Just before the opening of the new legislative session, Democratic Legislators released their legislative priorities for 2021 in a blueprint called “Recover, Restore, and Rebuild: The Democratic Blueprint for 2021.”
Please click the pdf document below to review the document.
Speaking to the public and media, Senate and House Democratic Leaders Rebecca Rios and Reginald Bolding articulated these goals and expressed optimism that they can find bipartisan cooperation with Governor Ducey and, hopefully, their Republican colleagues in the State Legislature.
First Priority: Combatting COVID and Helping Those Affected by the Pandemic.
The major priority for Democrats, according to Rios and Bolding, is to more rigorously combat COVID 19 and aid those individuals, families, and businesses most plagued by the pandemic.
Both Democratic leaders stressed the need to:
- Accelerate the distribution of the COVID 19 vaccines.
- Streamline and increase funding for the state unemployment program.
- Extend the eviction moratorium and increase mortgage/renters assistance.
- Increase child care opportunities and TANF funding to combat food insecurity.
- Early release for nonviolent prisoners to decrease the spread of the Coronavirus in jails.
- Ensuring schools are safe and funded to cover any COVID 19 caused enrollment shortalls.
The blueprint released by the Democrats also calls for:
- Increasing digital learning in rural, tribal, and low-income communities.
- Paid family leave for state employees.
- Allocating more resources to help those with mental health issues and combatting domestic violence.
- Protecting all frontline workers including those in health care, law enforcement, teachers, child care, and grocery store employees.
Non-COVID 19 Priorities Democrats would like to Pursue this Legislative Session.
Both Rios and Bolding also emphasized their desire to pursue several Non-COVID priorities helping, as Senator Rios said “the underrepresented and defending Democracy,” for this legislative session. These include:
- Criminal Justice Reform including body cams for all on-duty officers, a database that tracks bad performing law enforcement officers, and limits on qualified immunity.
- Greater equality and rights for women in health care, pay equity, and the Equal Rights Amendment.
- Combatting climate change.
- Defending elections, voter rights, and the Democratic Process. Bolding stressed that “attacks on them should stop now.”
The end of the blueprint document states:
“Democrats remain stalwart in our commitment to the core values of supporting Arizona’s working families, uplifting the voices of the under-represented, and protecting democracy for all. We will advance these values while working to protect our staff, stakeholders, and visitors to your legislature until COVID-19 is no longer a threat. Thank you.”
Rios and Bolding take questions.
Senator Rios and Representative Bolding took several questions from reporters following their presentation.
On Capitol Security:
Both Rios and Bolding expressed satisfaction with the increase in security measures following events at both the State and National Capitols.
On Virtual Civic Participation:
Both Democratic leaders voiced their commitment to ensuring community virtual involvement in the civic process and maintaining strong virtual communications with constituents.
Rios and Bolding were optimistic they may be able to find a compromise on their legislative priorities with Governor Ducey and, hopefully, their Republican colleagues.
Rios called on the public to make their feelings known so Republicans know that “people are suffering” and “should support legislation to help them.”
“The public wants people to work together. There is a one-vote difference between Republicans and Democrats in both chambers. We have always had an open door and will continue to have an open door.”
On those Individuals that encouraged or attended the Insurrection Attempt at the Nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“People are disappointed with people who pour gasoline on the fire…especially when a capitol police officer is dead. We are open to options on what to do. No action is off the table.”
“There is a responsibility because constituents want to be assured there is accountability and that does not happen again.”
Please see below to see Senator Rios and Representative Bolding speak to the people and reporters.