the veridus weekly



Regular sessions shall be adjourned sine die no later than Saturday of the week in which the one hundredth day from the beginning of each regular session falls. The President and Speaker of the House may by declaration authorize the extension of the session for a period of not to exceed seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can be extended only by the Senate and House by a majority vote of the members present in each body. 

in focus

After hinting at it for weeks, President Trump on Friday took executive action to declare a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to averting another imminent government shutdown, the move allows the President to circumvent Congress – which approved spending far short of his request – in order to access more than $8 billion in federal funding for his “big, beautiful” border wall. 

The question now is whether it will stand (literally). Trump’s decision drew immediate backlash from organizations like the ACLU, which is now suing the President over his “blatantly illegal declaration of a national emergency.” House Democrats, meanwhile, have announced plans to introduce legislation that would block the action, which they’ve billed as a “fake emergency” and a “power grab by a disappointed President.” 

The resolution of this fight involving all three branches of government remains to be seen. One thing is certain: this is not the last time a President will invoke an emergency declaration to achieve a policy Congress opposes.


East Valley Tribune

Only days after a 16-year-old Mountain View High School student took her life, an Ahwatukee legislator last week introduced the latest version of a bill aimed at helping to prevent teen suicide.

Sen. Sean Bowie’s bill would require the training every three years of all school personnel working in grades 6-12 in recognizing the early warning signs of teen suicide and appropriate intervention techniques.

The bill comes as the Mesa teen’s death brought to 33 the number of teenagers in the East Valley who have taken their lives since May 2017.

The act is modeled after an initiative undertaken last year by Tempe Union High School District, which trained everyone from school bus drivers to teachers and principals in recognizing the early warning signs, using a consortium of experts organized by Teen Lifeline.

In September 2018, more than 800 Tempe Union employees received the training in two-hour blocks on two consecutive days.

Bowie has named his bill the Mitch Warnock Act in memory of a champion pole-vaulter who took his own life in October 2016. His mother, Lorie, an English teacher at Mountain Pointe High School, has been a champion of suicide prevention.

[...] Read more HERE.



PHOENIX — The number of registered voters in Arizona has grown since last November’s election.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced Monday there are currently about 3.8 million active voters in Arizona.

That’s an increase of about 66,000 active voters since the general election two months ago.

Arizona now has about 1.3 million registered Republican voters, more than 1.2 million independent voters, more than 1.1 million Democratic voters, about 32,000 Libertarian voters and some 6,600 Green Party voters.

[...] Read more HERE.


Washington Examiner

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm William Barr, President Trump’s pick to serve as his next attorney general.

Barr’s confirmation passed a 54-45 mostly party line vote in the GOP-led Senate. The vote came more than three months after Jeff Sessions, Trump's first attorney general, was fired.

Democrats who oppose Barr’s confirmation have criticized his ability to fairly oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russians. Many said they were alarmed by a 20-page memo Barr authored in June questioning the legitimacy of the Mueller probe and making the case that Mueller should not demand Trump “submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction.”

[...] Read more HERE.


AZ Big Media

[...] Jason Barraza promoted to Veridus director

Veridus announced that Jason Barraza has been promoted to the role of Director.

Jason has been with Veridus since 2009; he was named a Senior Associate Director in 2016. With this promotion, Jason joins Wendy Briggs, Jeff Sandquist, Jay Kaprosy and Matthew Benson as Directors of the firm.

“Jason has been an instrumental part of our growth, success and recognition as Arizona’s leading firm for government relations, strategic communications and public affairs,” said Jeff Sandquist, Veridus Director. “This well-earned promotion is a reflection of Jason’s work ethic, policy expertise and character – all of which have made him a trusted and respected figure at the State Capitol and across our community. We are fortunate to have Jason on our team and know he will continue to do great things in this new role.”

In addition to his government relations work on behalf of a range of corporate and non-profit clients, Jason also has been involved in numerous political campaigns. He provided on-site logistical assistance as part of each Democratic National Convention between 2000 and 2016. Prior to joining Veridus, Jason assisted the coordinated campaign for the Arizona Democratic Party between 2002 and 2008.

“This promotion to a Veridus directorship is an enormous honor,” Jason said. “It has been a privilege to work with such a respected group of professionals and to represent some of the best clients and causes in Arizona.”

Read more HERE.



The Arizona Charter Schools Association is pleased to announce that Jake Logan will serve as President & CEO for the non-profit organization.

Logan is an Arizona community leader and public policy expert with 25 years of experience in business and politics. As President & CEO of the Association, he will be charged with leading strategic planning, policy, communications, fundraising and other initiatives for the state’s leading charter support organization. More than 550 public charter schools serve nearly 200,000 students statewide.“

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we are excited to have Jake lead our organization,” said Jay Heiler, Chairman of the Association Board of Directors. “His years of experience, both in public policy and as a member of the Arizona State Board for Charter schools – combined with his strong leadership skills – make him an ideal leader for our organization.”

Glenn Hamer, a Board Member who also led the search committee, added: “I’ve known and worked with Jake for many years, and he will bring energy and enthusiasm to the organization. Combined with his management skills and political acumen, the Association is well-positioned for the future."

Logan brings to the new role a wealth of knowledge about public education and charter schools. Previously, he served as an appointed member of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, including a stint as President. Logan was Regional Director and Campaign Manager for former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl; and served as a Senior Adviser and Director of External Affairs for the Arizona House of Representatives.

More recently, Logan was Regional Vice President for UnitedHealth Group. In this role, he was charged with advancing the organization’s business and policy objectives in Arizona and nationally.“

I am honored to be part of the Arizona Charter Schools Association and look forward to working with policymakers and stakeholders to further advance K-12 education in Arizona,” Logan said. “Thanks to the efforts of a lot of people over many years, Arizona has a world class charter school system, and I look forward to continuing that trajectory.”

Logan earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Arizona State University (1995); and completed the Executive Education program from Stanford University (2016)

Logan succeeds former Association President & CEO Eileen Sigmund, who announced her resignation in Fall 2018.



MARICOPA, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Hundreds of students gathered to compete in the inaugural VEX Robotics Competition at Legacy Traditional schools in Maricopa. The competition features 35 teams from different Valley schools and the winners will head to states next month.

"People were kind of underestimating us because we're an all-girls team and now we're qualified for states three times," said Sofia, a competitor.

Sofia, Emily, Lauren, and Erin know a little something about surprising people. The all-girls robotics team at Legacy Traditional Schools didn't just qualify for states once but three times. If you ask, they'll tell you working together is one of their secrets to success.

(Click image to view video clip)

[...] Read more HERE.


Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Clayton Honyumptewa says the Powamuya ceremony will be observed this weekend as usual on parts of the Hopi reservation, but the planting that traditionally follows the ceremony might not come until May.

The delay is just another example of the effects of climate change that have left dams dry, water scarce – and pushed planting from March to April and then to May, leaving little time for crops to grow.

[...] It’s been really tough on tribes across the country, officials told a House panel looking at the effects of climate change on Native America. Honyumptewa was not there, but stories like his were repeated in testimony Tuesday by tribal leaders from Alaska, Washington and Arizona.

An Inupiaq witness testified that melting glaciers are leading to erosion that threatens rural villages on the Bering Strait, and a representative of the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington said the tribe’s treaty-protected fishing has dried up, while rising seas endanger nearby communities.

Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairman Verlon Jose told the House Natural Resources subcommittee climate change has affected everything from farming and livestock to housing and infrastructure.

“We have been able to live off the land, with the land, and with the environmental conditions that it has,” Jose said. But the decades-long drought in Arizona has brought extreme heat and reduced groundwater and surface water needed by crops and livestock.

“As climate change has begun to disrupt both our traditional and modern ways of living, we have had to figure out ways to cope with these changes,” Jose said in his testimony.

The testimony came a day after the president of the National Congress for American Indians urged lawmakers in his annual State of Indian Nations address to take steps toward reversing climate change.

[...] Read more HERE.


AZ Family

(Click image to watch video clip)

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Rocking new dresses, bow ties and smiles, 22 models walked the red carpet at the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix Saturday.

“The models are students who are visually impaired or totally blind,” said Celeste Teply, youth and family services coordinator for the foundation.

The youngest model there was just four months old. The oldest was 18. Watch video of the fashion show in the player above.

The fashion show builds confidence in the students and for a little bit, they get to be at the center of attention.

“There are proms and there are daddy-daughter dances in the valley, and a lot of our students don’t have the opportunity to go to those,” Teply said. “So this gives them an opportunity to be in the spotlight.”

[...] Read more HERE.

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