What Else Needs to be Done to Combat the Coronavirus in Arizona

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Governor Ducey has issued a Stay at Home Proclamation for people until April 30, 2020.

The schools are closed until at least August 2020.

The legislature has allocated $105 million in addition to the billions in federal aid to meet the Grand Canyon State’s needs to counter the adverse socio-economic effects of the virus.

What else needs to be done to combat the Coronavirus in Arizona?

In addition to narrowing the number of businesses on the “essential services,” several Democratic candidates and activists have suggested the Governor and the Legislature endeavor to work more on improving the state’s medical infrastructure including testing and equipment availability. They also want to advance socio-economic policies that will propel Arizona out of the likely economic downtown that will result from the public health emergency.

Legislative District Six State Senate Candidate Colonel Felicia French wrote:

“Our state government’s first responsibility is to protect our health and lives.” 

 “As a nurse, I am concerned about the current lack of testing, as well as shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for everyone who is fighting on the frontlines against this pandemic.”

“To slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the state should issue comprehensive stay-at-home orders for all of Arizona, instead of forcing cities and towns to respond in a piecemeal fashion.”

“Additionally, the sooner the state can fully utilize already existing taxpayer assets such as the National Guard, to assist our hospitals and community resources, the sooner we can reduce the spread and devastation of the virus.”

 “As the former Deputy State Surgeon of the Arizona National Guard, I know we have over 6,000 personnel who are trained to handle the logistical, operational, and medical requirements for such an emergency.”

 “To learn what else can be done to protect our Arizona communities from COVID-19 and future pandemics, please join Denise Link Ph.D. and me for a COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall, this Saturday, April 4 at 6pm on Facebook.

 Legislative District Two State House Candidate Billy Peard proposed legislation before the State Legislature suspended the session until Mid April that:

“During these times, it is important for our elected officials to be proactive and to think outside the box,” Peard said. “While I am not currently in office, I am releasing these proposals with the hope that some portion of them may be seriously considered by our elected officials.”

 “Arizona legislators unanimously approved a $55 million public health package on March 12 and a school reform measure on March 18, but there remains much to be done. Peard’s proposals would reduce the strain on state institutions, increase relief for workers, and reduce face-to-face interactions – reforms yet to be seriously debated by legislators.”

 “In the latest example of political inaction, the GOP-led House on Thursday failed to approve a $50 million COVID-19 aid package. Peard proposes a COVID-19 omnibus bill, which would address several pressing matters, without increasing government spending and without drawing down the state’s rainy day fund. Peard’s proposals include:

  • Authorizing the Legislature to meet virtually;
  • Allowing Arizonans to sign ballot petitions virtually;
  • Expanding paid sick leave on a temporary basis;
  • Tolling various statutes of limitations in civil lawsuits;
  • Releasing nonviolent offenders from county jails and freeing up essential personnel;
  • Reforming the workers’ compensation system on a temporary basis.”

 “Peard offers the proposal to any legislator – Republican or Democrat – who wishes to introduce the legislation in whole or in part in the days and weeks ahead.”

 Legislative District Ten State House Candidate Paul Stapleton-Smith offered:

“Our Governor and our Legislative majority must be transparent in their COVID-19 response. Tell us the truth about why our loved ones cannot get tested when they are sick. Tell us why our frontline medical practitioners cannot count on our Governor to get testing kits, personal protection equipment, or sufficient hospital beds. Experts told us for years to fix our broken public health system.”

 “Our families deserve a commitment to public health support that is clear and concise. Our Governor and his Legislative leadership, in lockstep with the Trump Party have deliberately and chronically underfunded our public health services for years.  They left us with an inability to prevent what public health experts from across the world warned would create needless deaths and economic destruction. Now we are here.”

 “Leaders lead. Incompetence and willful disregard of medical science have combined with a reckless disregard for the welfare of our entire population. Arizona families will now suffer the consequences,: our working families, retirees and our children will suffer the most. Our health and economy are being shattered into pieces while this Governor and his cronies turn to lie, completely incompetent and vainglorious Trump for advice.”

 “We need new rules.”

Former State Democratic Legislative Leader David Lujan and his team at the Arizona Center for Economic Progress have put forth “A People Driven Economic Agenda for Arizona During COVID-19.” This agenda, which builds and expands on the legislation passed at the Arizona State Legislature and Congress call for many progressive proposals that include expansions in:

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave.
  • Unemployment Insurance.
  • Food and nutrition assistance.
  • Affordable Housing and Stability.
  • Greater cash assistance to families enrolled in TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.)
  • Protecting Arizona’s prisoners according to CDC guidelines. House Democrats issued a request to head of the Department of Corrections to address this issue. Please click on the link below to see the full letter.
  • Relief to individuals with student loan payment obligations.
  • Including undocumented immigrants in these assistance measures to mitigate and halt the spread of the virus into and outside that group.
  • Targeted and greater assistance to Native Americans.
  • State stimulus programs by learning the lessons of what went wrong in the reaction to the Great Recession twelve years ago and not repeating them.

Please click here to access the link to a full copy of the proposed agenda by the Center.

The people have seen what happens when the Federal Government did not plan ahead when the first warnings about the Coronavirus became apparent.

It is imperative that Governor Ducey and the Legislators at the State Capital learn from the mistakes made by the current administration and PLAN NOW and BETTER for what is coming to Arizona and devise solutions for the emergency and the recovery. These include supply and testing procurement, mobilization of personnel, and economic planning.

This approach will save many lives, lessen suffering, and help the people and the state move forward in a more positive direction.

Letter to DOC Director Shin (002)