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."