As a country, we are somewhat inconsistent with our treatment of veterans. Lately, veterans as a group are spoken about with a kind of reverence that can actually make veterans themselves uncomfortable. Two recent controversies erupted over pictures of service members whose social media posts were deemed “disrespectful” by the public-at-large and those who commented did so out of “respect” for veterans. Yet, in practice, veteran suicide is still staggering and homelessness and unemployment still plague the community.
The executive director of Arizona’s State Parks Bryan Martyn heard a suicide statistic on the radio and decided to take what action he could. Since then, Arizona launched a pilot program that hires homeless veterans as park rangers, earning them a good wage and giving them a place to live.
According to Fox News, Army veteran Carlos Garcia earns “$12 an hour and [lives] in a FEMA trailer” on the park grounds. He’s been able to save money, lose weight, and even reestablish contact with his family. So far, the program only has four participants, but it has received accolades from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. In an editorial for AZCentral.com, Brewer wrote that “homeless veterans have been deprived of the comforts and security that most of us take for granted — blessings, ironically, that they themselves faced injury and death to secure for their fellow citizens.”
Along with the job and the roof over their heads, the veterans also are given access to the VA for counseling and medical treatment. “We ensure that we work with the Veterans Administration and get these guys counseling services that are available and the VA has been great about providing follow-up and checking on them,” Martyn told Fox. Brewer said in her editorial that the Arizona model is one that could work across the nation.
Arizona State Sen. Steve Pierce voted for a bill that would allow businesses in Arizona to refuse services to gay people for religious reasons. He has now changed his tune and is urging Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the legislation that passed the state legislature last week, reports United Press International (UPI).
“I screwed up,I’m trying to make it right, Pierce is quoted as saying to Capitol Media Services in the story. “I would be on board to get it repealed.”
After its passage last week, SB 1062, has gained national attention. Fearing it paints an unfavorable picture of the state, many have called on Brewer to veto the bill. ABC News reports that both Republican U.S. Senators from Arizona, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have joined in calls for veto from their Twitter accounts.
Proponents of the bill say it has been unfairly characterized by the national media and that Brewer should ignore the national attention and sign the bill.
Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, the architect of the bill, told UPI that opponents, “have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks and irresponsible reporting.”
Pierce agreed that the purpose of the legislation was not to discriminate against gays.
"To say (the bill is) anti-gay is following the feeding frenzy," he said. "I have friends that are gay and I wouldn't do anything to hurt them. This is blown way out of proportion and it's too bad."
However, it doesn’t look like he will backing down from his new position.
"I don't like the negative picture of Arizona, and I'm on board asking the governor to veto the bill," he told the Prescott Daily Courier on Saturday.
Brewer has until Friday to make a decision on what to do with the bill. She has three choices: She can veto it, sign it and make it or law, or simply not sign it. If she does not sign the bill it still becomes law.
Brewer told CNN, "I have to look at what it says and what the law says and take that information and do the right thing.”
John Roberts had recently moved to Waddell, Ariz., when he tried to obtain a new driver’s license. Employees of the state’s Motor Vehicle Division denied him the license because they refused to accept his valid license from his former home state, Kansas.
“I was told, ‘We don’t accept driver’s licenses from other states,’” Roberts said. “I said, ‘What?’”
The story from The Arizona Republic is raising new questions about whether Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s 2012 executive order, aimed at preventing undocumented immigrants from getting licenses, goes too far. The order prevents transportation officials from accepting licenses from other states as primary forms of idenitifcation. The order reasons such documents do not verify legal immigration status.
Brewer issued the order on Aug. 15, 2012, and it has kept thousands of undocumented people from obtaining legal driving privileges. It has also frustrated many legal citizens, like Roberts, who was forced to return to the licensing agency the following day with a passport that had been expired for 40 years.
“So, they took an expired passport, 40 years old, but they wouldn’t accept a valid driver’s license,” Roberts said. “That makes no sense.”
Brewer’s executive order was issued the same day President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program went into effect. Under the president’s program, children who were brought to the country illegally, but are now working adults and meet certain requirements, are allowed to defer deportation and acquire two-year work permits. Such people, under the plan, are often referred to as “dreamers.”
According to a USA Today story, Brewer’s office maintained that undocumented immigrants under the president’s program are not eligible for licenses because only Congress has the authority to grant non-citizens legal presence.
A lawsuit was immediately filed by advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, challenging Brewer’s actions. In response to the lawsuit, the governor’s office extended the licensing ban to all immigrants granted deferred action status, not just the dreamers. The people most affected by that broadening of the ban are those granted deferred action for humanitarian reasons, including victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
"Recipients of regular deferred action and deferred enforced departure, similar to DACA, cannot demonstrate authorized presence under federal law," said Andrew Wilder, the governor's spokesman, in USA Today, at the time.
As for the lawsuit, the AP reported last month that a federal judge had ruled Brewer’s policies were likely discriminatory but did not block the policy. The decision was appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Orion Danjuma, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, likened the policy battle to a war while underscoring the fact that other legal citizens are also getting caught in the crossfire.
“There are a huge number of barriers that they are setting up not only to [deferred-action] recipients or to other immigrants but also to citizens,” he said. “I think it is a real question for every Arizonan how many obstacles do you want to tolerate that are between you and receiving a driver’s license just so that Brewer can keep waging a war on dreamers.”
During the partisan frenzy of the 2012 Election year, Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer made headlines after a picture circulated of her pointing her finger at President Obama, who seemed to be trying to walk past her.
Governor Brewer later called the encounter “uncomfortable” and claimed it was centered on a dispute about an account of a meeting between the two detailed in her book. She also once falsely claimed that illegal immigrants were beheading people in the Arizona desert as part of a harsh immigration agenda.
So, it is somewhat surprising that she is the latest vocal critic of the GOP’s efforts to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act also called Obamacare.
Many states controlled by Republican administrations are taking steps to refuse funding from the government for the law, including some state officials calling for citizens to openly defy the law. However, Governor Brewer told Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services that even though she opposed the law in the first place, she does want to ensure that the citizens of her state benefit from it as much as they can.
“The bottom line is we need that money in our economy to save rural hospitals and jobs,” the Governor said. She also warned that to repeal it at this point would “devastate” their state budget. Governor Brewer expects Obamacare will make $1.6 billion in payments to Arizona’s Medicaid program this year alone. The money will come from a new tax on hospitals, so there is no direct cost to the taxpayers.
Governor Brewer has already felt some political fallout from expanding Medicaid in her state, even though she was one of the Governors who sued to stop Obamacare on constitutional grounds. The case made it to the Supreme Court where Justices ruled that the healthcare law mandate was indeed constitutional.
While every other state in the nation has kept welfare programs afloat amid the federal government shutdown, Arizona has opted to become the exception to that rule.
Now, 5,200 Arizona families won’t be receiving funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which pays out an average of $207 per week for each eligible family. Even though the federal government guaranteed reimbursement, Arizona politicians are unwilling to temporarily grant poverty-stricken residents any money out of the state’s own pocket.
With a $450 million emergency fund in the bank, the state can afford to continue welfare. The program costs the state about $1 million per week.
Democrats are pressing Governor Jan Brewer, a highly conservative Republican, to reopen the program.
“The rainy-day fund is for emergencies, and this is an emergency,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Leah Landrum Taylor. “This is beyond hurting the families ... Families are relying upon this.”
Indeed, families eligible for the program may be unable to pay for basic needs like food and housing without assistance. However, Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter is reportedly insisting that the state has no funds available to help them.
“So the ball is in the governor’s court. She would either need to release emergency funds or call the Legislature back into session,” said Democratic Representative Debbie McCune Davis. “These are resources that are going to the most needy families in our state. They are families with children who are very unlikely to have any cash reserves to fall back on.”
Arizona’s Native American population, which relies on federal funding for education and medical care, is also among those hit hardest by the shutdown, even as lawmakers continue to receive their own salaries.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said on Tuesday that she was satisfied to see that a portion of the Voting Rights Act had been struck down by the Supreme Court and added that the act “hampered” the state.
“Decisions that affect states should be left to states,” Brewer said. “I am grateful to the High Court for ruling on the side of sovereignty and federal restraint."
Section 4 of the act required states would to preclear voting laws in an effort that originally provided for protection against racial discrimination. When asked why she believed the clause was unnecessary, Brewer said that racial discrimination no longer exists.
“I think we were being punished by the Voting Rights Act for indiscretions, bad things that took place decades ago,” Brewer said. “We have grown and so it was the right thing to do so I’m pleased.”
The governor added that while racial discrimination was historically common when the act was created, the standard has now become redundant.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is no fan of Libertarians.
According to AZ Central, in the last year, two Arizona Republican candidates have lost elections to Democrats by 10,000 votes or fewer while the Libertarian candidate on the ballot received more than 10,000 votes. Brewer wants these Libertarian votes back in the R column.
So what did she do about it?
She made it all but impossible for a third-party candidate to ever get on an Arizona ballot.
Brewer signed a bill into law this evening that raises the signature requirements to get on a ballot to practically impossible levels. For example, Green Party candidates would have to get more signatures than they have members in their party in order to appear on the next ballot.
So there you go, America. Either every political view you have fits cleanly into one box or another or, oh well.
People have shown in the past that they will elect members of third parties to major public offices. In the last 140 years, there have been 111 representatives, 31 senators, and 22 governors elected that were not affiliated with any major political party. The amount of money involved in winning elections makes it hard for third-party candidates to compete, but it does happen.
This bill in Arizona is the latest piece of evidence that the two-party system is only becoming more entrenched over time.
In an almost too ironic to be true move, the bill is officially named the “Elections Integrity Bill.”
Good one, guys.
The Arizona Senate approved a bill Tuesday making gold and silver legal tender throughout the state. The GOP-controlled Senate passed the bill, and if signed into law by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer it will go into effect in 2014.
The Arizona Department of Revenue opposed the measure, which would make it only the second state in the nation, next to Utah, to accept precious metals created by the Fed and private mints as currency.
The bill passed in the House once an amendment was made to exempt the Department of Revenue from having to accept gold or silver as tax payments.
Supporters of the bill said it is a reflection of public distrust of government-backed money as the dollar declines in value. However, the price of gold is currently dropping as well. In early April gold took its biggest one-day plunge since 1983.
Democrat Sen. Steve Farley of Tucson opposed the measure because of the unpredictable nature of precious metals as currency, citing the price drop in gold. "Anybody who thinks gold or silver is a safe place to put your money had better think again," Farley said.
The measure would only allow the use of gold and silver as money when businesses choose to accept them. "Businesses are not clamoring for this, to say the least," Farley said. "This is basically growing the size and scope of government to create an entirely new currency system."
Farley said store clerks cannot be expected to know how to inspect, weigh, or otherwise determine the value of precious metals used as money.
“Yeah, I know gold is down right now,” bill sponsor Arizona State Senator Chester Crandell told the Daily Ticker. “People are still buying gold and using it as a commodity and I think they want to use it as actual legal tender instead of the dollar."
In 2011, Utah became the first state to accept gold and silver as legal tender. A similar measure in Maine was recently rejected.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill on Monday requiring all firearms acquired through gun buyback events to be resold, rather than destroyed.
The bill requires seized or forfeited guns be sold to any business “authorized to receive and dispose of the firearm … that shall sell the firearm to the public according to federal and state law.”
Republicans in Arizona’s GOP-controlled legislature argued that destroying weapons seized by authorities was a waste of taxpayer resources. Now the money earned from selling the guns will be put into the local treasury.
Democrats argued that selling the firearms goes against the premise of gun-buyback event, defeating the purpose of people turning over their guns to keep them out of the hands of children or criminals.
Brewer’s office claims the governor received emails, letter and calls from more than 1,900 people asking her to sign House Bill 2455. One of those letters was from the National Rifle Association, who claims that selling the appropriated guns "would maintain their value, and their sale to the public would help recover public funds."
The NRA said the bill still allows private groups to hold a gun buyback and destroy the acquired weapons.
Brewer received a letter from Democrat Rose Wilcox asking her to veto the bill. Wilcox, a Maricopa County Supervisor, who survived being shot in 1997 at the close of Board of Supervisors meeting, has led many buyback events. She wrote that the bill "would force the resale of guns that would otherwise never have been used for violence.”
"How many lives would be lost through the use of weapons our citizens hoped to be removed from the hands of criminals?" she wrote.
Brewer signed a second bill on Monday that bans any city, town, or county from collecting or maintaining of any identifying information about a person who owns or sells a firearm.
Although there is no evidence that any Arizona city has such a list, supporters of the bill said they are acting offensively so that the government never gets the chance to start one. Now, only Arizona police will be able to keep records of gun ownership "in the course of a law enforcement investigation.”