Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Senator Gallardo introduces ethics reform legislation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today Senator Steve Gallardo introduced ethics reform legislation to increase the transparency and accountability of Arizona's elected officials.
  • SB1280 increases the frequency and detail of elected officials' financial disclosure statements. Statements would require a description of a relationship between any organization from which an official or their family members receive compensation, a detail of any of the official's debts, and an itemized list of any gifts worth more than $100. For members of the Legislature and the governor, reporting would be required monthly when in session and every six months otherwise.
  • SB1281 changes the definition of those required to declare a conflict of interest to include a public officer or employee, or relative of either, who, in taking an action in the discharge of official duties, has a direct or indirect personal financial interest of more than $500.

Sen. Gallardo
"These bills let the voters see behind the curtain which special interests are influencing their representatives, both financially and with gifts," said Sen. Gallardo.

"As elected officials, we are chosen by the voters to represent their interests. To do that effectively we must earn and keep their trust not only in us, but in the system of government."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Senator Gallardo introduces equality legislation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo has introduced four bills to eliminate sexual preference discrimination in employment, adoption and marriage.
  • SB1163 - Prohibits discrimination by an employer or prospective employer against an employee or job applicant based on their gender, gender identity or expression or sexual orientation.
  • SB1164 - Removes from statute the current requirement that adoption preference be given to a married man and woman over that of a single adult.
  • SCR1004 - Proposes an amendment to repeal Article 30 of the state constitution, which states that only marriages between a man and a woman may be legally recognized. If passed by the Legislature, final approval from the voters would be required.
  • SB1165 - Would remove ARS 25-101, Section C, which states that marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited. Enactment is conditional upon passage of SCR1004 by the voters.
    Sen. Gallardo

"While other states have been moving forward to make equal rights for every American, Arizona has moved backward. In 21 states it is illegal to fire someone because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Nine states and the District of Columbia recognize same sex marriage. But in Arizona, adoption agencies are actually required to discriminate against single, gay and lesbian adults," said Sen. Gallardo.

"It's time we have the conversation about how we treat each other in this state. Every Arizonan deserves the right to succeed on their skills at work, marry who they love in their heart and adopt a needy child into their home."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Democratic leaders respond to State of the State address

Sen. Landrum Taylor
Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor (D-27):

“For the past few years our state has endured a Tea Party Legislature that pushed extremist ideologies over common sense solutions and put special interests ahead of Arizona families,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

“Arizonans are tired of elected officials who disregard the common good. It's time for our elected leaders to work together to find real answers that address the problems facing our state.

“Those problems are not insurmountable. We must begin restoring the more than $2.9 billion that have been cut from our kids' schools, while ensuring the classroom is an environment safe from danger. The governor's words on this are encouraging, but will prove empty if she caves to the extremists in her party.

“We must also take a serious look at expanding Medicaid and dedicating more resources to CPS to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of. The health and well being of Arizonans cannot be exploited simply to make petty political gestures against Obamacare.

“We can afford to put families first instead of spending hundreds of millions on tax cuts for special interests and more money for private prisons.

“Senate Democrats are willing to work with Republicans to find solutions to these challenges. We always have been. It’s up to them to finally reject extremist policies by creating laws and crafting a budget in an open and bipartisan way. That's what voters want from us and that's what they sent us here to do.”

Rep. Campbell
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-24):

“We have a lot of work to do this year and I am hopeful that the governor’s remarks are the start of an over due conversation about priorities in this state,” said Rep. Campbell.

“We are committed to developing a long-term plan for Arizona. That plan needs to include a budget and tax system that prioritizes the needs of the middle class. It should restore and protect funding for education and safety programs that were gutted during the recession. It should focus on job creation and future economic security.

“Additionally, we need to work toward getting access to quality and affordable health care for all Arizonans. We have an obligation to reach these goals without sacrificing transparency or government accountability. The bottom line is, we have to make government work for the people of Arizona and we have to make decisions with the future of this state in mind.”