Friday, December 21, 2012

Restored funding for school resource officers needed to keep Arizona kids safe

Restored funding for school resource officers needed to keep Arizona kids safe

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), said he believes Arizona schools would be safer if there were more school resource officers on all campuses to protect students and staff.

He added that he will introduce legislation to restore the school resource officer program, which was drastically reduced by Republican budget cuts in recent years.

“Today we heard the National Rifle Association encourage the placement of armed security guards in schools. I agree. That’s why we need to restore funding to the school resource officer program as soon as possible,” Campbell said.  “We need to make sure these officers have all the tools they need to effectively do their jobs to protect our kids. I’ll work to ensure that happens.”

Campbell added that since 2009, Republicans at the Legislature reduced funding for the program by nearly half.

“There’s nothing more important than keeping our kids safe. Schools should be protected by trained officers,” Campbell said. “To put more officers on campuses, we have to fund the program. It must be a priority.”


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Campbell: Funding status quo for CPS unacceptable, Arizona kids must come first

Campbell: Funding status quo for CPS unacceptable, Arizona kids must come first

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – After reports of funding cuts to Child Protective Services, House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), committed to working with Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter to find the resources needed to protect children involved in the CPS system.

“Director Carter should not be satisfied with the status quo,” Campbell said. “The GOP has spent tens of millions of dollars on such things as for-profit, private prisons and tax cuts to large corporations with little to no oversight. Yet they can’t provide enough money for CPS? That’s unacceptable. I’m encouraging Carter to ask for an adequate amount of money for CPS services so Arizona’s children get the protection they deserve. It is the only decent thing to do.”

Campbell’s comments were prompted by an article in The Arizona Republic that detailed drastic cuts to basic services on which families in the CPS system rely.

“This is an opportunity to show real leadership,” Campbell said. “There are service providers saying that officials have underestimated the cost of keeping kids safe. Ultimately, it is Director Carter’s responsibility to be upfront about what his agency needs. House Democrats will propose a budget this session that will include enough money to protect Arizona kids. If Director Carter wants to have a discussion about a realistic budget for CPS, that will meet the needs of the children and families the agency serves, then he should know that my door is open. I encourage him to speak with policymakers before making decisions that could have such a dramatic effect on children and families.”


Monday, December 10, 2012

Farley: Protect funding for CPS programs in Arizona

Farley: Protect funding for CPS programs in Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –   Sen.-elect Steve Farley, D-Tucson (District 9), is calling on the head of the Department of Economic Security to protect funding for vital Child Protective Services programs in Southern Arizona and throughout the state.

“There are reports that CPS service providers are in danger of losing staff, eliminating programs and shutting down,” Farley said. “That is unacceptable. If DES is reducing funding to service providers who offer vital programs, then we are failing the children in our state who need the most help.”

Today Farley wrote to DES Director Clarence Carter asking for an explanation and for him to work with the legislature to find ways to operate more efficiently and within the DES budget.

In his letter Farley stated:

While I appreciate the difficult funding decisions that all state agencies are required to make, imposing cost-saving measures that so adversely impact children and families is simply unacceptable. This is especially true given the fact that many of the more practical reforms suggested by the Governor’s Child Safety Task Force Report have been ignored. I call on you to provide information to me and other legislators about any other alternatives considered prior to the decision to eliminate these programs. Furthermore, I encourage you to immediately reconsider this decision. Finally, I trust that you will request adequate funding necessary to carry out your responsibilities to these children and families in the future. If, after restoring funding, you project further shortfalls during this fiscal year, I implore you to request an emergency appropriation from the governor and Legislature during the first week of this session. No child in the CPS system should be placed in danger due to inadequate funding.”


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Arizona Latino Caucus elects new leadership, new priorities

 Arizona Latino Caucus elects new leadership, new priorities
Quezada to serve as chairman

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – This week, the Arizona Latino Caucus elected new leadership and developed a new set of priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

“The Arizona Latino Caucus now has a very clear purpose and definitive priorities,” said Rep. Martin Quezada, who will represent Legislative District 29. “Our goals include promoting positive perceptions of Latinos and other minorities, increasing employment opportunities for minorities and working closely with other minority organizations to develop a better understanding of their agendas. We intend to accomplish these goals with transparency and integrity.”

Quezada will serve as the caucus chairman and Senator-elect Anna Tovar, who will represent Legislative District 19, will serve as the co-chair. Representative-elect Lydia Hernandez, who also will represent Legislative District 29, was elected caucus secretary. Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, who will represent Legislative District 3, was elected caucus treasurer.

Senator-elect Tovar said that she expects that the caucus will be very involved with the community this session.

“There is a lot of work for the caucus to do this year,” Tovar said. “We have ambitious goals, new priorities and great energy among our members both new and returning. Together we look forward to making a difference.”


McCune Davis named to CPS Oversight Committee

McCune Davis named to CPS Oversight Committee
Democrats ready to take action now

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 14), will serve on Arizona’s Child Protective Services Oversight Committee. She said she is ready to start working to improve CPS now.

The CPS Oversight Committee, created this year by HB 2249, is required by statute to identify areas of improvement for the agency. It was supposed to make recommendations by Nov. 15, 2012. That deadline has passed and the committee, which is required to include several state legislators, a representative from DES, a member of a law enforcement agency, a CPS caseworker, a foster parent, and a guardian, has not met.

Although McCune Davis received notification late Monday afternoon that she will serve on the committee, several other appointments have not been made. The governor and Senate president are responsible for some of those appointments.

“This committee should come together and start work immediately,” McCune Davis said. “We can’t afford to delay. There is too much at stake. The Republican leadership in this state needs to stop procrastinating. I’m ready to start now, today.”

McCune Davis is a longtime child safety advocate. She sponsored legislation that created the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program about 20 years ago. The program reported last month that 71 Arizona children died in 2011 because of maltreatment.  The report also indicated that more than half of the children who died were less than a year old.

“It is shocking and disheartening,” McCune Davis said. “We need to find better ways to support CPS so the agency can do its job to protect Arizona children.”

An article published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 21 reported that more children have died from child abuse in 2012 than in 2010 or 2011. Also, there are 37 percent more Arizona children in foster care since October 2009, while the number of foster homes continues to decrease at an alarming rate.

Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 15), said despite these reports, Republicans are ignoring the urgency of the situation.

“We have a moral and a legal obligation to find ways to help CPS provide services to protect children,” Hobbs said. “For months, I have been calling on Republican leaders in the state to form this committee so we can take action. They are wasting time. This kind of procrastination could result in tragedy. This needs to be a priority.”



Monday, December 03, 2012

Campbell: Governor’s lack of interest in election canvass ‘not surprising’ but still ‘disappointing’

Campbell: Governor’s lack of interest in election canvass ‘not surprising’
but still ‘disappointing’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), released the following statement regarding Gov. Jan Brewer’s failure to attend the official election canvass ceremony. The canvass represents the approval of the election results.

“It’s not surprising that Gov. Brewer did not attend this event. It is disappointing that the state’s top elected official seems to have such little interest in the results of this election. It is especially disappointing considering how much controversy still surrounds the election process this year. Arizonans deserve leaders who are engaged in and committed to protecting the voting process. What could have been more important to the governor?  By not showing up, she is providing another example of her trademark lack of leadership.”