Wednesday, April 26, 2017

LD7 Senator Peshlakai's Resolution endorsing AZ Veterans Services and Navajo Nation MOU is unanimously adopted

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senator Jamescita Peshlakai released the following statement on the Legislature's unanimous adoption of her Senate Concurrent Resolution 1028.

SCR 1028 expresses the Legislature's commitment to ensuring the cooperation of the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services and the Navajo Nation in an effort to increase the number of veteran service officers working within the Navajo Nation. The resolution officially recognizes the memorandum of understanding between the ADVS and the Navajo Nation that was signed on June 24, 2016.

Sen. Peshlakai
"SCR 1028 is a promise that the state of Arizona will collaborate with the Navajo Nation Veterans' Administration to have their staff federally accredited and working under the umbrella of the state Department of Veterans' Services. When implemented, this will be the first time tribal veteran service officers are able to file federal Veterans' Administration claims and benefits applications for our tribal veterans," said Senator Peshlakai. "This significant improvement will change the lives of many tribal veterans, their families and communities by not forcing them to travel many hours away from home to be able to receive these hard earned benefits.

"As a combat war veteran, I thank my legislative colleagues for stepping up to right an incredible wrong and oversight in our state. We must act now and purposely for our patriots and forgotten soldiers."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

ESA expansion is 'next step' in wholesale dismantling of Arizona public schools

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Leaders of the Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statement on the passage of SB 1431:

"Since taking office in 2014, this governor and his Republican legislators have gleefully claimed to support public education in Arizona, despite the hypocrisy of deliberately slashing funding for years and taking every opportunity to undermine our struggling schools.

"This year alone there are bills to remove $211 million from our schools, eliminate standards that ensure our children are taught by qualified teachers, and the governor's budget proposes an insultingly inadequate 4/10ths of a percent raise for Arizona teachers who are paid the least of any state.

"By passing this legislation Republicans are enabling a system that data show subsidizes affluent families, while poorer Arizonans are unable to use ESAs because they cannot afford the remaining costs of private-school tuition.

"94% of Arizona families choose public schools for their children and 77% of Arizonans believe the state should be investing more in those schools. It is long past time for the Legislature to honor their choice by adequately funding our public schools.

"But the Republicans who control Arizona continue to chronically underfund our public schools and have now chosen to further siphon money from them by expanding school vouchers.

"During today's floor debate Senate President Yarbrough stated, 'this is a very important day in the history of Arizona.' Sadly, he is correct. Today will be remembered as the 'next step' in the wholesale dismantling of public education in Arizona."