Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. statements on Senate passage of SB1082, SCR1018 and SCR1020

State Capitol, Phoenix – Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. released the following statements on today’s passage of SB1082, SCR1018 and SCR1020 by the Senate as a whole. They will now proceed to the House of Representatives.
Sen. Jack C. Jackson, Jr.

On SB1082:
“SB1082 represents a bi-partisan effort, led by Senator Sylvia Allen, to address the serious health issue of public intoxication in northeastern Arizona. This bill is the product of an almost year-long stakeholder process that not only included representatives of a number of Arizona cities and towns including Holbrook, Page, Winslow, Flagstaff and Scottsdale, but also the Navajo Nation, Navajo County and the Arizona Department of Health Services,” said Senator Jackson.

“This legislation alone will not solve the health and safety issues associated with public intoxication, but it is an important step in the right direction. My hope is that the momentum generated from the passage of SB1082 will lay the foundation for a more comprehensive remedy in the years to come.

“I again want to express my appreciation and thanks to Senator Allen for her leadership on this bill. I urge my colleagues in the House to support SB1082.”

On SCR1018 (honoring Native American veterans):
This resolution honors their service – and the service of all American veterans – and praises current projects to build a veterans’ home in Chinle, the Navajo Code Talkers Museum and veterans complex, and veterans’ cemeteries in Round Rock and on the Pascua Yaqui reservation.

“Many Arizonans are familiar with the critical role Navajo Code Talkers played in the Pacific theater of World War II, whether through documentaries, history books or Hollywood films. The contribution to our nation’s military by members of Arizona’s tribal nations, however, goes far beyond that brave group of Marines,” said Sen. Jackson.

“Our tribes have given their youth to protect this nation in disproportionately high numbers, including more than 20,000 Native American veterans currently living in Arizona. These projects are a fitting tribute to those members of Arizona’s tribes who fought valiantly to protect this nation and who have sacrificed much.”

On SCR1020 (DEMA; recognition, emergency preparedness):
Recognizes and pays tribute to the participants of the November 3-7, 2011 Vigilant Guard Exercise, which was a full scale, statewide exercise sponsored by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) designed to ensure effective coordination between local, tribal, state, private sector, non-governmental organizations and federal partners. The exercise consisted of a flood scenario following with an improvised nuclear device exercise where more than 100 local, state and tribal agencies worked together to locate and eliminate problems before an actual emergency occurred.

“I had the privilege to participate as an observer in Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs’ Vigilant Guard exercise last November and was extremely impressed with the scale and success of this emergency preparedness drill,” said Sen. Jackson.

“It was certainly not an easy task to coordinate this exercise, which was the largest in our state’s history. DEMA deserves our praise and gratitude for ensuring that our first responders across the state are fully prepared to respond and work together in case of a large-scale emergency.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Senate Democratic leaders call for Rep. Patterson to resign

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, Assistant Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor and Senator Linda Lopez (D-29) released the following statement urging Representative Daniel Patterson (D-29) to resign.

“This Legislature expects that its members adhere to standards of conduct, which the Senate Ethics Committee upheld just last month. If any legislator, regardless of party, cannot adhere to these standards they must, at the very least, respect the constituents who elected them by resigning. With so many problems facing our state right now, Arizonans cannot afford to have their elected officials be focused on anything but finding solutions.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Legislature should focus on putting books in schools, not guns

After failing last year, tea party lawmakers again push for guns on campus

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, Senator Steve Gallardo and Senator David Lujan released the following statements on Tea Party legislators’ efforts to allow guns on public university and college campuses.

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira:
“For the second consecutive session Tea Party lawmakers at the Arizona legislature are pushing legislation that would allow guns on college campuses. Our schools need many things to prepare our children for the economy, guns on campus is not one of them,” said Sen. Schapira. “The faculty, staff and students of the Arizona public university system are opposed to this bill—Tea Party legislators should stop pushing ideological, divisive legislation that does nothing to strengthen our schools or improve our economy.”

Sen. Gallardo

Senator Steve Gallardo, D-13:
"There is no substantiated evidence that shows allowing guns on a public school campus would create a safer learning environment. In fact, law enforcement officers have shared with me their fears of facing multiple civilians with guns drawn, not knowing which is the bad guy and shooting an innocent person," said Sen. Gallardo. "This Tea Party bill is a classic example of a solution looking for a problem.

Senator David Lujan, D-15:

Sen. Lujan

“Once again we have a bill pushed by out-of-touch legislators on behalf of special interests. What’s most appalling about this bill is that after years of devastating cuts to Arizona’s education system,” said Sen. Lujan. “Tea Party legislators want to use our time to put guns on campuses, but they refuse to help improve our kids’ schools. Right now Arizonans need solutions to real problems like education, jobs and the economy, not more pandering to high-priced lobbyists.”

Clean Elections protects voice of Arizona voters

Senate Republicans vote for repeal on behalf of special interests

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira issued the following statement today in opposition to the Senate Judiciary Committee vote to gut the citizen-initiated Clean Elections program:

“It’s never been more difficult for the average voter’s voice to be heard in American politics. We see that everyday with the Citizen’s United ruling, which has flooded our society with highly-funded messaging from special interest shadow groups.”

“Clean Elections guarantees that Arizona citizens have a voice in their government, and we must preserve that voice,” Sen. Schapira said. “Retaining the Clean Elections program ensures that Arizona’s future politicians will continue to be held accountable by the voters who have elected them, not beholden to deep-pocket campaign donors.”

The Arizona Citizens’ Clean Elections Act was approved by voters in 1998. The Clean Elections Fund allows candidates who collect $5 contributions from supporters to receive a set amount from the fund to operate their campaign.

“Arizonans overwhelmingly support Clean Elections because it takes power away from lobbyists and special interests and returns it to the people. We cannot let their voice be silenced by the special interest-controlled Republican Legislature."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Democratic senators introduce ethics reform bills

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira and Senator Steve Gallardo have introduced legislation to limit lobbyists’ influence on legislators, 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 election expenditures by companies and labor groups.

SB1068 (Schapira) prohibits legislators from receiving tickets to athletic events or entertainment.

SB1459 (Schapira) eliminates special exceptions for food, beverages, travel, lodging and speaking engagements and requires legislators to file financial disclosure statements every six months.

SB1460 (Schapira) sets the standard of proof for any investigation by a legislative ethics committee to the level of “substantial evidence,” and requires the use of an independent counsel.

SB1393 (Gallardo) prohibits registered lobbyists from making, soliciting or bundling campaign contributions to legislators and the governor – in or out of session.

SB1390 (Gallardo) prohibits legislators from receiving tickets to special events.

SB1391 (Gallardo) prohibits legislators from receiving food and beverages from registered lobbyists.

SB1394 (Gallardo) prohibits public officials who are candidates for any public office in Arizona from using public expense to promote themselves in the year prior to the election.

• SB1392 (Gallardo) would require any corporation, limited liability company or labor organization to disclose any independent expenditure aimed at influencing the outcome of a candidate election.
Sen. Schapira

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira:

“The influence of lobbyists here at the capitol has become so strong that it drowns out the voice of Arizonans. These bills will cut through the special interest noise and let legislators focus on what the hard-working people of our state need right now – good jobs, a strong economy and better schools for our kids,” said Sen. Schapira. “My ethics committee reform bill will remove the temptation for the majority party to go easy on one of their own members when they are faced with an ethics trial by setting a consistent standard of proof.”

Sen. Gallardo
Senator Steve Gallardo:

“In the wake of the recent ethics scandals we’ve seen happen here at the Legislature, like Fiesta Bowl, it’s clear that meaningful ethics reform is needed. It’s time to eliminate cash and perks like food and trips as lobbying tools, “said Sen. Gallardo. “These bills are a first good step in eliminating the amount of influence that lobbyists and special interests have with state legislators. An elected official should be responsible to their constituents first and foremost.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why won’t Tea Party legislators help struggling Arizonans?

Refuse to convene committee tasked with economic development and job creation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today, Senate Democrats attempted to engage the Senate Economic Development and Job Creation Committee in fulfilling its mission to help struggling Arizonans.

During floor session, Senator Steve Gallardo moved that SB1466 be moved to the Economic Development and Job Creation Committee to be heard. SB1466, which is Minority Leader David Schapira's bill to give preference to Arizona companies for government contracts, was assigned to the Commerce and Energy Committee and the Government Reform Committee. Double assigning a bill is typically done to increase the possibility that it will not advance.
Sen. Gallardo

On a party-line vote, Tea Party legislators voted down the motion.

Senator Steve Gallardo:
"We have a committee named Economic Development and Job Creation, which in theory would be tasked with finding ways to find exactly what the people of our state desperately need right now - jobs and a better economy," said Sen. Gallardo. "We have been elected by the citizens of our districts to come to the Capitol and work for them, not pander to special interests. The Tea Party leadership needs to realize their priorities are not Arizonan’s priorities and are doing nothing to get our state back on track."

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira:
Sen. Schapira
"At a time when hard-working Arizonans are struggling to find work, keep their jobs and pay their bills, the Tea Party-controlled Senate is focused on attacking Arizona workers," said Sen. Schapira. "They are more interested in our state becoming the next Wisconsin-like battle cry for conservative extremists than helping us get back on our feet by creating jobs and improving our economy. Let's stand up for Arizona’s middle class and work together to find real solutions for the problems facing Arizona families."

Tea Party Republicans launch assault on Arizona’s middle class

Pursue extreme partisan agenda instead of focusing on jobs, economy

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statement on today’s attack on Arizona’s middle class by Tea Party Republicans.

Sen. Schapira
Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-17:
“This is an ideological campaign by Tea Party Republicans who are bent on attacking Arizona's middle class. U.S. Commerce Department data shows employee pay has fallen to the smallest share of the economy since the government began collecting the data in 1929, while corporate profits have the largest share of the economy since then,” said Sen. Schapira. “Unbelievably, these Republicans think the best way to improve our economy is to give corporations unfunded tax cuts while they gut our kids' education, kick poor kids off healthcare and eliminate workers' rights. Right now, we should be doing everything we possibly can to help hard-working Arizonans get back on their feet, not kicking them while they're down.”
Sen. Gallardo
Senator Steve Gallardo, D-13:
“This isn't just an attack on the middle class, this is an attack on the people of Arizona. If these extremist bills pass, our first responders will no longer have a voice in how they do their jobs protecting us and every Arizona family will be less safe because of that," said Sen. Gallardo. "These bills are being pushed by Tea Party Republicans who think that big state government – like big Washington government – is better than local control."

Senator David Lujan, D-15:

Sen. Lujan

“Firefighters, teachers, nurses and other public workers are hard-working professionals who want what’s best for our families and communities, and undermining them weakens the quality of our children’s education and the services that keep our communities safe,” said Sen. Lujan. “Instead of scapegoating hard-working Arizonans to further a partisan agenda, we need to focus on creating jobs and repairing our economy so it works for the 99% - not just the top 1%. It’s time to put extreme ideology aside and get to work doing what we were elected to do - create jobs and restore balance to our economy.”