the veridus weekly

04-12-2019

days of session: 89

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


Could lightning strike twice?

Arizona Democrats sure hope so. Because, for the second time in a decade, an Arizona Governor is being floated as a possible nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Governor Doug Ducey’s name surfaced this week as an unlikely-but-never-say-never potential replacement for Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, who abruptly announced her pending resignation. Of course, Governor Ducey’s departure to join the Trump administration would set off a series of political dominoes, beginning with the ascendancy to the 9th floor of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (a Democrat), and her appointment of a Secretary of State (another Democrat).

We know how this movie ends. In 2009, halfway through her second term, then-Governor Janet Napolitano bolted the State Capitol in order to lead Homeland Security as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. Her departure elevated then-Secretary of State Jan Brewer to the Ninth Floor – turning over the Governor’s Office to the GOP and helping give Republicans a grip on Capitol policymaking that continues to this day. Some Arizona Democrats have never forgiven Napolitano for the move.

So, might we see the sequel this year? Doubtful; Governor Ducey indicated this week he plans to complete his second term, and the prospect of him handing over power to the Democratic Party seems improbable at best. But we are talking about Arizona, after all. Governor Bruce Babbitt was the last Arizona Governor to complete two full terms in office without resigning, being impeached or meeting any other untimely end.


House passes proposed repeal of ‘no promo homo’ law

Arizona Capitol Times

The House voted today by a wide margin to strike down the state’s “no promo homo” law and render a lawsuit against the decades-old provision moot.

The repeal of a portion of the state’s law on AIDS instruction that specifically prohibits the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle and safe homosexual sex was approved 55-5. Republican Reps. John Fillmore, Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern, Warren Petersen and Bret Roberts voted “no.”

The repeal was offered as an amendment to Senate Bill 1346. Rep. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, offered the amendment to eliminate the “antiquated” law and save the taxpayer dollars that may have otherwise been spent defending it.

Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, thanked Shope and everyone who supported his amendment for “changing laws for the betterment of all students in Arizona public schools.”

When the law was adopted in 1991, no one would have imagined that six openly gay men would be serving in the Legislature today, he said. And the vote today was a bipartisan demonstration that things are different today.

[...] The bill now goes to the Senate.

Read more HERE.

Arizona Becomes First State To Establish Universal Recognition Of Occupational Licenses

News Release

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today, joined by Representative Warren Petersen, Arizona legislators, members of the business community and many more, signed H.B. 2569, making Arizona the first state in the country to recognize occupational licenses for new residents. The signing represents the fulfillment of a top policy priority announced in Governor Ducey’s State of the State address.

Arizona is ranked a top-three state for economic momentum and the fourth-fastest growing state in the country. Yet as new residents move here, they often face daunting and unnecessary hurdles imposed by state government to start a job, even though they were licensed, trained and qualified for the same job in another state.

To help these new Arizonans get to work faster, Arizona’s licensing boards and commissions will now be required to recognize occupational licenses granted in other states during the licensing process, something already done for spouses of military personnel deployed to Arizona. The bill ensures public health and safety protections for jobs that require background checks or other safety requirements.

“With this bill, Arizona’s sending a clear message to people across the country: if you’re moving to Arizona, there's opportunity waiting for you here,” said Governor Ducey. “There’s dignity in all work. And we know that whether you make your living as a plumber, a barber, a nurse or anything else, you don’t lose your skills simply because you moved here. The bill we signed today protects public health and safety while eliminating unnecessary and costly red tape. It’s an Arizona original and should be a model for other states for how to work together and do the things that matter. My thanks to Representative Petersen for sponsoring this important legislation and to the many people who helped make this first-in-the-nation reform possible.”

[...] Read more HERE.

The U.S. May Be on Track for the Most Measles Cases Since the Disease Was Declared Eliminated

Time

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed nearly 100 more measles diagnoses since last week, pushing the 2019 case count closer to record levels less than halfway through the year.

The CDC has confirmed 465 measles cases in 19 states so far this year, according to the agency’s latest numbers. That’s up from 387 cases in 15 states the week before, with recent cases in Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Nevada. Many cases have been clustered in New York and the Pacific Northwest, where widespread outbreaks are in progress.

If cases continue to accumulate, the U.S. may see more measles diagnoses in 2019 than in any year since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. Currently, that record is held by the 667 cases recorded in 2014, when an outbreak among Ohio’s Amish communities contributed 383 cases alone.

[...] As outbreaks continue to intensify, local health officials are taking increasingly dramatic steps to end them. In Rockland County, N.Y., for example, officials last month banned unvaccinated children from public places in an effort to stop the transmission of measles, though a state judge halted that policy last week.

Read more HERE.

veridus clients in the news

Retired racing greyhounds train for new lives

Cronkite News

Inmates at a private prison in Eloy are training greyhounds retired from the racetrack to find forever homes.

Watch the video HERE.

Never underestimate your role in our world.  Everyone has a part

Foundation for Blind Children

FBC student, Ashley, has cortical visual impairment (CVI) with speech and physical delays  as a result of contracting meningitis as a toddler.

When she first came to us as preschooler in 2017, had a dedicated nurse because of a tracheostomy and the need  to be fed through a tube. She had minimal response to visual stimuli such as lights, bright colors or reflective material and spent most of her  time lying on a mat.

Last year, her trachea was removed and Ashley’s  teacher encouraged her to feed herself to supplement tube feeding.   She also started walking in a gait trainer and doing sit-ups on her own during rest time.  She was slowly building the muscles she needed to stand on her own. Ashley also started using more of her vision  to interact with classroom staff.

At the start of the current school year, Ashley continued using the gait trainer, but one of  our physical therapists removed the seat. Ashley responded enthusiastically and

moved around quickly with the gait trainer.

By October, she was walking, holding only one hand of a teacher and trailing her other hand along the wall.  FBC staff soon introduced other types of support to help her retain her balance. Ashley definitely had the will to walk, but she didn’t have the confidence to take those steps on her own.

While she was enjoying spring break with her family, she started to walk independently.  The first day back from break, she walked into FBC on her own, surrounded proudly by her entire family!  

Ashley is also starting to interact with books during circle time.  She is improving her walking muscles by helping staff deliver mail and papers with her shopping cart.  Now that she’s more mobile, she is approaching peers in the classroom and making gestures of friendship.

We are so very proud of Ashley and look forward to watching her continue to grow and develop into an independent and social member of the community.   

Watch video HERE.

MIHS re-opens Maryvale Hospital

AZBigMedia

Maricopa Integrated Health System re-established critically needed health services at Maryvale Campus, which was closed in late 2017 by the previous owner. MIHS, soon to be named Valleywise Health, acquired Maryvale Hospital in February, 2018 and today begins providing 24/7, full-service emergency care. The critical need for this service was reflected by the more than 40,000 patients annually who were visiting the emergency center prior to its closure.

Maryvale Hospital will also provide behavioral health care for patients requiring hospitalization for mental health illnesses. This care is for court-ordered psychiatric evaluation and treatment. There will be 48 beds available when this service opens. This number of beds is planned to gradually expand to 192 beds.

“This facility addresses two critical health needs – 24-hour access to full-service emergency care for Maryvale residents and increased capacity of behavioral health hospital beds that will benefit patients from across the Valley,” said Steve Purves, President and CEO of MIHS. “This project is a strong example of how MIHS is fulfilling its commitment to use taxpayer dollars approved by Proposition 480 in 2014 to meet critical health needs in Maricopa County.”

“We are excited to expand services to Maryvale and the entire West Valley,” said Mark Dewane, Chairman of the Maricopa County Special Health Care District Board of Directors.

[...] Read more HERE.

The real reason my charter school reform bill came up short

Arizona Republic

Big things aren’t easily done at the Arizona Capitol.

More often, progress is made incrementally. It requires give and take – compromise that has regrettably become something of a lost art in our modern politics.

I say this in noting the demise of legislation I led – the Charter School Transparency & Accountability Act, Senate Bill 1394.

Why did it come up short? Simply put, some lawmakers believed the legislation went too far while others felt strongly it didn’t go far enough, thereby ensuring there would not be the required 31 yes votes on the floor of the Arizona House.

The legislation was the product of months of work beginning last summer. We sought input from lawmakers of both parties, education leaders, and charter advocates and skeptics.

The bill had bipartisan support

Two of Arizona’s biggest charter-school critics – the Grand Canyon Institute and the ACLU – each participated in discussions and had recommendations incorporated into the bill. Ultimately, the ACLU endorsed SB 1394, as did Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat, and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican.

As I said, getting things done isn’t easy. But this was a tremendous missed opportunity to improve governance and oversight of public charter schools in Arizona. SB 1394 would have:

   - Empowered the Arizona attorney general to investigate and prosecute charter-school financial abuses, including granting the office civil subpoena authority;

   - Enabled the state auditor general to review charter finances, upon referral by the AG;

   - Mandated every charter school have a governing body of at least 3 members, and prohibited family members from constituting a majority;

   - Made it easier to follow the money by requiring critical charter financial data – annual revenues, expenditures, assets, liabilities and more – be trackable at a single online clearinghouse;

   - Barred any related-party transactions unless publicly approved and disclosed with a written justification showing how the deal is in the best interest of the school.

We missed a huge opportunity to act

The Arizona Republic itself grudgingly acknowledged SB 1394 “would have made the most significant changes to charter schools since the Arizona Legislature authorized their creation in 1994.”

The legislation would not have solved every concern relating to charter schools in Arizona. But it would have been a tremendous step forward when it comes to shining a light on charter finances, ensuring charter governance is more independent and granting oversight entities ranging from the attorney general to the auditor general new tools to do their job.

SB 1394 would have made a difference. Charter reform will have to wait now. And that’s too bad.

Sen. Kate Brophy McGee represents Legislative District 28 in east Phoenix

Read HERE.

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