Pima Association of Governments Citizen Advisory Committee
Work is now beginning on the formation of the regional 2045 long-range transportation plan. Also known as the 2045 RMAP (Regional Mobility and Accessibility Plan), PAG is now looking for citizens who want to invest their time in the planning effort.
The work is aimed at identifying the long-term transportation needs of the region. Over time though, the Citizen Advisory Committee will work with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) on framing the continuation of the RTA. It expires in 2026 and will need to go back to the voters for re-approval. What the RTA responsibilities are, and how much the sales tax is going to be are all a part of this reauthorization planning effort.
If you’d like to get involved in this planning work, you need to get your application in by 5pm on Thursday, April 19th. To find out more information on the process go to their website at www.pagregion.com, or www.rtamobility.com. You can also call Paki Rico for more information at 495.1450.
The U.S. House of Representatives on a vote of 256-167 (proceeding under the TARGET Act) has approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown and to fund federal agencies through Sept. 30, sending the measure over to the Senate ahead of a midnight Friday deadline.
Arizona Delegation: YES McSally, O’Halleran, Sinema; NO Biggs, Gallego, Gosar, Grijalva, Schweikert.
The Senate is expected to vote late on Thursday or Friday, before current government funding expires at midnight on Friday. There could still be another brief Aqua Buddha shutdown from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) desperately seeking attention.
You can read the massive 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion spending bill to search for what is hidden in it.
Here are a few highlights of what is (and is not) in the spending bill compiled from several sources including the Washington Post, Politico, and Vox.com.
Defense spending generally favored by Republicans is set to rise $80 billion over previously authorized budget sequester levels, including a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel and $144 billion for Pentagon hardware.
Domestic spending generally favored by Democrats is set to rise by $63 billion over previously authorized budget sequester levels, including increases in funding for infrastructure, medical research, veterans programs and efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Civilian federal employees get a 1.9 percent pay raise.
Posted in Abortion, Arizona Congressional Delegation, AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Congress, Economics, Education, Election Integrity, Gun Policies, Healthcare, Housing, Immigration, Labor, Legislation, Mexico Border, Military, Party Politics, Taxes, Transportation
Tagged DACA, government shutdown, opioid epidemic, Planned Parenthood
Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs
Democratic candidate Billy Kovacs outlined a detailed plan for how he would grow Arizona’s economy as Tucson’s Congressman.
“We can grow our economy without giving massive tax breaks for corporations,” he said at a recent meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson.
Among the five serious candidates, Kovacs is the only one emphasizing the economy in Congressional District 2. As Bill Clinton pointed out in 1992, winning elections is about “the economy, stupid!”
In a nutshell, his plan focuses on:
- Education – creating an educated workforce.
- Renewable resources – solar energy and energy storage.
- Public transportation – expanding the Tucson streetcar in all directions and preserving Amtrak in Arizona.
- Infrastructure – creating millions of jobs with a $1 trillion investment over 10 years.
- Immigration – creating a path to citizenship for 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants.
“We need to attract companies and workers to Arizona, and I’m talking about smaller companies that want to live in Arizona because of our natural resources and trained personnel from the university — and not for tax breaks,” he said.
According to Kovacs, the US Department of Education is gutting public education with budget cuts to after-school programs, teacher training, Pell Grants, literacy programs and even school lunches. He calls for:
Posted in Arizona Congressional Races, Campaigns, Congress, Economics, Education, Elections, Immigration, Infrastructure, Larry Bodine, Political Events, Transportation, Tucson
Tagged Billy Kovacs, DACA, education, immigration, infrastructure, public transportation, renewable resources, solar energy, tucson streetcar
So how about that “Infrastructure Week” that wasn’t?
Trump’s ‘Infrastructure Week’ collapsed around him. “It was a given from the moment Donald Trump opened his mouth to defend rallying white supremacists and Nazi groups in Charlottesville that the administration’s “Infrastructure Week” was going to be a hot, molten mess.”
It also resulted in the collapse of his would-be Advisory Council on Infrastructure before it managed even a single meeting.
Infrastructure remains stuck near the rear of the legislative line, according to two dozen administration officials, legislators and labor leaders involved in coming up with a concrete proposal. Trump’s ‘Great National Infrastructure Program’? Stalled.
“It awaits the resolution of tough negotiations over the budget, the debt ceiling, a tax overhaul, a new push to toughen immigration laws — and the enervating slog to enact a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.”
Mr. Trump’s team has yet to produce the detailed plan he has promised to deliver “very soon.”
It’s just not going to happen.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Congress, Economics, environment, Infrastructure, Legislation, Media, Party Politics, President, Taxes, Transportation, Water
Tagged electrical grid
Donald Trump is completely bonkers, but then you already knew that. What is happening with his Muslim “travel ban” over the weekend only confirms this.
First some background on the status of the Muslim “travel ban.” Trump’s original executive order in January was blocked by the federal district court for the state of Washington as unconstitutional religious discrimination, and that court order was affirmed by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This elicited this response from Trump:
That didn’t happen. Instead, the Trump Justice Department dismissed the appeal and reissued a “revised travel ban” in March. The original executive order and lawsuit no longer exist for any purposes (something Trump does not seem to comprehend, as I will explain below).
The “revised travel ban” was also challenged in court, where it has advanced to two courts of appeal. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal district court for Maryland in an en banc decision blocking the “revised travel ban” as unconstitutional religious discrimination. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on May 15 in an appeal from the federal district court for Hawaii, and appparenty took additional arguments last week. 9th Circuit hears travel ban appeal, again. That decision is pending.
The Trump Justice Department filed for review before the U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday. Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog explains the posture of this case before the Supreme Court. Trump administration asks justices to weigh in on travel ban:
[T]he federal government asked the Supreme Court to step into the legal dispute over the constitutionality of the executive order [the “revised travel ban”] that the president signed on March 6. The government also asked the court to put on hold two lower-court rulings blocking the implementation of the executive order, telling the justices that those rulings undermine “the President’s constitutional and statutory power to protect” the United States.
Last night’s filings came in two separate challenges to the March 6 order, popularly known as the “travel ban.” One challenge originated in Maryland, where a federal district judge blocked the implementation of the order on March 16; last week the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit largely upheld the Maryland judge’s order. Another challenge came from Hawaii: A district judge there also ruled for the challengers, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard oral argument in the government’s appeal on May 15, but the appeals court has not yet issued its decision. Yesterday the government urged the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s ruling on the merits and to freeze the district court’s order barring the implementation of the travel ban. The government also asked the justices to freeze the Hawaii court’s ruling blocking the travel ban until the 9th Circuit appeal is resolved – and, if necessary, while the government seeks review of that decision in the Supreme Court.
Amy Howe notes that “The justices have asked the challengers to file responses to the petition for review and the requests for stays of the lower courts’ rulings. Those responses are due on or before 3 p.m. on Monday, June 12.“
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Civil Rights, Congress, Constitution, Courts, Ethics, International, Justice, Party Politics, President, Racism, Religion, Scandals, Transportation
Tagged bigotry, Muslim travel ban