Category Archives: Labor

#AZGOP Forgoes $55 Mil in Childcare Subsidies on Budget Night (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley introduced a budget amendment to use $55 million in federal funds for childcare subsidies. This would have cost the state $0.

What was the most disgusting part of budget night? When 100% of the Republicans voted down my amendment to use $55 million in federal block grant money earmarked for child care assistance.

This would have cost the state nothing, and it would have dove-tailed perfectly with the tiered reimbursement for childcare payments, which would give low-income parents extra funds for high-quality childcare. But, no.

The Republicans have taken $80 million out of childcare assistance since the Tea Party Revolution started giving money away. This $55 million would have helped restore some of those cuts.

If you think you are represented by a moderate Republican, think again. The “moderates” vote with the hardliners 95% of the time. Watch the video below the fold.

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Passage of Dental Therapy Expands Access to Affordable Care (video)

Joint Health Committee Meeting

Joint House and Senate Health Committee Hearing on Novermber 28, 2017

For several weeks during the 53rd Legislative Session, I posted (almost) daily one-minute video updates from my office at the Capitol and posted them on Facebook and YouTube.

I never imagined how wildly popular these videos would be. At the Capitol, #RedForEd advocates would randomly come up to me and say, “I love your videos!” Now that I am back in Tucson, people come up to me at events, at church and in stores, and say, “I love your videos!”

So… I will be keeping them up during the interim.

My first interim video is on the passage of dental therapy. To catch up, I am doing a few videos on some of the bills we passed in a flurry at the end of the 53rd Session last week.

On the very last day, we passed dental therapy as a striker on another bill. I played an integral role in getting dental therapy out of the sunrise committee hearing last fall. Going into the November hearing (pictured above), only Republican Senator Nancy Barto and I were supportive of dental therapy. After five hours of testimony, it passed out of the sunrise committee but had a rocky road in the Legislature. I’m glad it finally passed.

I believe dental therapy is good public health policy because it will offer affordable dental care in rural and urban areas. This will expand access to care, prevent tooth loss, and offer a new career to residents of Arizona.

To Learn more about why dental therapy is important, you can read:

Economic Inequality, Access to Care & Workforce Development: A Progressive Roadmap.

Here is some of the media coverage on the passage of dental therapy:

Arizona law creates dental therapists to handle fillings, extractions and crowns 

Arizona is about to get a new type of dental professional

Chester Antone: Dental therapists good for tribes, good for Arizona

Watch the video below the fold. (Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.)

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‘Economically forgotten’ have much in common with America’s poor

Axios.com has an Exclusive: 40% in U.S. can’t afford middle-class basics:

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 6.19.16 AM

Data: United Way; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

At a time of rock-bottom joblessness, high corporate profits and a booming stock market, more than 40% of U.S. households cannot pay the basics of a middle-class lifestyle — rent, transportation, child care and a cellphone, according to a new study.

Quick take: The study, conducted by United Way, found a wide band of working U.S. households that live above the official poverty line, but below the cost of paying ordinary expenses. Based on 2016 data, there were 34.7 million households in that group — double the 16.1 million that are in actual poverty, project director Stephanie Hoopes tells Axios.

Why it matters: For two years, U.S. politics has been dominated by the anger and resentment of a self-identified “forgotten” class, some left behind economically and others threatened by changes to their way of life.

  • The United Way study, to be released publicly Thursday, suggests that the economically forgotten are a far bigger group than many studies assume — and, according to Hoopes, appear to be growing larger despite the improving economy.
  • The study dubs that middle group between poverty and the middle class “ALICE” families, for Asset-limited, Income-constrained, Employed. (The map above, by Axios’ Chris Canipe, depicts that state-by-state population in dark brown.)
  • These are households with adults who are working but earning too little — 66% of Americans earn less than $20 an hour, or about $40,000 a year if they are working full time.

When you add them together with the people living in poverty, you get 51 million households. “It’s a magnitude of financial hardship that we haven’t been able to capture until now,” Hoopes said.

By the numbers: Using 2016 data collected from the states, the study found that North Dakota has the smallest population between poverty and middle class, at 32% of its households. The largest is 49%, in California, Hawaii and New Mexico. “49% is shocking. 32% is also shocking,” Hoopes said.

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Oh, SNAP! The GOP’s war on the poor in the House farm bill

Eighty percent of the farm bill’s spending is on nutrition programs, e.g., the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly food stamps), but House Republicans want to start making work requirements for recipients harsher in order to benefit from these programs. No such requirements apply to the corporate welfare handed out to corporate executives to the tune of billions of dollars.

Tara Golshen at Vox.com has an explainer, House Republicans’ push to slash food stamps in the farm bill, explained:

The first draft of House Republicans’ farm bill, a $867 billion legislative package that subsidizes agriculture and food assistance programs, which Democrats say was written behind closed doors and without Democratic input. The bill has already passed out of the House Committee on Agriculture using only Republican votes. This is somewhat unusual — the farm bill has historically been bipartisan but has been plagued by a polarizing push over food assistance in recent years.

Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Minnesota Democrat and the Agricultural Committee’s ranking member, gave an impassioned statement just ahead of the partisan vote, saying, “We were pushed away by an ideological fight I repeatedly warned the chairman not to start.”

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week. Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration.

The Republican proposal to impose stricter work requirements and anti-fraud measures on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps — is estimated to slash $20 billion from the program’s benefits over the next 10 years. One million people in households of more than 2 million individual could be pushed off the program or experience reduced benefits, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Fully Funding Education is the Top Issue as LD 18 Democrats look to take both State Representative Seats in 2018

State Representative Mitzi Epstein

State Representative Mitzi Epstein

Education, Education, Education. That is the top issue for all three candidates competing for the two Representative seats for LD 18 as they vie to continue the trajectory of making this district increasingly blue in this year’s election.

As reported in a previous overview of LD 18, it is a district that includes Ahwatukee-Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, and Mesa. Socioeconomically, it is a mostly upper-middle-class district. It is where the main campus of Mesa Community College is located as well as technology powerhouses GoDaddy and Intel.

Jennifer Jermaine

Until recently, the district has predominately elected Republican candidates for its local seats. Democrats made their first electoral gains in the district this decade with victories for State Senator Sean Bowie and State Representative Denise “Mitzi” Epstein in 2016.

The party hopes to continue this trend by re-electing Bowie and Epstein to their current positions and electing either Jennifer Jermaine or LaDawn Stuben who will run against Republican State Representative incumbent Jill Norgaard.
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Martha McSally Exposed as the Worst Kind of Politician

Martha McSally video

Even among the hard right, McSally’s announcement video ad was received as confusing, weird, and ultra-Trumpian.

On a beautiful day in January, retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, the elusive Arizona Republican Congresswoman from Tucson, who has incredibly not held a Town Hall in close to three years, stood in front of a small crowd of VIPs congregated in a private airplane hangar (east of Tucson) and declared her candidacy for Arizona Senate. Her rally was an over the top, hyper-nationalistic “barn burner” of an occasion, where McSally told the crowd that she was ready to – as they say in the Air Force: Fly, Fight and Win.

McSally dressed up in her old A-10 flight suit, awkwardly rattled off some sort of racist stuff about the Mexican-American border, Sharia Law, and Trump’s Wall – then hopped in the back seat of a shiny WWII T-6 vintage trainer plane. She was then flown, by another pilot to Phoenix and Prescott for further campaign rallies – it was over-the-top self-aggrandizement.

U.S. Rep Martha McSally, a two-term Republican from Tucson and a former Air Force combat pilot is running for the same Senate seat which U.S. Senator Jeff Flake will retire from following his fiery rebuke of President Trump’s fascist tendencies on the Senate floor. The three-candidate, dogfight of a primary pits McSally, (the clear choice of the GOP establishment), against pardoned Sheriff Arpaio of Fountain Hills and conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward, a former state senator from Lake Havasu City, both of whom will be battling to win the party’s conservative base. Just last week, McSally was endorsed by our state’s former governor, Jan Brewer.

Confusing and weird

In the digital ad that accompanied her “Fly, Fight, Win” campaign rallies, McSally walks among aircraft and bizarrely declares:

“I refused to bow down to Sharia Law, and like our president, I am tired of DC politicians and their BS excuses – I am a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grown a pair of ovaries and get the job done.”

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