Friday, January 31, 2014

Steele introduces bill to curb gun-related injuries to minors

 Steele introduces bill to curb gun-related injuries to minors

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9), recently introduced a bill intended to help curb the number of children injured by guns in Arizona.

HB 2542 would make it a class one misdemeanor for a person to leave a loaded firearm in an unsecured area to which a child would have access. If a person leaves a firearm in an unsecured area and a child fatally injures himself or another, that person would face a class three felony. Similarly if the child injures himself or another, the adult responsible would face a class four felony.

“This bill encourages common-sense gun ownership,” Steele said. “The bottom line is, if an adult leaves a loaded weapon where a child can get to it, that adult should be held responsible. We’ve seen too many children injured or killed because they found a loaded weapon. That has to stop.”

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Legislature approves emergency funding for child safety caseworkers

Legislature approves emergency funding for child safety caseworkers

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released the following statements on the Legislature’s passage of supplemental appropriations to fund additional child safety positions:
Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar:
“Funding these additional caseworkers is a crucial step in the effort to reform our troubled CPS system, but it is only a step. We still have much work to repair the systemic failures that allowed thousands of vulnerable children to fall through the cracks,” said Sen. Tovar.
“We must also focus on preventative services that help keep children safe and healthy in their homes. Waiting to respond until a crisis occurs, whether for a family or for a state agency, is too late. The best way to protect Arizona’s children is to keep them from harm’s way in the first place.”
House Democratic Leader Chad Campbell:
“Providing funding for additional Child Protective Services caseworkers was the right thing to do today but it cannot be the only thing we do. This agency needs reforms that ensure accountability and that provide caseworkers with the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. We can’t keep propping up CPS with one emergency funding bill after another,” said Rep. Campbell.
“Instead, we should take a realistic look at what resources the agency needs to keep Arizona kids safe. Additionally, we must begin funding preventative and support services, including child care subsidies for working families. If we do not provide adequate money for these services, we will continue to see increases in cases of abuse and neglect. Without funding for these vital services, any efforts to reform CPS will fall flat. We have an opportunity to make lasting changes that will benefit our most vulnerable children. Let’s do it right this time.”

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Republicans attempting to impede referendum on restrictive voting measure

Republicans attempting to impede referendum on restrictive voting measure 
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Democrats are working to stop Republicans at the Legislature from keeping a restrictive and controversial voting measure off the ballot.

Today in the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale (District 19), and Rep. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), voted against HB 2196. This bill would repeal HB 2305 and keep voters from deciding whether the state can implement restrictive changes to the election process.

Republicans passed HB 2305 during a late-night vote at the end of the 2013 legislative session.

“The extremists at the Capitol got this bill through last year, hoping the voters wouldn’t notice,” Quezada said. “It created barriers to the voting process and, at the same time, made it easier for some legislators to keep their jobs because it lowered the number of signatures needed for some candidates to get on ballot.”

The provisions of the bill never went into effect because, shortly after the governor signed the bill into law, opponents collected about 146,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Arizona has a citizen referendum process that gives voters a chance to decide on laws the legislature passes.

“By attempting to repeal HB 2305, the Republicans are trying to take this decision away from the voters,” Contreras said. “Arizona voters have clearly indicated that they want to weigh in on these oppressive changes to the election process. It’s already on the ballot and Arizonans deserve to have their voices heard on this.”

Quezada added that Republicans have already indicated they plan to introduce all of the restrictions in HB 2305 as individual bills.

“They should not be playing political games with the right to vote,” Quezada said. “We’re going to keep working to protect the voters’ ability to make a decision about HB 2305.”

Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of HB 2196, and it must now be heard in the House Rules Committee.



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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

District 19 Democrats distributing dental supplies donated by Delta Dental to students at two elementary schools

District 19 Democrats distributing dental supplies donated by Delta Dental to students at two elementary schools


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix (District 19), Rep. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale (District 19), and Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 19), are working with Delta Dental to distribute more than 200 toothbrushes to local elementary school students.

Who:          Rep. Mark Cardenas
Rep. Lupe Contreras
Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar

When:        Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
9 a.m.
Where:       Fowler Elementary, Auditorium
6707 W. Van Buren St.
Phoenix, AZ 85043

When:        Friday, Feb. 14, 2014
9 a.m.
Where:       Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary, Cafeteria
9401 W. Garfield St.
Tolleson, AZ 85353

For additional information, please call 602-926-3014.


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Monday, January 27, 2014

Arizona House Democrats release 2014 Policy Blueprint

Arizona House Democrats release 2014 Policy Blueprint
Legislative agenda focuses on restoring Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Democrats today unveiled a policy agenda for 2014 designed to restore the state’s economic stability and to lay the groundwork for a stronger future.

“Our state is recovering from a difficult few years,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said. “Arizonans have struggled with high unemployment, incomes that aren’t rebounding and increases in the cost of living. Our schools have been forced to absorb deep budget cuts and our public and private infrastructure has been neglected. Despite all this, we are making progress. This legislative session, House Democrats are focused on building the foundation for the Arizona we want for today and for the Arizona we want in ten years.”

Campbell added that building a stronger state starts with education.

“The K-12 education system has suffered from a long-term lack of capital funding,” Campbell said. “If we expect our schools to prepare our kids for college and for an increasingly global economy, we have to invest in education. That includes providing resources for the reforms we’ve already implemented. Also, making tuition more affordable and costs more predictable, as well as creating a state-funded tuition assistance program for students pursing higher education should be priorities.”

Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), said that creating jobs and
investing in infrastructure will help move Arizona toward long-term economic stability.

“State budget investments should be made in job creators,” Gallego said. “We should be putting money into our state parks and promoting tourism. Also, restoring the Highway User Revenue Fund would help improve our state’s transportation system and would create jobs in both urban and rural communities.”

Gallego also said Arizona’s historic business and trade relationship with Mexico is an important job generator, especially along the border.

“We cannot overlook the economic impact our trade partner Mexico continues to have in this state,” Gallego said. “With that in mind, it’s time for us to integrate ‘dreamers’ and DACA recipients into Arizona’s economy by offering them more affordable college opportunities and allowing them to get driver’s licenses.”

House Minority Whip Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson (District 10), added that Arizona House Democrats are committed to restoring the state’s eroded safety net for families and children most in need.

“Our most immediate concern is ensuring children in our state are safe and that those who are suffering from abuse and neglect are protected and provided a chance for a happy future,” Wheeler said.  “We will continue to demand accountability from the leadership in the child welfare system.  Additionally, we must find ways to fund preventative services and programs for people and families dealing with joblessness, domestic violence, drug abuse and mental health issues. Our state is better served when we help families before they fall into crisis. To make Arizona stronger, we have to provide support for those most vulnerable.”

Arizona House Democrats recently released a document with an overview of their legislative priorities for the session. That document is available for review below.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Steele introduces Youth Mental Health First Aid Bill

Steele introduces Youth Mental Health First Aid Bill
Legislation would provide more money to train people to recognize mental health issues in youth

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9), recently introduced the Youth Mental Health First Aid Bill. HB 2490 would provide an additional $250,000 to the Department of Health Services for a Mental Health First Aid Program specifically designed to help people identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders in youth.

“This bill would expand a program that we know is already working to get youth who are showing signs of distress the aid they need before they go into crisis,” Steele said.

The funding would be used to create more training opportunities for people who work with youth between the ages of 12 and 18. Steele, a licensed professional counselor and a mental health professional, said behavioral issues often start to develop during adolescence.

“Mental health issues manifest differently in young people. By augmenting this program, we can prepare more people who interact with kids on a regular basis to recognize the warning signs,” Steele said. “This training could be for teachers, school staff, coaches and even young people. The goal is to show them how to identify when a young person is struggling and to teach them how to intervene and get the appropriate assistance.”

Steele added that she hopes the training will also help eliminate the stigma that is often associated with mental health issues.

“We must make it easier for people to talk about mental health so that they can get the treatment they need,” Steele said. “This benefits the community and those in crisis.”




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Thursday, January 23, 2014

REMINDER: Quezada and Contreras to respond to attempts to keep restrictive voting measure off the ballot

POSTPONED: Quezada and Contreras to respond to attempts to keep restrictive voting measure off the ballot

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale (District 19), and Rep. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), are holding a press conference regarding HB 2196, a bill that would repeal HB 2305 and keep voters from deciding whether the state can implement restrictive changes to the election process.

The House Judiciary Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 and is scheduled to hear HB 2196. The press conference will begin following adjournment of the committee.

Who:                   Rep. Lupe Contreras
Rep. Martín Quezada

When:           Thursday, Jan. 23
Immediately following the adjournment of the House Judiciary Committee

Where:          House of Representatives
                        Rose Garden
                        1700 W. Washington St.
                        Phoenix, AZ  85007

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quezada and Contreras to respond to attempts to keep restrictive voting measure off the ballot

Quezada and Contreras to respond to attempts to keep restrictive voting measure off the ballot

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale (District 19), and Rep. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), are holding a press conference regarding HB 2196, a bill that would repeal HB 2305 and keep voters from deciding whether the state can implement restrictive changes to the election process.

The House Judiciary Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 and is scheduled to hear HB 2196. The press conference will begin following adjournment of the committee.


Who:             Rep. Lupe Contreras
                     Rep. Martín Quezada

When:           Thursday, Jan. 23 
                     Immediately following the adjournment of the House Judiciary Committee

Where:          House of Representatives
                    Rose Garden
                    1700 W. Washington St.
                    Phoenix, AZ  85007

Quezada issues statement on offensive Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity party

Quezada issues statement on offensive Tau Kappa Epsilon  fraternity party

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), released this statement regarding a racially themed fraternity party:

“The students who participated in the shameful Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity party should be held accountable for their actions. Their conduct was offensive and unacceptable. We cannot tolerate behavior that perpetuates racist stereotypes and mocks ethnic groups. Arizona State University was right to suspend this fraternity and I hope to see more action taken against those who organized and participated in this event.”



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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hale introduces legislation to benefit Native American Nations

Hale introduces legislation to benefit Native American Nations

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), recently introduced a series of bills to promote the interests of Native American nations in Arizona.

“Native Americans have been contributing to the economic stability of Arizona since before the state was a state. This legislative session, I am focusing on bills that will ensure that Indian Nations receive a fair share of the tax revenues they collect for the state and that they have a seat at the table when leaders are making decisions that affect these communities,” Hale said.

Hale, a strong advocate for indigenous communities, introduced a package of reforms in the Arizona House of Representatives to address access to tax revenues collected on Indian Nations and to include tribal leaders in decision-making positions.

A summary of these bills is below:

HB 2073 – Central Arizona Project board; membership
This bill would require that the CAP board of directors include one non-voting member to ensure Indian Nations are included in discussions about CAP Colorado River water use. The member would be appointed by the governor and selected from a list of three nominees. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona would be responsible for identifying two nominees and the Navajo Nation would be responsible for the third nominee.   
HB 2074 – state transportation board; tribal representation
This bill would require the State Transportation Board to include a representative from an Indian Nation. The board is responsible for planning for the transportation needs of the state. The population of the 22 federally recognized Indian Nations in Arizona exceeds 250,000. These Indian Nations have unique transportation needs that are not currently being met. HB 2074 would help correct that.

HB  2075 – Native American tribes; TPT revenues
The legislation would allocate Transaction Privilege Tax money, or sales tax, back to the Native American lands where it was collected. These funds would be used for infrastructure and community development, including telecommunication infrastructure development and roads on the Indian reservations. Currently, TPT money is collected from businesses not owned by enrolled members operating on Native American lands. The tax money is distributed to the state, counties and municipalities incorporated under state law. Indian Nations are not included in this distribution formula. Tribes will be authorized to use the TPT money as collateral to fund projects.

HB 2076 – Native American tribes; JTED expenses
This bill would provide funding for the operation, maintenance, renewal and capital expenses of the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education District, the only Joint Technical Education District in an Indian Nation. JTEDs provide career and technical education for native students.

“This session I will work closely with my colleagues to make sure the interests of our people are recognized by the state,” Hale said.

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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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Native American Caucus commends the Hopi Nation for leading the smoke-free movement

                                                                                                                      
Native American Caucus commends the Hopi Nation for leading the smoke-free movement

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution proposed by the Native American Caucus recognizing the Hopi Nation’s role in pioneering the smoke-free movement in hospitals and workplaces.

“The banning of smoking in public places has played an important role in keeping our communities healthy,” said Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7). “The people of the Hopi Nation set the foundation for the national smoke-free movement by banning smoking in the Keams Canyon Hospital.”

In October 1983, Dr. Leland L. Fairbanks of the United States Public Health Services, with the help of Rice Leach of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and Charles Q. North of Keams Canyon, Ariz., encouraged the Hopi Tribal Council and the Hospital Board Executive Committee of the Hopi Nation’s Keams Canyon Indian Health Service Hospital to ban smoking at the Keams Canyon IHS Hospital. This was the first health institution in the country to enact this ban. The Native American Caucus introduced HCR 2006 to recognize the leadership of the Hopi Nation who worked toward smoke-free hospitals.

Additionally, Hale recognized the significance that the smoking ban has had in the community.

“Because of this ban, entire generations of nurses, hospital staff and patients have now been free from exposure to secondhand smoke in hospitals. All members of the Native American Caucus believe this historic achievement is commendable,” said Hale.

Since the implementation of the smoking ban in 1983, the smoke-free movement has spread to public spaces such as bars, restaurants and workplaces.
                                                                                                                          

*******************************************************************************
The Native American Caucus would like to encourage people to get involved in the legislative process and to make sure their voices are heard. To receive a registration form for a Request to Speak System account, please email Melissa Upshaw at mupshaw@azleg.gov or call the office of Rep. Hale at 602-926-4323. Once your account is created, you will receive the Request to Speak System Manual by email and you can comment on bills being heard in committees through your online access by going to www.azleg.gov and clicking the Request to Speak System link.

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Steele working to reduce distracted driving

Steele working to reduce distracted driving
HB 2376 would ban texting while driving

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9), introduced a bill intended to cut down on distracted driving by banning the use of handheld mobile devices to send, write or read text messages while driving.

HB 2376 would make using handheld mobile devices to text a civil traffic violation and subject to a $200 fine.

“It’s my hope that this legislation will make our roadways safer by reducing the number of distractions drivers face,” said Steele. “There are so many accidents and fatalities that could have been prevented if people were not using their mobile devices.”

Steele said she was compelled to introduce this legislation after Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Tim Huffman was killed in May 2013. The driver of a semi-truck allegedly was looking at photos on his cellphone when he hit the officer’s patrol car on Interstate 8. The officer died at the scene.

“I believe this horrible tragedy could have been avoided,” Steele said.

She added that this ban will not affect the use of hands-free devices while driving.

“I just want to help drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road,” Steele said.






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Friday, January 17, 2014

Democratic response to governor’s budget proposal


Democratic response to governor’s budget proposal

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democratic Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), and Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 19), issued these responses to Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget proposal:

House Democratic Leader Chad Campbell:

“The budget that Governor Brewer is proposing offers a number of opportunities for us to work together. Democrats this year will remain focused on the issues that help move Arizona forward – creating jobs, funding education and protecting those most vulnerable.  To that end, the governor’s budget provides immediate and ongoing funding for Child Protective Services caseworkers and support staff. It also provides some modest spending for support services. 

“Additionally, the governor’s proposal includes money that will help create jobs through tourism promotion and the construction of a veterans’ home in Yuma, Ariz. We are also pleased to see investments in continued biotech development, military installation protection, water planning and upgrades to our government’s information technology infrastructure, which are long overdue. Fire suppression and training efforts will also receive some funding in this plan, but it may not be enough to correct the issues that led to the loss of so many lives in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

“Although this budget has created a foundation for common ground, there are some glaring oversights. It does not include money for child care subsidies or other preventative services for struggling families.  We cannot expect to truly address the issues facing families in crisis unless we commit to funding the services on the front end to reduce the number of children involved with CPS.

“Also, Arizona students seeking a higher education have seen some of the largest tuition increases in the country as a direct result of state budget cuts to universities. The governor’s budget does not have funding for financial aid, which would go a long way to offset the hike in tuition rates.

“While this budget proposal does not include cuts to K-12 education, it lacks money for teacher training and other costs associated with the implementation of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. This is an irresponsible omission that will further burden our public schools, as will the governor’s proposal to require schools to foot the bill for a statewide broadband upgrade.

“The governor’s budget also fails to restore Highway User Revenue Funding that has been shifted away from important transportation projects during recent years. It is vital that this state invest in infrastructure. Reinstating HURF is a priority for both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives, and we hope to continue to work together to make sure this is included in the final budget.

“Ultimately, we are left to question the appropriateness of setting aside another $50 million for our state’s rainy day fund. Arizona has a tradition of turning adversity into opportunity, but we need adequate resources to do that. We should be putting that money to work for the people of Arizona. We are hopeful that the governor’s budget is a starting point for more discussions about a fair, common-sense budget for our state that will help get Arizonans back to work, fund education and prioritize the safety of our most vulnerable.”

Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar:
“I appreciate the governor’s desire to fix the failures at CPS and to address priorities like caring for our veterans and improving technology in schools in her proposed budget. It is also makes important investments in tourism and biotechnology, which will help create jobs and improve the future of our state.

“As we begin the process of crafting a final budget we will work with the governor on additional areas not yet addressed in her budget.

“After the significant cuts in recent years, it is time to invest wisely in the future of our state. That includes ensuring our students and teachers have the tools and training they need to meet new educational standards.  

“Now also is the time to return HURF monies to our counties to fix crumbling infrastructure, improve our economic competitiveness and help create jobs. While adding caseworkers at CPS is crucial we must also focus on the preventative services, like childcare subsidies, that help reduce caseloads and support families.

“We are concerned the governor’s budget commits another $50 million to the rainy day fund when it could go to these and other investments. That said, her budget is a positive start and we look forward to working with her, as we did last session, to craft a responsible bipartisan budget that keeps Arizona moving forward.” 


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Respuesta Demócrata a la propuesta del presupuesto de la gobernadora 
CAPITOLIO ESTATAL, PHOENIX El líder demócrata Chad Campbell, demócrata de Phoenix (Distrito 24), y la líder demócrata del Senado Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (Distrito 19), emitieron estas respuestas (las siguientes reacciones) a la propuesta de presupuesto de la gobernadora Jan Brewer:

Líder Demócrata de la Cámara de los Representantes Chad Campbell:

El presupuesto que la gobernadora Brewer propone ofrece una serie de oportunidades para que trabajemos juntos. Este año los Demócratas seguiremos enfocados en las cuestiones que ayudan a mover a Arizona hacia adelante - la creación de empleos, fondos para el sistema educativo y la protección de los más vulnerables. Con el mismo fin, el presupuesto de la gobernadora ofrece fondos inmediatos y continuos para los trabajadores sociales del Departamento de Protección al Menor (CPS por sus siglas en ingles) y para personal de apoyo. También incluye gastos modestos para servicios de apoyo.

Además, la propuesta de la gobernadora incluye fondos que ayudarán a crear empleos a través de la promoción del turismo y la construcción de un hogar para veteranos en Yuma, Arizona. También estamos contentos de ver inversiones en el desarrollo continuo de la biotecnología, proyectos que  protegen nuestra relación con las  bases militares, la planificación del agua y mejoras para nuestra infraestructura de tecnología informática del gobierno, que debieron de ser financiados desde hace mucho tiempo. Adicionalmente, el presupuesto también incluye algunos fondos para responder a incendios forestales, pero puede no ser suficiente para corregir los problemas que resultaron en la pérdida de tantas vidas en el incendio de Yarnell.

Aunque este presupuesto provee un terreno común, hay algunas omisiones evidentes. No incluye los fondos para subsidios de cuidado infantil u otros servicios de prevención para las familias con dificultades económicas. No podemos realmente resolver los problemas que enfrentan las familias en crisis si no nos comprometemos a financiar los servicios que ayudan a reducir el número de niños involucrados con CPS.
 
Además, los estudiantes de Arizona que buscan una educación universitaria han visto algunos de los aumentos más altos en el costo de educación en el país como consecuencia directa de los recortes del presupuesto estatal a las universidades. El presupuesto de la gobernadora no incluye fondos para ayuda financiera, que ayudaría a reducir el costo de las matrículas universitarias.

Si bien esta propuesta de presupuesto no incluye recortes a la educación K-12, si carece de fondos para el entrenamiento de maestros y otros costos asociados con la implementación de los nuevos estándares académicos (Arizona’s College and Career Ready). Esta es una omisión irresponsable, que aumentarán la carga sobre nuestras escuelas públicas, al igual que la propuesta de la gobernadora que exigirá a las escuelas a cubrir el costo de una actualización del sistema informático.

El presupuesto de la gobernadora tampoco restaura fondos para proyectos importantes del infraestructura al sistema de transportación (conocido como HURF por sus siglas en ingles) que ha sido desplazado por otros proyectos en los últimos años. Es de vital importancia que este estado invierta en infraestructura. El restablecimiento de HURF es una prioridad para los demócratas y los republicanos en la Cámara de Representantes, y esperamos seguir trabajando juntos para asegurarnos de que esto sea incluido en el presupuesto final.

Por último, cuestionamos guardar  $50 millones para el fondo de emergencia de nuestro estado. Arizona tiene una tradición de convertir la adversidad en oportunidad, pero necesitamos recursos adecuados para lograrlo. Deberíamos poner ese dinero a trabajar para los Arizonenses. Tenemos la esperanza de que el presupuesto de la gobernadora es solo un inicio para un buen dialogo sobre un presupuesto con sentido común, justo para nuestro estado, que promueva nuevos empleos, fondos para la educación y dar prioridad a la seguridad de nuestros más vulnerables.”

Líder Demócrata del Senado Anna Tovar:

Aprecio el deseo de la gobernadora para arreglar las fallas en CPS y por reconocer las prioridades como el cuidado de nuestros veteranos y la mejora de la tecnología en las escuelas en su propuesta de presupuesto. Esta también realiza inversiones importantes en el turismo y la biotecnología, lo que ayudará a crear empleos y mejorar el futuro de nuestro estado.

“Al comenzar este proceso trabajaremos con la gobernadora en áreas adicionales todavía no incluidas en su presupuesto.

Después de los enormes recortes de fondos en los últimos años, ahora es el momento de invertir de forma inteligente en el futuro de nuestro estado. Esto incluye asegurar que nuestros estudiantes y los maestros tengan las herramientas y la capacitación que necesitan para cumplir con los nuevos estándares educativos.

Ahora también es el momento de devolver el dinero a HURF para que nuestros condados puedan arreglar la deteriorada infraestructura y carreteras, así podremos mejorar nuestra competitividad económica y ayudar a crear nuevos empleos. Mientras que la adición de los trabajadores sociales en CPS es crucial también debemos enfocarnos en los servicios preventivos, como los subsidios de cuidado infantil, que ayudan a reducir el número de casos y apoyar a las familias.

Nos preocupa que el presupuesto de la gobernadora se compromete a ahorrar $50 millones para el fondo de emergencia cuando podría ir a estas y otras inversiones. Dicho esto, su presupuesto es un comienzo positivo y esperamos con interés trabajar con ella, como lo hicimos la última sesión, para elaborar un presupuesto bipartidista responsable que mueva a  Arizona hacia adelante.”

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Latino Caucus briefed on CPS efforts

Latino Caucus briefed on CPS efforts


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Members of the Arizona Latino Caucus met Thursday with Charles Flanagan, head of the new Division of Child Safety and Family Services, for an update on efforts to reform the state’s troubled child protective services.
Senate Democratic Leader and Latino Caucus Chair Anna Tovar:
“Right now we are at a pivotal point in the process of reforming CPS where we can really make change if we all work together,” said Sen. Tovar.
“I am grateful that Mr. Flanagan took time to update our caucus on the efforts he and his CARE Team are taking to learn from the mistakes that have been made and find the right way to rebuild this critical safety net. We will continue working with his team, the governor’s office, fellow legislators and the community to ensure this new division is transparent, accountable and truly protects Arizona’s children.”
Representative Martin Quezada, Latino Caucus co-Chair:
“Ensuring that there is accountability and transparency built into the process as we reform CPS is crucial.  I am encouraged by the frank discussion we had with Mr. Flanagan and I am hopeful that he will continue to work with us to develop the kinds of reforms necessary to keep our children safe,” said Rep. Quezada.
“CPS is in a crisis that was created by years of budget cuts to family support services. True reform will only happen if we are willing to work together to fund prevention programs that help struggling families.”

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Arizona House of Representatives honors former Rep. Ben Miranda

Arizona House of Representatives honors former Rep. Ben Miranda

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – On the opening day of the Legislature, the Arizona House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported a resolution to honor former Rep. Ben Miranda, who passed away in November 2013 at the age of 64.

Ben Miranda was the husband of Rep. Catherine Miranda, D-Phoenix (District 27), who now serves in the seat once held by her late husband. Rep. Catherine Miranda introduced the resolution to honor her husband’s legacy and his service to the State of Arizona.

“I would like to thank the members of the Arizona House and everyone who has been a part of recognizing the life and the hard work of my husband, Ben. The support of my colleagues and the community means so much to me,” Miranda said. “I will remain committed to honoring Ben’s legacy through service and dedication to our state.”

Additionally, Gov. Jan Brewer recognized Ben Miranda and offered Rep. Catherine Miranda some words of comfort in her State of the State address.

“I was terribly saddened to lose Ben Miranda. Catherine, the State of Arizona extends our deepest sympathies for your loss, and the loss of a great public servant, your husband and my friend, Ben. His voice will be missed but let us pray that his spirit of public service lives on in all of us,” Brewer said.

Voters elected Ben Miranda to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2002, and he served until 2010. While in the House, he was selected to be the chairman of the Arizona Latino Caucus several times. For more information about the life of former Rep. Ben Miranda, go to http://www.azhousedemocrats.com/2013/11/rep.html.


A copy of the full resolution is available at this link, http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/hcr2002p.pdf.