Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Senator Miranda statement on the passing of Congressman Pastor

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda released the following statement on the passing of Congressman Ed Pastor.

"My heart is broken. This is a sad day for Arizona. Congressman Pastor leaves us a legacy of dedication and leadership. We shared the ideals of so many Americans and immigrants that have fought for the American dream," said Senator Miranda.

"Ed was a patriot and a man of deep convictions, and it is hard for me to imagine Arizona without Ed Pastor. My deepest sympathies and respect go to the family of Congressman Pastor."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Democratic Caucus announces committee members

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senate Democratic Leader-Elect David Bradley (LD10) today announced committee assignments for Democratic members during the 54th Legislature.

(*) Denotes ranking member

Committee on Appropriations
Sen.-Elect Lela Alston*
Sen. Sean Bowie
Sen. Lisa Otondo

Committee on Commerce
Sen. Sean Bowie
Sen.-Elect Sally Ann Gonzales
Sen.-Elect Tony Navarrete*

Committee on Education
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro*
Sen.-Elect Sally Ann Gonzales
Sen. Martin Quezada

Committee on Finance
Sen.-Elect Lela Alston
Sen. Sean Bowie*
Sen. Lupe Contreras

Committee on Government
Sen.-Elect Lela Alston
Sen. Juan Mendez*
Sen.-Elect Victoria Steele

Committee on Health & Human Services
Sen.-Elect Tony Navarrete
Sen.-Elect Rebecca Rios
Sen.-Elect Victoria Steele*

Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development
Sen.-Elect Sally Ann Gonzales*
Sen.-Elect Tony Navarrete
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai

Committee on Judiciary
Sen. Lupe Contreras
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro
Sen. Martin Quezada*

Committee on Natural Resources & Energy
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro
Sen. Juan Mendez
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai*

Committee on Rules
Sen. David Bradley
Sen.-Elect Rebecca Rios*
Sen. Martin Quezada

Committee on Transportation & Public Safety
Sen. Lupe Contreras*
Sen. Lisa Otondo
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai

Committee on Water & Agriculture
Sen. Juan Mendez
Sen. Lisa Otondo*
Sen.-Elect Victoria Steele

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Indigenous People's Caucus calls for criminal investigations into alleged Antiquities Act violations and termination of Parks Director Black

Arizona Legislative Indigenous People's Caucus

Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (LD 7)
Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock (LD 7)
Rep. Eric Descheenie, D-Chinle (LD 7)
Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson (LD 3)

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Arizona Legislative Indigenous Peoples Caucus sent letters to acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Strange and Attorney General Brnovich asking that they open criminal investigations into alleged violations of the Antiquities Act that have been reportedby the Arizona Republic.

The Caucus also sent a letter to Governor Ducey calling for the immediate termination of Arizona Parks Director Sue Black and the launching of an administrative investigation to determine if any further violations of the Antiquities Act occurred during her tenure.

The letters can be downloaded here, here and here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Senator Miranda's "in the meantime" solution to the education of Dreamers in Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda is glad to announce the opening of a Phoenix Extension of the Tohono O'odham Community College (TOCC) that will serve DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) recipients as well as undocumented students, at in-state tuition rates.
Senator Miranda
Following the Arizona Supreme Court's ruling that DACA recipients were ineligible for in-state tuition at public universities, Senator Miranda decided to collaborate with the Tohono O'odham Nation to open a Phoenix Extension of TOCC that will offer all students, including Dreamers, an $80 per credit hour in-state tuition rate, instead of the $326 per credit hour charged at the other state public universities.

To accomplish this undertaking, Senator Miranda worked closely with: Mr. Verlon Jose, Vice Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation; Dr. Paul Robertson, President of TOCC;  Petra Falcon, Director of Promise AZ; Dr. Tom Nerini of the Phoenix Union School District; and Roberto Sanchez Garcia to find a solution for those DACA beneficiaries who are suffering the consequences of the recent suspension of the program by President Trump. 

In 2011, Senator Miranda, partnered with the Navajo Technical College to create the Manzana Foundation which helps students to prepare for college and extend accredited courses into the Phoenix area.

After partnering with Senator Miranda, the Tohono O'odham Nation and the Tohono O'odham Community College Board of Trustees have recently authorized the opening of a Phoenix Extension of TOCC which will welcome DACA beneficiaries at in-state tuition rates to ensure that they don't interrupt their education while their immigration status is on hold.
"Today we thank the Tohono O'odham Nation for generously joining us in the fight against this Administration's anti-immigration policies and to assist those DACA beneficiaries who have worked so hard to attain a higher education," said Senator Miranda. "The United States of America is a country that has been shaped by immigration and it is precisely its diversity which has made it so great. We cannot remain inactive in the face of our Congress' lack of action," she concluded.

The new Manzana/Phoenix Extension of TOCC will start a pilot program the week of September 24th, 2018 that will initially offer three courses (transferable to Arizona's three public universities):  English Composition I; College Algebra I; and Tohono O'odham Language I

Courses will be offered at the Phoenix Indian Center, located at 4520 N. Central Ave., Suite #250 in Phoenix.  Please see the Tohono O'odham Community College website: for further information. Instructors are sought to teach the courses.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

AZ Indigenous Peoples Caucus calls for immediate reunification of separated families

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Arizona Legislative Indigenous Peoples Caucus held a press conference to ask tribal nations to work in unity on behalf of the immigrant families who have been separated and imprisoned. On Wednesday the Caucus delivered letters condemning the separation of immigrant parents and children to the following elected officials: President Trump, Governor Ducey, Speaker Paul Ryan, and U. S. Representatives McSally and Grijalva.

Speaking at the press conference were Senator Jamescita Peshlakai (LD-7), Representative Wenona Benally (LD-7), Representative Sally Ann Gonzales (LD-3) and Pascua Yaqui Tribe Vice Chairman Peter Yucupicio.

Senator Jamescita Peshlakai:
"A sacred tribal teaching tells us we have a duty to each other and right now we have a duty to help these families that have been separated by the Trump Administration's cruel policy. Many caught in this nightmare are of indigenous descent who fled victimization by their governments only to be victimized by ours. As moral U.S. citizens, we denounce the Trump policy and the inaction of Governor Ducey to prevent this inhumane treatment from happening here in Arizona. I encourage tribal members and every American who is outraged by what is happening to write their elected officials to pressure them to end family separations."

Representative Wenona Benally:
“Indigenous children, who do not speak Spanish, but languages indigenous to their Central American countries, are among those being rounded up and detained. We are once again experiencing the horrible policy of forced removal of our children. Separating Indigenous children from their families is a form of cultural genocide and a violation of their human rights. We've seen this happen before in our history and we must not let it happen again.”

Photo from press conference featuring (L to R): Rep. Charlene Fernandez, House Democratic Whip (LD-4), Rosetta Walker, community volunteer, Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai (LD-7), Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales (LD-3), Pascua Yaqui Tribe Vice Chairman Peter Yucupicio, Rep. Wenona Benally (LD-7)

Video of the press conference can be seen here:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

AZ Indigenous Peoples Caucus to condemn separation of families at the border

Indigenous Peoples Caucus

Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (LD 7)
Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock (LD 7)
Rep. Eric Descheenie, D-Chinle (LD 7)
Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson (LD 3)

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Indigenous Peoples Caucus sent letters condemning the separation of immigrant parents and children to the following elected officials: President Trump, Governor Ducey, Speaker Paul Ryan, and U. S. Representatives McSally and Grijalva.

At a press conference this Thursday morning, members of the Arizona Legislative Indigenous Peoples Caucus and tribal leaders will call on state and federal policymakers to stop the practice of the Trump administration’s inhumane "zero tolerance" policy.

Who: Indigenous Peoples Caucus         Other community leaders

When: 10 a.m. Thursday, June 21

Where:   State Capitol Rose Garden, north side of historic Capitol building        1700 W. Washington St        Phoenix, Arizona.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Senate Democrats call for Special Session to enact gun safety measures

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leadership released the following statement after another deadly school shooting occurred today at Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas:

“We demand that Governor Ducey immediately call the Legislature back into session to adopt comprehensive and effective gun safety legislation that will keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of dangerous people and provide resources to identify and help troubled individuals,” said Senator Katie Hobbs. “Offering thoughts and prayers for the thousandth time won’t keep our kids safe in their schools, taking action will. Let’s work together like we did on the Opioid Epidemic Act and enact meaningful legislation to protect the people of Arizona, including comprehensive background checks and Severe Threat Orders of Protection that have the teeth to be effective.”

This session Senate Democrats introduced the following gun safety bills. None were allowed a hearing by Senate Republican leadership.

  • SCR1015 would require universal criminal background checks for people buying firearms, closing the so-called "gun show" or "private sale" loophole by requiring a private person selling or transferring a firearm to go through a licensed firearm dealer.
  • SB 1224 would require a person on probation for a domestic-violence offense to hand all their firearms over to a law enforcement agency for the duration of their probation.
  • SB 1348 would ban bump stocks and other devices designed to make semi-automatic weapons fire similarly to fully-automatic weapons.

Additionally, we offered the following amendments to Governor Ducey’s gun lobby-endorsed SB 1519. All were voted down by Senate Republicans.

  • Universal Background Check: Background check at every point of sale
  • Child Access Prevention: Requires firearms to be secured and add penalties for parents who allow access
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders: GIFFORDS version of the STOP orders
  • Bump Stocks: Ban on bump stocks and other accessories
  • Age to 21: Raises age to all gun sales from 18 to 21
  • Right of ways repeal: Repeals the guns on rights of ways by high schools and universities from 2016
  • Stolen/Theft Reporting: Class 6 Felony for failure to report to police the theft/loss of a firearm
  • SRO/Counselor Menu: Allows SRO appropriation to be requested by schools for counselors
  • Firearm Tax: Sales tax on all gun purchases with 50% of funds directed to a Counselors on Campus Fund and 50% to a Gun Violence Victims Restitution and Assistance Fund.
  • Appropriation for counselors: $5 million appropriation for counselors/social workers in schools
  • Custodian Removal: Under STOP, removes option to give guns to a custodian for safe keeping 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bowie legislation to make emergency communications accessible to all Arizonans is signed into law

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Sean Bowie (LD-18) released the following statement on the signing into law of his Senate Bill 1296.

The law established by SB 1296 requires state and local governments to ensure communications with persons with disabilities are equal to those without disabilities, including online and emergency communications. As part of this, the law requires those governments have a protocol in place to have licensed American Sign Language interpreters available to translate emergency communications to the public in emergency situations.

Senator Sean Bowie:

“Having access to critical information in an emergency is vitally important, and having a standard in place for professional interpretation and captioning is long overdue. SB 1296 will help make sure that life-saving information is available for all Arizonans. A huge thank you to the stakeholders who worked with me to craft this legislation, which included the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Ability 360, the Arizona Center for Disability Law and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns. I also want to extend thanks to my legislative colleagues for their support and to Governor Ducey for signing this bill into law.”

Sarah Kader, staff attorney with the Arizona Center for Disability Law:

“The Arizona Center for Disability Law applauds the passage of SB 1296 which will improve access to emergency communications for people with disabilities. Given that people with disabilities and especially those who are deaf and hard of hearing have historically been excluded from accessible alerts and instructions during emergencies, this law is an important step towards improved access in the State of Arizona.”

Thursday, May 3, 2018

2018 is the Year of the Teacher

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs (LD-24) released the following statement on the passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget:

"The 2018 legislative session will be known as the year of the teacher. Their passion, their perseverance and their unleashed power is the sole reason we finally passed a budget that begins to give them a long overdue raise and makes a small step toward making our neglected public schools whole.

"The budget passed tonight is nowhere near perfect. It does some good, like sweeping far less of the critical HURF dollars that our state's roads desperately need. It hires back some of the corporate tax auditors fired by Governor Ducey, which had let tax cheats slide and state revenues plummet. But it also spitefully punishes taxpayers who live in Democratic districts, and gives more of Arizonans' hard-earned tax dollars to the dark money benefactor Koch brothers' 'freedom schools' to produce extremist-indoctrinating K-12 curriculum.

"We voted for the good parts of this budget and we voted against the bad parts of this budget, but ultimately we helped get this budget through the legislature and on the governor’s desk so our dedicated teachers can return to their students with the start of a decent raise and a little more money for their classrooms.

"Just a month ago, those in power here were only willing to give Arizona's teachers another one percent bonus. Our teachers deserve all the credit for forcing Governor Ducey and legislative Republicans to finally acknowledge the devastation their policies have done to our kids' schools.

"But make no mistake, there is much more to do to restore the funding that decades of Republican control have taken from Arizona’s public schools. We are not done fighting."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Walkout could be ended if legislature, governor willing to work with education leaders, Democratic colleagues

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs released the following statement on the lack of progress toward resolving the teacher walkout:

“Yesterday, as well over 50,000 Arizona educators, parents and students gathered at the Capitol, no action was taken to resolve or even discuss the education funding crisis that brought us to this point. While Democratic lawmakers gave impassioned floor speeches urging action to properly fund public schools, Republican lawmakers chided our dedicated teachers for standing up for themselves and our governor hid in his tower giving carefully scripted interviews about his unsustainable plan. As the rally reached its zenith at the front doors of the legislature, our Senate and House majority leaders quietly gaveled floor to a close and slipped out the back door for three days away from the work we were elected to complete. Shame on them.

"Let me be very clear, Senate Democrats would be happy to be in session all day today and into the weekend if we were working across the aisle, and with education leaders, on a sustainable plan to fund the 20 percent pay raise our educators deserve. The devil is in the details and we support this pay increase only if all classroom and instructional support personnel are included in a raise that is responsibly funded. Numbers matter. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates that Governor Ducey’s plan would lead to a $265 million cash shortfall in FY’20, growing to $302 million in FY’21. 

"The biggest reason that this plan has not already been enacted is that our Republican legislative colleagues can also do the math. The governor’s rosy revenue estimates, fund sweeps and starving of other budget priorities is not sustainable over time or what the voters want. Passing this budget on the back of critical care providers for our developmentally disabled community, cutting funding to our universities, not protecting KidsCare in future years and continuing to shift state responsibilities to our cities, counties and towns is both fiscally and morally irresponsible. And increasing our sales tax to the nation's highest save California would put an exponentially greater burden on Arizona's poor and middle class. They shouldn't have to pay for tax cuts this state has given away to corporations and the wealthy.

"My Democratic colleagues and I are here to serve the people of Arizona, not on our schedule but on theirs, and they are demanding action now. We are, and always have been, eager to work with whoever is willing to find meaningful solutions, not simply to recite talking points at us. Working with people who share different viewpoints than your own can be challenging, but the results from doing so are what has made our nation and our state a place where people from all over the world yearn to live.

"That's democracy. Let's give it a try.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Senator Catherine Miranda welcomes DACA ruling, urges DHS to keep program

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda today welcomed US District Judge John Bates’
Sen. Miranda
decision giving the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 90 days to provide the legal rationale behind the Administration’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is the third federal judge that rebukes the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA but the first to order DHS to accept new applications. It is also the first judge appointed by a Republican president to issue such a ruling, which underscores the bipartisan consensus on the legality of the DACA program. The lawsuit was brought, among others, by Princeton University; highlighting the importance of this issue to the nation’s higher education system and economic security.

“Beyond the legal basis for the decision, DACA is simply good policy for America. The fact that one of the plaintiffs in this case is Princeton University shows once more that Dreamers are some of our best and brightest. You don’t deport the next Einstein because he crossed a border illegally as a child. You don’t get rid of the doctor who could save your life because you resent that her parents brought her here 20 years ago when she was six years old. The American people realize that and reject the Trump administration’s throw-out-the-baby-with-the-bathwater approach to governance,” said Senator Miranda.

Senator Miranda is a member of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), which represents the voices of more than 400 Hispanic state legislators from across the country, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which also celebrated the court decision and warned the Trump administration not to terminate the program until a permanent solution is enacted by Congress and signed into law.

NHCSL recently approved an emergency resolution regarding DACA and the DREAMers during the group’s annual Summit in Chicago, IL in February. The resolution states that: “…the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators urges Congress to take action with no further delay to stop the uncertainty with which thousands of families are living regarding DACA preferably by granting that pathway to citizenship or, at least, by extending DACA while a deal can be reached that creates that pathway…”

NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country.  NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 400 Hispanic legislators.  For more information visit

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ducey budget unsustainable according to legislative forecast

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic leadership requested and has received from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee an updated long-term forecast of Governor Ducey's budget plan based on this month's Finance Advisory Committee revenue forecast. This forecast projects a cash shortfall of $265 million for FY20, increasing to $302 million by FY21. These numbers are in sharp contrast to the governor's claim of a $73 million balance in FY20 and $3 million in FY21.

Projected cash balances
Fiscal Year 2020
Fiscal Year 2021

$(265) million
$(302) million
Ducey Budget
$73 million
$3 million
Source: Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Finance Advisory Committee

"After a decade of seeing their school budgets cut to the bone, Arizona's educators and students deserve to see those cuts reversed in a significant and sustainable way. Unfortunately, the governor's proposal relies on shell games and Pollyannish forecasts that don't reflect the reality of our state's revenues," said Senator Hobbs.

"As we've said all along, legislative Democrats are ready to sit down and roll up our sleeves with our Republican colleagues and the governor to find a sustainable way, utilizing realistic revenue forecasts, to restore funding to our starved public schools. Our kids, educators and classroom support personnel deserve better than another year of irresponsible budgeting and empty promises."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Democratic Leaders Respond to Ducey Budget Plan

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs (D-24) and House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios (D-27) released the following statements on Governor Ducey's budget proposal:
Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs (LD24):
“At the beginning of this legislative session nobody thought we'd be talking about giving educators a 20 percent raise. The credit for making that happen rests entirely with Arizona's dedicated and passionate educators who made their voices heard.

“After years of neglect and empty promises, our educators deserve an iron-clad commitment that their raises will be delivered and be permanent, but Governor Ducey's plan to pay for them raises serious sustainability concerns and forces other state services to suffer.

“Right now we have the opportunity to sit down with legislators, the governor and, most importantly, educators to find a way to fund a 20 percent raise as quickly as possible and not subject to the whims of legislative appropriation or economic fluctuations. This increase should also cover other instructional and classroom support personnel.

“We've been advocating for meaningful increases to K-12 funding and educator pay for the decade since Republicans started slashing education funding. Now that Republicans finally agree with the goal of increasing educator pay, we must work together to ensure the execution of that goal is done sustainably and responsibly.”

House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios (LD27):
“Make no mistake, Democrats strongly support 20 percent pay increase for our public-school educators, and doing it without shifting funds from other education priorities. We have been pushing for a real, meaningful, sustainable pay increase for our educators for years. We stand with all educators -- teachers, counselors and all support staff – who have led the incredible Red for Ed movement.

“Thanks to them, the Governor has made an abrupt about face on this issue in the right direction. However, as details of his proposal emerge, it's clear he is not having an honest conversation with Arizonans. We must raise educator salaries in a sustainable way without taking much-needed money away from universities (that are training our workforce), environmental protections (that keep our air and water clean), healthcare and other services for Arizona's most vulnerable populations.  

“We need to bring educators to the table with all stakeholders to find a reliable, dedicated and sustainable funding source for education. We need all revenue options on the table to do this right, not simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. We are ready to make the tough decisions to do this correctly.

“As it stands, Governor Ducey is cutting vital services and making a risky bet on perpetual revenue growth in a state with a historically cyclical and sometimes volatile economy. If Arizona experiences an even slight downturn, the demand for AHCCCS and other vital services will go up, pitting those services against education and throwing this budget out of balance. There are better options.”

Friday, April 6, 2018

Senator Peshlakai bill establishing official Native American Day is signed into law

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Senator Peshlakai released the following statement after her bill SB1235 was signed by Governor Ducey, establishing June 2nd as Native American Day and an official Arizona state unpaid holiday. With an enactment date of 90 days after the end of the legislative session, Arizona will celebrate the inaugural Native American Day on June 2nd, 2019.
Sen. Peshlakai

"It is an immense honor to have my bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, creating an official state holiday that honors Arizona's 22 sovereign tribal nations and their members," said Senator Peshlakai.

"Our indigenous people have called these lands home for millennia, from the Four Corners to the Colorado delta and everywhere in between. Our ancestors built towering cliff dwellings and the great canals that still irrigate the Valley of the Sun. We have fought overseas for our country and we drive innovation that will lead Arizona forward.

"The native peoples of Arizona are an integral part of Arizona's history, its culture and its future. I look forward to the inaugural celebration of Arizona's Native American Day next year and thank my colleagues and the governor for their support in making this happen. Ahe'hee'."

Monday, April 2, 2018

DACA students deserve same chance as their peers to opportunity

Congress, not Arizona, must clarify our immigration laws

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD-27) released the following statement after attending today's Arizona Supreme Court oral arguments on the legality of Arizona DACA students qualifying for in-state rates of university tuition. The case was brought by the Maricopa County Community College District on behalf of the students.
Sen. Miranda

"This is not an issue that can or should be determined by individual states because Congress, through federal law, has not been clear in its intentions. Immigration is a federal issue and Congress must have the moral and political courage to clarify our immigration laws and protect our nation's young immigrants," said Senator Miranda.

"Taking away in-state tuition will once again harm our future entrepreneurs, our future doctors and lawyers. These hard-working students have earned their place in our state universities and deserve the same opportunity to learn as their classroom peers. This attempt to do so is just another mean fear tactic intended to make our immigrant community afraid once again."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Senate passes three measures from Senator Peshlakai to honor Native American veterans

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The Arizona State Senate today passed the last of three memorials introduced by Senator Jamescita Peshlakai that urge the Arizona Department of Transportation to designate portions of highways in northeastern Arizona in honor of Native American veterans. The memorials have been transmitted to the Arizona House of Representatives for final approval.

SCM 1013 urges designating the portion of U.S. Route 89 that is located between the Utah state line and Flagstaff as the "Native American Veterans Highway."

SCM 1014 urges designating the portions of State Highway 264 that fall under Navajo jurisdiction as the "Navajo Code Talker Highway" and the portions that fall under Hopi jurisdiction as the "Hopi Code Talker Highway."

SCM 1015 urges designating the portion of U.S. Route 160 that is located between the New Mexico state line and the junction of U.S. Route 89 as the "Native American Women Veterans Highway."
Sen. Peshlakai

"Arizona is home to almost 11,000 living Native American veterans like myself - men and women who have served our country with honor and dignity, including our beloved World War II Code Talkers," said Senator Peshlakai.

"By designating these sections of state highway in honor of their service and the service of those who are no longer with us, we will show the residents of northeastern Arizona and our visitors that our Native communities have and still do play a vital role in protecting our country. I sincerely hope my colleagues in the House of Representatives pass these memorials and ADOT acts on the Legislature's wish to designate these portions of highway in honor of Native American veterans."

Arizona State Senator Jamescita Mae Peshlakai represents Legislative District 7. The culturally diverse district spans the seven counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Mohave, Navajo, and Pinal — including nine tribes and the communities of Fredonia, Page, Winslow, Show Low, St. Johns, Eagar, and Springerville — and is the largest legislative district in the contiguous United States.

Monday, March 19, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholds DACA recipients' rights

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD-27) released the following statement following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to require that Arizona continue issuing drivers licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
Sen. Miranda

"Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to overturn a lower court ruling finally brings to an end the bitter Brewer v. Arizona Dream Act Coalition case. Through two governors and countless wasted taxpayer dollars, the state of Arizona's mean-spirited attempt to deny our young DACA recipients driver’s licenses served only to sow division and hate in our communities. That is why I ran legislation in 2013 to reverse former Governor Brewer's executive order," said Senator Miranda.

"This makes the second time in recent weeks that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to uphold attacks against the DACA program and the hard-working young adults who contribute to our state. Our federal and state governments should acknowledge their importance to our communities and enact legislation to permanently protect them and provide them a path to citizenship, rather than making them scapegoats for partisan points."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Peshlakai's SB1235 passes Senate, would create official Native American Day

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Peshlakai released the following statement after her bill SB1235 passed out of the Senate. SB1235 would establish June 2nd as Native American Day and an official Arizona state unpaid holiday. 

Currently, California, Nevada and South Dakota have declared Native American Day an official state holiday and Tennessee celebrates American Indian Day.
Sen. Peshlakai

"I'm deeply proud that my bill to create an official state Native American Day passed out of the Senate today. Twenty-two tribes are currently recognized in Arizona and tribal reservation land covers over a quarter of the state. An estimated five to six percent of Arizona’s total population is of Native American ancestry making it the second largest Native American population in the U.S.

"Before 1924, Native Americans were not U.S. citizens and we didn't earn the right to vote in Arizona until 1948. With over 390,000 tribal members in Arizona and almost 11,000 veterans, it's long past time we recognize the contributions Native Americans have made to our state's history and the important role we play in its future. Arizona's Native American Day is a good start and I hope my colleagues in the House will approve my bill and send it to the governor."

Arizona State Sen. Jamescita Mae Peshlakai represents Legislative District 7. The culturally diverse district spans the seven counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Mohave, Navajo, and Pinal — including nine tribes and the communities of Fredonia, Page, Winslow, Show Low, St. Johns, Eagar, and Springerville — and is the largest legislative district in the contiguous United States.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Miranda pushes to establish the National Museum for the American Latino in the Smithsonian

Miranda leads National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators in recognizing contributions and achievements of Latino Americans

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The National Museum for the American Latino is one step closer to being established within the world-renowned Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, thanks to the leadership of Arizona State Senator Catherine Miranda (LD-27).    
Senator Miranda

Miranda introduced a resolution for consideration at last weekend’s National Convention of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) in Chicago, Illinois. The resolution, which passed unanimously, recognizes the numerous contributions to society and culture that Latino Americans have made since prior to the founding of the United States of America. 

“Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States, and have fought for America in every conflict since its inception. Their contributions have been under-recognized in history books, and in National museums such as the Smithsonian,” said Miranda. A report issued by The Smithsonian in 1994 titled Willful Neglect supports Miranda’s statement, confirming that Latinos are tremendously underrepresented throughout its institution.

The resolution re-affirms NHCSL’s support and endorsement of the passage of two related bills, H.R. 2911 and S. 1364, which establish a National Museum for the American Latino within the Smithsonian Institution in the National Mall. These bills were created in 2011 in response to a bipartisan report by a commission created by then President George W. Bush and Congressional leadership to examine the need and viability of a Latino Museum within the Smithsonian.  

According to the bills, the Museum will be “devoted to the documentation and explication of Latino life, art, history and culture.” 

Miranda, who represents the largely Latino 27th Legislative District, was pleased with the resolution’s passing. “This is a small step in the right direction. This resolution was sent to the President and Hispanic leadership in the Senate, and we’re hoping they will work together to recognize these invaluable contributions to our country’s history.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sen. Dalessandro chosen as NCEL State Lead for Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Andrea Dalessandro (LD-2) has been selected as the Arizona State Lead for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). This position recognizes the leadership of Senator Dalessandro both within the Caucus and for promoting smart and effective environmental policy in Arizona. 
Sen. Dalessandro

"I've been a member of the National Caucus of Environments Legislators since I was first elected to the Arizona Legislature in 2013 because I believe that we must take an active role in protecting and conserving our environment. To not do so will have devastating repercussions for our economy and future generations," said Senator Dalessandro. "I'm honored that my colleagues at NCEL have named me the state lead for Arizona and I look forward to leading our efforts here."

The State Lead program was created to help formalize the membership structure within NCEL. In this position, Senator Dalessandro will serve as the main point of contact in the state, coordinating in-state engagements and educating her colleagues about NCEL as a resource. 

Created by and for state legislators, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes over 1,000 environmentally-committed state legislators from all 50 states and both parties. NCEL provides venues and opportunities for lawmakers to share ideas and collaborate on environmental issues.

“State leads are a crucial element for a thriving network like NCEL,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of NCEL. “The Caucus is led by legislators, so the Leads provide an active conduit of information and organizing that engage their colleagues across the country." 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Statement on Shooter expulsion

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Leaders of the Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statement on the expulsion of Don Shooter from the House of Representatives:

“We applaud the swift action taken by the House today in expelling Mr. Shooter from office. It's important that the integrity of the Legislature be maintained, but even more important is sending the message that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and anyone who experiences it should feel empowered by today's vote to report. What a shameful and unnecessary day in the history of our state."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Statement on Representative Shooter investigation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Leaders of the Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statement on the sexual harassment allegations against Representative Don Shooter:

“We stand in solidarity with all professional women and men who work at the Legislature in expressing our disgust and outrage over Rep. Shooter’s behavior. He should have resigned in disgrace months ago when women bravely came forward to share their experiences with him. But since he refuses to do even that one honorable thing, we will support our House colleagues with however they see fit to punish him.”

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bowie named state Economic Development Champion

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Sean Bowie (LD-18) has been named one of four Economic Development Champions by the Arizona Association for Economic Development for his work during the 2017 legislative session. Senator Bowie was honored for his support of economic development issues, including voting for three different bills that benefited economic development efforts throughout Arizona.
Senator Bowie

"This is an exciting honor for me because economic development is so important to my district and Arizona overall. We live in a state filled with innovative and industrious people who want jobs that capitalize on that energy, which is why I will always support realistic ideas that broaden our economic opportunities," said Senator Bowie. "I'm grateful for this recognition from the Arizona Association for Economic Development and I look forward to continuing our work to make Arizona a great place to work, live and grow."

AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice advocating for responsible economic development through an effective program of professional education, public policy and collaboration. For more information, call AAED at (602) 240-AAED (2233), or visit

Peshlakai named state director of National Foundation for Women Legislators

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Peshlakai has been selected to serve as state director for the non-partisan National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), the nation's oldest advocacy group for elected women.
Senator Peshlakai

The NFWL was founded in 1938 as the National Order of Women Legislators, subsequently reforming in 2014 as the Foundation for Women Legislators, according to the foundation's director, Jodi Thomas. The NFWL serves to ensure all elected women have access to resources and information, equipping women leaders to build coalitions, identify innovative policy solutions, and promote civil discourse in government. All elected women are automatically granted membership by their elected office.

As state director, Sen. Peshlakai will "serve as a point of contact for elected women in each state, and work to bring more elected women the opportunities and resources that NFWL has to offer," according to the foundation's website.

"I am honored to accept the Foundation's invitation to serve as a state director," said Senator Peshlakai. "As an Indigenous woman leader, I am excited to work with the Foundation to bring strength, diversity, and a unique perspective to the NFWL for the advancement of all women."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Miranda receives St. Thomas More Society award

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD-27) has been named the 2018 recipient of the St. Thomas More Society Award by the St. Thomas More Society of Phoenix in recognition of her commitment to our community during difficult times. The announcement was made by the Catholic Diocese during the Red Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday.
Senator Miranda

The award is bestowed upon those who exemplify what St. Thomas More represented: standing up for what he believed.

Senator Miranda was presented with the 2018 St. Thomas More Society Award on Wednesday by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, in the presence of the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Edward Listecki.

“It is with profound humility that I accept this award. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the St. Thomas More Society and the Diocese of Phoenix for such a high distinction. While awards are a great honor, merely the feeling of helping and making a difference in the lives of others is enough satisfaction for me. I have always considered it a privilege to fight for the rights of the members of our community and intend to continue doing so, in an official or personal capacity,” said Senator Miranda.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Congress must act swiftly to protect Dreamers

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD-27) released the following statement on the U.S. District Court injunction that blocks the Trump Administration's phase out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

Senator Miranda
“This decision is a temporary relief from the devastation of the Trump administration's decision to end protection for DACA recipients. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup recognized the disastrous impact President Trump's decision makes on our businesses, communities and families," said Senator Miranda.

"The good news is anyone who had qualified for DACA before September 5th of last year can now apply for renewal and I encourage every single one of them to do so immediately. The bad news is that first time applicants are still not allowed to apply for DACA status. Even worse, we still need the Republican-controlled Congress to make permanent the protection of those who were brought to our country as children. They must do so with haste as to mitigate any further damage caused by this hateful move against our Dreamers."