News

Fightin18logoLegislative District 18 Democratic Party, Arizona

News from LD18, Congressional District 9, Maricopa County, and Arizona

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vote7Election Day 2014 is almost here!

Posted Oct. 29

Election Day is only five days from today: Tuesday, November 4 from 6 am to 7 pm.  To find your polling place, use this link to the Maricopa elections polling place locator.

http://recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace/pollingplace.aspx

If you vote by mail, but have not yet mailed your ballot, you are cutting it close if you mail it now.  The ballots have arrive at the elections office by 7 pm on Nov. 4.  Our post office is the best in the world, but why test it?  Instead you can take your mail-in ballot, sealed and signed, to any polling location on November 4 from 6 am to 7 pm.  Use the link above to find your own polling place (it’s probably the most convenient), or you can drop off the ballot at a polling place that is close to your work, as long as it is in Maricopa County.

If you think you have a good excuse for not voting, then check out http://yourexcusesucks.com/ (warning: might contain some foul language).  Enough excuses!  Vote!

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Janie Hydrick and Mitzi Epstein at the Clean Elections Debate

Janie Hydrick and Mitzi Epstein at the Clean Elections Debate

Hydrick and Epstein are the  Real Education Team

September 29, 2014
Media Contact: Ben Scheel, 602-663-5015
Scheel.Ben@gmail.com

TEMPE – Monday, Mitzi Epstein reaffirmed that she and State Senate candidate Janie Hydrick are the District 18 Education Team and are campaigning on a joint platform. Mitzi looks forward to working with Janie Hydrick on improving education in Arizona as well as building a stronger economy and keeping our neighborhoods safe.

“I have worked with Janie countless times on improving education in our local schools and I know we can improve education all across the state if we’re working together,” said Mitzi.

District 18 is recognized to be a pivotal race for the make-up of the legislature, and as campaigns heat up, outside interests are starting to push their priorities on District 18 voters, sometimes attempting to fracture long-standing teams.

“I want to be very clear that my goal is to be elected to the legislature with Janie as my seat mate. Janie’s experience improving teaching and learning, and her thorough approach to research are only 2 reasons why I know she and I will work well together to improve the lives of Arizonans.” said Mitzi, “I intend to continue to inform voters of our platform by carrying Janie’s literature to every door I knock on, and our joint direct mail program clearly shows that Janie and I are the team that will improve Arizona’s economy and education system.”

Mitzi Epstein is a successful businesswoman, decades-long education advocate, and community leader. She was elected to the Kyrene School District Governing Board in 2004 and is a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Legislative District 18, covering Ahwatukee, south Tempe, west Chandler and west Mesa. Mitzi’s focus is on building the Innovation Economy that will create high wage jobs, attract industry leaders, and support small business start-ups to boost the local economy.

For more information on Mitzi, visit Mitzi2014.com

Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing

From Forbes.com, contributed by Adam Hartung Sept, 5, 2014

“This is the best private sector jobs creation performance in American history.”

“Economically, President Obama’s administration has outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories.  Simultaneously the current administration has reduced the deficit, which skyrocketed under Reagan.  Additionally, Obama has reduced federal employment, which grew under Reagan (especially when including military personnel,) and truly delivered a “smaller government.”  Additionally, the current administration has kept inflation low, even during extreme international upheaval, failure of foreign economies (Greece) and a dramatic slowdown in the European economy.”  Read the full article.

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Proposition 480 on the November ballot for Maricopa voters

Posted Sept. 6, 2014, Craig Falasco

Voters in Maricopa County will vote on Proposition 480 on November 4.  Proposition 480 is a $935 million bond measure to fund a new and expanded county hospital system.  The bond will be paid with an increase in property taxes.

To view support for Proposition 480, see “Vote Yes On 480“.  For an opinion against Proposition 480, read this newsletter article by the Arizona Tax Research Association.

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Robson, LD 18 legislator cited for alleged tampering with campaign signs

Republican State Rep. Bob Robson was cited Monday night for allegedly tampering with campaign signs after an incident that occurred near a Circle K store on Aug. 9.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department (MCSO) confirmed Tuesday that Robson was cited with the misdemeanor offense around 10 p.m. Monday in Chandler. Robson is suspected of being involved in the unlawful removal of a campaign sign. A court date has been set in a Chandler Superior Court.  (full story)

Mitzi Epstein Will Enter the General Election as Financial Leader

By Ben Scheel, Scheel.Ben@gmail.com, posted Aug. 16, 3 p.m.

TEMPE – Democratic candidate for House of Representatives in District 18 Mitzi Epstein raised over $15,000 this filing period, making her total fundraising for the campaign over $36,000 and nearly $28,000 cash on hand. Without another Democrat on the ticket or a primary race Mitzi is able to save her money for the general election.

“Mitzi’s financial success shows that she is not only a strong candidate because she shares the views of District 18 residents on Arizona’s top issues, but also because she has the financial base to run a successful campaign,” said Ben Scheel, Campaign Manager. “With $28,000 in the bank and more time to save before the primary is over, Mitzi will surely be the financial leader going into the general election for the open seat in House and ready to take on whoever limps out of the Republican primary.”

Mitzi Epstein is a successful businesswoman, decades long education advocate, and community leader. She was elected to the Kyrene Schools Governing Board in 2004 and is the single Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Legislative District 18, covering Ahwatukee, south Tempe, west Chandler and west Mesa.

For more information on Mitzi, visit Mitzi2014.com

Janie Hydrick and Mitzi Epstein participate in VIP candidate forum

Aug. 10, 2014, Tempe

Janie_Mitzi_VIPThe Valley Interfaith Project hosted a “Candidate Accountability Forum” at the Dayspring Untied Methodist Church this afternoon.  Ten candidates participated, all running for Arizona Statue House or Senate in Legislative District 18 or 26.  Candidates were asked questions in three main topics: Education, Workforce Development, and Health Care/Medicaid Restoration.

Janie and Mitzi demonstrated their knowledge of each subjects, and showed their passion for improving Arizona’s public education system.   The forum was recorded (individual video and photos were discouraged) , and the video will hopefully be available soon on the Valley Interfaith Project website.

Huppenthal part of Arizona GOP’s problem

by Bill Richardson, retired Mesa master police officer, East Valley Tribune, June 26, 2014

The right wing of the Republican Party has pretty much had its way with the people and state of Arizona. From corrupt and wacky governors to a border hawk sheriff shacked up with an illegal alien, a Legislature run by the likes of Russell Pearce and a herd of kooks and an attorney general who gives a whole new meaning to crooked lawyer.

And now we have Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal stalking the Internet with fake names showing us racism, disdain for poor people and that hate is alive and well in a closet at the Arizona Department of Education, where Huppenthal was broadcasting his rants and hate on a state computer.  (Read the entire article: Huppenthal part of Arizona GOP’s problem)

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AZ State Superintendent of Public Ed John Huppenthal admits making despicable comments in anonymous blog

From Cathryn Creno, The Republic and azcentral,com, June 19, 2014

‘”He likened welfare recipients to “lazy pigs.”‘

“He blamed the Great Depression on Franklin D. Roosevelt and said FDR’s economic policies gave rise to Hitler.”

“He said Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was responsible for feeding 16 million African-Americans into abortion mills.”

Read the article by Cathryn Creno , The Republic and azcentral.com, video including comments by EJ Montini – http://azc.cc/1immlnA

AZ Republic Editorial:

2014 Voter Guide now available online from AZCentral

Posted June 18, 2014

A voter guide is now available from AZCentral that presents the voter with local and statewide candidates based on the voter’s address.  The guide, or “sample ballot” can then be sent to an email address or viewed online.  To access the guide, go to:

http://azvotes.azcentral.com/build.do

At this point, before the primary elections have taken place, the guide includes all the candidates for each office from all political parties.  The results are also missing some elected offices.  For example, Justice of the Peace and school board candidates are not included.  In all it is still a useful guide, especially given the high number of officials that will be on the ballot in November.  Voters will welcome a tool that can help them understand the election this year, and maybe increase turnout at the polls.

The 2014 Campaign Office is open!

Saturday June 14, 2014

The 2014 campaign office opened on Saturday with candidates, guest speakers and volunteers coming together to celebrate. The day started with volunteers canvassing door-to-door in LD 18 neighborhoods.  Everyone returned to the office midday to hear candidates and guest speakers, including LD 18 candidates Janie Hydrick for State Senate and Mitzi Epstein for State House.  More canvassing and phone calls to voters followed in the afternoon.

The office, located at 744 W. Elliott Road, Tempe, just west of Kyrene Road.

LD 26 elected officials and candidates, and Tempe City Council candidates Lauren Kuby and David Schapira were present, as well as candidates for school boards and Justice of the Peace.

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Mitzi Epstein files for State House in Legislative District 18

Mitzi-Epstein-filing-signaturesFiles 867 signatures just three months after opening committee to run for open seat.

Press release from May 28, 2014:
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Small businesswoman and passionate education advocate Mitzi Epstein announced today that she has officially filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to run for the State House in Legislative District 18. Turning in over 800 signatures – more than twice the requirement — Epstein becomes the first Democratic candidate to file for the open seat vacated by Rep. Jeff Dial’s decision to run for the State Senate.

Rae Waters, former Arizona House Representative from Ahwatukee said, “Mitzi Epstein has been a tireless champion for our children and education since before I first met her in 1998.  Working with her on the Kyrene Governing Board allowed me to experience firsthand her skill in balancing the many needs of our diverse community.”

Epstein said she would work tirelessly to give Legislative District 18 a strong, moderate voice at the state capitol. “I am proud to call Legislative District 18 home and am truly humbled by the outpouring of support that I have received from this great community,” stated Epstein. “As I’ve traveled the district and listened to business leaders, teachers, retirees, and neighbors, their message is the same: they are looking for a problem solver who knows our community, and will keep our schools strong.  As a business person, I know that a strong economy demands a prepared workforce.   I’m ready to be the passionate moderate voice that LD 18 needs in the state legislature.”

About Mitzi:
Mitzi Epstein is a highly qualified candidate for the Arizona Legislature in Legislative District 18, which includes Ahwatukee, west Chandler, west Mesa, and south Tempe.   Epstein has been a small business owner, state PTA leader,  AYSO leader, and lifelong community problem solver,  working at the community and state levels to strengthen the economy.   
She was elected to and served on the Kyrene Elementary School District Governing Board from 2005-2008,  and received the “Master of Boardsmanship” award from AZ School Boards Association.   Having been a computer systems analyst in multinational companies in both manufacturing and finance, Epstein has experience in industries that are economic anchors.  She and her husband, Rick Epstein, have lived in LD18 for 17 years, raising their two sons who attended Kyrene schools and graduated from Tempe Union High School District schools. Epstein is an avid enthusiast of youth soccer games, gardening, and biking.

To learn more, please visit: MitziEpstein.com

LD 18 DISAPPOINTED AFTER DIAL’S DESTRUCTIVE SESSION AT CAPITOL

April 24, 2014: by Chase Williams

Rep. Jeff Dial votes for SB1062, HB2291, and state budget that fails to fully fund K-12 education or a solution for state’s broken CPS system.

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Voters in Legislative District 18 expressed their disappointment with Rep. Jeff Dial after his votes at the State Capitol failed to uphold the campaign promises he made in 2012. Dial’s platform of “growing Arizona’s economy” and being “a tireless advocate for education,” is far from the reality created by his votes in favor of SB1062, HB2291 and a state budget that fails to fully fund K-12 education or a solution for Arizona’s broken CPS system.

Darin Fisher, CEO of Vision Community Management, explains his disappointment in Rep. Dial’s votes: “As a business owner, I took one look at SB1062 and knew it would be bad for Arizona’s economy. I didn’t need ‘further reflection’ like Jeff Dial did. Rep. Dial betrayed business leaders like me by voting in favor of this destructive legislation that once again embarrassed Arizona on the national stage. LD 18 needs leaders at the state capitol who won’t put their ideology before what’s right for our district and Rep. Dial has proven that he’s not capable of rising to that task.”

Local teacher Laurie Ward echoed Fisher’s disappointment in Dial: “As an educator in LD 18, I’ve communicated to Rep. Dial how difficult my job has become as the state legislature continues to support cuts to my classroom that hurt my students. Rep. Dial championed this year’s state budget that fails to restore those harmful cuts and continues to ignore the problems facing Arizona’s broken CPS program. He also voted for HB2291, a bill that would have taken even more money out of my classroom. I can’t trust Jeff Dial to be an advocate for me or my students.”

“Jeff Dial is so proud of his record in the State House that he’s asking the voters of LD 18 for a promotion to the State Senate,” said Fisher. “Given his broken promises and voting record full of extreme ideological votes against funding our classrooms and protecting our most vulnerable citizens, I’m confident that the moderate LD 18 community will instead send him packing.”

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Hydrick Filing at SOS Office With FamilyJANIE HYDRICK FIRST TO FILE FOR STATE SENATE IN LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 18

Files maximum number of $5 Clean Elections contributions and double signature requirement in early sign of campaign’s momentum.  (Press release by Chase Williams, Apr. 14, 2014)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Lifelong educator Janie Hydrick announced today that she has officially filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to run for the State Senate in Legislative District 18. Turning in over 850 signatures and 310 $5 Clean Elections contributions, Hydrick becomes the first candidate to file for the open seat vacated by Senator John McComish.

Former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Warner is chair of Hydrick’s state senate campaign and understands the unique qualifications and experience that Janie will bring to the state legislature. “The volume of signatures & $5 contributions that Janie has been able to collect and submit this early in the campaign is a sign of genuine momentum,” said Warner. “This significant support shows that voters are excited about Janie’s experience and her positive message of building a robust economy, providing a quality education for our students, and creating safe neighborhoods to live and raise a family.”

Hydrick said she will endeavor to serve LD 18 with the same passion and leadership as Warner, who is her political mentor. “As a 22-year resident of this district, I am truly humbled by the support that I have received from the LD 18 community,” stated Hydrick. “As I talk to voters across our district, the message is the same: voters are tired of the extreme politics that bring us embarrassing bills like SB1062 and a state budget that shortchanges our students and fails to fully fund a solution for our broken CPS system. As LD 18’s next state senator, I will be a moderate voice for the solutions that our state desperately needs.”

About Janie:

Janie Hydrick has been a resident of Legislative District 18 for 22 years. As a lifelong educator who has taught at all levels of education from Kindergarten to Graduate School in both public and private institutions, Janie is uniquely qualified to address the challenges facing Arizona’s students and find solutions that will lead to better schools for every child. A constant advocate for her community, Janie has been recognized as the 1985 Tempe Woman of the Year and won the 1989 Excellence in Language Arts Teaching Award from the Arizona English Teachers Association, and the 2011 Human and Civil Rights Award from the Arizona Education Association, among others. Janie lives in Chandler with her husband, Frank, their daughter, Elizabeth, son-in-law Jaime, grandson Jaimito, and their three pugs: Nittany, Freddy, and Penny.

To learn more about Janie or her campaign, please visit: Hydrick2014.com

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Media Matters for America Launches Mythopedia

Website will be new tool in pushing back on conservative misinformation

Press release, March 5, 2014 by Jess Levin (202) 772-8162, jlevin@mediamatters.org

Washington, DC — Today, Media Matters for America launched Mythopedia – a new tool for fighting back against right-wing misinformation. Mythopedia is a simple fact checker that concisely debunks persistent conservative lies. The site launched with 400 entries of common conservative myths with new fact-checks added in real time. Media Matters made this announcement ahead of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — an event featuring speakers that have a history of launching smears, pushing wild conspiracy theories, and hyping right-wing myths.

Visit Mythopedia: http://mythopedia.mediamatters.org.

Bradley Beychok, President of Media Matters, issued the following statement about Mythopedia’s launch:

“Whether it is a relative claiming that global warming can’t be real because of a snowstorm in the middle of winter or a prominent conservative writer calling Barack Obama an ‘ideological Muslim,’ everyone encounters right-wing myths in everyday life. Mythopedia puts the facts about these myths at your fingertips. This tool is the next step in pushing back on conservative misinformation.”

“The week of CPAC seemed like the most appropriate time to launch a fact-checking tool, like Mythopedia, as I’m sure we’re going to be confronted with both old and new right-wing lies during the conference,” added Beychok.

Watch a short video explaining how Mythopedia works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1y4_D0e7uQ.

Or visit http://mythopedia.mediamatters.org.

Felecia Rotellini, candidate for Arizona Attorney General 2014

Felecia Rotellini, candidate for Arizona Attorney General 2014

Felecia Rotellini posts “My Story” video

Posted March 8, 2014

Candidate for Arizona Attorney General Felecia Rotellini posted a four-minute video on her campaign website called “My Story”.  See the video here: My Story.

The video is an excellent way to get to know Felecia’s background and why she should be the next Attorney General of Arizona.

LD 18 GOP legislators all vote “Yes” on pro-discrimination bill SB 1062

Posted Mar. 2, 2014 by Craig Falasco

Ignorant of the harm it would do to Arizona, or disregarding the warnings, all three LD 18 legislators, McComish, Robson, and Dial, voted “Yes” for SB 1062, the pro discrimination and protect-the-bigotry bill.  Chambers of commerce, Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, religious groups, and even Arizona’s GOP US Senators opposed the bill.  McComish, Robson, and Dial are more interested in obeying the commands of extremist groups, such as the Center for Arizona Policy, the Tea Party, and A.L.I.S., than in respecting the opinions of their diversified constituents.  Their votes, and the votes of their GOP majority (except three GOP Reps. who voted “No”) once again brought shame and negative media attention to Arizona.

McComish’s vote is especially disturbing considering that he wants to run for Justice of the Peace in the Kyrene Judicial Precinct.  With this vote and many previous votes, McComish demonstrates clearly that he lacks the good judgement and sense of fairness to be a JP.  The voters in his judicial precinct would do well to hand him a resounding defeat in November.

Although vetoed by Governor Brewer on Feb. 26, the damage was already done.  Arizona once again was in the national spotlight as a haven for bigotry and discrimination.  The NFL hinted that it would move the 2015 Super Bowl to a different venue.  The Hispanic National Bar Association decided to not hold its 2015 convention in Arizona (the event drew 2,000 people to Denver last year).  A letter sent to Governor Brewer from 80 business groups and other organizations reads, “When the Legislature passes bills like this, it creates a reputation that Arizona is judgmental and unwelcoming,” and “This will haunt our business community for decades to come.”

Supreme Court won’t consider Arizona abortion law

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 8:49 am | Updated: 1:30 pm, Fri Feb 28, 2014, Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a move to resurrect an Arizona law that would have disqualified abortion providers from receiving public funding for other medical services.

The high court declined to hear Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the 2012 law.  (Read the full article in the East Valley Tribune)

Update on SB1062, Feb. 26: Arizona governor vetoes bill on denying services to gays

(Read the Washington Post article)

Arizona Legislature passes “right to discriminate” bill, Governor should be urged to veto SB1062

Posted Feb. 23, 2014

The following is from Allesandra Soler, Executive Director, ACLU of Arizona
 and Board Member, Why Marriage Matters Arizona

SB1062 would allow anyone — from businesses to employers — to openly discriminate against LGBT Arizonans on the grounds of “religious beliefs.”

  It’s a scary piece of legislation, and it poses real harm to thousands of Arizona families.

  The bill has already passed in the Senate, which means it’s now on its way to Governor Brewer’s desk — our last chance to stop it from becoming law. Time is running out.

Call Governor Brewer and ask her to veto this discriminatory piece of legislation.



DIAL: (602) 542-4331 or (520) 628-6580

SAY: Hi, my name is __________ and I live in _____________. I’m calling to urge Governor Brewer to veto SB1062. Arizonans believe in freedom for all — and that includes our gay and lesbian neighbors. Please reject this harmful legislation.

Some talking points:
•    Leading businesses from across the state have already spoken out against this legislation because they know it will create a reputation that Arizonans are judgmental and unwelcoming — and haunt our business climate for decades to come.  The possible impact on the Super Bowl, to be held in Arizona less than one year from now, is a legitimate concern.
•    Religious freedom is a fundamental part of America, but those beliefs don’t entitle any of us to discriminate against others. Freedom means freedom for everyone in Arizona.
•    If SB1062 is signed into law, it will mean it is legal to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love.

Feds won’t OK Ariz. Medicaid limits

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014 1:24 pm, Associated Press

Federal officials on Friday poured cold water on Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin’s plan to force Medicaid recipients to get a job and to limit their insurance to a maximum of five years, saying the proposals likely run counter to federal law and won’t be approved.  Read the full story.

Judge throws out challenge to Arizona’s Medicaid expansion

By Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services, posted 2/9/2014 in Arizona Daily Star

PHOENIX — Saying they have no right to sue, a judge threw out an attempt by Republican legislators to overturn their colleagues’ vote to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
In a ruling released Saturday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper never got to the lawmakers’ claim that an assessment on hospitals to pay the state’s share for the Medicaid expansion amounts to a tax. If it is a tax, it needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, something it did not get.
Instead, Cooper said the 36 lawmakers who sued, all of whom voted against Medicaid expansion, are legally barred from making that claim.
Read the full article in the Arizona Daily Star HERE.

McComish won’t run for re-election to state Senate

By Howard Fischer, Capital Media Services, Jan. 28, 2014

“Battered by the Tea Party elements of his own party”, John McComish has decided not to run for re-election in 2014.  Read the full story.

AZ Lege seeks to repeal the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305, to deprive the voters of their ‘citizens veto’

Republicans plan to repeal HB 2305, the voter suppression law, but not because they had a change of heart.  Repealing the law will cancel the referendum on HB 2305, allowing Republicans to re-introduce it in 2014 as a “new” law, and requiring opponents to start from the beginning in forcing another referendum.  Read a blunt account of the situation at: http://www.blogforarizona.com

Gilbert resident refutes EVT article on income inequality

John Chiazza, of Gilbert, wrote a scathing rebuttal to an opinion published in the East Valley Tribune about income inequality in America.  The original opinion was written by a regular contributor to the EVT, and includes the usual anti-Obama comments, before launching into a bizarre explanation trying to blame income inequality on “the marriage gap”.  Chiazza is to be commended for fighting the ignorance and misinformation that makes its way into mainstream news.

Reads Chiazza’s rebuttal here: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/arizona/politics/article_b915bf50-7a4e-11e3-85fc-0019bb2963f4.html

Read the original opinion about income inequality here: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/columns/east_valley_voices/article_8dd6f256-699a-11e3-95cd-0019bb2963f4.html

ALIS training hosted by the Arizona Advocacy Network

Posted Jan. 12, 2014 10:20 a.m.

Learn about the Arizona Legislative Information System (ALIS), the online portal that lets citizens communicate with legislators and comment on current legislation. The webinar is hosted by Arizona Advocacy Network, and will be presented at two different times on Wednesday, January 15: 12 noon to 12:45 pm, and 7 to 7:45 pm.

Register online: http://www.azadvocacy.org/forums-a-events-sp-862311977/upcoming-event-details/details/77-alis-training

Arizona ACLU Year in Review Newsletter

ACLUThe ACLU of Arizona Winter Newsletter is available.with a “Year in Review” commentary by Alessandra Soler, Executive Director, ACLU of Arizona.

“This newsletter touches on the highlights of our work.  From fighting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the anti-immigrant SB 1070 to standing up for medical marijuana patients and lobbying for election reform, the ACLU of Arizona this year was at the forefront of some of the country’s most important legal fights.”

Read the full newsletter using the following link.  http://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/documents/aclunews_dec2013_07web.pdf

State Supreme Court lifts campaign finance limits

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
East Valley Tribune, posted Dec 17, 2013

The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that political candidates can accept much larger sums of money from donors.

In a brief order, the justices said the Republican-controlled Legislature was within its legal right to decide that contenders both statewide and legislative office can take up to $4,000 from individuals and political action committees. The current limit is $440 for legislative candidates and $912 for those seeking statewide office. (Read the full article)

Read EJ Montini’s opinion on this decision “Special interests win, we lose (again)”.

Tax-credit program helping rich Arizona schools get richer

By Craig Harris, The Republic | azcentral.com, Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:54 AM

“Since its inception, the program has cost Arizona’s general fund nearly a half-billion dollars…”

The Arizona Republic has found that the program typically benefits only affluent schools, where parents generally can afford to make donations to cover fees for their children to play sports, get involved in the arts or go on field trips…”

Read the full article: http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/articles/20131125tax-credit-program-helping-rich-ariz-schools-get-richer.html

J.D. Bowman, candidate for Tempe Union HS District School Board, talks to volunteers that were helping gather ballot signatures.

J.D. Bowman, candidate for Tempe Union HS District School Board, talks to volunteers that were helping gather ballot signatures.

Volunteers help gather signatures for candidates

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, Tempe

Volunteers gathered at the home of Joanne Markis on Saturday and Sunday to help gather signatures for several candidates.  J.D. Bowman, candidate for Tempe Union HS District school board was present on both days to help volunteers get started with the door-to-door effort.  J.D. is a teacher and department chairman at Westwood High School, and many of the volunteers were former students and their parents, teachers and colleagues.

Signatures were also collected for Dr. Janie Hydrick, candidate for LD 18 State Senate, Felecia Rotellini, candidate for Arizona Attorney General, Jim Holway, candidate for Arizona Corporation Commission, among others.  The weather was perfect for walking neighborhoods and talking to voters.  Over one-hundred signatures were collected over the two days.

Panel votes to cut Ariz. tax rates by two

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 11:45 am
By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

A special legislative panel voted Thursday to reduce the number of state income tax brackets from five to three, with an eye on eventually creating a single tax rate.  Read the full story:  http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/arizona/politics/article_747cf710-6418-11e3-83f8-0019bb2963f4.html

Commentary by Craig Falasco, Chandler:  Reducing the number of tax brackets (eventually to a single bracket, or “flat tax rate”) is a goal of the Republicans in the State Legislature with backing from The Goldwater Institute.  This latest panel’s decision is another attempt to move Arizona in that direction.

There are several glaring errors in this latest panel’s reasoning.

JD Mesnard (R-Chandler) thinks that there can be a single rate, but with deductions and credits that will ensure that those with more income will pay a higher proportion in taxes.  Unfortunately those with lower incomes cannot usually take advantage of deductions and credits, but higher earners can.  The result is a shifting of the tax burden to lower-income earners.

Steve Slivinski, a panel member from The Goldwater Institute, described the benefit of decreasing the number of income brackets as being able to advertise a simpler tax system, even though the real system is more complicated.  The panel voted to create the illusion of tax simplicity instead of proposing real tax reform!

If simplicity is the goal, then why reduce the number of tax rates while increasing deductions and credits?  Anyone who has ever done his own taxes knows that it is the deductions, credits, and all the exceptions that make income tax filing complicated.  The number of income brackets is irrelevant since all one does is look up his adjusted gross income on a table to determine the amount of tax.

In summary, the Republican state legislators should focus on real reform, not illusions, and they should stop trying to shift the tax burden to the poor and lower-income workers in Arizona.  Arizona needs legislators that are willing to look at the real issues facing our state, and legislators that will propose real solutions.

Arizona made the right choice in expanding Medicaid

Dec. 8, 2013

The following was written by Joan McCarter, Daily Kos staff and posted on Thursday, Dec. 05, 2013.  It shows how Arizona made the right decision in choosing to expand Medicaid coverage, while states that refused the expanded coverage will lose billions of dollars and cost their taxpayers even more.

States not expanding Medicaid set to lose billions

States refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will lose more than $35 billion collectively in federal funds by 2022, and cost their taxpaying citizens more.

That’s from a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

Not expanding Medicaid is not a rational decision for any state. But there are some very big losers: Texas ($9.6 billion), Florida ($5 billion), Georgia ($2.9 billion), Virginia ($2.8 billion) and North Carolina ($2.6 billion). The citizens of those states will continue to “bear a significant share of the overall cost of the expansion through federal tax payments,” the report says, while they will “not enjoy any of the benefits.”

Read the full Daily Kos article by Joan McCarter
Read the report by The Commonwealth Fund, written by Sherri Glied and Stephanie Ma

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Call to action: LD 18 Legislators must take action to improve Arizona’s Child Protective Services

Dec. 8, 2013

Contact the LD 18 state legislators urging them to take action.  Contact information and links to related articles are below.
Contact the LD 18 Senator John McComish to request the following.

  1. Provide adequate funding for the current investigation of the 6,000 cases not investigated.
  2. Provide adequate funding for Arizona’s Child Protective Services so that it can do its job of protecting Arizona’s children at risk.  This must be done as soon as possible in the 2014 legislative session.

Senator John McComish email: jmccomish@azleg.gov, phone: (602) 926-5898
azcentral.com article: http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20131121cps-discovers-uninvestigated-abuse-cases.html
EJ Montini opnion: http://www.azcentral.com/insiders/ejmontini/2013/12/05/cps-options-more-money-or-more-victims/

Contact LD 18 Representatives Bob Robson and Jeff Dial requesting that they ask for Andy Tobin to resign his position as Speaker of the House.  Tobin was supposed to appoint an oversight committee for CPS over two years ago, but he failed to act in a timely manner, and Arizona is now dealing with the result.  For neglecting his responsibility to Arizona’s children at risk, Andy Tobin does not deserve to be House Speaker.

Representative Bob Robson email: brobson@azleg.gov, phone: (602) 926-5549
Representative Jeff Dial email jdial@azleg.gov, phone: (602) 926-5550
Arizona Democratic Party news release: http://azdem.org/news/releases/andy_two-faced_tobin_and_the_cps_scandal/
How to write a letter to elected officialshttp://usgovinfo.about.com/c/ht/00/07/How_Write_Letters_Elected0962932964.htm

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Linda Brown presents The Affordable Care Act and Arizona’s “Marketplace”

November 13, 2013

Linda Brown, Adelante Healthcare

Linda Brown, Adelante Healthcare

Linda Brown, a health insurance marketplace “navigator” with Adelante Healthcare, and former Executive Director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, gave a first-hand account of Arizona’s health insurance marketplace at the November meeting of Dobson Ranch Democrats and Friends.  See her presentation on YouTube on the District 18 Dems of Arizona channel.

UPDATE Dec. 9, 2013 11:33 a.m.
According to Linda, the healthcare.gov website is now working much better.  One huge difference is that you are now able to browse plans before logging in to enroll.  There are still some issues, but Linda feels that the website and its glitches will soon be old news.

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Solar Energy & Net Metering

Nov. 11, 2013 From JimHolway.com/Blog, posted by Jim Holway, candidate for Corporation Commission, Nov. 6, 2013

Jim Holway“Arizona can and should be the solar capital of the world. We can be a leader in solar energy research and development and in producing power from our abundant sunshine while creating jobs and wealth for our state. APS (Arizona Public Service) and the solar industry (in particular those installing solar panels on homes) are at war with each other …”

To read Jim Holway’s objective review of this issue, read his blog here (http://www.jimholway.com/blog) or download the entire article as a pdf document here (SolarNetMetering).

 

Voters overwhelmingly approve Kyrene and Tempe Union High School overrides

Nov. 6, 2013

Voters in Kyrene and Tempe Union High School districts approved the budget overrides yesterday by wide margins.  For Kyrene, Question 1 was approved by a 58 to 42 percent margin, and Question 2 was approved by a 75 to 25 percent margin.  TUHSD override was approved by a 58 to 42 percent margin. See the Maricopa County Recorder Elections site for all the results.

 

The Tea Party Terrorists

Nov. 1, 2013

tea-party-terrorism

“It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House “hostage takers.” But they have now become full-blown terrorists.”  Read the opinion piece by William Yeoman.

“America had gone from being a respected nation under the last Democratic president to a hated warmonger and world economy destroyer under the Bush administration, and just when another Democrat saved this nation’s economy and brought stability to the world’s financial markets, Republicans deliberately caused a financial crisis within 8 months of taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011.  Within a year-and-a-half they threatened to send the economy over the fiscal cliff in December 2012, and ten months later are two days away from sending the world’s economy back into the recession they created in 2007-2008.”  By Rmuse for PoliticusUSA, read the full article.

AZ Legislature and Governor use money intended to help homeowners for other purposes

Nov. 1, 2014

Fred_DuValFrom Fred DuVal, Candidate for Arizona Governor - Did you know that the federal government provided Arizona with $268 million to help homeowners who were hurt in the housing crash? That’s more than a quarter of a billion dollars — taxpayer dollars — intended to help middle class families stay in their homes after the crash of 2008. Three years after the getting that money, our state government has only distributed 11 percent of the money–a performance weaker than every other state but one. To top it off, the legislature took $50 million in federal mortgage aid and used it for other purposes.  That’s just wrong.  (read the full post on Fred2014.com/blog) (AZ Republic article)

 

Sinema, Murphy Push for Better Mental Health Care for Veterans with Classified Experiences

Oct. 31, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced the Classified Veterans Access to Care Act.   The legislation aims to prevent the estimated 22 veteran deaths resulting from suicide each day by ensuring that veterans with classified experiences have access to appropriate mental health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Joining Representatives Sinema and Murphy in cosponsoring the bill are Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Dan Benishek (R-MI), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HA), and Duncan Hunter (R-CA).  (Full story)

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