bill]...and it is so sad to see 19 people gunned down in just 15 seconds by one of these extended capacity clips,” Kelly O’Brien, Gabe Zimmerman’s fiancée, said on Good Morning America. “As you know, Jared was stopped when he ran out of bullets. And I believe, even if not Gabe, other people could have been saved that day.”

The bill is similar to a Congressional bill being considered on the federal level.

“People are being victimized every day and law enforcement is being outgunned by criminals and deranged individuals with access to these kinds of weapons,” Farley said. “We are never going to prevent all incidents like this from occurring but it is clear that we can prevent many needless deaths and injuries using common-sense laws like this.”

Monday, February 07, 2011

House Democrats' News of the Day

Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley instills hope in university colleges students who fear budget cuts to higher education while visiting the Arizona State University Downtown campus.
http://www.statepress.com/2011/02/02/downtown-says-%E2%80%98no-to-budget-cuts%E2%80%99/

House Democrats unveil Homeowner Relief for a Strong Future

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats announced on Monday a homeowner relief package to hold government accountable at a time when the state again ranked second in the nation this month for foreclosures.

Homeowner Relief for a Strong Future offers balanced, responsible solutions for the foreclosure crisis, prevents fraud and preserves our communities.

“These bills directly deal with the foreclosure crisis, a problem in Arizona that Republicans have ignored in the past,” said Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 14). Recent figures as of Thursday show that Arizona continues to rank second in the nation in foreclosures. We have held that top spot for the past few years, and now it’s time to hold government accountable so we can have a strong economic future.”

McCune Davis has asked House Commerce Committee Chair Jim Weiers to establish a subcommittee on foreclosures.

In February, Arizona jumped to second in the nation in foreclosures. One in every 17 Arizona households received a foreclosure filing last year. (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11014/1117879-28.stm#ixzz1D2zRAq9o)

Homeowner Relief for a Strong Future includes the following bills:
-HB2383 Borrowers’ Bill of Rights: Guarantees homeowners the right to receive timely and accurate responses to good-faith borrower inquires. (McCune Davis)
-HB 2283 Abandoned Home Crime Reduction Act: Requires current and accurate ownership information on all property and assists neighborhoods and law enforcement in reducing crime. (McCune Davis)
-HB 2626 Home Sales Notification Act: Allows homeowners in foreclosure to be notified of sales, even when the initial sale is postponed (McCune Davis).
-HB 2124 Homeowner Relief Act: Keeps homeowners in their homes by granting temporary (60 day) relief to residential homeowners, who are in foreclosure and in danger of losing their home. (Patterson)
-HB 2123 Safe Neighborhoods Act: Requires the maintenance of properties during the foreclosure process. (Patterson)
-HB 2430 Right to Rent Act: Allows homeowners, whose foreclosed homes are of low to moderate value, to remain in their homes as renters for an extended period of time. (Tovar)
-HB 2642 Mandatory Mediation Act: Offers homeowners facing foreclosure in an owner-occupied home an additional step that would require a mediation process to take place before the property may be foreclosed. (Tovar)
-HB 2641 Arizona Home Equity Theft Prevention Act: Protects homeowners who are facing foreclosure from scams and fraud. (Tovar)
-HB 2632 The Tenant Rights Act: Ensures that if a tenant is lawfully in possession of the property when a foreclosure action is initiated, the tenant is able to continue to rent the property for the remainder of the lease or 90 days, whichever is longer. (Hobbs)
-HB 2269: Truth in Mortgage Brokers Act: Cracks down on bad acting mortgage brokers and protects borrowers from bad lending practices. (Ableser)

“This package of bills could not come at a more critical time for our state,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29). “We need to hold government accountable to enact legislation that strengthens our housing market and the financial well-being of our communities. Those steps include fighting scams and fraud and encouraging lenders and borrowers to work together for the best possible outcome.”

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tovar proposes bills to restore transplants, save lives


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13), a two-time transplant recipient, introduced four bills today to restore life-saving transplants for Arizonans.

“Today is an important day for Arizonans because we have the opportunity to hold government accountable,” Tovar said. “We the people have the freedom today change a broken system.”
Tovar’s life-saving bills include:
  • HB 2604: Emergency measure that closes Arizona’s Accounting Tax Credit Loophole to fund transplants. Would generate $20 million for life-saving transplants.
  • HB 2605: Restores transplant funding by closing Arizona’s Accounting Tax Credit Loophole. This bill would end a tax credit of up to $10,000 each that big corporations and special interests receive just to do their taxes, while middle-class families have to pay taxes on clothes and school supplies. Would bring in $20 million.
  • HB 2606: Provides an alternative solution where private monetary donations for life-saving transplants would be matched by state funding. This combination would create a private and public partnership to solve the transplant issue.
  • HB2607: Emergency legislation that restores transplant funding with $1.2 million from the state general fund. At least 26 legitimate funding solutions could be added to this bill to reinstate transplant funding (see link below).
Tovar, who underwent two bone-marrow transplants for leukemia, has been a champion for nearly 100 Arizonans who need transplants to live.

“I know that these families and their loved ones are fighting for their lives and I know how difficult that can be,” Tovar said. “It’s time to hold government accountable and pass this bill before another Arizonan dies.”

On Oct. 1, 2010, transplant cuts went into effect and nearly 100 Arizonans were denied medical care for transplants.

Reinstating transplant funding this year would cost $1.2 million, or one tenth of 1 percent of Arizona’s total budget deficit.


Gov. Jan Brewer continues to say that she has not seen any "legitimate" proposals to restore transplant funding. For a list of legitimate solutions, go to: www.arizona98.com.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Tovar selected by women legislators group to serve as state director


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13), has been selected by the Women Legislators’ Lobby (WiLL) to serve as state director for the nationwide network of women state legislators.

Since her election to the Arizona House of Representatives, Tovar has provided exemplary leadership on a number of issues important to her constituents and to Arizona, according to the organization. Tovar has an impressive legislative record that demonstrates a commitment to issues affecting children and senior citizens and the disadvantaged, as well as state budget and infrastructure needs.

As a WiLL state director, Tovar will work with the national non-partisan network of women legislators to influence federal legislation and budgetary policy that will positively impact Arizona.

WiLL President Sen. Nan Grogan Orrock, D-Ga., announced the state director appointment in Washington, D.C.

“WiLL recognizes the accomplishments of Rep. Tovar and will benefit greatly from her leadership and vision as a state director,” Orrock said.

Tovar, as a WiLL state director, will be working with women from all 50 states to amplify women’s voices, promote women’s leadership and support a national agenda that promotes true homeland security and prosperity.

House Democrats propose bills for a strong economic future

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats will introduce bills this week that take a balanced and responsible approach to help solve Arizona’s economic crisis and build a strong future.

“We need to put Arizona first again by harnessing our natural strengths to build a strong 21st Century economy and create good-paying jobs,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “We have to hold government accountable and be honest about where our tax dollars go. We the people should have a right to know how our money is spent so that we can have a better quality of life.”

Some of House Democrats’ bills for an economic strong future include:
  • Business Fairness and Jobs Creation Act, (Sponsor: Campbell): eliminates all corporate income tax credits for special interests and lowers the overall corporate income tax rate for businesses. This bill levels the playing field for Arizona businesses, allowing them to focus on following the market instead of a goal government sets for them.HB 2564: Sales Tax Pipes and Valves (Repeals the 4-inch Pipe Sales Tax Loophole), (Sponsor: Farley): eliminates the tax loophole for pipes or valves that are 4 inches in diameter or larger used to transport oil, natural gas, artificial gas, water or coal slurry. Would bring in $18 million.
  • Repeal of Country Club Membership Sales Tax Loophole, (Sponsor: Gallego): closes tax loophole for country club memberships that exceed more than 30 days and include annual dues. Country club memberships currently go tax free. Would bring in millions of dollars.
  • Repeal of Accounting Tax Credit Loophole, (Sponsor: Hobbs): Ends a tax credit of up to $10,000 each that big corporations and special interests receive just to do their taxes while middle-class families have to pay taxes on clothes and school supplies. Would bring in $20 million.
  • HB 2257: Clean Energy Savings, (Sponsor: Ableser): All state agencies, universities and schools must transfer at least 10 percent of their energy use to clean sources that follow LEED standards. Creates jobs in the short term and saves money in the long term.
  • HB 2383: Borrowers’ Bill of Rights, (Sponsor: McCune Davis): Requires all mortgage servicers to engage in loss mitigation techniques in an effort to avoid unscrupulous servicing practices and to ensure the rights of homeowners under the AZ Consumer Fraud Act. Allows for better loan practices, resulting in fewer foreclosures.
  • Fund State Parks and Jobs, (Sponsor: Campbell): Funds state parks through an annual fee for Arizona drivers that can be used for capital projects and hiring personnel. This bill will create new jobs in rural economies by attracting business and tourism to rural areas.
“These are just a few of the many common-sense Democratic bills that take a balanced approach to our state’s economy,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 16), who is the sponsor of closing the Country Club Membership Tax Loophole bill. “It’s time for transparency and accountability in government. We need a government that is on our side, one without outrageous tax loopholes.”