Monday, June 29, 2015

Ariz. Legislative Democrats Respond to Supreme Court’s ruling on the IRC

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), and Arizona Senate Democratic Whip Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), made the following statements in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission:

House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28):
Rep. Meyer

“Arizona voters said that they want an open, transparent and fair redistricting process, which is why they established the Independent Redistricting Commission. The Supreme Court decision today protects the will of the voters and will help prevent partisanship and political ambition from influencing the redistricting process.  Our state is better served by having a body, independent of the Legislature, in charge of this important task.”

Senate Democratic Whip Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29):
“Today was a victory for the people of Arizona and for fair representation in Washington, D.C. The court listened to the citizens of Arizona, honored their desire for independent redistricting, and made a decision in the best
Sen. Quezada
interest of our state and country that ensures a government of and by the people.

“Having free and fair elections is of the utmost importance to the preservation of our system of government. In light of this decision, I hope to see more states adopting IRCs and putting power into the hands of the people.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

The institution of marriage has been strengthened

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic leaders released the following statements on today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the right to marriage for all Americans.

Sen. Hobbs
Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
"Marriage is about love, commitment and family - qualities that are not exclusive to just a man and a woman. And America is about freedom - a quality that, despite what many opponents claim, is not infringed upon by this ruling. From this day forward freedom for every American is stronger than ever," said Senator Hobbs.

"Even with this ruling there is still much to be done to achieve true equality in Arizona where it is still legal to be fired because of your sexual preference. We won't stop until every law that discriminates against LGBT Arizonans is struck from the books."

Senate Democratic Whip Martin Quezada:
Sen. Quezada

"The American institution of marriage and its ideals of love, equality and family have been strengthened today," said Senator Quezada.

"Over the last decade there has been a sea change in Americans' belief that every person deserves to be considered equal under the law. Many states have passed laws granting these rights, while others like Arizona have made shameful attempts to legalize discrimination against our own people.

"It is the role of the courts to uphold the Constitution, even if the democratic process doesn't move as quickly. Today's ruling reaffirms the sacred American value of individual freedom."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kearny River Fire response has showcased the best of our community

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Barbara McGuire, LD8, released the following statement on the latest news from the Kearny River Fire:

Sen. McGuire
“I am thrilled to see the Kearny River Fire Incident Command team report they have contained 80% of the fire's perimeter and forward progress has been stopped at slightly over 1,400 acres burned with no further movement expected today,” said Senator McGuire.

“While it appears the threat is passing for what has been called our state's most dangerous fire so far this year, there is much work to be done and high temperatures coupled with low humidity still present dangerous fire conditions.

“This fire has shown the strength of our community, with neighbors helping neighbors and assistance arriving from across the state and nation. I appreciated Governor Ducey keeping me informed of the state's efforts and was happy to see the Federal Emergency Management Agency authorize federal funds to help offset our firefighting costs.

“I must express my heartfelt gratitude to Incident Commander Bob Arthur of the Arizona State Forestry Division, his team of over 80 personnel and all who have vigorously fought this fire from the beginning and protected our community.

“I pray for their continued success and safety.”

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ducey plan may help short term but isn’t a permanent fix

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released statements on Governor Ducey’s proposed plan to distribute more money from the state-land trust.

Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
Sen. Hobbs

“This week the U.S. Census released a report showing Arizona spends less on K-12 education than any other state. The source of our education funding crisis is the systemic failure of Republican legislative leadership and the governor to fully fund education at the level dictated both by the people of Arizona through Prop 301 and by the constitution of our state,” said Sen. Hobbs. “While Governor Ducey's proposal could put much needed dollars in Arizona schools in the short term, it is yet another band-aid on our kids' schools unless part of a broader, permanent solution to their funding woes. His plan only covers ten years and only works if the economy is stable over that time. What's more, if next year's budget looks like this year's, any gains from this plan could be negated by discretionary funding cuts made by Republican leaders.

“The negligence of Republican leaders to fulfill their responsibility to Arizona children can only be remedied through an honest settlement to the ongoing inflation funding lawsuit and a consistent and sustainable source of sufficient funding for our schools.

“Our priority should be to settle the lawsuit first, then consider this proposal. We certainly hope Governor Ducey honors his commitment to collaborate with education stakeholders, public school districts, charters and all members of the legislature to craft a plan on which we can all agree.”

House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer:
Rep. Meyer

“Arizona schools need money for classrooms, students and teachers now. We can’t afford to wait until 2017. If the governor is serious about getting resources into classrooms, he should agree to pay the more than $330 million in inflation funding that the courts have ruled our schools are due,” said Rep. Meyer.

“The governor’s plan might be part of a broader solution, as long as the money goes to classrooms and does not deplete the state’s constitutionally protected school funding nest egg for future generations. If this is the best option the governor can come up with, it’s not enough. It could increase per pupil funding, but after years of Republican education cuts, it will only be a drop in the bucket. This could be one part of a comprehensive plan to increase education funding, but it is not a solution in and of itself. The issues our schools, children and teachers are facing will require a long-term plan to increase investment in our classrooms.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In opposing DAPA, Arizona opposes economic development and public opinion

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda, chair of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus, released the following statement urging Attorney General Mark Brnovich to drop Arizona’s lawsuit to block implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

Sen. Miranda
“Every politician in this state agrees that economic development is important for our state’s future, but not every politician makes that their priority. Attorney General Brnovich’s refusal to drop Arizona’s lawsuit against DAPA demonstrates the misplaced priority that is placed on playing politics with the lives of hard working members of our communities rather than focusing on helping them and our economy,” said Senator Miranda.

“Despite many bills in Congress addressing the demand for skilled workers and allowing immigrant entrepreneurs to thrive in America, Congressional leadership allowed none to advance. Despite a recent report from the Center for American Progress showing the massive economic benefits of DAPA’s implementation, Arizona and other states celebrate the actions of an ideologically motivated judge’s decision to block DAPA. This is not what the people of Arizona want and it is not what the people of America want.

“On Saturday we all sat in the old Arizona Capitol celebrating the legacy of Governor Raul H. Castro. At that ceremony, attended by leaders from both parties, great praise was lauded on the man many call our first “dreamer,” who crossed the border without documentation, earned his education and utilized his talents to become one of our state’s great leaders.

“Attorney General Brnovich should honor Governor Castro’s legacy by removing Arizona from the lawsuit to stop DAPA and Arizona’s leaders should embrace those who are already contributing members of our communities because they promised to put economic growth first and because it is what the people of Arizona want.”

Thursday, May 7, 2015

In-state tuition is a victory for dreamers and Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Catherine Miranda, chair of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus, released the following statement on the Arizona Board of Regents’ decision to grant in-state tuition to Arizona dreamers.
Sen. Miranda

“Today is the day for which Arizona's young dreamers and our Latino communities have long hoped. Finally our dreamers will be able to seek higher education at an affordable cost, fulfill their dreams as college graduates and soon join our economic workforce to help build a stronger Arizona,” said Senator Miranda. “I know that by allowing dreamers access to our state universities we will see an increase in these students applying, attending and graduating. These are students that have been oppressed for far too long and they are ready to bring innovation to our economy.”

“Thank you, Regents, for your courageous decision and for putting the best interests of Arizona first. I am delighted in the outcome of this decision and optimistic for the bright future in store for Arizona.”

Affordable college for dreamers will benefit all of Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIXSenator Martin Quezada released the following statement on the Arizona Board of Regents’ decision to grant in-state tuition to Arizona dreamers.

Sen. Quezada
“This week's ruling and today's decision by the Board of Regents to grant in-state tuition to Arizona dreamers is excellent news for our state as it will make it easier for us to have an educated and competitive workforce,” said Senator Quezada. “I am hopeful our Republican leaders finally recognize that their opposition to providing access to a higher education to these students places them on the wrong side of history and ultimately only harms us all as Arizonans.”

“I am thankful that more students can now afford to pursue a higher education and be contributing, positive and influential members of our society for whom we can all be proud.”