Monday, February 27, 2017

Your voice matters

The effort the community has put into speaking out against unjust bills is making a difference in Arizona. Your presence and testimony at the Capitol has made a legitimate impact in legislation, and House Democrats have been by your side, working to take down bills that don't reflect your priorities. But, the fight isn't over. Right now, Republicans are actively working to limit your voice. We need you to stay engaged, stay focused and contact your legislators. Here are some bills that would further silence citizen initiatives:

HB2320 - Would add a warning to the ballot that the legislature cannot change any ballot measures approved by voters. It would also cost taxpayers money, because they would have to pay for longer ballots and election materials.
HB2404 - This places on unnecessary burden on our constitutional right to direct democracy and silences voters by increasing the difficulty and expense of placing an initiative on the ballot, making it impossible for citizens to have their voices heard.
HCR2002 - A referendum that would repeal Prop 105, the Voter Protection Act. This repeal would allow legislators to change or even repeal ballot measures after voters have approved them.
HCR2007 - A referendum that would exempt referendums from Prop 105, so any bill referred to the ballot for a vote by the legislature, and then approved by voters, could be changed at will by the legislature.
HCR2029 - would make some voter's voices more powerful than others, depending on what district they live in. Every vote should count equally.

Click here to determine your Legislative district, and find your Representatives’ names and contact information here. Be sure to mention that you are a resident in their district and let them know how important citizen initiative rights are to you.

Below are video messages from your House Democrats. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rios on TANF bill: 'This is a bad deal'

Feb. 23, 2017

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –  Democratic House Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix (District 27), released the following statement regarding HB 2372:

"House Democrats stood with community members and stakeholders who are holding the Republicans accountable for both cutting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families two years ago and for pushing legislation that falls short of fully restoring those cuts.  To be clear, HB 2372 will punish Arizona children and families as they struggle to recover from crisis.  The governor said he was committed to correcting this problem, but tonight he and Republicans fell short of the that commitment and failed Arizona kids. This is a bad deal."


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UPDATE: The Arizona House approves HB 2074

Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix (District 24), introduced HB 2074, a bill that would give money to the State Fair Board for the renovation and preservation of Arizona's historic fairground buildings. To read the bill click here.
March 1, 2017

Feb. 22, 2017

UPDATE: The Senate Commerce Committee approves HB 2342

Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Phoenix (District 29), introduced HB 2342, a bill that would ensure Arizona Department of Veterans' Services has funding for ten new Veteran Benefits Counselors. To read the bill click here.

March 13, 2017

March 2, 2017

Feb. 22, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

House Democrats outline budget for sustainable AZ economy based on community values

In a report delivered to House Republicans this week, the House Democratic Caucus outlined a vision for Arizona that is based on community values.  The report included budget priorities that would realize this vision while being fiscally responsible.  For too long, Republican leaders have avoided real solutions to some of the most pressing issues in our state by using budget gimmicks. That must stop now. 

House Democrats have a plan that will move the state in right direction, while forcing legislators to finally focus on long-term solutions for economic stability.

A copy of the report and a summary of the budget priorities are below:

                        Here are video messages from your Arizona House Democrats:  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

UPDATE: The Arizona House approves HB 2055

Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix (District 24), introduced HB 2055, a bill that requires the county recorder to establish a method for notifying early ballot voters if there is a defect in their ballot materials that will result in it being rejected. To read the bill click here.

Feb. 23, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017

UPDATE: House approved HB 2426

Rep. Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma (District 4), introduced HB 2426, a bill that requires the ADHS to establish a voluntary process for certification of community health workers. To read the bill click here.

Feb. 21, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017

UPDATE: The Senate Government Committee approves HB 2323

Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon, D-Sahuarita (District 2), introduced HB 2323, a bill that would establish a program to provide first responders with critical health information. To read the bill click here.

March 8, 2017

Feb. 22, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017

House Health Committee unanimously approved HB 2442

Rep. Kelly Butler, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), introduced HB 2442, a bill that requires the AHCCCS to cover dental services for pregnant women who are at least 21 years of age.  To read the bill click here.

Feb. 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

House Ways and Means Committee passes HB 2418

Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr., D-Tucson (District 2), introduced HB 2418, a bill that exempts necessities such as feminine hygiene products, baby formula, and diapers from the TPT and use tax. To read the full bill click here.

Feb. 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Communities, families and environment must remain focus of NGS transition plan

Feb. 14, 2017

Communities, families and environment must remain focus of NGS transition plan

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –  The legislators from District 7 issued the following statements regarding the announcement from the Navajo Generating Station owners that they will continue operating the plant until 2019, pending the approval of the Navajo Nation:

Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (District 7)
"NGS opened in 1976 and was expected to operate for 68 years until 2044. The current plan is to close the plant 25 years earlier than expected.  The southwest, the nation and the world have benefited from the Navajo Generating Station, but the communities surrounding the plant remain underdeveloped, and now the owners are planning an exit.  The reality is we cannot allow what the mining industry did to our tribal nations after the Cold War to be repeated. I am looking forward to working with everyone on this transition, the length of which depends on the leaders of the Navajo Nation.  I hope the recent announcement is sincere and not a stunt to renegotiate a new lease, which would further undervalue natural resources and undercuts revenues going to tribal nations. We must seize this opportunity to develop an industry that can carry on for centuries in the renewable energy sector.”

Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock (District 7)
"With yesterday's announcement on the closure of NGS, we must now focus our attention on ensuring that the transition is done in a responsible manner. The economic security of the communities impacted is paramount, and I look forward to working on creating opportunities for workers to receive significant job and skills training in other sectors, including the renewable energy industry. Additionally, I look forward to having further discussions about the plans for clean-up and restoration."  

Rep. Eric Descheenie, D-Chinle (District 7)
"My heart goes out to the working women and men who are directly impacted by this issue. All those who are stakeholders in NGS need to commit publicly now how they plan to ensure our families have every opportunity to transition from these unearned circumstances. By that, I mean leaders created the dire circumstance we have before us. Leaders created this, not our families doing their best to make an honest living. I implore leaders to chart a new path, one that is responsive to traditional knowledge and environmental sustainability, in addition to economics. Anything less is unacceptable."


Monday, February 13, 2017

Rep. Engel and PAFCO Director Sam Richard check in after the ALEC Luncheon

Rep. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson (District 10), attended The American Legislative Exchange (ALEC) Luncheon. She talks with PAFCO Director Sam Richard about the kind of Arizona she wants to work for, and the kind of Arizona she wonders if ALEC is supporting. Arizona policies should benefit all Arizonans, not just the rich.

UPDATE: House approves HB 2004

Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix (District 19), introduced HB 2004, a bill that supports those who have served our country by requiring the Director of the ADOA to establish a veteran-owned participation goal of awarding state contracts to veteran-owned businesses.

Feb. 21, 2017

Feb. 13, 2017

Supporting our kids' schools is nonnegotiable

House Democrats are standing with Arizona parents, teachers, and students as we prepare for the oncoming attacks against our kids' schools. The slow march to drain our kids' public schools of resources is picking up in a very real way. But we are ready and we have a plan to turn things around.

House Democrats opposed the nomination of Betsy DeVos as United States Secretary of Education, namely because she clearly does not support public education. She has been called:

This is something we have seen time and time again in Arizona. We will continue to oppose efforts from the Republicans to swipe money from our kids' classrooms for private schools through ever-expanding voucher programs. There are several voucher  bills  being fast-tracked – despite reports that more than $100,000 of these funds were misspent in a six month period.  

Supporting our kids' schools is nonnegotiable. House Democrats are working with teachers to demand accountability from the Republicans. Republicans expect the public to believe they are trying to fix the crisis in our classrooms – conveniently leaving out that they created the crisis after years of prioritizing tax cuts for the rich over the needs of our kids. 

We've seen what those priorities produce and we agree with the majority of Arizonans who say our schools deserve more. House Democrats want to put our kids, our teachers and our classrooms before tax cuts for the rich. We support the reforms being proposed by Arizona Schools Now, which include focusing on recruiting and retaining teachers by increasing their pay in a meaningful way.

Here are some video messages from House Democrats:

#DemsLead #ClassroomCrisis

Thursday, February 09, 2017

VIDEO: update on bill that would ban municipal IDs

A message from Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Tempe (District 26) and Rep. Tony Navarrete, D-Phoenix (District 30) about HB 2086, the bill that would ban municipal IDs.

Statement from Rios regarding US appeals court continued block on Trump's travel ban

Feb. 9, 2017

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –  Democratic House Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix (District 27), released the following statement regarding a federal appeals court decision to uphold the temporary restraining order against the president's travel ban on people from seven Muslim nations.

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today acted, as the courts are supposed to, as a necessary check to the constitutional overreach by President Trump’s unlawful and un-American executive order. This decision means that, for now, people seeking refuge from horrific conditions will not be turned away, and that families separated by this discriminatory policy can reunite. Today’s win is just a step in the larger fight for justice. We cannot stop now."

En Español

"El Corte de Apelaciones actuó hoy, como un cheque necesaria, de el uso exceso de la orden ejecutiva que es ilegal y contra los valores de los EE.UU. Esta decisión significa que, por ahora, las personas que buscan refugio de condiciones horribles no serán rechazadas, que las familias separadas por esta política discriminatoria pueden reunirse. La victoria de hoy es sólo un paso en la lucha más grande por la justicia. No podemos parar."



ICYMI: Arizona Alliance of Community Health Centers honors Rep. Fernandez

The Arizona Alliance of Community Health Centers recently named Rep. Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma (District 4), the legislator of the year. 

Rep. Bolding joins the Arizona Commission of African American Affairs' Leadership conference

Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix (District 27), joined African-American leaders from all over the state during the Arizona Commission of African American Affair' 15th Annual Legislative and Leadership Conference. This is a 3-day event at the Capitol.

UPDATE: Senate Judiciary Committee approves HB 2054

Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix (District 24), introduced HB 2054, a bill that requires an out-of-state nonprofit or LLC to obtain a certificate of registration to do business in Arizona before spending money for the purpose of influencing an election in Arizona.

March 16, 2017

Feb. 21, 2017

Feb. 9, 2017

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

House Ways and Means Committee passes HB 2038

Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix (District 19), introduced HB 2038, a bill that requires any new individual or corporate income tax credit to be reviewed by the Joint Legislative Income Tax Credit Sunset Review Committee in a timely manner. To read the bill click here.

Feb. 8,2017

UPDATE: HB 2321 is approved by the Senate and going to the governor!

Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix (District 24), introduced HB 2321, a bill that values the principle of one person, one vote by prohibiting cumulative voting in homeowners' associations. To read the bill click here.
March 27, 2017

March 8, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017

Feb. 8, 2017

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

UPDATE: House passes HCR 2016

Rep. Diego Espinoza, D-Tolleson (District 19), introduced HCR 2016, which designates the month of January as Care Enough to Get in the Way month. The resolution proclaims that the Legislature supports Arizona students, police departments and community organizations in their efforts to engage in a variety of awareness and prevention activities. To read the entire bill click here.

Feb. 21, 2017

Feb. 7,2017

Monday, February 06, 2017

UPDATE: The Arizona House approved HB 2361

Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix (District 27), introduced HB 2361, a bill that would provide Arizona students and parents with regular updates on how prepared students are for college. To read the bill click here.
Feb. 23, 2017

Feb. 6, 2017

UPDATE: The Governor signs HB 2341!

Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Phoenix (District 29), introduced HB 2341, a bill that would extend the period of time to renew any professional certifications armed services members need when they return to civilian life. To read the entire bill click here.
March 24, 2017

March 23, 2017

Feb. 27, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017

Feb. 6, 2017

House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee Pass HB 2342

Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Phoenix (District 29), introduced HB 2342, a bill that appropriates funds to the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services. The funds go to hiring counselors that provide counseling and assistance to veterans, their dependents and survivors. To read the entire bill click here.

Feb. 6, 2017

The crisis in our classrooms

There is a growing crisis in our classrooms. Arizona is not able to replace the teachers who have been "fleeing" our state. There are thousands of vacant teaching positions in Arizona and educators are saying it's because the salaries here are too low.  

Arizona is dead last in teacher pay in the country. Republican leadership slashed education funding for years, while doling out corporate and special interest tax breaks. They created this crisis and are now trying to get credit for proposing a minuscule increase in the budget for teachers' pay. It amounts to less than $200 a year. The offer is insulting.

Two of the state's top teachers delivered a letter to the governor saying that his plan is probably worse than nothing – it won't improve anything.  In a recent article, Christine Marsh, the 2016 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year, is quoted saying:

“Quite frankly, I’m afraid (it) is going to have the opposite effect and drive teachers out,’’ she explained. “If they think to themselves, ‘This is what the governor means when he’s going to help education,’ I’m out."

Instead, teachers and other education advocates are calling for a 4 percent raise this year, instead of the 0.4 percent that the governor is suggesting.

The governor and other Republican leaders need to take responsibility for the choices they made that have left our classrooms in crisis. Responsive leadership would empower the teachers who are letting us know how to fix the problem, instead of calling them "crybabies." Our kids and our teachers deserve better. Dedicated educators have shouldered this burden for too long. Paying teachers a wage that reflects how much we value the work they do is the right thing to do.

To see a copy of the letter education advocates sent to the governor, click here.

Here are video messages from your Arizona House Democrats: