I’m putting on my Masters in Public Health hat today to talk with you about being safe during the novel Coronavirus outbreak.￼
Coronavirus testing is still low in the state of Arizona and across the country. Although the deaths and the numbers of confirmed cases keep rising, the slow roll-out of diagnostic testing masks the real spread of the virus.
I recorded the video (below) on March 24, when there were 326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona. Twenty-four hours later, when I drafted this blog post, there were 401 confirmed cases in Arizona. Today (March 26), there are 508 confirmed cases and eight deaths. Maricopa County is racking up 50 new confirmed cases per day this week. For several days, Arizona had one new death per day; now that rate is also increasing. Friends, this is serious.
There is a lot of news, data, and information out there about COVID-19, but there is also a lot of misinformation and flawed analyses of the epidemiological data. Check the sources before you believe the message. (I have linked resources below.)
Here are a few key public health points to remember …
Continue reading #Coronavirus Resources & Info: Keep Your Distance & Stay Healthy (video)
Today’s video starts with a walk down memory lane to HB 2365. This was a very complicated, major telecom bill that passed the Legislature in 2017. I was the only person in the Legislature who voted “no” on the final read.￼ I believe I was the last person to vote. Rep. Isela Blanc turned to me and said “You’re voting ‘no’? You should explain your vote.”
I didn’t explain my vote because my stance was part hunch.￼
I originally voted “yes” on HB2365. (I remember being skeptical, but it was sold as no big deal.) I voted “no” when it came back from the Senate with amendments for two reasons. 1) The bill included a lot of accelerated depreciation, which I interpreted as a tax break for the telecom corporations.￼￼ I remember asking questions of the staff regarding the cost, and there wasn’t really any clear answer about cost. 2) The bill was very complicated. I remember the explanation alone being pages long, and we had to make a decision very quickly. I voted “no” because I thought we really didn’t know￼￼ what we were voting on.
Continue reading Is 5G ‘Risky Business’? (video)
Majority Leader Rep. Warren Petersen’s (R-Gilbert) build your own border wall bill (HB2084) moved quickly through the process in the Arizona House. It was assigned to the Federal Relations and Rules Committees on the first day of the 2020 session. It passed out of Rep. Mark Finchem’s (R- Oro Valley) federalism committee last week, out of House Rules on Monday, heard in Caucus on Tuesday, and debated and voted on on January 30, 2020. This highly ideological bill was the second bill we voted on this session. [This story has been updated from the previous story regarding HB2084.]
In an unexpected point of high drama on the House Floor, Rep. Tony Rivero voted “no” on HB2084 with all 29 Democrats. Bills need 31 votes to pass. If one Republican has the nerve to buck their party and stand with the Democrats, a bill doesn’t pass. HB2084 got 30. Unfortunately, minutes after the 30-30 vote was called, Petersen was at Rivero’s desk asking him to read the reconsideration within two weeks language. (This is how bad bills rise again as zombie bills.)
HB2084 waives building permits and other regulations to allow landowners on the border to build sections of the Border Wall to help President Trump fulfill his campaign promise. There are no standards in the bill. People can build whatever they want. Is it irony, poetic justice, Mother Nature, or the “Hand of God” that knocked down a section of Trump’s border wall during the same week that Petersen’s no permits bill? Let’s see, didn’t Jesus say something about welcoming the stranger?
Continue reading Build Your Own Border Wall Bill Dead for Now in #AZLeg (video)
Rep. Warren Petersen’s (R-Gilbert) build your own border wall bill (HB2084) is moving quickly through the process in the Arizona House. It was assigned to the Federal Relations and Rules Committees on the first day of the 2020 session. It passed out of Rep. Mark Finchem’s (R- Oro Valley) federalism committee last week, out of House Rules on Monday, and heard in Caucus on Tuesday. This highly ideological bill is headed to the House floor.
HB2084 waives building permits and other regulations to allow landowners on the border to build sections of the Border Wall to help President Trump fulfill his campaign promise. There are no standards in the bill. People can build whatever they want. Finchem added an amendment to say that the wall sections have to built “according to the plan”.
What plan? People can build whatever they want. If this actually happened, besides being an environmental disaster, it would be a hodge podge lodge of bad design with gaps.
Continue reading Build Your Own Border Wall… Seriously? (video)
Did you know that when the Legislature is in session, I post daily video updates to Facebook from my desk.in the Arizona House?
Now, even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can watch all of my video updates on my website PowersForThePeople. For the past year, since Inauguration Day 2019, I have been posting my video updates to both Facebook and my blog, A View from the Left Side, on my website PowersForThePeople .
These one-to-three minute videos have been wildly popular on social media, which initially surprised me …until I got to thinking about the state of news in our country. So many newspapers have been closed or dramatically downsized that people are starved for content they can trust. By clicking on the blue bar that says “Follow Powers For The People” on my website, you can subscribe to my updates and have them delivered directly to your inbox. (This is news… not fundraising appeals… since I am a Clean Elections candidate.)
My updates give you the straight scoop on the action at the Legislature.
Continue reading Do You Wonder What the #AZLeg Does? Follow my updates & Find Out (video)
Should the Arizona Legislature help Microsoft pay its APS bills?
Tuesday was a light day at the Capital. There was no floor action, but I had time to catch up with colleagues and sign some of their bills. I wanted to tell you about the conversation I had with two Microsoft lobbyists about the tax break that Microsoft wants.
You may remember my blog post on Powers For The People (back in December) about the tax review committee that I was on, due to my membership on the Ways and Means Committee. One of the income tax credits that we reviewed was for an Apple international data center to be built with renewable energy in Mesa. At the time, Apple was offered a TPT (sales tax) break also, but the committee reviewed only the income tax break.
The lobbyists were in my office because Microsoft wants the TPT tax break that was offered to Apple. I told them that I really don’t support tax giveaways to multinational corporations. ￼Period. I don’t support any tax giveaways when ~68% of Arizona women aren’t getting first trimester prenatal care, and that is contributing to AHCCCS wasting $2-4 billion dollars on premature births (Not to mention the long-term health effects of prematurity.) When thousands of Arizona mothers and their children are living in poverty with food and housing insecurity, why would I prioritize a tax break for one of the most successful corporations in the US?
The lobbyist told me that the reason Microsoft needed a TPT tax break because “electricity is too expensive in the state of Arizona.” Microsoft doesn’t want to pay sales tax on electricity for this giant data center. International data centers take a use a lot of electricity because it is a building full of servers and cooled to ~65 degrees. This particular tax break is related to data centers built with renewable (solar) energy, which will already lower their energy cost significantly.
Continue reading Microsoft Wants a Sales Tax Break Because ‘Electricity Is Too Expensive in Arizona’ (video)