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.”