Friday, February 26, 2010

Grand Canyon day; updates on twitter & facebook

Winter in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

TUCSON -- On this day in 1919 Arizona's Grand Canyon was declared a National Park by President Woodrow Wilson, one of America's 1st & best parks.

For my late breaking news and updates, please follow me on twitter @RepPatterson, facebook and my facebook Rep. Daniel Patterson fan page.

Stay smart and involved, my friends.

Monday, February 22, 2010

House Dems announce Foreclosure Rescue for AZ

Rep. Waters, I and others are working for fair foreclosure relief for Arizona's middle-class families.

UPDATE: Rep. Tovar and I will discuss this at 7pm tonight on Horizon, Channel 8, PBS-KAET-TV, Phoenix and statewide. Watch us here.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Arizona House Democrats announced on Monday a foreclosure rescue package to get Arizona back on the right track when the state ranked second in the nation last month for foreclosures.

The Foreclosure Rescue for Arizona Act, House Bill 2765, an omnibus bill, and other foreclosure bills introduced by House Democrats will prevent fraud and help families, homeowners and renters stay in their homes.

“Foreclosure Rescue for Arizona not only will combat fraud and bad actors preying on homeowners, but also it will help get our economy back on track,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Arizona ranks second in the nation in foreclosures, and these bills protect the safety and financial health of hard-working Arizonans.”

Foreclosure Rescue for Arizona:

· Protects homeowners who are facing foreclosure from scams and fraud.

· Grants a 60-day relief period to homeowners who are in foreclosure and in danger of losing their home.

· Allows homeowners subject to foreclosure to remain in their homes as renters.

· Encourages parties involved in foreclosure proceedings to restructure loans to prevent foreclosure and delay a sale for up to one year if the lender fails to negotiate in good faith with the borrower.

· Requires a landlord to allow a tenant at least 30 days to vacate a foreclosed property.

· Requires the maintenance of properties during the foreclosure process.

· Creates a mandatory foreclosure mediation program supervised by the Arizona Supreme Court.

· Requires “equity purchasers” or “foreclosure consultants” to be licensed.

“This package of bills could not come at a more critical time for our state,” said Rep. Rae Waters, D-Ahwatukee (District 20). “Arizona is on the wrong track and we must work to enact legislation that strengthens our housing market and the financial well-being of our communities. Those steps include fighting scams and fraud and encouraging lenders and borrowers to work together for the best possible outcome.”

In January, Arizona jumped to second in the nation in foreclosures, with one in every 102 Arizona homes foreclosed. Of the top 10 metro areas hit hardest by foreclosures, Phoenix was the only one to post a monthly increase.

“All of us have a financial interest in restoring property values, repairing neighborhoods and putting Arizona back on the right track,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29). “We can all benefit from these bills and working together, and that’s a winning combination for Arizona’s economy and quality of life.”

House Democrats’ Foreclosure Rescue for Arizona Act will provide relief for middle-class families and homeowners struggling through tough times, while Republicans’ corporate bailout package would cost the state $3.7 billion, double the current budget deficit, and it would raise taxes on homeowners while lowering property taxes on big corporations and their friends.

“Republicans continue to give away tax breaks to big corporations and the rich while middle-class families and homeowners pay for it,” said Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13). “When Arizona’s homeowners are facing a foreclosure crisis, it doesn’t make sense to make the same homeowners pay for tax breaks and giveaways to big corporations like Wal-mart.”

- from House Dems PIO

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

$63M light rail grant will help Tucson economy

Rail transit popularity growing in Arizona.

TUCSON -- US Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today said the newly announced $63 million grant from the US Department of Transportation for Tucson’s planned light rail system will “help Tucson turn a major corner in its efforts to rejuvenate the economy, build a cleaner infrastructure, attract more tourism and provide public transportation along some of the busiest corridors in the city.”

The new funds, granted through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be combined with $87.7 million from the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and a $4 million federal earmark championed by Rep. Grijalva to fund the rail project, one of only a handful nationwide.

“This is a big day for Tucson and a big day for Arizona,” Grijalva said. “There are few systems like this in the country, and Tucsonans are once again proud to be ahead of the curve.”

The first planned route would run from University Medical Center through the downtown area, including LD29, to the planned Rio Nuevo site just west of I-10. The RTA has found that approximately 10 percent of Tucsonans "live, work or attend school within walking distance of the location of the streetcar,” making it economically beneficial and environmentally friendly for as much of the population as funding can support.

“This is an excellent way to leverage federal dollars,” Grijalva said of the grant. “The city will be repaid several times over through increased transportation efficiency, expanded commercial access, pollution reduction and progress on Rio Nuevo. This is exactly the kind of project that shows why the Recovery Act was a vital step in rebuilding the economy.”

"Tucson's light rail system will create investment and jobs as it helps keep our city great and makes us even stronger," said State Rep. Daniel Patterson. "This is the kind of support Arizona needs from our US government."

Rep. Grijalva, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Mayor Bob Walkup will join US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tomorrow at a ceremony announcing the funds at Tucson’s historic downtown train depot.

- adapted from Rep. Grijalva news release

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Patterson bill to keep rest areas open passes

Closed rest area on a busy Arizona highway

UPDATE, Feb 18: New story in Arizona Republic.

UPDATE, Feb 12: Patterson releases statement on rest areas after news release from Brewer. Other coverage on HB2645 from KTAR, KOLD, blog RRR and Yuma Sun.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- A bill that helps keep Arizona’s rest areas open passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today with unanimous bipartisan support.

House Bill 2645, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), and co-sponsored by 47 others, allows the Arizona Department of Transportation to enter into agreements with local governments such as cities, counties and tribes and other private entities, including non-profits, to maintain the rest stops.

“Keeping rest areas open and our highways safe will continue to promote out-of-state commerce and tourism into Arizona,” Patterson said. “Rest areas are crucial tools in ensuring that our highways remain safe for those traveling in and out of our state. These stops provide weary drivers with a place to rest, stretch and regain alertness for their journey ahead. Budget cuts should not come at the expense of personal safety, and this bill helps make sure that it won’t.”

Since November, the state has closed 13 of 18 rest areas due to budget cuts.

More information on closures and for a map of the state’s rest areas. Also watch this video about why open rest areas matter.

- adapted from House Dems PIO

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Support HB2633 Arizona Bikes Safe Yield Act

Rep. Patterson outside Arizona Capitol.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Arizona cyclists and others who care about transportation should support Rep. Doug Quelland's bipartisan HB2633 Arizona Bikes Safe Yield Act.

This smart and fair bill will help improve conditions for cycling in Arizona, while ensuring safety. Idaho has had this law for years and it works well.

Please contact members of the House Transportation Committee soon in support of HB2633; request a hearing on HB2633 and ask them to please vote yes.

Call 800.352.8404 free to reach all Reps.

Rep. Andy Biggs, Chairman, abiggs@azleg.gov
Rep. Frank Antenori, Vice-Chairman, fantenori@azleg.gov
Rep. Judy Burges, jburges@azleg.gov
Rep. Steve Farley, sfarley@azleg.gov
Rep. David Gowan, dgowan@azleg.gov
Rep. Nancy McLain, nmclain@azleg.gov
Rep. Eric Meyer, emeyer@azleg.gov
Rep. Rae Waters, rwaters@azleg.gov

More on HB2633 here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Brewer's sales tax won't work, still more big cuts

Burns, Brewer & Adams have Arizona on the wrong track and headed for a cliff.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Don't be fooled.

Gov. Brewer (R) wants 18% sales tax hike, and promises she'll still also cut $750M more from schools & kick 400,000 people off health care.

I can't go for that.

UPDATE, Feb 5: I voted no yesterday on Brewer's sales tax increase. It's not fair to middle class families and working people, and it won't work to stop bad cuts or balance the budget. View House votes here and here. View Senate votes here and here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Capitol updates: energy, parks & bipartisanship

Inside the historic Arizona Capitol

UPDATE, 2/3: Photos of Monday rally at Capitol with hundreds to save AZ state parks.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Some quick updates and media coverage this week.

Bipartisan clean energy jobs op-ed in today's Arizona Republic: Say yes to solar, wind and Arizona's future.

Rally calls on lawmakers to keep state parks open.

AZ House Ds again call for real bipartisanship from Republicans, governor.

Also, follow me on twitter @RepPatterson.