Monday, January 25, 2016

Senator Dalessandro named State Director for the Women In Government Foundation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Andrea Dalessandro (LD2) was recently sworn in as a State Director for the Women In Government Foundation, Inc. (WIG). Senator Dalessandro joins 199 other women state legislators to serve in this role for 2016. As such, Senator Dalessandro serves as an ambassador for the state of Arizona, helping drive commerce and educational opportunities while assisting WIG with its state-based policy events across the region. WIG nominates four directors from each state every year to ensure all sides of the electorate are fairly represented.

Sen. Dalessandro
“I'm excited to join this group of women leaders to share ideas on how to make government work harder and better for our states. As a state director, I will encourage my colleagues at the Arizona Legislature to utilize the valuable resources available from WIG,” said Senator Dalessandro.

“We at WIG sincerely appreciate Senator Dalessandro’s willingness to serve in such an important capacity on behalf of our organization,” said Dyan Alexander, Executive Director, WIG. “As we work with organizations and corporations interested in sharing the most cutting-edge research and information on pressing policy issues with legislators, having Senator Dalessandro’s assistance is critical. They help ensure those who represent the electorate make sound decisions based on the latest information available. We sincerely thank Senator Dalessandro for all she does on behalf of those she serves.”

WIG is a national 501(c)(3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves the 1,804 (or 24.4%) women state legislators across the nation. It is based in Washington, DC and supports women state legislators across the United States. WIG provides leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues. Its goal is to empower state legislators to make the most informed policy decision based on the most up-to-date information available. WIG has been serving in this capacity for 27 years to date.

For more information about WIG, please contact Cherisse Eatmon, Manager of Legislator Outreach, at 202-333-0825, ext. 200.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Senator Sherwood intros bills to curb discrimination, register voters

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXSenator Andrew Sherwood (LD-26) has introduced two bills: one to expand the prohibition of discrimination and one to make voter registration available to students when they take the new high school civics test.
Sen. Sherwood

·  SB1199 (employment; housing; public accommodations; antidiscrimination) expands the prohibition of discrimination in public places, employment, or housing  due to a person’s gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status.

“Even after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBT individuals do not have equal protection under the law. They are still at risk of losing their jobs and not being able to live in the neighborhood of their choice,” said Sen. Sherwood. “These protections should also apply to veterans who have sacrificed so much and risked their lives so we could enjoy the security and freedoms we have.”

·        SB1201 (civics test; voter registration materials) would require voter registration materials to be available at locations where the new high school civics test is administered.

“This form of voter outreach, which is already done in 27 other states, has no cost for schools to implement. The purpose of the high school civics test is to ensure students know the government and civics of our country, so it makes sense the next step would be to make available voting materials where they can put into practice what they’ve learned as part of their graduation requirement.”

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cardinals make Arizona proud

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda (LD27) released the following statement on the Arizona Cardinal’s defeat of the Green Bay Packers:
Sen. Miranda

"There's a reason we call them the ‘Cardiac Cards’ and Saturday's game against the Green Bay Packers was one of the most exciting games we've ever seen," said Sen. Miranda.

"Michael Bidwell and our Arizona Cardinals have made their home state proud as they've shown time and again this season that they are a team with heart, unity and tenacity. I wish them a well-earned congratulations and look forward to seeing them beat Carolina on their way to the Super Bowl!"

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ducey plan has small hits, big misses

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released statements on Governor Ducey’s 2017 budget proposal.

House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer:
Rep. Meyer
“Governor Ducey does a good job of covering up the glaring lack of substance in his proposal with bold claims to get attention. In actuality, his budget does nothing to improve education in Arizona,” said Rep. Meyer.

“Despite widespread, bipartisan support for restoring money to career and technical education programs, the governor plans to strangle them with red tape by forcing them into a bureaucratic grant scheme. These programs improve graduation rates and increase employment opportunities. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it; just fund it.

“He again illustrates his true priorities by planning to provide more money for prisons than for universities. And the governor’s budget for K-12 education does nothing to solve the teacher retention, mentoring and recruitment problems in our public schools.  The executive budget fails to offer real solutions to real problems.”

Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
Sen. Hobbs
“Governor Ducey’s proposed budget has some wise investments but does not go far enough in areas of critical need. We are pleased to see investments in areas like vocational rehabilitation, adult preventive dental and a community correction center in Maricopa County that will help offenders adjust to life out of prison,” said Sen. Hobbs.

“However, we are disappointed to see the status quo maintained at DCS. The failures there are systemic from the top down, with caseloads at historically high levels and staff morale at historically low levels, yet this budget ignores recommendations from independent experts and stakeholders on how to keep kids safe. The funds proposed to address the backlog simply aren’t enough to solve the problems and come with no accountability to ensure the funds are spent effectively.

“This budget provides no new money for preventive services, like restoring TANF and eliminating the child care wait list, that are proven to keep kids in their homes and out of the system in the first place. It appears that Governor Ducey’s staff spent more time and energy into putting together a $31.5 million border strike force that nobody wants than finding a solution to our state’s child safety crisis.

“We hope that the governor and Republican leaders will acknowledge that they serve all Arizonans, not just Republicans, and engage in meaningful discussions on reasonable changes to this budget that will protect Arizona’s children, help those in need and position our state to excel economically and improve quality of life for everyone.”

Monday, January 11, 2016

State Democratic Leaders Announce Legislative Priorities

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 24), and Arizona House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), released the following joint statement regarding Democrats’ legislative priorities for the upcoming session.
Sen. Hobbs

“Arizonans are independent and innovative. There is no good reason why, nearly a decade after the Great Recession, so many people are still struggling in this state, especially when most of the country has already recovered. It is a failure of leadership from the Republicans, and that has to change now. 
Rep. Meyer

“Democrats have a clear vision that will move us all forward by focusing on five key areas:  public education, supporting the community, public safety, economic development, and responsible stewardship of our natural resources. Public schools and universities should have the resources needed to prepare our students for the future. Vulnerable children in our communities should be able to trust agencies like the Department of Child Safety to ensure their well-being. Arizona’s taxpayers should feel confident their hard-earned tax dollars will be used to encourage job growth, and they must no longer shoulder the burden of special interest tax cuts that show no real benefit to the economy. Public safety should not be a for-profit endeavor; the corrections system needs oversight, transparency and meaningful sentencing reform. Our state’s natural resources should be managed to guarantee their availability for generations to come and to keep tourists visiting our great state. These are the priorities that will get our state back on track. 

“We cannot afford to remain mired in the failed policies of the past. Democrats will work to reform, restore and reinvest in policies that will strengthen our state. This needs to be a year of progress.”