Monday, March 28, 2011

Calling out GOP plan to steal from cops & firemen

Arizona Capitol front lines

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- House Democrats are holding Republicans accountable for voting against public safety officers’ lifetime service.

House Republicans voted in committee to steal retirement from firefighters, police and correctional officers in Arizona with passing Senate Bill 1609, which now goes to the House floor. I and the other two Democrats on the committee voted no, as reported in the Arizona Capitol Times on March 23:

'Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), said that he hears promises that bills will be modified or improved after they are approved in committee too often, and those improvements never seem to happen.

He added that he was concerned by the speakers who said they felt like they had been left out of the process.

“We should take a more conservative approach, a more careful approach,”
he said. “I don’t think we should rush through this and push people aside.”

SB 1609 would:
-Make it difficult to recruit and retain public safety officers and protect family members’ when an officer is injured or killed in the line of duty.
-Not allow for a cost of living adjustment for approximately 17 years. The adjustment is currently used to offset increasing health care costs because public safety officers don’t qualify for Medicare or receive social security.
-Reduce the amount of an officer’s pension from 75 percent to 50 percent that is transferred to the widow or widower of an officer killed in the line of duty.
-Require law enforcement personnel to work five years longer before being eligible to retire.
-Increase the amount that public safety officers are required to contribute from their salary into their retirement plans at a drastic rate.

“The state constitution already protects public safety officers’ retirement through a voter-approved measure and this bill undermines the will of Arizona voters,” said Rep. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma (District 24). “These are the people on the front lines, protecting our citizens every single day, and they deserve retirement where enjoying basic necessities of life like health care does not turn into a luxury.”

Firefighters, police and correctional officers took a balanced approach to fix the bill and have offered amendments, but Republicans voted against them and passed it. Police stated that Republicans’ claims that law enforcement pension systems are on the verge of collapse are incorrect.

- adapted from House Dems PIO

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recent media clips from AZ on abortion, pensions

TUCSON -- Please read some recent media coverage below on abortion and pension issues in Arizona.

For daily updates, news & views 'like' my RepPatterson facebook page &/or follow me @RepPatterson on twitter.


Reuters
March 24, 2011 (pro-choice): Radical big gov't Arizona Republicans continue attacks on women's rights, families & doctors.

Opponents said there is no clear evidence that abortions for reasons of race or sex are a problem in Arizona or other parts of the nation.

"I've got to stand against this big government intrusion and meddling in people's personal lives, that's all this is," Representative Daniel Patterson, a Democrat who voted against the measure, said on the House floor.


Arizona Capitol Times March 23, 2011 (pensions for police, firefighters, etc.) : 'Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said that he hears promises that bills will be modified or improved after they are approved in committee too often, and those improvements never seem to happen.

He added that he was concerned by the speakers who said they felt like they had been left out of the process.

“We should take a more conservative approach, a more careful approach,”
he said. “I don’t think we should rush through this and push people aside.”

The bill passed 6-3, with Republicans supporting the bill and Democrats opposing it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

AZ Rep. Patterson on nuclear risks & considerations

Nuclear disaster in Japan is a wake up call to energy leaders worldwide

TUCSON -- Energy experts, governments and all should take a new hard look at not promoting costly nuclear plants.

Nukes have long been too expensive, which is largely why big energy hasn't built more. Now the catastrophe in Japan reminds us of the radioactive dangers.

Solar and wind energy don't risk meltdowns or make deadly toxic waste. America is safer environmentally and economically now without an explosive nuclear rush.

- as published by POLITICO, Washington DC, 3/14/11

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

My bipartisan work against domestic violence in AZ

UPDATE, Apr. 19: Gov. Brewer signed this in to law today.
Apr. 8: This bill is now part of HB2302.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- I'm happy to report the domestic violence victims protection bill I'm sponsoring with others is moving through the Arizona Legislature.

HB2588 passed the full House 56-0 on March 3, and will be heard in the Senate next week.