This week House and Senate members are gathering co-sponsors and filing many of their bills. This year, as I have in the past, I am focusing on the Social Determinants of Health and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Arizona is one of the stingiest states in the US. We force people to live with sickness and poverty.
Governmental policies should give people the freedom to thrive. That means helping families with food insecurity, housing insecurity and financial insecurity. That means helping them keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
Continue reading My Focus Is Food & Housing Security (video)
Stay safe out there! As predicted, Arizona Legislators, staff and lobbyists are testing positive for COVID19 after multiple political super spreader events in the past week including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Friday and Open Day at the Legislature on Monday.
Some of the vaccinated are symptom-free and COVID positive. I got tested before I left the capital, even thought I didn’t have symptoms. I didn’t want to be a silent spreader. I tested negative. Now I am heading back to Tucson for the weekend.
Continue reading Stay Safe! #AZ Legislators, Staff & Lobbyists Test Positive for COVID (video)
In Governor Doug Ducey’s State of the State address on Opening Day at the Legislature, one of his big applause lines was when he said that we should “focus math, not masks.”
I think the governor should focus on math — particularly the epidemiological data that shows COVID is still a public health threat. In the past two weeks, cases nationwide are up by more than 200%. COVID deaths are up 36%. COVID is not over. Three years ago in my videos, I said we could move into a chronic COVID world if we were not careful. We are on our way there.
Continue reading Ducey Is Ignoring COVID Math (video)
This is my first Legislative Update of 2022. usually, on opening day of the legislature, I introduced my guests. Today, my only guest was my husband Jim. I had planned to bring my oldest grandchild to the legislature today but decided it was too risky for his health. He missed Opening Day at the Legislature today because the Republicans decided to host a Super Spreader event.
This is the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple times Governor Doug Ducey’s decisions have resulted in Arizona being worst in the world or worst in the country for COVID-19 deaths and/or infections. Today, Arizona saw 14,000 new COVID cases. Today, Governor Ducey, Speaker Bowers, President Fann, all republican legislators and their guests and some Democratic legislators and their guests were maskless and chummy on the floor of the Arizona House which apparently no longer has HEPA filters.
Continue reading #AZLeg Opening Day Super Spreader Event (video)
The Finance Advisory Committee of the Arizona Legislature met recently. This group of financial experts from the universities and elsewhere meet quarterly with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) to advise them and the Legislature on the state’s economic outlook.
The October 2021 Finance Advisory Committee meeting was particularly rosy. During the pandemic, Arizona’s state government and residents received a total of $51 billion in aid from the federal government. These funds kept many Arizonans afloat during the pandemic and greatly helped our state’s financial position. The state coffers are brimming with tax revenue and gaming proceeds. Arizona corporations saw record profits. The Rainy Day Fund has $970 million in it. Ninety-four percent of the prepandemic jobs have returned.
During my five years in the Arizona House, I have been a crusader for increased funding and services for maternal and child health. Arizona is worst in the country for Adverse Childhood Experiences. Far too many Arizona children grow up with food insecurity, housing insecurity and financial insecurity, while the state government gives away billions each year in tax breaks.
With so much cash on hand, it’s time for the Arizona Legislature to invest in the health and wellbeing of children and families – instead of more tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Arizonans.
Continue reading Podcast: With Cash in the Coffers, Will Arizona Finally Invest in Healthy Children & Families? (video)
As prescribed in the US Constitution, every 10 years the United States conducts a census and counts everyone in the country. After the census, there is a redistricting process in which the areas that have gained population can potentially gain seats in the US House of Representatives. Population shifts nationally and statewide dictate that new maps be drawn to update representation in government at multiple levels. Historically, redistricting has been conducted by the political party in power in each state. This has resulted in highly gerrymandered and oddly shaped districts that are designed to keep the party in power in power for another 10 years until after the next census. Allowing the political parties to draw lopsided maps – literally – is obviously not a fair to the people and leads to unrepresentative government.
In 2000, the voters of Arizona passed a Citizen’s Initiative that took the redistricting process out of the hands of the Republican-controlled Legislature and gave it to an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). By law, there are two Republican members, two Democratic members and one Independent member.
Arizona’s 2021 Independent Redistricting Commission has been working on new Congressional and Legislative maps for a few months now. Controversial draft maps (version 10) were passed by the commissioners on October 28, 2021.
The maps are not final, and many people in Pima County, myself included, are not happy with the Pima County’s gerrymandered districts. Tucson proper is split into four different districts, ignoring natural boundaries like Interstate 10 and multiple mountain ranges and putting urban areas in districts that are heavily rural.
Continue reading Podcast: Independent Redistricting Commission Draft Maps Ready for Public Comment (video)