Monday, March 29, 2010

US needs tough national immigration reform now

Susan and Robert Krentz

DOUGLAS AZ -- The recent murder of southeastern Arizona rancher Rob Krentz is sad and unacceptable.

This killing may be related to on-going failures of US immigration and drug policy. The Cochise County Sheriff and US Border Patrol are investigating.

The US needs tough national immigration reform now and more focus on catching and stopping violent criminals on the border.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Patterson a valuable asset to military, public safety

Army General John Adams (ret.) backs Patterson as important to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, is a key asset to Arizona’s military and public safety issues, officials said Wednesday.

Military officials lauded his efforts as a champion of veterans and a longtime neighborhood activist who has worked for years on public safety with Tucson Police and Fire and asked that he be reinstated to the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee.

“Rep. Daniel Patterson time and time again has supported our veterans as a member of the committee,” said retired Army General John Adams of Tucson. “He’s one of the best representatives we’ve got up there supporting our military service men and women.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Major Mark Beres said Patterson is genuinely concerned about issues involving active duty military and veterans and that he enjoyed working with Patterson on HB2348, a bill that prohibits the federal disability benefits of veterans from being awarded to anyone else aside from child and spousal support enforcement pursuant to federal law.

“Dan Patterson has well-represented the veterans and active-duty military personnel in the 29th District,” Beres said. “As Dan's constituent and a veteran, I have been impressed with his attention to and knowledge of issues impacting veterans in his district, as well as his genuine desire to study and champion solutions.”

Patterson’s District 29 is in the heart of Tucson, and it contains Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the Southern Arizona VA Medical Center. Arizona has the nation's 13th largest veteran population, and apart from the Phoenix area, Tucson has a sizable share of these citizens.

“It is critical that these veterans have representation on the MAPS committee,” Beres said. “I am concerned that if Rep. Patterson is removed, a large percentage of our state's veterans and active-duty military personnel and their families will be without representation on the committee. All politics aside, as a veteran, I believe Tucson's vets are well-served by such representation, and I respectfully urge the House to reconsider his removal.”

Patterson, who sat on the committee for nearly two full legislative sessions and the only member on the committee from Tucson, and Sen. Russell Pearce engaged in a heated debate last week with during a hearing of a bill in the committee. In an action that lacked transparency, House Speaker Kirk Adams removed Patterson from the committee Tuesday on an empty House floor when no members were present.

“Every member at the legislature knows that the times we live in and legislate in are trying,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “From the budget to immigration to health care issues, there is a lot of passion for the very significant legislation that is being debated at all levels of government. It is our duty as lawmakers to scrutinize those bills and ask the tough questions. We should not be censored for doing so.”

Lujan said he believes Speaker Adams’ action was over-reaching and that Patterson, as a valuable member to military affairs and public safety, should be reinstated to the committee.

- from House Dems PIO

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My NCAA basketball Final Four picks

Kalin Lucas and Coach Tom Izzo of MSU.

TUCSON -- Too bad the Arizona Wildcats didn't make the big dance in 2010, missing the NCAAs for the first time in 26 years. The Cats are not a choice on the bracket.

My Alma Mater Michigan State is back again this year. As are some other good teams.

For whatever it's worth, here are my unscientific Final Four picks (drumroll, please)... Michigan State, Kansas State, West Virginia, California.

Cal is a long shot, but it could happen. The other three seem now to have pretty solid chances of winning to Indy.

Kansas killer Northern Iowa could make a run, and Washington is looking good.

Reckless Brewer & Rs end kid's healthcare in AZ

Mean and extreme: Republicans Burns, Brewer & Adams

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer and legislative Republicans have made Arizona the first state to end children's health insurance.

Republicans also want to hit Arizona's poor and middle class families with an unfair 18% increase of our already high and regressive sales tax, as part of their latest one-sided 'plan' that won't work.

And after raising the sales tax on the poor and middle class, Brewer and GOP lawmakers also want to give a billion dollars in new tax cuts to corporations and the rich.

Republicans have controlled Arizona for over 40 years, much too long, doing far too much damage as they fail to listen or care for the people.

Republicans have failed to lead and they are wrecking our great state. People, to save Arizona, we must boot these failures in November.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brewer signs worst budget in history of Arizona

Arizona's families harmed again by callous Republicans at the Capitol.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Glendale) today signed the harmful Republican budget as she continues to recklessly force Arizona down the wrong track.

The bad Arizona GOP budget is the worst budget in state history, gutting schools, jeopardizing public safety, ending healthcare for 420,000 people, losing $2B+ in US funding, harming the environment and shifting $124M+ in costs to local governments, which will force unfair tax hikes on the middle class.

Yesterday, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard asked a very simple question. Would Brewer join him in opposing the transfer of money from a higher sales tax to an across-the-board tax giveaway to corporations and the rich?

Brewer has still not answered.

Attorney General Goddard is doing his job and he encourages the Governor to do hers. Today, she signed a budget that was due last June. She has left Arizonans with but one false choice to partially fund important community services, asking us to vote for an 18% sales tax hike, while ignoring other options like closing outrageous tax loopholes that only benefit the rich and large corporations. And, apparently, Brewer is unwilling to stand up against corporate tax giveaways that would turn any additional sales tax revenues into a shell game.

Republicans have controlled Arizona for over 40 years, much too long, doing far too much damage as they fail to listen to the people.

Republicans have failed to lead and they are wrecking our great state. They need to be removed from power in Arizona.

Monday, March 15, 2010

AZ eco updates: Jaguar, open range & forest fees

'Open range' is dangerous in modern Arizona.

TUCSON -- The Arizona Game & Fish Dept. has supposedly disciplined someone for the reckless killing of Macho B last year, perhaps the last Jaguar living in Arizona. The problem is AZGFD won't say who, continuing to handle this controversy terribly. People have a right to know. I and other lawmakers are looking at ways to force out-of-touch AZGFD to release this important information soon.

The Sierra Vista Herald has an article today on my bill to reform Arizona's antiquated 'open range' laws so as to better protect public safety and private property. This bill won't pass this year, but we'll get it done in the future.

Finally, Obama's US Forest Service and Dept. of Justice have so far failed to take a more fair look at excessive public lands fees, such as the $5 per trip tax to remote undeveloped parts of the Santa Catalina Range on the Coronado National Forest near Tucson. The Obama administration seemingly has the same unacceptable 'stick it to the people' position as Bush. Read the article from yesterday's Arizona Daily Star. Visit the No Fee Coalition for more info. Congress must act soon to end the Forest Service's HIRA-fee scam.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Rs push phony budget from behind closed doors

Late breaking updates from Capitol on twitter @RepPatterson

UPDATE, Fri. Mar 12: GOP votes to push Arizona further down the wrong track

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Jan Brewer and her fellow Republicans are working behind closed doors away from the public to produce their own partisan and phony budget that only pushes Arizona farther down the wrong track.

After failing to even begin work on the budget after declaring last week “budget week” and after a year of unsuccessful attempts to solve the budget, Republicans will try again this week in a special session with their wrong-track and phony budget plans.

“It sounds a little bit too familiar — it’s the same failed leadership and the same failed budget process,” House Democratic Leader David Lujan. For example, Republicans want to take health care away from 417,000 people, something voters already approved in Proposition 204.

“Voter-passed initiatives like these are protected by the state constitution, and cutting hundreds of thousands of people from health care will only trigger a lawsuit, award health care back to Arizonans and ultimately will save the state nothing,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “This is just another phony attempt at cutting more from the budget, when in reality it will yield no results and only take away health care from kids, seniors and adults.”

Arizonans can see the same failed leadership in the way Republicans are handling the budget.

“All last year and this year, Republicans lied to the public, telling them that they would act in a transparent way in dealing with the budget,” House Democratic Policy Leader Steve Farley said. “Instead, they continue to craft a budget behind closed doors and are deciding the fate Arizona’s schoolchildren, their teachers and thousands of jobs. It’s time for a change.”

Lujan said. “Once again, Republicans failed to do what they said they were going to do — work on the budget. Meanwhile, Arizona is still on the wrong track.”

- adapted from House Dems PIO

Friday, March 05, 2010

NY Times covers AZ rest areas and my HB2645

People and pets want Arizona's highway rest areas open.

TUCSON -- Read today's article in the New York Times, Closing of Rest Stops Stirs Anger in Arizona.

Please contact your State Representatives and Senator to support my bipartisan HB2645 to help open rest areas closed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), all info at azleg.gov.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tire makers join fight against AZ mine dumping

Tires are resources to be recycled, not recklessly dumped in the ground.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- US tire makers have joined me and many other lawmakers in strong opposition to HB2290 from Rep. Russ Jones (R-Yuma), which would unwisely allow tires to be dumped in old mines.

Republicans passed this bad bill in the House yesterday, but hopefully it will die in the Senate or be vetoed.

Read AZ House Dems' news release.

Read the March 2 letter to Arizona State Representatives from tire makers:

Dear Representatives:

I am writing on behalf of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) to voice our strong opposition to HB 2290, a bill that would allow scrap tires to be placed into abandoned mines.

RMA is the principle trade group representing the eight U.S. based tire manufacturers. Our members are responsible more than 85 percent of all new tires sold in the United States, and the industry has been actively engaged in matters related to the proper management of scrap tires for more than 20 years.

At present, Arizona has a strong infrastructure for the scrap tires generated in-state. Nearly all of these scrap tires are properly collected and processed into viable end-use products. Allowing scrap tires to be placed into abandoned mines would draw scrap tires way from the current collection and processing system, which would negatively impact the operational economy-of-scale for Arizona's scrap tire industry. In essence, this process would take scrap tires from high value-added markets and put them into an underground stockpile, serving no useful purpose.

Enactment of HB 2290 could carry serious environmental consequences for Arizona. Improper underground tire storage could become a fire hazard. A tire stockpile fire in an abandoned mine would cause significant environmental damage and would be extremely costly to extinguish and remediate. The byproducts from an uncontrolled tire fire are pyrolytic oil and heavy soot. The oil released would undoubtedly seep into the surrounding environment causing potentially catastrophic ground water contamination. Soot and vapor emissions would create a potentially toxic waste site. These potentially serious consequences need to be fully explored and considered.

No other state has advocated or supported the placement of scrap tires into abandoned mines. In fact, states either prohibit or heavily discourage such practice for the environmental and market-damaging consequences outlined above.

Arizona has a vibrant and successful scrap tire management infrastructure. The potential for serious environmental harm from placing scrap tires in abandoned mines is significant. For these reasons, RMA and its members urge Arizona policymakers to oppose HB 2290.

I would be glad to discuss this matter with you at your convenience or if need be, to visit your office to address the issues raised in this letter.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Dan Zielinski
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
Rubber Manufacturers Association
Washington DC