Monday, June 29, 2009

Live AZ budget news from capitol @RepPatterson

Hot in PHX, time to get outta here.

UPDATE, 7/1: Ugly night at capitol. Gov Brewer should VETO terrible Adams/Burns budget today. Going fishing.

PHOENIX -- Follow or visit me at twitter.com/reppatterson for the latest from inside the capitol on the AZ budget, bills and possible state gov't shutdown.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

News links on AZ politics, taxes, budgets & wildlife

SoAZ summer storm.

TUCSON -- Some news stories and editorials this week from Arizona you may want to check out.

House endorses bill to entice clean energy firms.


Ugly compromise floated on budget.


Kofa refuge threatened.

I'll be back at the State Capitol Mon AM to continue the good fight for real people and a more fair budget. Follow the latest @RepPatterson on twitter.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hectic pace at capitol to bully bad bills, budget

Dark times at AZ capitol this week. Follow RepPatterson on twitter.

UPDATE, 6pm: House Dems' news release: Republicans agree on worst budget deal in AZ history.

UPDATE, 1pm: People marching on the AZ State Capitol Sat 9am in protest of Burns/Adams/Brewer deal for worst budget in state history. Be there & be loud.

UPDATE, 12:35pm: An open letter from my family today: Ruby and I miss you so much. But, I'd like to say as you and your Dem colleagues head towards the finish line, that I'm so proud of all of you. I may not, as a private citizen, have agreed with everything they have supported, but on the important issues such as education, pro choice, and health care, the Dem caucus has stood strong.

I wasn't sure what, exactly, the kinds of sacrifices we as a family would be expected to make as you started this journey of public service. It certainly seems very hard, personally taxing, and the pay certainly could be better.

Not many people understand these sacrifices. After six months, I can attest that our family does.

Would I do it again, knowing what I do now? Absolutely.

Daniel, you are a smart and passionate leader. The kind of man I fell in love with over ten years ago. So, stay strong and keep on fighting to 'do the right thing'.

Love, Jeneiene and Ruby

PHOENIX -- I should be home today with my family and other responsibilities in Tucson, but I am stuck at the capitol to represent the good people of LD29 against the reckless, callous dealings by the Republican leadership here this week.

For quicker updates today and this weekend, please follow me on twitter @RepPatterson. No sell-out: I won't back Rs bad AZ budget deal-harms kids, economy, etc. Pro-choice: I'm standing w/ AZ women today for healthcare rights.

Some good news is it seems the summer monsoon is starting up in the southwest. Real rain in Tucson yesterday and maybe today, and sprinkles in Phoenix yesterday and this AM. Parts of SW New Mexico are also getting good rains this week.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reckless GOP rush to pass bad bills harms AZ

Speeding Speaker Adams (right).


UPDATE, 6/24: Other coverage in the AZ Republic.

PHOENIX -- House Democratic members of the Military Affairs and Public Safety committee left a hearing Wednesday after Republican lawmakers chose to rush through a slew of bad bills.

House Democrats said the unprecedented rush to pass bad bills was abusive to the legislative process and does a disservice to Arizona.

“Rushing bills through at such a rapid pace is poor judgment,” House Democratic Leader David Lujan said. “It can only harm Arizona and prevent lawmakers from doing their due diligence in representing the people who have elected them. Passing these bills without proper consideration is a wrongdoing that is difficult to undo.”

One bill set for the hearing, Senate Bill 1270, would significantly loosen Arizona’s gun laws by allowing gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Police oppose the bill.

“I’m an NRA member, hunter, a proud gun owner and enthusiast, and I believe in the right for Americans to use self defense and to own guns,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), a member of the committee who left the hearing. “I also believe in common sense. Senate Bill 1270 completely ignores common sense, it’s irresponsible and it will endanger our communities and hinder police from doing their job.”

The committee was short one Republican member, creating the opportunity for Democrats to deny a quorum and effectively stall passage of Senate Bill 1270 and other bills opposed by Democrats on the committee agenda.

But instead of using the common practice of assigning the bills to another committee later in the week, House Speaker Kirk Adams chose to rush to appoint to the committee a new Republican member minutes after the hearing began.

Rep. David Stevens, R-District 25, who serves on the Water & Energy and Natural Resources & Rural Affairs committees, had never served on the Military Affairs and Public Safety committee before.

Before any given committee hearing, members are briefed on bills, study them and speak with the public and constituents to learn their concerns, support or opposition. Stevens had little chance to do that.

“This kind of behavior of passing bills at such a breakneck pace can only damage the state, and apparently that doesn’t seem to matter to Speaker Adams and Republican lawmakers,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema.

“Speeding bills through the legislature is another burden Arizona can’t afford to deal with right now,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “This is bad policy and it’s not what Arizonans elected us to do.”

- from House Dems PIO

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gov. Brewer lawsuit waste of AZ’s time, money

Only a week left to solve the budget crisis.

PHOENIX -- Late breaking news release from AZ House Dems on today's decision from the State Supreme Court.

"Instead of calling all sides in for budget negotiations to try to reach a solution, Brewer stormed off to court and lost the case, time and money," said Rep. Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson). "The lack of leadership from the Governor and Republican hostility to the public-interest are why we still have no fair budget as Arizonans suffer during this bad economy. The breakdown at the capitol right now is totally unacceptable and didn't have to happen."

Legislative Democrats have offered a real budget the protects education, healthcare, public safety and middle-class families, see StrongerArizona.com

HB2564 attack on womens' rights in Arizona

AZ Senate Democratic Whip Lopez (D-Tucson)

PHOENIX -- My friend and team LD29 partner at the capitol, Senator Linda Lopez, has issued this statement on HB2564. I agree with her on this.

“HB 2564 is an attack on every Arizona woman’s moral decision making authority and her basic human rights. HB 2564 assumes that Arizona women are incapable of making decisions about their reproductive health in conjunction with their physician and their family. It assumes that this legislature knows what is best for a woman who is making one of the most difficult decisions of her life. It puts this legislature squarely between a woman and her physician and between a woman and her family. This legislature has no business in either place.”


HB 2564 changes existing statute regarding parental notification and provides new requirements physicians must follow regarding informed consent. It also allows health professional to refrain from having to facilitate or participate in the provision of emergency contraception, abortion or abortion medication.

HB 2564 was passed in the Senate today and returns to the House of Representatives for a final vote.

- adapted from Senate Dems PIO

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Patterson energy bills pass AZ House

Energy efficiency makes sense.

PHOENIX -- Another energy bill I sponsored passed the Arizona House of Representatives today, HB2337.

Labor names Brown & Patterson capitol heroes

AZ workers thank Patterson & Brown for taking a stand for the common good.

UPDATE, 6/23: Coverage in the Phoenix New Times.

PHOENIX -- Today from the Arizona AFL-CIO, the state's largest union: This week’s unsung heroes are and Rep. Jack Brown and Rep. Daniel Patterson.

Rebekah Friend stated, “They both should be commended for standing up and refusing to vote for any Republican bills because of the process and the actual budget.”

Jack Brown is leading the fight and stepping up and speaking up on the lack of leadership from the majority party.

Friend continued, “These two deserve recognition for their courage to speak up for what is right!”

Brown spoke up and told members he was beginning a protest of sorts. “I voted no on this bill; I voted no on the last bill; and I’m voting no on all of the bills today,” he said. Brown continues, “We should be working on the budget and on bills coming over from the Senate—and, hopefully, we won’t pass many of those,” he said.

Following Rep. Brown’s speech, Patterson... explained that he was joining Brown in voting against all bills in order “to send a signal.”

Don't believe the hype from AZ Gov. Brewer

Brewer's bad actions speak louder than her claims.

PHOENIX -- It is important to separate myth from fact when dealing with politicians, especially AZ's unelected Gov. Jan Brewer (R).

She has been making many claims that do not match her actions.

Read today's news release from the House Dems on Brewer's myths v. facts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Patterson sponsored vets, dumping bills pass House

PHOENIX -- Two more bills I sponsored passed the Arizona House of Representatives this week: HB2495: in-state tuition; veterans and HB2424: illegal dumping; penalties.

A small bit of good news during otherwise dark times at the capitol. Nice job by Reps. Fleming on 2495 and McGuire on 2424.

Rockies & Dbacks gone makes tax even worse idea

Republican AZ Rep. David Stevens of Cochise County is pushing a plan for higher taxes in Pima County to subsidize pro baseball.

UPDATE, 6/22: I voted no, but HB2572 passed the House today. See how your Reps. voted on it. Coverage in AZ Republic.

TUCSON -- With the Rockies & Dbacks officially announcing today they are done with spring training here, the proposed Pima County baseball tax is an even worse idea.

AZ GOP legislators cut schools, jobs and healthcare but want new higher taxes to subsidize Major League Baseball!?! The county is not asking for this, and wisely so as it is a badly out-of-touch priority.

A new stadium for no teams would be a dumb waste.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paid family leave; threatened wildlife refuges

Kofa threatened by predator killing, 'gamefarm' management and powerlines.

TUCSON -- Two quick updates on economic and enviromental justice.

Read info and my views on paid family leave, as just published by Boston College's Work & Family Network.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER.org), where I serve as Ecologist and Southwest Director, has just released our 2009 list of the 10 most threatened wildlife refuges in the US, including Kofa NWR in southern Arizona.

From the news release:

“Each of these threatened refuges has a different story, but they all share the peril of altered natural conditions from non-natural sources,” stated Southwest PEER Director and Ecologist Daniel Patterson. “We hope that by drawing attention to the plight of these wildlife sanctuaries they stand a better chance of meeting the threats they face.”

Kofa NWR is facing many threats involving management of bighorn sheep at the expense of other species. Game management problems also include expanding artificial water impoundments inside congressionally-designated wilderness, where new structures are forbidden. In 2008, PEER worked with a retired refuge biologist to expose the tracking and killing of rare Kofa cougars. This led to an important agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages the refuges, and the state for a one-year moratorium on killing Kofa lions, and a new lion plan. The moratorium ends this summer, and it is not clear if the agencies will extend it.

“The Kofa is being run as a bighorn game farm, with state and federal agencies doing everything they can to ‘grow’ more sheep,” Patterson added. “We will be working to make the moratorium on cougar eradication permanent.”

I have worked for bighorn sheep conservation and recovery efforts across the west for years.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

AZ legislators urge Obama on healthcare reform

A public plan is a must.

PHOENIX -- 21 Arizona legislators, including me, communicated today to President Obama in favor of progressive healthcare reform now.

Voice your views on AZ wildlife management

AZ Game & Fish is considering a year round hunting season for male pumas.

PHOENIX -- If you care about AZ wildlife, and I know most of you do, then you need to have a say on management through this survey even if you are not a hunter.

The questions include important bear and lion issues you may want to weigh in on.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

AZ Dems repeat 'no' on Brewer's bad budget

Brewer's unacceptable budget does not protect education or other essential needs.

PHOENIX -- The House Democratic Caucus repeats our opposition to the bad GOP Gov. Jan Brewer budget.

Read today's news release.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brown & Patterson challenge AZ House priorities

Veteran lawmaker Jack Brown has served and lead in the legislature since the 60s.

UPDATE, 6/16: Coverage in today's AZ Republic on the Brown & Patterson protest, which we are continuing today.

PHOENIX -- Rep. Jack Brown (D-St. Johns) and I today voted no on House bills in protest of the GOP's AZ budget disaster, more wasted time and lack of priorities.

Jack and I are making our stand in favor of dealing with the real needs of Arizonans, and against more wasted time with mostly unneeded bad Republican pet project bills in the legislature.

I'm not sure how long this will go on, or how many other members will stand up to join us.

More on Brewer's bad budget plan.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Capturing kills Jaguars, AZ & feds should stop it

Jaguar Macho B was captured, collared, drugged, recaptured by AZ Game & Fish and then died.

TUCSON -- More on-going coverage today of endangered Jaguar abuse by Arizona and US agencies.

Sergio Avila is quoted in the article. He is an experienced, ethical biologist and friend. I'm on his side here, not with the Arizona Game and Fish Dept.

The inconvenient truth for wildlife agencies is too many Jaguars, and other big predators, die during or after capture/collaring. This is unethical and we cannot afford to lose more endangered Jaguars. There are better, more humane ways to monitor animal movement.

Alarmingly, AZGFD and the US Fish & Wildlife Service still have not taken proper responsibility here or learned their lesson. The AZ Game & Fish Commission and Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should show more teeth for reform of predator management. If not, the legislature and/or congress may have to consider action.

With all due respect, AZGFD's Terry Johnson should now resign, retire or be fired by Director Larry Voyles. He's fumbled and messed up the Jaguar and Mexican Wolf programs for years and won't be missed by true conservationists.

Good job Tony Davis and Tim Steller at the Star for keeping this important story in the public eye.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Arizonans honor former Governor Raul Castro

Former Gov. Raul Castro (D-AZ)

TUCSON -- My wife and I were proud today to join hundreds of Arizonans, including many other prominent politicians, in honoring Gov. Raul Castro.

Mr. Castro just turned 93, and has a great life story as an immigrant, boxer, hobo, lawyer, governor, US ambassador and other doings.

Happy birthday, congratulations and thanks, Mr. Castro!

Nice job by the Pima County Democratic Party organizing this event.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Progress: dirty Mohave coal plant to be torn down

Controversial Mohave coal plant going away for good.

BULLHEAD CITY AZ -- Good news on the energy front this week with the announcement that the closed and infamous Mohave Generating Station, a dirty coal-fired power plant in Laughlin NV, will be demolished.

Southern California Edison, Salt River Project and other plant owners have made a wise choice to focus on clean renewable energy and tear down this terrible polluter, which for decades fouled the air of northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon.

The demolition project will create a lot of jobs and so will the focus on a clean energy economy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brewer will shut gov't, but won't work with Dems

David Lujan is AZ House Democratic leader.

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has foolishly said she would rather shut down Arizona State government than negotiate now with legislative Democrats on the budget.

Read more in today's news release from AZ House Democratic caucus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Patterson sponsored energy bill passes House

Bi-partisan support for energy legislation.

PHOENIX -- A decent energy bill I sponsored, HB2336, has passed the Arizona House of Representatives and will now move to the Senate.

This has overall been a rough session for the public-interest at the Capitol, so any positive news is welcome.

On another bill a clarification for the record: I accidentally voted the wrong way on HB2503 today. I tried to fix the mistake, but did not get the speaker's attention before the board closed. I meant to vote yes.

USDA agent sacked for reporting illegal cougar kills

11 cougar heads from lions killed by USDA Wildlife Services, a rogue agency that Obama must reform or shut down now.

ELY NV -- A federal agent who reported that his colleagues had illegally used government airplanes to hunt mountain lions was fired in retaliation, according to filings released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The legal complaint filed by Gary Strader, a professional hunter for U.S. Wildlife Services, is one of the first whistleblower cases arising during the Obama administration. How the case is handled may give important clues as to whether civil servants can expect a respite from the heavy-handed personnel practices that characterized the Bush administration.

Gary Strader worked for Wildlife Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as a hunter and tracker, principally of coyotes, out of the agency’s Ely, Nevada office. His job was abruptly eliminated after he reported both to his regional office, as well as the FBI, that his agency co-workers had –

  • Illegally shot as many as five mountain lions from government airplanes. These actions constitute a felony under the Airborne Hunting Act, as well as violating Nevada state hunting laws; and
  • Filed false statements to cover up the offenses.

Mountain lions are difficult to track overland in rugged Nevada terrain. Federal employees in search of trophies (the heads were removed but the animals were not pelted) took the easier course of spotting and shooting mountain lions from the air.

After his supervisors determined that Strader’s reports would not likely result in prosecution, he was notified that there were no longer funds to support his position. When Strader asked whether his termination was due to his pursuit of the violations, the Director of the Nevada Office for Wildlife Services, Mark Jensen, responded affirmatively. The Whistleblower Protection Act forbids the discharge of a federal employee in connection with his or her disclosures of crimes or other waste, fraud or abuse.

Strader’s whistleblower complaint will be heard this summer by a judge of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the court system for the federal civil service. His lead attorney is Salt Lake City attorney April Hollingsworth assisted by lawyers from PEER, a national environmental whistleblower defense organization.

“This is a blatant case of reprisal,” stated PEER Staff Counsel Christine Erickson. “It is now up to the Obama administration to either defend this crude retaliation against Mr. Strader or to restore him and clean house at Wildlife Services.”

Besides the legal violations and misuse of taxpayer funds, aerial hunting is an inherently dangerous activity. Nevada has had several aerial gunning accidents in recent years.

Wildlife Services has also drawn growing opposition from conservation, taxpayer and humane groups who see the agency as a misguided, ineffective subsidy for agribusiness. Each year, Wildlife Services kills approximately 87,000 coyotes as part of an annual wildlife take of more than 2 million animals.

- from PEER, read more documentation on this case.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

House Dems: Brewer must get down to business

On-going lack of leadership from Brewer is jeopardizing Arizona's future.

PHOENIX -- Three weeks remain to solve the largest budget crisis Arizona has ever seen and House Democrats are calling on Gov. Jan Brewer (R) today to negotiate a realistic budget now.

Today, Brewer is spending a full day to gather opinions from her hand-picked 'stakeholders' instead of spending the very limited time the state has to negotiate and solve the budget deficit.

“The public clearly has spoken about what their budget priorities are again and again — protect education and jobs and middle-class families from high taxes,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “If Gov. Brewer wanted more input on the budget, she could have done so months ago by asking for public comment just like Democrats did in public budget hearings around the state. In these critical three weeks, she needs to come to the table and do the hard work to negotiate a budget.”

House Democrats have asked Brewer twice in formal letters to meet with all four leadership teams — House and Senate Democrats and Republicans — and also asked her verbally to hold these meetings several times.

“So far, she hasn’t taken action with any leadership team to make that happen and it’s very disappointing,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “We know what Arizonans want, and for months, we’ve been ready to step up and negotiate a bipartisan budget to make Arizona stronger. The clock is ticking.”

House Democrats said stakeholders in today’s meeting should know that Brewer’s budget may appear to solve the budget deficit in the short term, but it decimates the state in years to come:

-- Brewer’s one-cent per dollar temporary sales tax hike creates a high tax burden for the majority of Arizonans, costing them $438 a year. There are other revenue generating options that raise more money, provide a more stable revenue base for the state budget and cost the average taxpayers less.

-- Her plan proposes several measures to temporarily aid in funding education and vital human services, but in the long term, her plan does not protect education. After 2010, schools will be left hanging from a funding cliff. Brewer's plan spends all the education stimulus dollars in 2010. Once the stimulus funds are gone, the temporary sales tax increase ends (or fails to be approved by the voters) and the corporate tax cuts in her plan are implemented, the revenue shortfall will be bigger and K-12 and university funding will be in an even deeper budget hole.

“There are some major concerns about the budget that Democrats and Republicans need to address,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “Now more than ever, it’s time to get down to business.”

"My constituents and I are upset Gov. Brewer continues to waste time and not call for 5 party talks between her and House and Senate leadership, including Democrats,"
said Rep. Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson). "Arizona will not get a fair budget without Democratic votes, and there will not be Democratic votes without our full involvement in budget negotiations. Stubbornly refusing to invite everyone to the negotiating table leaves millions of affected Arizonans unrepresented in the budget process."

- adapted from House Dems PIO.

Monday, June 08, 2009

AZ cities & towns join Dems' on impact fee concern

My City of Tucson and others need fair impact fees.

PHOENIX -- Echoing the strong opposition from me and House Democrats to the AZ GOP budget narrowly passed Thursday night, the League of Arizona Cities and Towns dissed the majority budget, especially the unwise banning of development impact fees, in a news release today.

'The legislative budget contains a major new provision that has nothing to do with balancing the state budget, but again hits local taxpayers. This is a provision inserted at the last minute that completely eliminates the ability of cities and towns to collect development impact fees for a period of three years.

'Development impact fees are paid by builders and developers to pay for the construction of necessary infrastructure such as streets, sewers, police & fire stations, parks and other items that serve new developments. This practice, which already has many statutory limits and rules for implementation, is based on the principle of “growth pays for itself.” Impact fees cannot be used for salaries or general operations, only to install infrastructure for new development.

“The elimination of impact fees means that local taxpayers will be required to subsidize the building of new subdivisions while the developers get a free ride,” League Executive Director Ken Strobeck said. “This home builder bailout is completely inappropriate in a budget bill and benefits a narrow special interest at the expense of the public.”

Lobbyists for the home builders have been trying to restrict impact fees for years, but this is the first time such a massive policy change has been passed by the Legislature. It is believed this is their attempt to have development impact fees permanently eliminated.

“Cities and towns are being told they have to make up tens of millions of dollars of the state shortfall at the same time they have been seeing dramatic reductions in local tax revenue and have been making responsible budget decisions since the recession began,” he said. “These budget bills expect cities and towns to literally ‘pass the bucks’ to the state government at the expense of local taxpayers.”

- adapted from ALCT

Friday, June 05, 2009

Baseball is OK, but Marana stadium idea is not

TEPark is a good baseball facility and should be the focus of spring training efforts.

UPDATE, 6/19: With Rockies & Dbacks gone Pima baseball tax is even worse idea. New stadium for no teams would be a dumb waste. AZ GOP legislators cut schools and healthcare but want new tax to subsidize Major League Baseball!?!

TUCSON -- More chatter this week about new taxpayer subsidies for a sprawl stadium and spring training baseball in Pima County.

As a State Representative with a direct say on this issue, here is my view.

Trying to save spring training in Tucson is an OK idea, but trying to do it with another sales tax hike for an unneeded new urban sprawl stadium in the desert north of Tangerine Rd. in Marana, far from most people, is a very bad idea. Talk about a bad location.

TEP
ark and Hi Corbett are fine facilities, and baseball promotion efforts should focus there. We have a shortage of teams, not stadiums.

Pima County should reject the Marana sprawl stadium scheme now.

My family and I support baseball by going to games, and the biggest loss to baseball fans in Tucson has been the AAA Sidewinders, not spring training.

I have clearly shared this view with unaccountable huckster Tom Tracy and asked him to address these concerns many people have, but so far he has not.

The legislature must authorize an election for the sales tax hike and sprawl stadium Tracy wants, and right now I have several concerns.

Candidate Huppenthal should resign from Senate

Huppenthal apparently getting signatures outside AZ capitol, April 09.

PHOENIX -- I heard this yesterday and now some important news is breaking today due to good reporting by Amanda Soares at the Arizona Guardian, a solid news source from the capitol.

It appears Sen. John Huppenthal (R-LD20-Chandler) has been collecting signatures for his campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction, seemingly in violation of state election law.

Experts say Arizona law prohibits an elected official from collecting signatures on nominating petitions for a different position while still in office.

Huppenthal told the Guardian that he has been collecting signatures for the petitions. But the veteran lawmaker said he did not think that was against Arizona's "resign to run" statute.

Arizona elections law experts seem to disagree.

Good luck, John, in your race, but you should probably now resign from the Senate.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

AZ House budget battle live updates on twitter

McComish (right) wins award from corporate lobbyist.

PHOENIX -- Live updates from today's budget fight on the Arizona House floor at RepPatterson on twitter.

House Republican Majority Leader John McComish (R-LD20-Ahwatukee) is sponsoring most of the bad budget bills and amendments.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Veterans' Caucus wants family aid bill passed

Rep. Chris Deschene, a USMC veteran.

UPDATE, 6/10: A Senate Committee has approved SB1176, just one week after Democrats took the lead in calling for passage of this bill. We are also working on a common sense amendment to make this bill even stronger.

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Democratic Veterans' Caucus held a news conference at the State Capitol today calling on the legislature to pass SB1176, a bill that will deliver much needed assistance to Arizona's military families who suffer from hardships presented when a loved one is injured or killed while serving our country.

Members of the Arizona Democratic Veterans Caucus were there, as well as former Marine, Representative Chris Deschene (D-Window Rock), Representatives Pat Fleming (D-Sierra Vista) and Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson) who both serve on the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee, Representative Matt Heinz (D-Tucson) and Senator Manny Alvarez (D-Elfrida).

"Action is needed now to help Arizona's veterans and their families," said Rep. Daniel Patterson. "It's time for legislative leadership to walk the talk on supporting the troops and pass this bill." Patterson's district 29 includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Southern Arizona VA Hospital.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sound, fair alternative to Brewer's sales tax hike

Working to solve problems, help people and build bridges for positive change.

PHOENIX -- Read my column in today's Arizona Daily Star, 'Democrats' budget is sound, fair.'

'The Democratic plan is much more affordable than Brewer's proposed one-cent sales-tax increase, which would cost the average family $438 extra a year, and hit lower- to middle-income people the hardest.'

More info on the State of Arizona budget at StrongerArizona.com

UPDATE, 12pm: Don't be fooled, Brewer's budget does not protect education.

Monday, June 01, 2009

AZ budget, capitol news @RepPatterson on twitter

Updates may be on twitter or blogs, but the revolution will be live.

PHOENIX -- Check RepPatterson on twitter for some latest thoughts on the state budget and from the capitol.

Michigan man's view of GM's big fall to bankruptcy

GM HQ in tough luck Detroit.

TUCSON -- I was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, a proud GM (also state capital/government and university) city. I have a lot of good and bad thoughts about now-bankrupt GM, among them the fact that I, along with you fellow American citizen, now own 60% of it. I think I'll keep my day jobs.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who also grew up in a GM town, and was one of the first to expose some big problems at GM with his movie 'Roger and Me', offers some interesting commentary on the future of General Motors.