PRESS RELEASE: House and Senate Democrats Crafting Pandemic Package for Additional COVID-19 Relief
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2020
PHOENIX – House and Senate Democrats today encouraged Gov. Ducey to call a special session as soon as the Legislature ends the 2020 session to further address the COVID-19 pandemic with additional protections for public health, vulnerable adults, tribal nations, working Arizonans and small businesses. Over the length of this lockdown, Democratic caucus work groups and staff have been working with multiple stakeholders on a COVID-19 package of legislation. They have also taken on the challenge of crafting reforms to modernize the Department of Economic Security so that unemployment benefits will not be unnecessarily delayed again during an emergency. Unemployment benefits are the nation’s first responder in an economic crisis, but right now Arizonans are encountering mass barriers in accessing that support.
House and Senate Democratic Caucus Statement on COVID-19 Legislation Package
"The number one priority for members of the Democratic Caucuses is to provide support for hard-working families through this crisis. Arizonans need help now and we hear your questions about public health and concerns about financial security. We want to help you and your families stay healthy, keep food on the table and a roof overhead. When our family members become ill, we must know our hospitals can help them recover. We must protect our healthcare workers and essential workers from COVID-19 and the stress of their heroic efforts. As businesses open, we must have plans to protect customers, workers, and business owners who move forward responsibly by following best practices. Members of the public have a role to play by following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and the use of Personal Protective Equipment. We must look out for one another and treat a stranger’s health with as much concern as our own.
We firmly believe the legislature cannot go back to business as usual right now. We live in a new normal, which includes social distancing and constant vigilance for our health. However, we also believe the government must be transparent and inclusive in the work of the People’s House, whether we are physically in it or not. We support the end of a regular session which no longer fits these extraordinary times. Once we end the session, sine die, we can fully focus our energy on the most important task at hand: Helping people and small businesses in this pandemic. Our focus must be on helping people who need assistance immediately, while making plans for the short term and long term as we recover, repair, and renew.
House Democrats have created five working groups to gather ideas and information, listen to our constituents and stakeholders, and craft legislation for a special session: 1. HEALTHY PEOPLE; 2. THRIVING ECONOMY; 3. STRONG FAMILIES; 4. STRONG SCHOOLS; 5. ARIZONA TRIBAL NATIONS.
Senate Democrats have been working as a caucus on many of the same issues and look forward to jointly releasing our shared priorities in the days to come. As always, our values and the best interests of our state will guide our efforts to ensure that Arizona comes out on the other side of this pandemic stronger and safer."