Battleground Arizona? All the signs are there.
Consider: On Wednesday, President Trump traveled to Phoenix for his first campaign appearance in the Grand Canyon State this cycle (and 10th of his political career). More than 14,500 Trump supporters packed the Coliseum to hear the President tout his accomplishments, torch Democrats and try to energize the GOP base to keep Arizona red.
Meanwhile, on March 15, each of the remaining presidential candidates for the Democratic nomination will be in Phoenix for a televised debate. The state’s Presidential Preference Election comes just two days later.
The swirl of activity suggests both political parties view Arizona as potentially in play to elect a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1996.
Democrats have made major strides in voter registration. During the 2018 midterms, the GOP ceded to Democrats four statewide offices, including a Senate seat. Meanwhile, Republican control of Arizona’s other Senate office appears precarious as Democrat Mark Kelly rakes in the cash and continues to lead incumbent Sen. Martha McSally in the polls.
Veridus Clients in the news
Harvest Health and Recreation, Arizona’s biggest medical-marijuana operator, said on Wednesday it has acquired three shops run by competitor Arizona Natural Selections, giving Harvest 14 of the 120 or so operating retail stores in the state.
[…] Marijuana dispensary licenses are worth millions in Arizona today and are poised to leap in value this November if voters approve a ballot measure to allow adult, recreational use of the drug.
Harvest is the biggest backer of the “Smart and Safe Arizona” ballot initiative, which would mostly limit recreational sales to the existing medical facilities in the state.
After voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, the Department of Health Services issued dispensary licenses in two lotteries to qualified nonprofit organizations that applied to the program.
While the DHS has a rule that says “a dispensary may not transfer or assign” its license, several large companies like Harvest have acquired control of multiple licenses and DHS has not interfered with those deals.
[…] Including pending acquisitions, Harvest will now actually have a total of 22 licenses in Arizona, according to the company.
“We are excited to further deepen our operations in our home state of Arizona expanding our cultivation, processing, and retail operations,” Harvest CEO Steve White said in a press release.
Harvest is well ahead of Arizona’s second-largest dispensary operator in terms of number of locations. Curaleaf Holdings Inc. of Wakefield, Massachusetts, has five retail sites in Arizona.
[…] Harvest is expanding nationally as well, with aspirations of cementing its position as the largest retail operator of medical and recreational marijuana in the country.
Harvest has various acquisitions in the works across the nation. If all the deals go through, the company reports it will have the rights to operate about 130 retail locations with more than 1,700 employees across 18 states and territories.
On Monday, Harvest announced opening its first Arkansas retail site in Little Rock. […]
An Arizona House panel has voted along party lines to advance a proposal barring new fees on ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
The 4-3 vote came Monday evening after a House Regulatory Affairs Committee hearing.
Majority Republicans backing the proposal say it will prevent Phoenix from violating a voter-approved ban on new taxes or fees on services.
Committee Democrats sided with other companies that pay to use Sky Harbor. […]
PHOENIX — Valley residents will have a brand new place to roll the dice on their luck as Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment will open its new venue on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
The 1.2 million square-foot facility known as Desert Diamond Casino West Valley is located near Northern and 91st avenues in Glendale and replaces the interim casino that began operating in December of 2015, according to a news release.
Patrons will be able to experience over 1,100 slot machines, 36 poker tables, 48 blackjack tables, five dining venues, a VIP lounge, and more.
[…] A ribbon cutting ceremony for tribal members and dignitaries will take place in the morning and feature remarks from Tohono O’odham Nation leaders. […]
TUCSON VALUES TEACHERS CELEBRATES TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER’S $100,000 CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHER SUPPLY DRIVE
Representatives from Tucson Values Teachers and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) celebrated TEP’s $100,000 donation to Tucson Supplies Teachers, an annual supply drive, with a check presentation this morning at Laguna Elementary School.
In addition to formally recognizing TEP’s continued support of Tucson Supplies Teachers, the presentation included awarding all teachers at Laguna with a $50 gift card to Office Depot/OfficeMax.
With TEP’s $100,000 contribution, the fall 2019 Tucson Supplies Teachers drive was able to raise $111,500 worth of gift cards for K-12 teachers in Southern Arizona to use for classroom materials and supplies.
[…] Tucson Supplies Teachers is the largest school supply drive in the region and the only regional supply drive that directly invests in teachers and allows educators to shop for their specific classroom needs.
Tucson Supplies Teachers has delivered more than $1.1 million worth of school supplies since its inception in 2009. […]
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In other news …
Phoenix Business Journal
Phoenix is expected to rise to the top spot among U.S. metro areas in net migration this year, adding more than 77,000 new residents, according to a 2020 forecast report issued by Marcus & Millichap.
“Phoenix stands out this year with one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies as firms are drawn to the favorable business environment, lower expenses and an increasingly educated workforce,” according to the investment forecast report.
[…] Here’s a closer look at Marcus & Millichap’s 2020 predictions:
Employment up 1.8%
[…] Construction of 9,000 apartment units
[…]Vacancy up 40 basis points
[…]Rent up 8.6%
[…] Investment […]
Arizona Capitol Times
A Gilbert Republican lawmaker wants to limit the number of unmarked cars that police can use for traffic stops.
And the few unmarked vehicles they would get to drive would at least have to be inscribed with the name of the agency on the right front door.
Rep. Travis Grantham said he wants the public to be suspicious of being pulled over by “some creep” driving what might actually be a private vehicle outfitted with some red and blue lights in the grille. And the fewer legitimate unmarked vehicles out there, he said, the less the chance that a motorist might be fooled.
Grantham acknowledged that his HB 2830 also means that police agencies would be limited to no more than 10 percent of their vehicles doing traffic enforcement being without the traditional lights on the roof and markings all around the front, sides and back. But he said that doesn’t bother him.
“I just don’t want to encourage law enforcement to go undercover on the general public all the time,” Grantham told Capitol Media Services.
[…] But the driving force, Grantham said, is making the driving public skeptical of being pulled over by anything that doesn’t look like a police car.
As crafted, HB 2830 forbids the use of anything that’s totally unmarked for traffic enforcement. Instead, police could use what the measure calls a “specially marked” law enforcement vehicle.
It would not need the lights on top or the markings all around. But at the very least it would have to have the name and logo of the law enforcement agency on the right door.
And anyone using that vehicle would have to be dressed in an official law enforcement uniform, “including shoulder patches, a badge and any other identifying insignia normally used by the employing law enforcement agency.”
[…] There is no date set for a hearing.
Phoenix Business Journal
The Arizona economy should be in fine shape into next year, despite some slowing at the U.S. level level, according to a national economist.
All signs point to a steady economy in 2020 and 2021, with no early warnings of any impending recession, economist Christopher Thornberg, founder of Beacon Economics told attendees on Thursday at an economic outlook event at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix presented by Alliance Bank of Arizona.
While the U.S. economy has continued to grow during the past three years, the growth has decelerated, Thornberg said.
[…] Arizona’s economy continues to fare well, as people of working age from other states and countries continue to move to the state. However, the largest portion of people moving to Phoenix are still over age 40, contributing to Arizona’s aging workforce, Thornberg said.
[…] Thornberg said Arizona is faring better than other states when it comes to availability of labor, though industries such as construction continue to see problematic shortages. In turn, the tight economy has boosted wage growth and employment among Arizona’s least-educated workers.
[…] Arizona even fares well on housing affordability, Thornberg said, mentioning that the number of rental households that are cost burdened in Arizona is declining.