Wednesday, December 19, 2012

True assessment of election procedure needed

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo and Representative Martin Quezada released the following statements in response to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett's testimony on voting rights before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today:

Sen. Gallardo
Senator Steve Gallardo, D-29:

"Arizona needs a true and impartial assessment of our elections process, not willful ignorance from the man who used his office to question the birthplace of President Obama," said Sen. Gallardo.

"Secretary Bennett has announced that he is conducting an assessment of election procedures, but he has not reached out to any of the minority communities that were disenfranchised by long lines and provisional ballots. There's a reason Arizona has always been under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and it's because of things just like this."

Rep. Quezada
Representative Martin Quezada, D-29:

"It was disappointing, but not surprising, that Secretary Bennett used his time before the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee to claim ignorance of disproportionately high numbers of provisional ballots in minority precincts while attempting to put the blame on groups that worked hard to register new Hispanic voters," said Rep. Quezada.

"The long polling place lines and massive number of provisional ballots we witnessed in the last election are unacceptable."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Arizona should fully expand Medicaid

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor released the following statement on whether or not Arizona should fully expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).

Sen. Landrum Taylor has been explaining to fellow legislators that the best option for Arizona, both fiscally and economically, is to fully comply with ACA by increasing Medicaid coverage to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Covering 100% FPL and lobbying the federal government for the higher 85% match rate, as some are suggesting, would actually cost Arizona taxpayers exactly the same as fully expanding coverage to 133% FPL, while covering fewer lives. Covering only 100% FPL at the lower 66% match rate would cost almost twice as much money while covering fewer lives.

Some even advocate that Arizona continue violating Prop 204 by maintaining the current Medicaid enrollment freeze, which leaves tens of thousands of vulnerable people without healthcare.
Sen. Landrum Taylor
“The only option that makes fiscal and economic success for Arizona is expanding to cover 133% of the federal poverty level," said Sen. Landrum Taylor. "Continuing the Medicaid freeze is not just wrong because it violates voter-approved Prop 204, it is morally wrong. Our society cannot afford to force hundreds of thousands to be reliant on emergency rooms for basic medical care."

"When we stop the political rhetoric and look at the numbers objectively, it's obvious that the best choice for Arizona is to expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level. I will continue working with members of the majority to find solutions that make sure this happens."
Senator Leah Landrum Taylor is the current Assistant Minority Leader and the incoming Democratic Leader for the 2013-14 term.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brewer cedes local control to federal government with health insurance exchange decision

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senators Leah Landrum Taylor (Laveen, D-16) and Linda Lopez (Tucson, D-29) released the following statements on today's announcement by Governor Brewer that she will not establish a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, instead making Arizonans utilize a federally-facilitated exchange:

Sen. Lopez
Senator Linda Lopez:
"I'm puzzled that the Governor is willing to defer to the federal government control of a job best done by local groups and entities that have a better understanding of the healthcare needs of our citizens," said Sen. Lopez. "It is certainly disheartening that Republicans in the Legislature put partisanship first and vowed to derail any attempt to create a state-run exchange.”

Sen. Landrum Taylor
Senator Leah Landrum Taylor:
"This is a missed opportunity to establish healthcare solutions that are tailor-made for the unique needs of our state. I would think the governor would want to be involved in decisions affecting the well-being of Arizonans." said Sen. Landrum Taylor. “That said, we remain available to help ensure that the federally-facilitated exchange meets the needs of the people of Arizona."

Senator Leah Landrum Taylor is the current Assistant Minority Leader and the incoming Minority Leader for the 2013-14 term. Senator Linda Lopez is the incoming Assistant Minority Leader.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sen. Landrum Taylor recognized for Grandfamilies housing effort

Project named a Housing Hero by the Arizona Department of Housing

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today an effort that Senator Leah Landrum Taylor has worked on for twelve years was recognized as a model project. The Grandfamilies Place of Phoenix Apartments was named Exemplary Urban Multifamily Project at the Brian Mickelsen Housing Hero Awards held during the Arizona Department of Housing's Arizona Housing Forum held at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson.

Grandfamilies Place of Phoenix Apartments opened just this past July with 56 apartments for senior caregivers who are raising their grandchildren and features a social-services coordinator on site to assist the resident families.

The Grandfamilies project was inspired by a 2000 visit to a similar facility in Boston while Sen. Landrum Taylor was attending leadership classes at the Harvard Kennedy School, with an emphasis on affordable housing. Upon returning home, she began steps to create a similar housing community for her community.

After years of meeting and helping grandparent/grandchild families in South Phoenix, seeing the dire need for housing assistance, Sen. Landrum Taylor formed a coalition of community organizations, government agencies and community members to realize her vision.

Repurposing an apartment complex notorious for crime and violence, the Grandfamilies project not only provides housing but has dramatically improved the surrounding neighborhood.
Sen. Landrum Taylor
"I've been working on this concept for twelve years now and to now know that it has not only recently come to fruition but has been recognized as a Housing Hero brings joy to my heart and to those who have worked so hard to see this happen," said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

"The real winners, though, are the residents who are reaping the benefits of this effort by keeping families together, safe and in an environment designed to help them succeed in life. They are the real heroes in my mind."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Don’t believe Senate Republicans’ sudden interest in ethics reform

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement in response to Senate Republicans’ claim to be champions of ethics reform.
Sen. Schapira
“It's striking to see Senate Republicans finally seizing the mantle of ethics reform at our state capitol. Unfortunately, its timing reveals it to be little more than an election-year stunt. The truth is Senate Republicans have had every opportunity to support comprehensive ethics reform, but didn't,” said Sen. Schapira.

Sen. Steve Gallardo and I introduced eight bills last session to limit lobbyists’ influence on legislators, require more frequent financial disclosure statements from elected officials, set a consistent standard of proof for ethics committee investigations, prohibit public officials’ ability to use official materials to promote themselves for election purposes and require disclosure of election expenditures by companies and labor groups.

“Senate President Steve Pierce, who is quoted in today’s release as being in support of the new ethics plan, refused to hear a single ethics reform bill this year. Sen. Jerry Lewis walked away from a bipartisan ethics reform effort just 10 months ago. Republican County Attorney Bill Montgomery denied multiple requests to meet with Democratic legislators on ethics reform.

“But now that there is an election approaching, they're all for reform?

“How convenient.

“What you won't see them address, however, is the unbridled influence of conservative special interest groups like ALEC, the Goldwater Institute and the Center for Arizona Policy. Those are the sources of legislation that put bible studies in public schools, let deceptive debt collectors scam consumers and limit women's access to contraception.

“Arizonans deserve leaders who are looking out for everyone in this state, not just their special interests.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sen. Gallardo: Horne should resign, be held personally liable

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statement on findings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office of campaign finance violations by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne:
Sen. Gallardo
"The FBI and the Maricopa County Attorney have both concluded that Attorney General Horne intentionally broke state election laws while he was an elected state officer and while he was running for his current office,” said Sen. Gallardo.

“It is disgusting that our state's top law enforcement official considered himself above the laws he sought to enforce. Therefore, I call on Attorney General Horne to immediately resign and return his fraudulently-gained office to the citizens of Arizona.

“Not only should Horne resign, he should be held personally liable for any fines or penalties and should be fully prosecuted if found guilty of his apparent hit-and-run incident.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sen. Gallardo again honored as a Leader of the Year

Receives Open Government Award from Arizona Capitol Times

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statement after being named as a Leader of the Year in Public Policy by the Arizona Capitol. In an award ceremony held last night at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, Sen. Gallardo was presented with the Open Government Award for the second year in a row.
Sen. Gallardo
“I am proud to receive this award for my efforts to create better transparency and accountability in Arizona’s legislative process,” said Sen. Gallardo.

“For too long the ruling majority have operated behind closed doors, making critical decisions without input from those most affected – the public. Two years ago they even suspended some Senate rules to limit floor discussions and make their jobs easier. It’s no wonder public trust in the Legislature is at a historic low.”

“Last session I introduced ethics reform bills for both elected officials and lobbyists, which the Republican majority refused to hear. I remain undaunted and will reintroduce these much needed reform bills for the next session. As publicly elected officials, we owe it to the people of Arizona to represent them in a fully accountable and transparent manner.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Republicans still refuse to return $50M mortgage settlement

Leave struggling families at risk to fund special interest giveaways

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – This afternoon Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced how the state, in his words, "will utilize the $57 million dollars allocated as part of the National Mortgage Settlement."

Arizona's actual allocation from the National Mortgage Settlement is more than $97 million, plus $10 million from a settlement with Bank of America.

So what happened to the missing $50 million dollars?

The Republican-controlled Legislature and Governor Brewer swiped it to fund special interests.

Instead of helping struggling homeowners, Republicans swiped half the fund while spending money on more private prisons and giving away $440 million in tax cuts for corporations and Wall Street investors.

Since 2007, Republicans have also cut more than $2.9 billion from our kids' schools and kicked tens of thousands of children off healthcare.

Arizona Senate Democrats have stated that sweeping the $50 million from the mortgage settlement was not necessary and have called on Governor Brewer and Legislative Republicans to halt the sweep.

Now they act as if the $50 million doesn't exist.

Sen. Schapira
"This hard-fought settlement is meant to help Arizona families who are struggling to keep their homes, not to fund tax breaks for special interests," said Sen. David Schapira.

"Republicans should care about Arizona families, not special interests, and put an end to their sweep of the mortgage settlement."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brewer once again puts grandstanding ahead of solutions

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement in response to Governor Brewer’s executive order barring the issuance of public benefits, Arizona driver’s licenses and State identification to individuals granted Deferred Action by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sen. Schapira
"By issuing an executive order with questionable impact, Governor Brewer has shown again that she'll jump at the chance to grandstand for political attention, but she is not at all interested in finding real solutions to immigration," said Sen. Schapira.

"Comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level is desperately needed, including adoption of the DREAM Act. It's time for Tea Party Republicans like Brewer and for members of Congress to put aside their partisan games and get to work on this critical issue."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tomorrow Arizonans will wake up with a Tea Party hangover

New Tea Party laws prioritize special interests, ideology over good ideas and solutions

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Starting tomorrow, Arizonans will be subject to laws passed by the Tea Party Legislature and signed by Governor Brewer. Rooted in extreme ideology and pandering to special interests, these laws do nothing to solve the many real problems that Arizonans face every day. Some of the worst include:
  • SB1365 free exercise of religion (Sen. Yarbrough): Allows state-licensed professionals (medical, legal, etc.) to avoid discipline for unprofessional conduct as long as it is based on “religious beliefs.”
  • HB2036 abortion; procedures; informed consent (Rep. Yee): Prohibits abortions knowingly performed after a gestational age of 20 weeks, with exception for medical emergencies.
  • HB2563 biblical influence; schools; electives (Rep. Proud): Allows public schools to offer bible classes as an elective, but does not allow the teaching of texts from other religions.
  • HB2625 insurers; healthcare coverage; religious beliefs (Rep. Lesko): Allows employers who assert a religious motivation in their articles of incorporation to deny contraception coverage for their employees.
  • HB2664 Credit card agreements (Rep. Dial): Subjects Arizonans to deceptive debt collection practices by out of state collectors.
  • HB 2503 exemptions from punitive damages (Sen. Yee): Exempts corporations from punitive damage lawsuits if their product caused harm but was produced according to government standards.
  • HB 2800 public funding; family planning, prohibition (Rep. Olson): Designed to deny public funds going to medical facilities that provide family planning services including non-federally qualified abortions. Currently being contested in court, this bill’s goal is to financially cripple vital women’s healthcare services provided by Planned Parenthood.
  • HB 2571 state personnel system (Rep. Olson): Creates a system of cronyism in Arizona government. Allows the governor to hire and fire many of our most important agency heads, hindering a director’s ability to effectively and professionally manage his or her agency. It also strips state workers of important appeal rights for discipline and firing, which will only serve as cover for managerial incompetence and misconduct.
  • HCR2004 state sovereignty (Rep. Crandell): Places a proposition on this November’s ballot for Arizona voters to decide whether to amend the state Constitution to assert the rights of sovereignty over the land and resources of the state.
Written into this year’s budget, which was created behind closed doors and without input from Democratic legislators or the public, were:
  • $440 million in tax cuts for corporations and the rich, more money to private prisons.
  • Commits more money to private prisons while removing from statute language requiring comparison of private and state-runs prisons in such areas as cost savings and quality.
  • The $50 million sweep from the national foreclosure settlement.
Even more notable is what this Tea Party Legislature didn’t accomplish. Democratic legislators proposed bills that would have: reformed ethical standards for lobbyists and lawmakers; created job training programs that benefit employers and help people get off unemployment benefits; helped to curb bullying in our schools; created local preference for in-state bidders on state and local contracts, restored funding to KidsCare; and prevented the expansion of private, for-profit prisons. All of those bills were killed by Tea Party leadership at the Capitol.

Sen. Schapira

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira (D-17):
"Instead of working together to find common sense solutions to the issues that Arizonans are concerned with, the Tea Party Republican legislators who control our state Capitol catered to extreme ideologies and special interests," said Sen. Schapira. "The people of Arizona were poorly served by their decisions this year."

Rep. Campbell
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-14):
"Tea Party Republicans consistently put their extremist agenda ahead of what Arizonans have told us is most important to them - creating jobs and improving education," Rep. Campbell said. "Instead of setting aside partisan bickering to move the state forward, Tea Party Republicans focused on legislation that expanded private prisons and awarded tax credits to the wealthy. At the same time, they refused to restore funding to KidsCare, keeping thousands of Arizona children without access to health care. Their priorities are all wrong and Arizonans deserve better."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Senate Democrats demand halt to foreclosure fund sweep

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Figures released on Monday by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee show Arizona finished the fiscal year with $257 million more than was projected when the Republican budget was passed in May.

This is why Senate Democrats are calling on Governor Brewer and Legislative Republicans to stop the sweep of the $50 million national foreclosure settlement that Republicans wrote into the budget and which she signed.

This money was meant to help struggling homeowners. Instead, Republicans swiped it while funding more private prisons and giving away $440 million in tax cuts for corporations, the rich and special interests.

Sen. Landrum Taylor

Over the past few years Republicans have also cut more than $2.5 billion from our kids' schools and kicked tens of thousands of children off of healthcare.

 Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor (D-16):

"Now that our state has this small surplus, we call on Governor Brewer and Republicans at the Capitol to finally make the right choice and leave the foreclosure settlement for its intended purpose of helping families that are struggling to keep their homes," said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

Sen. Schapira
  Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira (D-17):

"It was irresponsible to sweep the foreclosure settlement in the first place, but it is now completely unnecessary," said Sen. Schapira. "Many Arizona families are struggling to stay in their homes and we should be helping, not hurting them."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

States rely on waivers while Congress fails to act

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education's granting Arizona a waiver from complying with aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was President George W. Bush's signature piece of education reform legislation that made drastic and detrimental changes to ESEA. The fact that more than half the states have requested, and been granted, waivers is indicative of the many flaws within NCLB.

By not correctly identifying the "federal red tape" as requirements imposed by Bush's NCLB, Governor Brewer is trying to hide that fact and put the blame on the Obama administration.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is issuing waivers from NCLB requirements because Congress has failed to act on reform of the NCLB language and reauthorization of ESEA. The Obama Administration has repeatedly called for Congress to reauthorize ESEA and continues to do so.

Sen. Schapira
"While it is laughable for Governor Brewer to claim to know what is best for Arizona schools given that she and her Republican supermajority have slashed school funding by more than $2 billion, I am pleased our teachers and students will not be burdened with the unrealistic requirements of Bush's No Child Left Behind legacy," said Sen. Schapira. 
"I offer thanks and appreciation to President Obama and Secretary Duncan for granting these waivers and doing the right thing for the millions of school children in our country. I also call on Congress to do their job and quickly pass bipartisan legislation reforming and reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure a bright future for our children and our nation."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sen. Jackson: ACA ruling affirms Indian Health Care Improvement Act

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act, which included reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

Sen. Jackson
"I was thrilled by the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of the Affordable Care Act, not only because it was the right decision for all Americans, but because it also included the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which has been crucial to the health of many tribal members," said Sen. Jackson.
"The continuation of the IHCIA represents our nation's commitment to American Indians and Alaska Natives, who disproportionately suffer from medical problems."
The IHCIA permanently authorizes daily health care delivery to nearly 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service (IHS), who are in critical need of improved health care services. A snapshot of health conditions highlights the critical need for improving health care in Indian Country; Native people suffer from higher rates of diabetes and related illness, heart disease, and substance abuse than any other group.

The IHCIA authorizes new programs within the Indian Health Services to ensure the Service is more equipped to meet its mission to raise the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level, including:
  • Authorities for new and expanded programs for mental and behavioral health treatment and prevention;
  • Expanded authorities for long-term care services, including home health care, assisted living and community-based care;
  • New authorities for development of health professional shortage demonstration programs;
  • Expanded authorities for funding of patient travel costs;
  • New authorities for demonstration projects for innovative health care facility construction;
  • New authorities for the provision of dialysis services;
  • Improvements in the Contract Health Services program, which pays for referrals;
  • New authorities for facilitation of care for Indian veterans; and
  • New authorities for urban Indian health programs.
The passage of the IHCIA on March 23, 2010 represented a fourteen year-long effort by NCAI, tribal leaders, and advocates to make permanent the legislative commitment by the federal government to deliver health care for American Indian and Alaska Natives. The IHCIA was originally passed in 1976 and last reauthorized in 2000.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Statement by Senate Democratic Leader Schapira on ACA ruling

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Schapira
“The goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. This ruling is a win for millions of Americans for whom healthcare coverage would be out of reach without this legislation. 
“Due to recent decisions made by the Arizona Legislature and Governor, more than a million Arizonans, including many children, are without health insurance. This Supreme Court decision and the implementation of ACA will ensure that many of our fellow Arizonans have access to healthcare once again. 
“This ruling also guarantees that seniors will pay less for drug costs, and many Americans with pre-existing conditions, including myself, can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. 
“There is still work to be done. The belief that everyone has a right to healthcare should not be a partisan issue. We need leaders who are interested in finding ways to provide access to affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Statements on SB1070 ruling

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – SB1070, a contentious bill designed and fueled by out-of-state interests like ALEC, has been a divisive tool used by Tea Party Republicans and even used by the governor to make money on her book tour.

More importantly, it has hurt Arizona's reputation around the nation and world, bitterly divided our state and damaged our economy.

Today, even the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that SB1070, at least in part, went too far.

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira:
“The Supreme Court has sent two messages today: that states cannot pass policies that undermine federal law and that Congress must act on comprehensive reform in order to address this issue and avoid these kinds of legal conflicts. We cannot begin to honestly solve the issue of illegal immigration until those in Congress are willing to have meaningful discussions on comprehensive reform.

“Recently, the President took action because of the failure of Congress to act. Predictably, the knee-jerk reaction of extremists like Jan Brewer and her Tea Party Republicans was to trash good policy in favor of their worn-out politics of the past. This is exactly the type of politics that is taking Arizona backwards.

“It's time for Arizona to turn to a new chapter, to leave behind the extreme and divisive politics that have dominated this state. It's time to work together to create jobs and improve education, things that Governor Brewer and her Tea Party Republicans in the Legislature have failed to do.”

Senator Steve Gallardo:
“After President Obama’s bold move on immigration, people who for all intents and purposes are living as Americans and contributing to our society are able to step out of the shadows, live without fear of deportation and keep working and going to school here.

“SB1070 has created a hostile environment for Latinos in Arizona and has done nothing but pander to the extreme political right while damaging Arizona’s reputation and economy at a time we can least afford. The people of Arizona are tired of these partisan Republican games.

“Americans favor President Obama’s policy change by a two-to-one margin. Even the Arizona GOP spokesman admitted that it might be time for that party to reconsider its Russell Pearce approach to immigration.

“The truth is, it’s long past time and today’s ruling doesn’t change the fact that Arizona’s Republican-led legislature has done nothing to create jobs or restore the devastating cuts they have made to our kids’ schools.”

Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama decision is positive step forward

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement today in response to the announcement by President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano that the U.S. will stop deporting younger, law-abiding undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children

Sen. Schapira
"Spurred by the failure of Congress to enact the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform, this directive reaffirms our country’s core belief of being the land of opportunity,” said Sen. Schapira. 
“Those who are affected by this directive represent some of the best and brightest children in our schools and young men and women who have served our country in uniform. Comprehensive immigration reform is still needed; however, this is a positive step forward while Congress continues to ignore the problem.”

Statement on Obama's DREAM decision

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statement in response to the announcement by President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano that the U.S. will stop deporting younger, law-abiding undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children.

Sen. Gallardo
"Today's announcement by the Obama administration sends the important message to responsible undocumented Latino youth that, since you were brought to America as a child you have become a productive and valued member of our society," said Sen. Gallardo. 
"This is an important step in the crucial journey toward achieving the DREAM Act's goals, but we aren't there yet. Undocumented youth who graduate at the top of their high school class - some of our best and brightest - are still denied a college education. Congress must rise above the partisan divide and work together to pass the DREAM Act. It is critical we ensure these promising community members have the opportunities to achieve their full potential. It's an investment guaranteed to benefit America."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Will Birther Bennett fix Arizona’s election for Romney?

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement today after Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett suggested he may keep President Obama off the November ballot if he doesn't receive additional verification of the President's birth certificate from Hawaii. Bennett has endorsed Mitt Romney and serves as his Arizona campaign co-chair.
Sen. Schapira
"This election year there are candidates from all over the state, representing different parties and viewpoints, running for public office. Given this stunning display of partisanship and favoritism by Arizona's chief elections officer, how can any of them be sure they will have an equal and fair chance on Election Day?" said Sen. Schapira.

"The Secretary of State needs to act, and be perceived as acting, in a fair and impartial manner. Taking an active role in any campaign, other than his own, creates an inherent conflict of interest. To ensure the trust of Arizona voters and the integrity of the elections process, Ken Bennett should step down as Mitt Romney's co-chair."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Statement on DOJ charges against Rep. Arredondo

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira today called for Representative Ben Arredondo (LD 17) to resign from his seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.
“In the interests of our constituents, Rep. Arredondo should immediately resign to ensure that those in our community have unabridged representation. The Department of Justice allegations against him are deeply troubling and, whether he is guilty or innocent, will pose too great a distraction for him to fulfill the duties of his office. Arizonans expect and deserve more from their elected officials. Sadly, this is another reminder of why we need more ethics reforms at all levels of government and leaders who are willing to uphold them.”
Sen. Schapira has represented Legislative District 17 since his election in 2006. District 17 includes most of Tempe and South Scottsdale.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brewer vetoes bill authored by head of her own Youth Commission

Partisanship trumps good ideas in governor’s office

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - On Monday, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB1066, a consensus bill which would have created a commendation to recognize youth who have contributed more than 200 hours of community service. This award would have provided further incentive for community involvement by young people and formalized the citation in order to build a state and national reputation. The reasons provided by the governor for her veto are not only invalid, they are disingenuous. There is more to this story than the governor's office is willing to admit.

In her veto letter, Gov. Brewer claims that her Youth Commission "has discussed ways to increase high school students' volunteerism and community service since 2009." The author of SB1066 happens to be the Governor’s Youth Commission co-chair, McClintock High School senior Jevin Hodge.

During a visit by Sen. David Schapira to his high school, Hodge approached Sen. Schapira with his idea for the commendation as a way to encourage community service among youth. After a positive response from Sen. Schapira, Hodge took the idea to Cassandra Larsen, Director of the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families, who oversees the Youth Commission. While his idea was enthusiastically supported by many youth leaders around the state, his reception by the governor's staff was not as positive.

Larsen and her staff not only dismissed Hodge's idea, they told him he was not allowed to speak with his own state senator without permission from the governor's office. In a follow up meeting with Senate Minority staff and Hodge, staff from the governor’s office denied having any concerns with the bill.

Now, in the governor's veto letter, she proclaims this bill as unnecessary and a violation of the constitutional separation of powers - that the Legislature cannot tell the Executive branch what to do. The fact is, nobody is telling her what to do. The governor had the choice to sign this into law, and she chose not to do so.

In a move that can only be described as partisan retribution against the Senate Democratic Leader, Gov. Brewer has once again put partisanship ahead of good policy by vetoing this bill created by a talented young Arizonan. In fact, the governor is so partisan that when her staff learned their selection of Hodge as chair of the Youth Commission is a Democrat, they ordered the unprecedented creation of a commission co-chair.

Sen. Schapira

"If Gov. Brewer is as concerned with helping the youth of Arizona as she claims, she would have no hesitation in signing SB1066 into law," said Sen. Schapira. "This bill passed out of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. The only reason she vetoed this bill is because it was sponsored by a Democratic legislator and the idea originated with a student who identifies himself as a Democrat. Gov. Brewer's partisanship has no limitations when it comes to taking down who she sees as a threat. In this case, that perceived threat was a community-minded high school student."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Governor signs budget that abandons Arizona families, children

Radically misguided priorities reveal true intent of Capitol Republicans

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement on the signing of this year's state budget by Governor Brewer.

"This year's budget, which was just signed by Governor Brewer, reveals the true colors of the Republicans who run our state Capitol. For the last few years they have claimed they had 'no choice' but to cut more than $2 billion from our kids' schools and kick hundreds of thousands off healthcare.

"This year, however, when they had a chance to begin reversing those devastating cuts, they refused. Tens of thousands of children remain on a waiting list without healthcare, making Arizona the only state to deny health coverage for kids who qualify for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Our kids continue to study from outdated textbooks in schools that are crumbling from lack of repair. Republicans even chose to steal money meant to help families facing foreclosure.

"What did they choose to fund instead? Republicans chose to spend money on prisons, more tax cuts for corporations and a lawsuit against the citizen volunteer Independent Redistricting Commission, to name a few. They even made a concerted effort to give Russell Pearce more than a quarter million in taxpayer dollars.

"Arizonans can clearly see that these Republicans didn't have to make the cuts in previous years as they have claimed. They wanted to make those cuts. Their radically misguided priorities are wrong for Arizona families, our children and our future."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tea Party Senate approves Brewer's Jobs Plan

Will turn the people's government into giant political crony system

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Arizona's Tea Party Senate today gave its stamp of approval to Governor Brewer's cronyism plan.

HB2571, being sold as “personnel reform,” is another ALEC-inspired power grab by the governor in which she would claim the right to hire and fire the vast majority of upper management in state agencies. It would also remove state workers’ rights to appeal discipline and firing, which would only serve as cover for managerial incompetence and misconduct, effectively muzzling whistleblowers.

Our country has a long history in the struggle against patronage and cronyism, cleaning up corrupt systems from Mayor Daly’s Chicago, to Tammany Hall in New York City and even in Phoenix. Barry Goldwater was a reform-minded Phoenix city councilman who helped the city adopt a charter form of government to clean up our own version of Tammany Hall.

This is also another blatant Republican attack on working families in our state. Thousands of public servants will find their employment status destabilized, subject to the agenda of their politically-influenced managers and able to be fired without cause and without the right of appeal.

While many Arizonans are struggling to find work in a state that still has an 8.6% unemployment rate, some may actually find new opportunities with today’s passage of HB2571. That is, they’ll find opportunities if they’ve contributed significantly to Governor Brewer’s campaign or political action committee, have worked for Republican campaigns, or are current or former staffers or consultants.

We've already seen Brewer put this jobs plan into practice with her appointments this session of:
  • Conservative blogger Greg Patterson to the Board of Regents
  • Former Brewer spokesperson and private prison lobbyist Paul Senseman to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments
  • His wife Kathryn Senseman, also a lobbyist for private prisons, to the Board for Charter Schools
  • Former Brewer staffer and Chuck Coughlin employee Brian McNeil to the Commission on Trial Court Appointments for Maricopa County
  • Russell Pearce campaign chairman Jesse Hernandez to the Board of Executive Clemency
  • Former Symington staffer Jay Heiler to the Board of Regents
"Under the guise of 'personnel reform,' Governor Brewer and her Tea Party legislators are turning our state government into one giant jobs program for conservative activists and making state workers answerable to the governor instead of the public," said Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira.

"This will push out dedicated, professional public servants who are experts in their field and replace them with opportunistic political cronies. The amount of institutional knowledge that will be forced out the door under this system will be devastating to our state agencies and the people of Arizona who they serve."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tea Party legislators defend SB1070, refuse to ban racial profiling

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement on today’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.

“Arguments are being made by proponents of SB1070 that it isn't about racial profiling. Yet, for two years in a row Tea Party legislators have refused to hear my bills banning racial profiling,” said Sen. Schapira. “Even Russell Pearce, the self-proclaimed author of 1070 who makes this claim, wouldn't hear it last year.”

Senator Schapira has sponsored legislation in 2011 (SB1071) and in 2012 (also SB1071) that would ban racial profiling by law enforcement.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Governor Brewer should defend the law she signed

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statement in response to Governor Brewer’s press release touting a Fox News poll that purportedly shows 65% of Americans support SB1070.
Senator Gallardo will testify tomorrow before U.S. Senator Charles Schumer’s subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining the Constitutionality and Prudence of State and Local Governments Enforcing Immigration Law” at 10:00 a.m. in Room G-50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Governor Brewer had been invited to testify at the same hearing, but refused.

Sen. Gallardo
"If SB1070 is as popular as Governor Brewer says, she should have no problem defending it before a U.S. Senate subcommittee," said Sen. Gallardo. "She'll already be in Washington, D.C. to bask in the media spotlight.”

“Governor Brewer should defend the law she signed. Apparently, however, she's unwilling to explain the negative impact SB1070 has had on Arizona's economy and the fear of racial profiling and harassment that Arizona Latinos now live with every day."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sen. Cajero Bedford urges governor to veto guns in public buildings bill

State Capitol, Phoenix – Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford released the following statement today, urging Governor Brewer to veto HB2729, which would allow firearms in public buildings.

Although HB2729 has safeguards to protect against firearms on college campuses, this bill still represents a threat to public safety by decreasing our cities’ and towns’ authority to regulate firearms in public buildings and events. Additionally, it would impose enormous expenses for governments that want to keep firearms out of their buildings.

Sen. Cajero Bedford
“This was a bad bill when Governor Brewer vetoed it last year and it’s bad again this year,” said Sen. Cajero Bedford. “Arizona’s counties, cities and towns don’t want this bill and the people of Arizona don’t want it.”

“The insatiable appetite that some in this Legislature have for guns is apparently enough to overlook the many problems in this bill,” said Sen. Cajero Bedford. “On this, the fifth anniversary of the tragic day where 32 people were gunned down at Virginia Tech, I urge the governor to once again veto this bill in the interest of responsible public safety policy.”

Agencies from across the state opposed to HB2729 include:
  • Arizona Judicial Council
  • Maricopa County Justice Courts
  • The Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Arizona Criminal Justice Commission
  • Pima County Attorney's Office
  • Arizona Prosecuting Attorney’s Advisory Council
  • Arizona Community College Presidents' Council
  • Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Pima Community Colleges District
  • Cochise College and Northland Pioneer College
  • Arizona Library Association
  • County Supervisors Association
  • Arizona Association of Counties
  • League of Arizona Cities and Towns
  • City of Phoenix
  • Town of Queen Creek
  • Tempe Chamber
  • Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Arizona women & families fall victim to special interests in Senate

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Tea Party Senate adopted measures that together constitute what may be the worst attack on Arizona women and hard-working families in state history.

HB2625 – Rush Limbaugh Republicans passed this assault on women’s health led by Cathi Herrod and her ultra-conservative Center for Arizona Policy. The bill as passed would allow any employer, not just religious employers, to deny insurance coverage for contraception. Supporters claim a future amendment would limit the horrific impact of the bill to only certain religious organizations, but there are reasons to be skeptical. For starters, a law is already on the books that exempts religious employers from providing contraception coverage. This puts into question the true motives behind the bill.

Senator Linda Lopez, D-29:
“This is not a religious rights issue, this is a women’s rights issue,” said Sen. Lopez. “The public outcry over this unprecedented attack on women’s rights has been loud and clear across Arizona and throughout the country - from people of differing political perspectives, beliefs and backgrounds. Yet Arizona’s out-of-touch Tea Party legislators continue to push Cathi Herrod’s extreme ideological agenda on the people of this state.”

HB2729 – This was a bad bill when Governor Brewer vetoed it last year and it’s a bad bill this year. Another gun bill pushed by Tea Party extremists, it would allow guns in public buildings and events. Supported by legislators who love to rail against unfunded mandates, this bill would force our state, cities, towns and counties to incur massive costs to protect Arizona citizens. Maricopa County alone reports that it could cost $11.3 million in one-time equipment costs and $19.5 million in ongoing costs. Courts, schools, cities, towns, counties, chambers of commerce and law enforcement from across the state oppose this bill.

Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-27:
“The insatiable appetite that some in this Legislature have for guns is apparently enough to overlook the crippling costs this bill would force on our state, cities, towns and counties,” said Sen. Cajero Bedford. “The public is plainly tired of ridiculous gun bills by Tea Party extremists.”

HB2664 – This bill would legalize deceptive debt collection scams against hard-working Arizonans, allowing unscrupulous out-of-state debt collectors to sue struggling Arizona consumers, even if their debt has been repaid. Other states are now dealing with the fallout from similar laws, including West Virginia, whose attorney general recently filed suit against a collection company that utilizes these unethical practices.

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-17:
“This special interest bill is irresponsible because it would legalize deceptive debt collection scams against hard-working Arizonans at a time when they are struggling to pay their bills,” said Sen. Schapira. “I don’t know if some deal was made to pass this bill, but I can guarantee it’s no deal for Arizona consumers.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Greg Patterson is the wrong choice to lead our universities

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor and Senator Steve Gallardo released the following statements on Governor Brewer’s selection of Greg Patterson to serve on the Arizona Board of Regents.

Sen. Landrum Taylor
Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor:

“I am respectfully but deeply disappointed with the governor's choice for the Board of Regents. Appointing a man who is known for propagating partisan rhetoric and eviscerating and belittling those who disagree with him is not the caliber of person Arizona needs to lead our universities.

“In his essay The Purpose of Education, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, ‘To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.’

“Through his blog, Mr. Patterson has risen to be Arizona's premier perpetrator of this ‘morass of propaganda’ to which Dr. King referred. The Board of Regents is no place for such a person.

“Mr. Patterson has stated that degrees such as psychology, history, religious studies, political science, English literature and journalism are ‘uneconomic’ and make no sense to be taught in our universities.

“To quote again from Dr. King, whose contribution to our nation Mr. Patterson refused to recognize, ‘The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.’

“Mr. Patterson wrote on his blog that college students shouldn't bother striving and achieving academically, saying, ‘while one or two of you may become Rhodes Scholars or CEOs, some of you will also become homeless or go to prison.’

“Appointing Greg Patterson sends the wrong message to our college students and to Arizona children who aspire one day to obtain a higher education. Arizona's universities serve all of our people and reflect the many faces of our great state - every economic background, every ethnic background, every age, gender and ability.

“The Board of Regents has never adequately reflected those faces, but would take a damaging step backward by replacing Regent Ernest Calderon with Mr. Patterson.

“Our investment in our universities - as mandated in our constitution - is an investment in our future and a bet on our success. As Dr. King recognized, our future depends on recognizing the opportunity and potential inherent in all of our people.

This nominee doesn't do that, not because I say so, but because he has said so.”

Sen. Gallardo
Senator Steve Gallardo:

“The Board of Regents is a prestigious and important post, not to mention one of the longest appointments in our state. Eight years. That's even longer than the time Governor Brewer will have been in office when she's done.

“Greg Patterson is just flat out the wrong choice for this position.

“Mr. Patterson's online tirades have been widely reported and it's no secret that he revels in playing a role in the partisan politics that have divided our state. What hasn't been reported is the fact that in 1991, as a freshman legislator, Mr. Patterson was one of only 11 representatives who voted against sending the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to Arizona voters. That referendum was approved by Arizona voters by a more than 3 to 1 margin.

“He was an out-of-touch extreme conservative then and he still is today.

“Right now there are even more in power who share Mr. Patterson's ideologies than there was then - and we can see what that's given us. Arizona is known nationally as the state of Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas. We are the state that is turning back the clock on the rights of women, minorities, working families and children.

“Is that the direction we want to take our state's universities? Because with the appointments of Jay Heiler and now Greg Patterson, it appears that is exactly what Governor Brewer wants.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tea Party legislators doing the dirty work for extreme right-wing lobbyists

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, today calls for Tea Party Republican legislators to stop doing the dirty work for the ultra-conservative lobbying cartel of The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), The Goldwater Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“Arizonans are looking for pragmatic and realistic solutions to fix the economy. Meanwhile, Tea Party Republicans are carrying the water for a group of lobbyists pushing an extreme agenda,” said Sen. Schapira. “Russell Pearce may be out of the legislature, but his spirit lives on in the bills being pushed by Tea Party legislators on behalf the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), The Goldwater Institute and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).”

Lobbyists from these organizations are drafting legislation behind closed doors and killing good bills by stalling them in the process as they wield undue influence among Republican legislators. One of these legislators confessed on the Senate floor that he didn’t know who had drafted his own bill.

“Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy has been a particularly egregious offender this session. From killing an anti-bullying bill that had bipartisan support, to peddling a bill that would require a woman to explain to her boss why she needs birth control, this unelected lobbyist is pushing an agenda that is radically out of touch with Arizona voters,” said Sen. Schapira. “It’s time for these unelected influence-peddlers to release their strangle-hold on our state, and it’s time for voters to reject the Tea Party legislators who advance their radical agenda.”

The agenda being pushed by these three groups has been highlighted by a series of anti-union bills (SB1487, SB1484, SB1486), the contraception bill (HB2625) and Cathi Herrod’s actions that killed an anti-bullying bill that had bipartisan support (SB1462). The unelected lobbyists from these groups have been largely responsible for the legislature’s action on each of these bills – and the death of bills that would help Arizona’s families.

“This ideological crusade by Tea Party legislators on behalf of these extremist groups is keeping us from getting real work done for the people of Arizona.,” said Sen. Schapira. “Arizonans need their elected representatives to find real solutions that protect their kids’ education, help them get back to work and get our economy back on track. We were elected to represent them, not a few deep-pocketed special interest lobbyists.”

Arizona Democrats defend women against attacks on right to privacy, health care

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House and Senate Democrats joined together in opposition to legislation designed to limit access to contraception and health care, invade privacy rights and jeopardize women’s employment.
Legislators spoke about HB 2625, which would require women to “prove” that they aren’t using birth control as contraception and allows employers to fire women for using contraception.

“Women should not be forced to disclose private medical information to anyone and they certainly should not have to fear losing their jobs if their employers do not approve of their medical decisions.” Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 15), said. “This legislation is another example of how Tea Party lawmakers are too extreme and focused on their rigid ideology, instead of working to create jobs and improve education.”

Other bills Democratic legislators oppose include:
  • HB 2800 – This bill which keeps Planned Parenthood from providing some health care and family planning services, including cancer screenings, via AHCCCS and Title X.
  • HB 2036 – If this becomes law; it would criminalize doctors who perform abortions after 20 weeks with little exception for medical emergencies.
"Last week Governor Brewer said this bill was a Democratic ploy, but she's wrong. This is not a Democratic issue, this is not a Republican issue, this is a women’s issue and as a woman, the governor should know the difference," said Sen.. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson (District 29). "What a woman does with her body should be determined by herself, her family and her physician, not by Rush Limbaugh Republicans in the Legislature."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tea Party senators endorse bill allowing deceptive debt collection practices

Will expose Arizona consumers to scams

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Tea Party members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee yesterday voted to approve a bill that would allow known deceptive debt collectors to prey on Arizona consumers. After HB2664 initially failed to pass the Senate committee, supporters apparently convinced Republican senators into re-voting to pass the bill.

This bill would make it easier for debt collectors like Midland Funding, LLC of Delaware and its sister corporation, Midland Credit Management of Kansas to take advantage of Arizonans. Midland has already filed thousands of cases against Arizona consumers in Arizona courts.

West Virginia’s attorney general filed suit just last week against Midland “for using false affidavits when obtaining default judgments against West Virginia consumers and for failing to include information required by law when suing a consumer in magistrate or circuit court for an alleged debt.”

The lobbying of senators was carried out by Richard Reed, who claimed to represent the Arizona Creditor Bar Association, although he is not a registered lobbyist.

A complaint against Mr. Reed has been filed with the Secretary of State’s Office by Representative Debbie McCune Davis. In her complaint Rep. McCune Davis claims that Mr. Reed testified in support of HB2664 before the House Banking and Insurance Committee as a representative of the Arizona Creditors Bar Association and that he materially misrepresented the provisions in the bill.

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee member:
“This special interest bill is irresponsible because it would legalize deceptive debt collection scams against hard-working Arizonans. Adding to that offense is the behavior we witnessed in yesterday’s committee hearing by supporters of this bill and the capitulation of Republican senators,” said Sen. Schapira. “I don’t know if some deal was made to pass this bill, but I can guarantee it’s no deal for Arizona consumers.”

Sen. Robert Meza, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Member:
“As elected officials we are supposed to be the voice of Arizonans, representing and protecting their interests,” said Sen. Meza. “It’s painfully clear that Arizona’s Republican senators are not listening to their constituents.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sen. Aboud’s job training for unemployed bill moves to the House

Would create “Return to Work” program

Sen. Aboud
State Capitol, Phoenix – Senate Minority Whip Paula Aboud released the following statement on today’s passage of her bill SB1388 by the Senate. The bill now moves on to the House.

SB1388 would create a voluntary “Return to Work” program that would provide a structured, supervised training opportunity, through participating employers, to individuals collecting unemployment benefits. For up to six weeks and 32 hours per week, unemployment claimants who choose to participate will receive unpaid on-the-job training while continuing to receive unemployment benefits. Claimants must still meet all federal requirements to qualify for receiving unemployment benefits while participating in this program.

The Return to Work program is modeled after successful programs in New Hampshire and Georgia.

“This Return to Work program would provide a valuable resource for those who are willing to put in extra effort to improve their job skills and get a foot in the door, especially those who have been out of work for some time and are losing their competitiveness to recently unemployed workers,” said Sen. Aboud. “It also helps small business owners, many of whom have told me they struggle with the cost of training unskilled workers.

“This is truly a win-win situation for Arizonans looking for work and our recovering economy. Folks looking for work can update their experience, employers can train prospective employees and hopefully more people can get back to work full-time,” said Sen. Aboud.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Are Tea Party legislators taking job creation seriously?

Tea Party legislators are too busy attacking Arizona workers in pursuit of their ideological agenda to care about helping struggling Arizonans and our economy.

Watch the report from KPHO CBS5 in Phoenix:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Senator Gallardo honored as “State Senator of the Year”

Will receive award from Arizona Pipe Trades Local 469 this Saturday

Sen. Gallardo

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo has been selected as the Pipe Trades 2011 State Senator of the Year by Arizona Pipe Trades Local 469.

In their words, Sen. Gallardo was chosen because he, “stood up for the issues that matter most to Pipe Trades members and their partner contractors: creating jobs, protecting the right of workers to organize and supporting the working families who are struggling in these tough economic times.”

Pipe Trades Local 469 has over 2,000 members who work everywhere from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station to small businesses and homes. Sen. Gallardo will be presented with the award during their annual Pin Ceremony on March 10th.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by Local 469, but even more so during a time when Arizona workers’ rights are under attack by Tea Party legislators at the Capitol,” said Sen. Gallardo. “Now more than ever, I am proud to stand with hard-working Arizonans as we work together on what really matters to Arizonans and their families – better schools for our kids, jobs for those out of work and a strong economic recovery.”

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. statement on Senate passage of SB1483

State Capitol, Phoenix – Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. released the following statement on today’s passing of SB1483 (shared revenue; Navajo technical college) by the Senate as a whole. It now moves on to the House of Representatives.

Sen. Jack C. Jackson, Jr.
“The Navajo Technical College is a critical resource for the citizens of my district and the Navajo Nation, especially given the region’s lack of economic and job opportunities,” said Sen. Jackson.

“Since opening its two Arizona campuses beginning in 2006, Navajo Technical College has shown retention and graduation rates that far exceed the national average. Its students are entering the workforce with high-demand skills like computer science and engineering. This bill directs much needed funds to help Navajo Technical College continue and expand its successful mission of education to even more members of our community.”

Navajo Technical College Facts

  • 1979- the Navajo Skills Center was established to meet the growing demand for higher education.
  • 1985- the Skills Center became the Crown Point Institute of Technology in Crown Point, NM, when the Center started to offer Associate Degrees.
  • 2005- the College changed it’s name to Navajo Technical College (NTC) in part because of it’s expansion of educational services, including Bachelor Degrees on the Navajo Nation.
  • 2006- NTC opened an instructional site in Chinle, AZ.
  • NTC is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association for Colleges and Schools.
  • NTC was recently recognized as one of the top 120 colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute College Excellent Program. For this distinction, community colleges must demonstrate high standards for learning, college completion without delay, and successful training grounds for jobs that pay competitive wages.
  • As a top forming college, NTC provides technical education, vocational programs, and courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • NTC now offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineer and recently applied to the Higher Learning Commission for permission to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resources.

Enrollment, Retention and Graduation
Since 2006, NTC has provided classes out of temporary buildings and Chinle High School and currently serves 436 students. As one of the most successful minority institutions of higher learning in the United States, NTC student retention rate exceeds 65% every year and has an overall graduation rate of 81%.
Job Placement
Out of 191 graduates from last year, 47% or 90 were placed in jobs and 42 students are continuing their education. 58 students didn’t respond to survey. Although NTC has a Job Placement Counselor on staff, collecting data or tracking students is a challenge due to the poor infrastructure needs of the area (no internet, poor telephones, etc.).