Tuesday, February 27, 2018

LGTBQ Caucus applauds Supreme Court ruling: "All families shall be treated fairly under the law.”


LGBTQ Caucus
Rep. Cesar Chavez, D-Phoenix (District 29)
Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr., D-Tucson (District 2)
Sen. Robert Mesa, D-Phoenix (District 30)
Rep. Tony Navarrete, D-Phoenix (District 30)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 27, 2018                                                                   
Contact: Jacqueline Sandoval
602-926-5848


PHOENIX, State Capitol – Even after the historic United States Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in 2015, gay couples still face hurdles at almost every step when it comes to achieving equality.

However, on Monday the United States Supreme Court refused to overturn a ruling that says gay couples are entitled to the same parenting rights as heterosexual
couples when they get divorced. For now, all marriage unions are considered equal in matters of marriage, divorce and custody under a 2017 Arizona Supreme Court ruling. The Arizona LGBTQ Caucus issued the following statement regarding the ruling:

"This is a historic moment in American history.” said Representative Cesar Chavez, D-Phoenix (District 29). “By refusing to overturn a lower court ruling the Supreme Court reaffirmed that all parents regardless of gender have the same rights and responsibilities. All families shall be treated fairly under the law.”

This is a small but crucial step concerning parenting rights for gay couples and is affecting people across the country, including people in Arizona.


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Senate Transportation and Technology Committee approves HB 2027

Rep. Randy Friese's House Bill 2027, allowing the Arizona Department of Transportation to issue an alternative fuel vehicle sticker to individuals who own a vehicle with a veteran special plate, passed the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee. To read the bill click here.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The House passed HB 2575

Rep. Reginald Bolding's House Bill 2575, which allows homeless veterans to apply and receive an ID if they do not have a residence address or their address is a shelter that provides services to the homeless, passed the House. To read the bill click here.



Monday, February 19, 2018

The House Appropriations Committee passed HB 2001

Rep. Mark Cardenas' House Bill 2001, which requires monies in the Indigent Defense Fund (Fund) to be used solely for the purposes of indigent defense., passed the House Appropriations Committee. To read the bill click here.


The House Appropriations Committee passed HB 2374

Rep. Charlene Fernandez's House Bill 2374, which Appropriates $200,000 from the general fund in FY 2019 to the teacher certification fund administered by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), passed the House Appropriations Committee. To read the bill click here.



The House Appropriations Committee passed HB 2420

R  Rep. Richard Andrade's House Bill 2420, which appropriates $200,000 and three FTEs each fiscal year to the Department of Veterans' Services for veterans' benefit counseling, passed the House Appropriations Committee. To read the bill click here.



The House Appropriations Committee passed HB 2481

Rep. Eric Descheenie's House Bill 2481, which increases the amount of transaction privilege tax revenues Navajo Technical University may receive under a tribal impact, passed the House Appropriations Committee. To read the bill click here.




Thursday, February 15, 2018

The House passed HB 2421

Rep. Richard Andrade's House Bill 2421, which extends absence from employment protection to National Guard Members, passed the House. To read the bill click here.






The House passed HB 2419

Rep.Richard Andrade's House Bill 2419, which authorizes a monument to Buffalo Soldiers in Wesley Boling Plaza, passed the House. To read the bill click here.



State Pension Fund Bills Don’t Get a Hearing: Representative Athena Salman’s bills would cut hefty fees


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 15, 2018
Contact: Robbie Sherwood
480-246-7944


PHOENIX, State Capitol – This morning, Representative Athena Salman and allies urged Chairman David Livingston of the Appropriations Committee to hear two bills that would protect the state’s pension funds. Representative Salman submitted two bills, HB 2634 and 2639, that would protect state pension funds from being siphoned by exorbitant fees. One bill, in particular, enjoys strong bipartisan support. Chairman Livingston has refused to add the bills to the committee’s agenda, leaving Arizona’s pensions vulnerable to predatory financial advisers.

Representative Salman called on the chairman to take action in the face of the state’s pension crisis, “We need to pay our pension obligations, not line the pockets of private equity firms and other Wall Street bankers. My bills would provide the transparency we need to do just that.”

CASE (Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy) Executive Director Brendan Walsh joined Rep. Salman’s call. “The voters of Arizona have empowered the state legislature to protect its tax dollars and use them wisely. It’s shocking that we don’t know how much money is being diverted from retired workers to private equity managers.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Vice President Betty Guardado also spoke. “We deal with private equity companies in our hotels. They are squeezing Arizona tax payers just like they squeeze our members.”

Arizona faces a crippling challenge to meet its obligations to its retired workers. The state legislature has invested a large portion of its pension with private equity firms in an attempt to keep the system afloat. Those funds come with hefty fees, little transparency, and tax loopholes for the firm’s executives.

In 2008, the Arizona State Retirement Systems committed $100 million to private equity firm CBRE Global Investors.[i] The firm manages $87 billion around the world.[ii] CBRE boasted that it collected $1.1 billion in carried interest and fee payments from investors from 2006 to 2010, when Arizonans were struggling in the Great Recession.[iii]

Arizonans have no idea how much of the $1.1 billion collected by CBRE came out of their pockets. And thanks to the “carried interest tax loophole”, CBRE executives got a $42.1 million tax break from 2006 to 2010. Representative Salman’s bills address these problems.

HB 2634: The Investment Fee Transparency Act

Arizona workers depend on our public pension funds when they retire, but the private equity firms managing their money are not required to disclose the fees they charge. HB 2634, the Investment Fee Transparency Act, would change that, shining a light on fees paid to private equity firms so Arizona workers can determine if they’re getting the best deal possible. Every dollar of Arizona pension fund money that goes to fees is a dollar that doesn’t go to a retired Arizona worker providing for their family.

HB 2639: The Carried Interest Tax Fairness Act

Currently, private equity executives take advantage of the carried interest loophole to slash taxes they pay on performance bonuses from 39.6% to 20%.[iv] HB 2639, the Carried Interest Tax Fairness Act, would impose a surtax on personal income equal to the taxes private equity executives should be paying to the federal government and send that money to the state’s general fund.





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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed HB 2575

Rep. Reginald Bolding's House Bill 2575, which allows homeless veterans to apply and receive an ID if they do not have a residence address or their address is a shelter that provides services to the homeless, passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. To read the bill click here.



Monday, February 12, 2018

House Education Committee Approves HB 2373

Rep. Kirsten Engel's House Bill 2373 classroom teacher supply assistance which Provides teachers with extra funding to help cover the cost classroom supplies passed the House Education Committee on February 12, 2018. To read the bill click here.


Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee passes HB 2475, HCM 2007 and HCM 2008

Rep.Richard Andrade's House Bill 2475 and House Concurrent Memorial 2007 and 2008 passed the House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee on February 12, 2018. To read HB 2475 click here. To read HCM 2007 click here. To read HCM 2008 click here.


The AZ House passes HCM 2001

Rep. Cesar Chavez's House Concurrent Memorial 2001, asking Congress to renegotiate NAFTA, passed the House on February 12, 2018.  To read the bill click here.




Friday, February 09, 2018

Salman Joins First Nationwide Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 11, 2017
Contact: Robbie Sherwood
602-926-5848
RSherwood@azleg.gov

PHOENIX, State Capitol – This morning, Representative Athena Salman and allies urged Chairman David Livingston of the Appropriations Committee to hear two bills that would protect the state’s pension funds. Representative Salman submitted two bills, HB 2634 and 2639, that would protect state pension funds from being siphoned by exorbitant fees. One bill, in particular, enjoys strong bipartisan support. Chairman Livingston has refused to add the bills to the committee’s agenda, leaving Arizona’s pensions vulnerable to predatory financial advisers.

Representative Salman called on the chairman to take action in the face of the state’s pension crisis, “We need to pay our pension obligations, not line the pockets of private equity firms and other Wall Street bankers. My bills would provide the transparency we need to do just that.”

CASE (Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy) Executive Director Brendan Walsh joined Rep. Salman’s call. “The voters of Arizona have empowered the state legislature to protect its tax dollars and use them wisely. It’s shocking that we don’t know how much money is being diverted from retired workers to private equity managers.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Vice President Betty Guardado also spoke. “We deal with private equity companies in our hotels. They are squeezing Arizona tax payers just like they squeeze our members.”

Arizona faces a crippling challenge to meet its obligations to its retired workers. The state legislature has invested a large portion of its pension with private equity firms in an attempt to keep the system afloat. Those funds come with hefty fees, little transparency, and tax loopholes for the firm’s executives.

In 2008, the Arizona State Retirement Systems committed $100 million to private equity firm CBRE Global Investors.[i] The firm manages $87 billion around the world.[ii] CBRE boasted that it collected $1.1 billion in carried interest and fee payments from investors from 2006 to 2010, when Arizonans were struggling in the Great Recession.[iii]

Arizonans have no idea how much of the $1.1 billion collected by CBRE came out of their pockets. And thanks to the “carried interest tax loophole”, CBRE executives got a $42.1 million tax break from 2006 to 2010. Representative Salman’s bills address these problems.

HB 2634: The Investment Fee Transparency Act

Arizona workers depend on our public pension funds when they retire, but the private equity firms managing their money are not required to disclose the fees they charge. HB 2634, the Investment Fee Transparency Act, would change that, shining a light on fees paid to private equity firms so Arizona workers can determine if they’re getting the best deal possible. Every dollar of Arizona pension fund money that goes to fees is a dollar that doesn’t go to a retired Arizona worker providing for their family.

HB 2639: The Carried Interest Tax Fairness Act

Currently, private equity executives take advantage of the carried interest loophole to slash taxes they pay on performance bonuses from 39.6% to 20%.[iv] HB 2639, the Carried Interest Tax Fairness Act, would impose a surtax on personal income equal to the taxes private equity executives should be paying to the federal government and send that money to the state’s general fund.





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Democratic Leader Rios Releases Statement on Sexual Harassment Report


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan. 21, 2018
Contact: Robbie Sherwood
 480-246-7944
  

PHOENIX – House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix (District 27), released this statement regarding the investigative report on sexual harassment allegations against Representative Don Shooter (R-13):

“Harassment, sexism and lewd behavior should not be tolerated in the People's House or any Arizona workplace. While our members are still individually working their way through the report, our initial feeling is that it paints a detailed and disturbing picture of pervasive sexual harassment and sexism on the part of Rep. Shooter. The Speaker's recommended sanctions are well-deserved, however we are still discussing as a caucus whether they go far enough. We applaud the courage of all the women and men who came forward to share their experiences or information for the investigation, and the Speaker for outlining a fair and thorough investigative process.”



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Rep. Descheenie Introduces a Bill to Stop Arizona's Publicly Funded Stadiums from Broadcasting the Word "Redskins"



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan. 31, 2018
Contact: Robbie Sherwood
480-246-7944

PHOENIX, State Capitol Publicly funded sports facilities in Arizona will no longer broadcast the Washington Redskins professional football team's name under legislation announced today.

Rep. Eric Descheenie, D-Chinle (District 7), introduced House Bill 2499 with the support of Navajo Nation Vice President Johnathon Nez and other community leaders to support Indigenous people in Arizona and to eliminate racially insensitive terminology from being displayed in publicly funded arenas.

"We still have this racial slur as a mascot, nearly a hundred years later. The NFL profits from it. They market it. They brand it," said Descheenie. "If we are choosing to spend money on these publicly funded stadiums, I do not think that we should make offending our Indigenous brothers and sisters the official policy of the State of Arizona."

This will not infringe on 1st amendment rights according to the 2015 Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans supreme court ruling. This bill still allows the team and fans to wear Washington team gear. And does not stop any Arizona high school from using the term in its sports facilities. 

Rep. Geraldine Peten, D-Goodyear (District 4), is in support of House Bill 2499 and its elimination of racially destructive language. "Mascots and racial epithets are not positive. They represent images and memories of destruction and death," said Peten.

"Culture is the underpinning to what is considered normal, to what is considered socially permissible. It essentially preempts most of our decisions as to what is not offensive," said Descheenie. "The use of the team's name is perpetuating a culture of racism." 



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Legislators introduce first bipartisan bill to update Arizona’s non-discrimination statute to include gay and transgender Arizonans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6th , 2018
Contact:
Sophie O’Keefe-Zelman
Sophie@OHStrategic.com
602-380- 1809

PHOENIX —This week a group of bipartisan legislators introduced HB 2586, which would extend Arizona’s current non-discrimination protections to gay and transgender Arizonans in employment, housing and public accommodations.  This is the first time a LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination bill has had bipartisan support at the Arizona Legislature. The bill is sponsored by Representative Daniel Hernandez (D, LD 2), and co-sponsored by Representative César Chávez (D, LD 29), Representative Tony Navarette (D, LD 30), and Senator Kate Brophy McGee (R, LD 28).

Currently, five municipalities have ordinances that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  However, Arizona has no statewide laws that protect gay and transgender individuals from being fired, denied housing or refused service simply for being gay or transgender.
“Inclusion is not just good for LGBTQ Arizonans, but for all Arizonans.  Being inclusive contributes to our economic sustainability and our ability to attract and retain top talent and business.  It also happens to be the right thing to,” said Representative Hernandez.

“The principles of non-discrimination are rooted in core conservative values of fairness, equality, and opportunity.  If we want to live in a state that grows by attracting the very best talent, has a strong economy, is a vibrant place to live, then we must be for business to everyone,” said Senator Brophy McGee.

The business community is strongly in favor of the legislation. More than 2,600 businesses in Arizona have already voiced their support for LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination by signing the UNITY Pledge. Further, 88% of Arizona’s top 50 employers include sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination policies.  And it’s not just Arizona.  Businesses across the country are increasingly considering non-discrimination protections when deciding where to do business. In the last two years, both CNBC and Forbes Magazine have added LGBTQ rights as priority criteria in their annual best states for business lists.  And national organizations like the NCAA announced that they will consider LGBTQ rights when awarding cities with championship games going forward.

Faith leaders are also supporting the measure, "My faith teaches us that we are all God's children, and that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. The legislation will simply update Arizona's existing laws to ensure that our LGBTQ citizens are all treated equally and fairly," Reverend Troy Mendez, Dean of Trinity Cathedral added.  

 
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About ONE Community
ONE Community is a member-based coalition of socially responsible businesses, organizations and individuals who support diversity, inclusion and equality for all Arizonans. We are committed to reshaping Arizona’s image through educating, empowering and connecting our diverse LGBT and allied communities on the benefits of inclusion and its direct impact on attracting and retaining top talent and businesses—and thereby, ensuring our state’s economic sustainability.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The AZ House passes HB 2027

Rep. Randy Friese's House Bill 2027, allowing the Arizona Department of Transportation to issue an alternative fuel vehicle sticker to individuals who own a vehicle with a veteran special plate, passed the House. To read the bill click here.

Cardenas and Clodfelter Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Voters to Decide the Legalization of Marijuana


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 8, 2018
Contact: Robbie Sherwood
480-246-7944


PHOENIX, State Capitol – Recreational marijuana use for those 21 and older may become legalized in the State of Arizona with legislation announced today.

Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix (District 19), and Rep.Todd Clodfelter, R-Tucson (District 10), introduced House Concurrent Resolution 2037 that sends a ballot measure to voters that would allow legalized marijuana of one ounce or less for personal use and allows for the cultivation of not more than six marijuana plants in the State of Arizona.

This resolution prohibits the consumption of marijuana in public and does not allow users to drive under the influence. This legislation also establishes an excise tax on the sale or transfer of marijuana.

"The voters sent us here to do our job. They have clearly indicated that they want society to move toward the acceptance of marijuana. In other states, it's paying for the rule assessment of hospitals, schools, roads, and we need that funding here," Cardenas said.

This legislation provides regulations for businesses that sell marijuana and includes requirements for applications to operate a marijuana business. However, it does not prohibit employers' ability to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

This legislation allows local government to prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses in their communities and does not limit the rights of medical marijuana patients and dispensaries under the Medical Marijuana Act.

According to Clodfelter, "I believe that marijuana legalization is an eventuality in Arizona. As a Legislature, we need to decide if we want that effort imposed through a potentially poorly-crafted initiative or if we want to help write a law where we can fully vet each measure, weigh feedback from stakeholders, and build flexibility into the system in case changes are needed. The voters will ultimately have the final say on our legislation and will be better served by legislative involvement on this issue.”

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

House Local and International Affairs Committee passes HCM 2002

Rep. Daniel Hernandez's, D-Tucson (District 2), House Concurrent Memorandum 2002, asking Congress to increase and maintain the number of qualified personnel at entry ports in Arizona to expedite the flow of goods and commerce, passed the House Local and International Affairs Committee. To read the bill click here.


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The AZ House passes HB 2071

Rep. Reginald Bolding's House Bill 2071, clarifying that a child restraint system must comply with height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer, passed the House.  To read the bill click here