#AZLeg​ Should Fund #PublicEd​, Not Pricey Private Schools (video)

Red for Ed

This is an RTS alert for SB1041 and SB1118, two student tuition organization (STO) bills that are in Ways and Means on March 10.

There are many different tax credits in support of STOs. SB1041 refers to tax credits for STO scholarships for displaced and disabled children. (Displaced children have been removed from their home and could be in foster care.) This STO is capped at $5 million in tax credits per year, and all of the tax credits are claimed each year. SB1041 would raise that cap by $5 million a year annually. Businesses can buy tax credits from an STO, which turns that cash into scholarships for designated types of students to attend private schools.

Continue reading #AZLeg​ Should Fund #PublicEd​, Not Pricey Private Schools (video)

What Have Republicans Got Against Engineers? (video)

Construction in downtown Tucson

I have been in the legislature now for five years, and every year we have some bills that dumb down professions by reducing educational and experience requirements and/or eliminating licensure and oversight. What could go wrong?

Today in the Commerce Committee, we heard Senator J.D. Mesnard’s SB1062 on engineering definitions. I don’t know what the Republicans have got against engineers, but engineering is a perpetual target for deregulation.

SB1062 bifurcates (Legislators’ favorite word) the engineering statute and makes two levels of engineers. The current definition of engineer includes knowledge of math and the physical sciences along with education and experience in engineering practices (plus other specifics). That definition has been moved to a section called “professional engineer.” Under SB1062, “professional engineers” have advanced engineering education, experience and an engineering license but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Mesnard said that projects that impact public health and safety — like building roads, bridges, and structures including homes would require a professional engineer. SB1062 creates a lower level profession called “engineer.” This is a person who “identifies as an engineer” but has no license. The qualifications refer vaguely to education and experience, but nothing is defined. An unlicensed “engineer” can provide services that fall under the domain of “engineering practice” (also defined in the bill). Continue reading What Have Republicans Got Against Engineers? (video)

I Stand Against Mandatory Sentencing & for Victim Rights (video)

Mandatory sentencing

Prison and sentencing reform have been major bipartisan issues in the Arizona House for the past few years. Although there has been much bipartisan effort and many bills proposed, pretty much everything was stopped at the committee level by former Legislators and Judiciary Chairs John Allen and Eddie Farnsworth.

Those two are both gone. Rep. Walt Blackman’s Criminal Justice Committee has passed several good bills on prison reform, sentencing reform, and prison oversight. Several of them have passed the full house.

Unfortunately, the House is passing mandatory sentencing bills at the same time as we are advancing reform. I was the only person who voted against HB2889.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci’s HB2889 is all about punishment. It ignores the fact that most people in prison were abused children. Focusing on punishment — while ignoring prevention, rehabilitation, and expansion of victims’ rights to report past abuse — won’t solve this problem. In fact, Senator Paul Boyer’s child abuse reporting bill from 2019 — which Republicans fought vehemently against — would do a lot more to catch chronic abusers who roam amongst us. Even after passing a watered down version of Boyer’s bill, Arizona law still severely restricts reporting past abuse and protects pedophiles, not victims. I fully support adoption of Boyer’s original bill which gave past abused children to age 30 to report past abuse.

Continue reading I Stand Against Mandatory Sentencing & for Victim Rights (video)

5G Forum Reveals Risks, Concerns Regarding Widespread 4-5G Towers (video)

Map of Current & Proposed Towers

Although I had met with all of the presenters before the 5G Forum on Related Health, Privacy, Preemption and Blight Issues and had a good idea what each of them planned to say, I was blown away by the extensive information that these experts shared.

On my YouTube Channel and below, you can watch the presentations.

  • Dr. Russell Witte, Professor of Medical Imaging (primary), Biomedical Engineering, Optical Sciences, and Neurosurgery at the University of Arizona, addressed radiation, microwaves and health concerns related to 4-5G.
  • Elizabeth Kelley, Executive Director: Electromagnetic Safety Alliance, Inc. gave basic background on 4-5G and talked about policy in other states.
  • Domingo DeGrazia, LD10 representative in the Arizona House and a Certified Information Privacy Profession/US Private Sector, addressed privacy issues and steps that can be taken to protect us from corporations or governments collecting our private data through the “Internet of Things” and using it and/or selling it. Midtown resident
  • Lois Pawlak initially called me about her concerns over the proliferation of 4-5G towers in Midtown Tucson. She talked about neighborhood concerns because of the preemption that was built into HB2365. The map at the top is a Midtown screen shot from the tower placement maps on the City of Tucson’s website here.
  • The question and answer video includes cameo appearances by Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik and Valeri Marsh, who is affiliated with Scientists for Wired Tech.
Continue reading 5G Forum Reveals Risks, Concerns Regarding Widespread 4-5G Towers (video)

Arizona Daily Star Editors Interview LD9 Candidates (video)

LD9 candidates

Each election season, there is an endorsement process. Organizations, groups and causes conduct their endorsement processes differently. Some just hand out endorsements. Some require candidates to answer questions and do interviews.

Last week, the Arizona Daily Star conducted their endorsement interview with the three Legislative District 9 candidates: Democratic incumbent Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley and Republican challenger Brendan Lyons. In the before times, these interviews were conducted behind closed doors with only Star personnel and candidates at the newspaper’s office. In the COVID19 era, the endorsement interview was an online forum with ~15 constituents and Star staff in the audience. Having even a handful of constituents “in the room, was a worthwhile addition. As you’ll see in the video, the people had good questions about reproductive choice, education funding and other topics.

The interview is an hour long. Pop some popcorn, pour your favorite beverage, and watch the video here. For your convenience, below are the question time stamps. (You can check out my other endorsements, honors and candidate statements here. Watch the whole collection of Star endorsement interviews here.)

Continue reading Arizona Daily Star Editors Interview LD9 Candidates (video)

‘Stop Hate for Profit’: Corporations Pressure Facebook with Ad Boycott

big tech

More than 500 corporations are suspending advertising on Facebook because of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s reluctant and minimalist response to calls to end hate speech and misinformation on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt from Mark Zuckerberg: advertisers’ boycott of Facebook will end ‘soon enough’about the Stop Hate for Profit campaign in The Guardian.

Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed the threat of a punishing boycott from major advertisers pressing Facebook to take a stronger stand on hate speech and said they will be back “soon enough”…

“We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue,” he said, according to the Information.

Zuckerberg says it’s no big deal and won’t hurt the company’s bottom line if corporate advertisers boycott the platform for at least a month. When it comes to hate speech, shouldn’t there be other concerns beyond his bottom line? From the quotes in The Guardian article, Zuckerberg stands firm against his advertisers’ protestations.

Continue reading ‘Stop Hate for Profit’: Corporations Pressure Facebook with Ad Boycott