Thursday, May 30, 2013

Campbell: ‘It’s time for Arpaio to resign’

 
Campbell: ‘It’s time for Arpaio to resign’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), today released the following statement calling for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to resign.  A federal judge recently found that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office engaged in the illegal practice of racial profiling.

“A federal judge determined that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Arpaio, illegally profiled Arizonans based on race. The judge ruled that a top law enforcement official in the county violated the law. This decision left no room for ambiguity. It’s time for Arpaio to resign.

“The sheriff has indicated that he intends to appeal the judge’s decision. If he pursues this course of action, the sheriff will waste additional tax payer money and will bring unwanted attention to our state for what will amount to little more than political posturing. The bottom line is that racial profiling is an indication of the culture of corruption the sheriff has created. Such practices are both extremist and divisive.

“For these reasons, which add to his record of inappropriate activities, Sheriff Arpaio should immediately resign. It is the right thing to do. The people of Arizona deserve better.”


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ICYMI: Arizona National Guard Public Forum May 28, 2013



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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

McCune Davis holding public hearing to review investigation of the Arizona National Guard

McCune Davis holding public forum to review investigation of the
Arizona National Guard

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), will host a public forum to review the results of the investigation into the Arizona National Guard.

“All Arizonans, as well as all Arizona National Guard members, deserve an organization that operates at the highest level of integrity,” McCune Davis said. “We owe it to them to ensure that the remediation process is fair, thorough and public.”

What:              A public forum to discuss the results of an investigation into the accusations of misconduct in the Arizona National Guard.All legislators are invited. Presenters will include Robert White and public comments are welcome.

Where:            Arizona House of Representatives
                        Hearing Room 2
                        1700 W. Washington
                        Phoenix, Arizona 85007

When:              Tuesday, May 28, 2013                                  
                        10 a.m. to 12 p.m.                  

 Please join us.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Investigation confirms misconduct; McCune Davis renews call for public hearing on Arizona National Guard report

Investigation confirms misconduct; McCune Davis renews call for public hearing on Arizona National Guard report


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – After reviewing a report from the National Guard Bureau confirming shocking incidents of misconduct within the Arizona National Guard, Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), is renewing her call for a public hearing to review the report’s findings.

“This report confirms many of the troubling accusations involving some members of the Arizona National Guard uncovered by the Arizona Republic.  The investigation reveals a culture of corruption that did little to prevent, and at times actively covered up, abusive, unethical and criminal behavior,” McCune Davis said. “The public must have an opportunity to review and to comment on this report.”

McCune Davis said the report, which was submitted to the governor’s office in April, illustrates that the problems with the Arizona National Guard are deeply rooted. She said the report includes the results of a survey of 2,176 members of the Arizona National Guard. The survey showed that 15 people were victims of sexual assaults in the last 12 months. It is undeniable that this happened while Maj. Gen. Hugo Salazar was in command.

She added that the report indicated that when victims did come forward to report mistreatment or crimes, they were sometimes told to be more resilient or to be tougher and complain less.

“The investigation uncovered a prevailing sentiment from those who did come forward,” McCune Davis said.  “Many of them said they were victimized twice – once by the perpetrator and then again by some of the leadership who were unable to help or uninterested in helping the victim. The inaction from Arizona National Guard leadership caused additional harm and all of this occurred under Maj. Gen. Salazar’s watch.”
   
She noted that the Guard’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Salazar, has been in command since 2008.

“The governor asked Maj. Gen. Salazar to submit a remediation plan this week. He’s had plenty of time to correct issues within the Arizona National Guard,” McCune Davis said. “I’m not confident that giving him the task to create a correction plan now is in the best interest of our National Guard, especially since the report shows that Maj. Gen. Salazar acknowledged the issues with ethical leadership but did not rectify them. It also shows there were documented cases of abuse of position, fraud, attempts to falsify documents, and cover ups. ”

Today McCune Davis again called on Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson (District 11), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee, and Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa (District 25), chairman of the House Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee, to conduct a public hearing on the Arizona National Guard report.

“All Arizonans, as well as all Arizona National Guard members deserve an organization that operates at the highest level of integrity,” McCune Davis said. “We owe it to them to ensure that the remediation process is fair, thorough and public.”


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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Larkin sends governor recommendations for new director of Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services

  Larkin sends governor recommendations for new director of Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Glendale (District 30), today respectfully requested that Gov. Brewer consider his recommendations to fill the director’s position at the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services.

“In the past weeks, many veterans have shared their concerns about who will become the department’s director,” Larkin said. “If the governor has decided that the department must have a new director, it is extremely important that she appoint someone who has vision, intelligence and the ability to work with a large community. There are several names that have come up, time and time again, in my conversations with veterans.”

In a letter to the governor, Larkin recommended the following people for consideration as the next director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services:

·        Terry Araman, an Army veteran and the current program director of Madison Street Veterans Association
·        Cosme F. Lopez, an Army veteran and the current director of community outreach and public relations for the U.S. Department of Justice
·        Rick Romley, a Marine veteran, a former Maricopa County attorney and the current president of the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame

“As a veteran and a public servant, I value the advice provided by the veterans I work with and represent,” Larkin said. “I hope that the governor will select a person who will serve the veterans of this state well. I am confident all of the people named in this letter are exceedingly capable and would be accepted by the veteran community as the department’s new director.”

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House approves Alston’s bill helping former foster kids afford college

House approves Alston’s bill helping former foster kids afford college

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The House of Representatives recently approved a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix (District 24), that would create educational benefits for some young adults who have aged out of Arizona’s foster care system.

Alston said SB 1208 would create a five-year pilot program to help qualified students, who were previously in foster care, attend Arizona public universities and community colleges by instituting a tuition waiver scholarship.

“Giving Arizona’s foster care children an educational advantage will help them find the success they so dearly deserve. Once foster care children turn 18, they often have little support,” Alston said.  “This is a huge disadvantage if they want to go to college, since they will need to be working to pay for their own cost of living.”

SB 1208 requires students who qualify for the tuition waiver pilot program to apply for federal tuition assistance, reducing the amount Arizona would need to provide.  All recipients of the tuition waiver must perform at least 30 hours of community service each semester.

Additional requirements include:

  • Arizona residency
  • An age limit of 21 and inclusion in the foster care system by the age of 16
  • Acceptance or enrollment in a state university or community college
  • Financial need
“If the governor signs this bill, it will open bright doors for these youth.  The ability to afford college will be more attainable,” Alston said. “The idea behind providing tuition waivers gives a student the ability to achieve a secure and financially successful future with a college degree. SB 1208 could also reduce future needs of these individuals for governmental assistance.”

According to a Pew Charitable Trust report, nationally one in four foster youth are incarcerated within two years of aging out of foster care.  Only half of those youth will graduate high school, and of those who do, less than 3 percent ever earn a college degree.  

“We need legislation like SB 1208 to improve these young Arizonans’ chances for success,” Alston said. “Working on this bill has been a personal highlight of this session, and I hope the governor will recognize the importance of this effort.”

On Wednesday, the Arizona House of Representative voted 49 to 9 to pass the bill. It now goes back to the Senate.  For more information on the Pew Charitable Trust report, go to http://www.pewtrusts.org/news_room_detail.aspx?id=26136.


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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Campbell: ‘Ethics reform should be a priority, not a political catch phrase’



Campbell: ‘Ethics reform should be a priority, not a political catch phrase’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said he is skeptical of any ethics reform calls from Republicans at the Arizona Legislature.

“We’ve had two years to work on ethics reform since the results of the Fiesta Bowl investigation became public,” Campbell said. “Democrats have been introducing legislation based on the recommendations of that report since then. Now, at the end of this legislative session, accountability becomes a part of the Republican agenda? Ethics reform should be a priority, not a political catch phrase. Most of the bills Democrats have introduced to fix the ethics issues outlined in the Fiesta Bowl report haven’t even been heard in committee.”

In the current legislative session, Campbell introduced HB 2256 to correct the concerns raised by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery following his investigation into the Fiesta Bowl scandal. Montgomery identified several problems with the laws regulating lobbyists and financial disclosure for public officials. Campbell’s bill sought to fix those problems and to provide more accountability and transparency to the public as well as to diminish the influence of lobbyists.

This bill includes reforms that make it a criminal offense to recklessly file false financial disclosure forms and closes all of the lobbyist gift ban loopholes. In the 2012 legislative session, Campbell introduced the same provisions in HB 2704.

“Many Republicans at the Legislature have shown a lack of interest in efforts to increase accountability and transparency. Most of their attempts have not gone far enough to deal with the real issues, and even those weak attempts have gotten little traction,” Campbell said. “If they are just jumping on the bandwagon or committing to substantive reform now because of the recent increased media attention, then it’s obviously insincere or political posturing.”

A news report regarding the Republican-led Legislature’s unwillingness to address ethics reform recently aired on KTVK-3TV. To see the report, go to http://www.azfamily.com/video/featured-videos/Monday-night-at-9-Gifts-for-lawmakers-206050641.html.
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Monday, May 06, 2013

Hale accepts appointment to NCSL’s Legislative Nuclear Workgroup

Hale accepts appointment to NCSL’s Legislative Nuclear Workgroup

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXRep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), recently accepted an appointment to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Nuclear Legislative Workgroup.

The NCSL’s Nuclear Legislative Workgroup provides legislative members the opportunity to learn how nuclear operations and energy issues affect the nation. Members of the workgroup help guide policies and advocate on behalf of individual states.

“Nuclear clean up and storage are critical issues in which I am extremely interested. Protecting our environment and its natural resources, while continuing to explore energy production, is essential to Arizona,” Hale said. “I am pleased to represent Arizona in this workgroup.”

In the late 1970s, Hale along with United States Senator Tom Udall, former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall and former Ambassador William Mahoney, Sr. litigated against the United States on behalf of Navajo uranium miners. The litigation requested compensation for injuries resulting from exposure to uranium radiation while working in uranium mines in the Four Corners area. The litigation eventually resulted in the Uranium Miners Compensation Act enacted by the United States Congress to provide compensation to Navajo miners and others for radiation exposure injuries. From his work, Hale has extensive knowledge of the legacy of open uranium mines and tailings left in the Four Corners region of the Navajo Nation.

The workgroup will convene June 4-6 in Cincinnati, Ohio and will include an overview of federal nuclear regulatory programs. Members will tour the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant that enriched uranium for weapons during the Cold War and a facility with a new centrifuge plant.

“I take this appointment very seriously. I am committed to being a strong voice for our state and advocating for remediation of the legacy left by uranium mining companies,” Hale said. “I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this workgroup.”

Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.

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