Friday, June 28, 2013

Campbell appoints Cid Kallen to the Independent Redistricting Commission

Campbell appoints Cid Kallen to the Independent Redistricting Commission

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), today announced that he selected Yuma resident Cid Kallen to serve on Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission.

“I selected Mr. Kallen because I know he will serve our state well in this role. He brings a unique perspective to the commission with his background and professional experiences,” Campbell said.  "He is an upstanding member of our community who served our country honorably as a United States Marine, and I have no doubt he will continue serving Arizona honorably on the IRC."

Kallen is an attorney with a general practice in Yuma. He is currently on the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association Board of Directors. Additionally, he was the founding president of the Hispanic Law Students Association at the Phoenix School of Law.

His service on the commission begins immediately. The IRC is responsible for creating Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts. In 2000, the voters of Arizona passed an initiative that removed this responsibility from the Legislature and transferred it to a citizen commission. The IRC has five members, two Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent. In his capacity as the minority leader of the Arizona House of Representatives, Campbell was responsible for appointing one member to the commission. Recently, Campbell’s appointee resigned. The Arizona Constitution requires Campbell to appoint his replacement.


“I applaud the efforts of all the candidates for this seat on the commission. Their commitment to fair elections is commendable,” Campbell said. “Ensuring that Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts are inclusive of all the people will help move our state forward.”

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CONSUMER ALERT: McCune Davis raising awareness around predatory lending practices and new protections for auto title loan borrowers

CONSUMER ALERT: McCune Davis raising awareness around predatory lending practices and new protections for auto title loan borrowers

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), recently received notification that the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions is warning consumers about companies offering online payday loans, and soon auto title lenders will not be allowed to charge document processing fees.

I've had ongoing conversations with representatives of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions. Recently, they confirmed that the department is addressing complaints that Arizonans are getting online offers for payday loans or offers from out-of-state companies that are claiming to be owned by Native American tribes,” McCune Davis said. “Payday loans are no longer legal in our state, and consumers should be aware that some unethical companies are attempting to circumvent the law.”

Additionally, the department issued an alert stating that as of July 1, auto title lenders can no longer charge borrowers document preparation fees.

“This is a step in the right direction,” McCune Davis said. “Consumers will benefit from this but they must still be wary of auto title loans. They should always read the fine print and know what their rights are.”

McCune Davis said she commends the ADFI for its consumer protection work.

“I applaud the department’s efforts to investigate illegal lending products and fees, and to keep consumers informed. I look forward to continuing to work with the department to identify unethical or illegal business practices,” she said.



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Statement from Gallego on the immigration reform bill approved by the U.S. Senate

Statement from Gallego on the immigration reform bill approved by the U.S. Senate

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXAssistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), made the following statement about the immigration reform legislation approved by the U.S. Senate.

“The immigration bill that the U.S. Senate passed today was the result of bipartisan compromise. It is not a perfect bill, but it does reflect common-sense reform that will help ensure that everyone is playing by the same rules and contributing their fair share. The bill includes a plan for border security and a way to earn citizenship by meeting stringent requirements. It would also modernize the legal immigration system.


“The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives where it will face an uphill battle. Arizonans will benefit economically from common-sense immigration reform. We must remain involved and continue to let our elected representatives in Washington D.C. know that they should prioritize fixing our broken immigration system.”

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Statement from Gallego on U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and California’s Prop 8



Statement from Gallego on U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and California’s Prop 8

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), released the following statement regarding today’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 from the U.S. Supreme Court. 

“Today is a good day for fairness in our country. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key part of DOMA sends a message that equal protection under the law is something all married couples should expect.  The married, same-sex couples who are living in a freedom-to-marry state or the District of Columbia now will be eligible for the federal protections afforded all other married couples. 

“The court also declined to make a decision on California’s Proposition 8, which will effectively restore marriage equality in that state. Both of these rulings promote equality and justice and set the stage for future progress.” 

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Steele releases statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8

Steele releases statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8
                                                                          
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9), released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings are a major victory for equality and justice in our country. The decision on DOMA shows that the court has concluded that all married couples are entitled to equal and fair treatment under the law.  For thousands of married lesbian and gay couples, this means they have the ability to better take care of each other and their children under the law. Additionally, the justices declined to decide a case involving California’s Proposition 8. By doing this, the court has made it possible for marriage equality to be restored to that state.

“This is a historic day. Last night, I participated in the play ‘8’ in Tucson. The production is based on California’s trial on same-sex marriage. It was a powerful reminder that love is love and that equality is a right for all people in our country. The Supreme Court helped to move us forward today.”


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gallego’s statement on President Obama’s action plan to address climate change

Gallego’s statement on President Obama’s action plan to address climate change  

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s comprehensive action plan to deal with climate change.

“The president’s plan to address climate change shows both leadership and commitment to our country’s future. This plan will reduce carbon pollution, prepare for impacts of climate change and make us a world leader on this issue. For Arizona, it means we should set the standard in economic development in the arena of cleaner, more efficient energy. By doing this, we will be able to create more jobs in the energy industry. These jobs will stay here and not be shipped overseas. We should utilize this plan to invest in cleaner energy so that we protect the legacy our children will inherit and so that our economy can compete at a more global level.”

To see the climate change action plan, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan.


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Statement from Quezada on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act


Statement from Quezada on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act 


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, invalidating some of the protections offered by this important law. The justices did not rule on a section of the Voting Rights Act that requires federal preclearance of election laws in some states, including Arizona, with a demonstrated history of voter disenfranchisement. They did rule that Congress must reevaluate which states will be required to seek federal preclearance, leaving Arizona voters at risk.  Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), released the following statement regarding this decision:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision effectively undermines the protections of the Voting Rights Act. The justices left Section 5, an important part of the Voting Rights Act, intact but undercut its effectiveness. This provision requires certain places with a history of discrimination against minorities’ voting rights to get approval from the Department of Justice or a federal court in Washington D.C. before making any changes to their election laws. Arizona was one of the nine states covered by this provision.

“The Supreme Court is requiring Congress to reevaluate which states receive the protections of preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. Now it is up to Congress to ensure that minority voters in Arizona and other states continue to get that protection.

“Recently, the Arizona Legislature passed HB 2305, a bill that will hinder the ability of Latino voters to participate in elections. Unless Congress intervenes and restores all the Voting Rights Act protections to Arizona, our communities will face voter disenfranchisement.

“Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has consistently protected Arizona voters by preventing numerous discriminatory laws from going into effect. Examples of this include:

  • In 2002, Arizona’s legislative redistricting map was rejected because the Department of Justice was concerned that the map may have been intentionally drawn to disenfranchise minority voters. 

  • In 2010, Arizona attempted to add ‘at large’ seats to the community college governing boards, which would have potentially diluted the representation of minorities on those governing boards.

  • In 2011, two Arizona laws did not pass Voting Rights Act muster and did not go into effect: one would have created a statewide list of individuals who turned in early ballots for their friends and neighbors, and the other would have prohibited voters from choosing who they wanted to assist them in the polling place. 


“Arizona clearly needs this protection. Without Section 5, discrimination likely will creep back into our laws, as evidenced by HB 2305. Ultimately, our democracy is strengthened by the diversity of our voters. We should be working to encourage participation in the election process. I urge Congress to take action quickly, so that our democracy is fair and representative.”


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Declaración de Quezada en el fallo de la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. en la Ley de Derecho al Voto


CAPITOLIO ESTATAL, PHOENIX Ayer la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos invalido una disposición clave de la Ley de Derecho al Voto que protege el derecho al votar de las minorías en el país. La Corte Suprema no actúo sobre una sección de la Ley de Derecho al Voto que requiere autorización federal antes de llevar a cabo cualquier modificación electoral en algunos estados, incluyendo Arizona, con un historial de tradición discriminatoria contra el votante.

Debido a que la sesión 4 fue revocada, la cual contiene la formula que determina los lugares que necesitan aprobación previa para cualquier cambio a sus leyes electorales, la Corte Suprema determino que ahora es el Congreso el que debe buscar una nueva formula para determinar que lugares requieren de una vigilancia estrecha de sus procedimientos electorales, dejando a los votantes las minorías en riesgo. Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix (Distrito 29), emitió la siguiente declaración con respecto a esta decisión:

“La decisión de la Corte Suprema de EE.UU. reduce de efectividad y protecciones de la Ley de Derecho al Voto. Los jueces dejaron Sección 5 de la Ley de Derecho al Voto intacta pero limitaron su efectividad.  Esta disposición obliga a ciertos lugares considerados con historial discriminatoria en contra de los derechos al voto de las minorías a obtener la aprobación del Departamento de Justicia o de un tribunal federal en Washington DC antes de realizar cualquier cambio en sus leyes electorales. Arizona fue uno de los nueve estados incluido en esa disposición.

"La Corte Suprema está requiriendo al Congreso a reevaluar qué estados reciben las protecciones de autorización previa conforme a la Ley de Derecho al Voto. Ahora es responsabilidad del Congreso asegurarse de que los votantes minoritarios en Arizona y otros estados continúen obteniendo esta protección.

"Recientemente, la Legislatura de Arizona aprobó HB 2305, un proyecto de ley que dificultará la participación de los votantes latinos en las elecciones. A menos que el Congreso intervenga y restaure todas las protecciones incluidas en la Ley de Derecho al Voto a Arizona, nuestras comunidades se enfrentan a la reducción de derechos electorales.

"Sección 5 de la Ley de Derecho al Voto ha protegido sistemáticamente a los votantes de Arizona previniendo que numerosas leyes discriminatorias entre en vigor. Por ejemplo:

  • En 2002, el Departamento de Justicia rechazo el mapa de redistribución de distritos legislativos de Arizona por preocupación a que el mapa podría haber sido redactado intencionadamente para privar del derecho al voto a minorías.

  • En 2010, Arizona intentó añadir puestos en las mesas directivas de los colegios comunitarios, lo que habría diluido potencialmente la representación de las minorías en esas mesas directivas de gobierno.

  • En 2011, dos leyes de Arizona no pasaron los requerimientos por la Ley de Derecho al Voto y no entraron en efecto: una ley habría creado una lista estatal de las personas  que entregaron boletas tempranas de sus amigos y vecinos, y la otra habría prohibido que los votantes decidieran quien les ayudara en las urnas de votación.

"Arizona claramente necesita esta protección. Sin la Sección 5, es probable que la discriminación vuelva a prevalecer en nuestras leyes, como lo demuestra HB 2305. Nuestra democracia se fortalece con la diversidad de nuestros votantes y deberíamos estar trabajando para fomentar la participación en el proceso electoral. Yo urjo al Congreso a actuar con rapidez, para que nuestra democracia sea justa y representativa”.
 



 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Miranda to host Arizona Night at upcoming NALEO conference



Miranda to host Arizona Night at upcoming NALEO conference

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Catherine Miranda, D-Phoenix (District 27), will host the first Arizona Night during the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ 30th annual conference in Chicago.

Miranda, who is on the executive board of NALEO, said the conference provides an opportunity for Latino policymakers to collaborate with colleagues from across the nation to find ways to address some of the most pressing policy issues facing the country. This year boasts the largest delegation of Latino legislators from Arizona who will attend the NALEO conference.

“Nearly a dozen legislators from Arizona will be at this conference. It will allow us to network and dialogue about our state’s needs while engulfed in strategic discussions,” Miranda said. “This is meaningful. It shows that our voice is strong and that we are committed to representing the values of our community.”

To mark the occasion, Miranda is planning an Arizona Night event.

“Having an Arizona Night event will give us a chance to focus specifically on the challenges and opportunities that are unique to Arizona’s Latino communities,” Miranda said. “I hope that this will become a longstanding tradition.”

For more information on NALEO and the annual conference, which starts June 27, go to http://www.naleo.org/Chicago2013/.


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Monday, June 17, 2013

Statement from Hernandez on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona voter registration forms

Statement from Hernandez on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona voter registration forms

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Lydia Hernandez, D-Phoenix (District 29), issued this statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that states cannot require people to prove their citizenship when registering to vote using a federal registration form. The Supreme Court’s ruling, however, will permit Arizona to continue to require proof of citizenship from people registering to vote with state-issued forms.

“Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court supports the idea that we need a fair and equitable voter registration process. I have firsthand experience with the burdens created by Arizona’s voter registration form.

Over the past few years, Latinos have endured problems when registering to vote using the state’s registration forms. These issues made it more difficult, if not impossible, for some to register to vote.  Certain eligible voters were asked to prove their U.S. citizenship after they submitted their registration forms. It could take from several months to more than a year to verify the documents. This effectively prevented some eligible U.S. citizens from participating in the election process.  In other instances, voters who did submit the required documentation learned that their names were missing from the rolls on Election Day.

“In this situation, many voted using provisional ballots, if they were aware that was an option. Some who did not know they could use a provisional ballot simply walked away. This problem has gotten worse over the years, which helps to explain the long lines at the polls and thousands of provisional ballots that Arizonans cast during last November’s election.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling will help to ensure that this no longer happens. We should be doing more to ensure increased voter participation. Our democracy is only made stronger by the inclusion of more voices.”
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Quezada statement regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s voter registration forms




Quezada statement regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s voter registration forms

 
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), released the following statement about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that states cannot require people to prove their citizenship when registering to vote using a federal registration form. The Supreme Court’s ruling, however, will permit Arizona to keep its dual-registration system and will allow the state to require proof of citizenship from people registering to vote with a state-issued form.

“The United States Supreme Court made the right decision on the issue of federal voter registration forms. Today’s ruling will help protect the immigrants, minorities and senior citizens who were negatively affected by Arizona’s registration policy.

“Arizona has a history of creating barriers around the voting process. A prime example of this is the Republican-led Legislature’s support of HB 2305, a bill that was amended to make it more difficult for voters to get access to the ballot and will likely result in fewer people participating in upcoming elections. HB 2305 is on its way to the governor’s desk and if enacted, it will almost certainly be challenged in the courts, as are many of our state’s election laws. Arizona’s unfortunate history of voter discrimination has led to the U.S. Justice Department’s scrutiny of our election laws under the Voting Rights Act.

“The system is in place to ensure that eligible voters have access to the ballot. Today’s decision will result in more eligible voters having an opportunity to participate in the election process. Ultimately, our country and our democracy are stronger when more people get involved. I am hopeful that, in the end, justice will prevail and voters’ rights will be protected.”


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Friday, June 14, 2013

Hale helping Red Mesa Unified School District recover from enrollment reporting error



Hale helping Red Mesa Unified School District recover from enrollment reporting error

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), is working to help the Red Mesa Unified School District recover from a mistake that is jeopardizing the district’s financial stability.

Today, Hale successfully amended SB 1447, a school finance bill, to allow RMUSD more time to pay back the $2.4 million it owes the Arizona Department of Education for inadvertently including out-of-state students in the district enrollment figures for three years.  

“There are schools in this district that are near the Four Corners region. Sometimes children live in one state but attend a school in another state, when the out-of-state school is closer to their homes. The district mistakenly counted these youth as in-state students,” Hale said. “As a result, the ADE overpaid RMUSD by $2.4 million.”

Hale added that RMUSD reported the mistake to the ADE in 2011 and is already reimbursing the state.

“Current law requires that the debt must be completely paid off in two years. This is creating such a burden for the school district that it could have to close schools,” Hale said. “My amendment will extend the repayment period to five years, providing the district the financial flexibility needed to meet its obligations and continue to serve students.”

Hale added that there is a process for interstate school enrollment.

“To prevent this from happening again, school districts need to know that there must be a formal agreement in place to account for out-of-state students. It’s like a state student exchange program. Districts also have the option of requiring out-of-state students to pay tuition,” Hale said.  “I commend the district for reporting this problem and don’t think the students should lose their school because of a mistake. I believe a lot of my colleagues share this sentiment, which is why this effort is getting bipartisan support. I have faith that it will make it to the governor’s desk.”

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Campbell: ‘We must protect the progress we made’

Campbell: ‘We must protect the progress we made’


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), released this statement following the end of the legislative session.

“The 24 members of the House Democratic Caucus came to the Capitol ready to work. When the legislative session started in January, House Democrats promised to focus on promoting legislation that supports the priorities of the people. We listened when Arizonans told us that they wanted us to set aside the partisan bickering and work across the aisle to move Arizona forward.

“This year, House Democrats were instrumental in enacting a bipartisan, common-sense budget that supports job creation, funds education, promotes school safety and expands access to health care. 
The budget we sent to the governor includes $116 million for schools to cover rising inflation costs, fund building renewal grants, as well as school safety and adult education programs. It has $31.7 million in higher education funding for parity and performance funding, the University of Arizona Medical School, rural community colleges and the Navajo Technical College. It also has $64.4 million for Child Protective Services and an additional $250,000 for the Mental Health First Aid program.

“Ensuring that Medicaid expansion was part of the budget was one of the most difficult political accomplishments in recent history. It took a lot of debate, a special session and bold action from the governor and a group of Republicans willing to set aside ideology to do what is right for Arizona.  We were steadfast in our support of Medicaid expansion because we understand that it will help hundreds of thousands of Arizonans get access to health care, bring millions of dollars into our economy, benefit hospitals and create jobs.

“We took a big step in the right direction this session but there is still a lot to be done. During the interim we must protect the progress we made. When we return to the Capitol in January, we will pick up right where we left off – working to promote economic stability and helping middle-class families.”

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

UPDATE: Voter suppression bill on its way to governor




UPDATE: Voter suppression bill on its way to governor


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Following late night political maneuvering, the Republicans in the Arizona Senate passed HB 2305, a bill that was recently amended to make it more difficult for voters to get access to the ballot. The bill will now go to the governor’s desk.  

Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), said the bill contains provisions that, if enacted, will result in fewer people participating in upcoming elections.

“This bill is an embarrassment. It creates barriers to the voting process and raises substantial concerns under the Voting Rights Act. At the same time, it will make it easier for some legislators to keep their jobs because the bill lowers the number of signatures they are required to collect to get on a ballot. It is a completely self-serving bill for the ideologues who support it.

“I urge the governor to veto this legislation. Regardless of her actions, my colleagues and I will continue to fight to protect voter access and participation, even if we have to take this fight to the courts.”


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Hale statement on bipartisan budget and Medicaid expansion



 Hale statement on bipartisan budget and Medicaid expansion

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), released the following statement after the Arizona Legislature approved a bipartisan budget that expands Medicaid coverage and increased funding for the Navajo Technical College.
 
“For the first time in a long time, legislators at the Capitol were able to set aside partisanship to pass a budget that will benefit health care and education in the Native American Nations.

“The Legislature approved Medicaid expansion, which will ensure that thousands of Native American people in our state have access to a higher level of health care. It will also reduce the number of uninsured people in our communities and protect the viability of rural and safety-net hospitals. These hospitals have been struggling under the strain of uncompensated care. 

“The Indian Health Service and other Native American health programs will also benefit from an increase in Medicaid reimbursement. This will make resources available for other crucial services, including care for the elderly and people with disabilities. Such services also receive federal funds that are passed through the state.

“Funding for education was also a priority during the budget negotiations. We were able to secure new money for the Navajo Technical College in Chinle, Arizona.  When this budget is signed into law, it will provide up to $875,000 of sales tax money from the Navajo Nation to the college. This money can be used to fund the school’s maintenance, operation and capital needs. The Navajo Technical College is an important resource for the Navajo Nation, as the demand for higher education is growing.  Education is the key to success in this increasingly global economy. I am pleased we were able to invest more in this institution.

“More than once, Medicaid expansion and the funding for the Navajo Technical College were threatened by political gamesmanship. In the end, common sense prevailed, and our community will be better for it.”
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House passes Medicaid expansion and bipartisan budget

House passes Medicaid expansion and bipartisan budget

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Early this morning, during a historic special session, Arizona House Democrats passed Medicaid expansion and a bipartisan budget.

“This was a really good day for the state of Arizona,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said. “We waited for months for the budget and Medicaid expansion because the Republican legislative leadership held the will of the majority hostage with political games. The game playing stopped when the governor called a special session. That is when those of us willing to rise above partisanship got the opportunity to work together to create common-sense policy that increases funding for schools, fosters job creation and increases access to health care by expanding Medicaid.”

Medicaid expansion has always been a priority for the House Democratic Caucus.

“Medicaid expansion will offer critical health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans and will have far-reaching economic benefits,” House Minority Whip Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson (District 10), said. “This will add $8 billion and thousands of jobs to our state’s economy. Also, reducing the number of uninsured people in our state will contribute to the fiscal stability of our health care system. Medicaid will decrease the unsustainable level of uncompensated care hospitals have weathered over the last few years, which cost all of us tax dollars and increased health care premiums.”

In addition to expanding Medicaid, the budget also provides:

·        $116 million for schools for rising inflation costs, building renewal grants, school safety and adult education programs
·        $31.7 million for higher education for parity and performance funding, the University of Arizona Medical School, rural community colleges and the Navajo Technical College
·        $64.4 million for Child Protective Services
·        $250,000 to expand the Mental Health First Aid program
·        $20.6 million for Arizona State Parks and tourism

“We are confident that the Senate will approve an identical budget and that the governor will sign it into law,” Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), said. “The House was able to pass this budget, despite the grandstanding and political maneuvering of the people who have been obstructing this debate since January. Common sense finally prevailed.”


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UPDATE: Mental Health First Aid funding increased in House budget

UPDATE: Mental Health First Aid funding increased in House budget

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXThe Arizona House of Representatives passed a budget that will increase funding for Mental Health First Aid, a program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9) and Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson (District 9), co-sponsored a bill earlier this year that would have provided an additional $250,000 to the Department of Health Services specifically for Mental Health First Aid. Although the bill stalled in the Senate, the Arizona House of Representatives included the same proposal in the bipartisan budget it passed.  

“I’m a licensed professional counselor, and because of my training, I know this program makes a difference,” Steele said. “It will help teach people how to better respond to individuals in crisis and will help meet a need in our communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to work across the aisle with Rep. Orr on this important issue and would like to thank him for his efforts.”

The Arizona Senate is expected to vote on this measure later today.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Campbell: ‘House Democrats remain ready to work’

Campbell: ‘House Democrats remain ready to work’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), released the following statement on behalf of the Arizona House Democratic Caucus after the governor called the Legislature into special session.

“From day one, House Democrats have been committed to passing a common-sense budget that fosters job creation and increases funding for education. We’ve also been steadfast in our support of Medicaid restoration because it will help hundreds of thousands of Arizonans get access to health care, bring millions of dollars into our economy, benefit hospitals and create jobs.

“We view this special session as an opportunity to focus on these pressing issues. House Democrats remain ready to work. For months, political games have been the priority at the Capitol. Arizonans are tired of the partisan bickering. They have made it clear that they want us to move our state forward in a bipartisan manner.

“The budget and the debate on Medicaid restoration are long past due. The Legislature has one constitutional obligation and that is to pass a budget. We know there are enough votes to do that and to restore Medicaid right now. It’s time for the political grandstanding to stop and for the obstructionist tactics to end. It’s time to vote.”

To watch the special session proceedings go to http://azleg.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=21.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Gallego statement on recent DACA amendment in U.S. House of Representatives

Gallego statement on recent DACA amendment in U.S. House of Representatives

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Minority Leader Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), released the following statement regarding the recent vote in the United States House of Representatives to reverse the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.  

“Yesterday’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives is an example of the opportunistic political gamesmanship that Americans are tired of seeing. Rep. King took advantage of a vote on serious Homeland Security bill to push a partisan agenda.

“The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a sensible policy that provides millions of young people a chance to achieve the American dream. DACA helps young people who were brought to our country when they were children by giving them an opportunity to stay and continue their education or their service to their communities and our country.

“The Republican-led action against DACA is malicious and defies common sense.  Not only does it undermine the ability of law enforcement agents to prioritize action against dangerous criminals, but it also ignores the contributions that those eligible for DACA have made to their communities. The people eligible for DACA demonstrate a commitment to service and to education. They have done nothing wrong. In fact, they exemplify the values that make our country great.”



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