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Doug Ducey wants to make empty schools and classrooms in existing public schools available to other public and charter schools that have students waiting to enroll.
The number of new homes in Gilbert might slow down by the end of 2015, but officials from the town, chamber and school districts anticipate an uptick in business and a few technology changes for the education vector.
Wasting no time after being sworn in, Gov. Doug Ducey immediately took the possibility of higher taxes off the table to balance the state budget, even on a temporary basis.
Here is a roll call of some of the famous people who died in 2014.
Charity isn’t just about the sweeping gestures, the $10,000 checks donated to a good cause via a well-regarded philanthropist. Charity encompasses smaller donations, those $5, $10, $20 gifts that tend to add up to large amounts quickly. Charity isn’t about an unreciprocated donation either; a small loan can provide an enormous boost to a fledgling businesses.
When it comes to designing an app to help kids learn, there may not be a better group of product developers than kids themselves.
Arizonans may get a chance to decide if they want to let farmers here grow an industrial — and not psychoactive — version of marijuana.
Claiming consumers here were misled, Attorney General Tom Horne has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors alleging it sold vehicles to Arizonans the company knew were unsafe.
In high schools across the nation today, teenagers will dutifully shuffle in to their classes, take their seats, and learn facts that they could easily Google. In doing so, our schools waste both the teachers’ and the students’ time and energy (and the taxpayers’ money) by focusing too much on memorization, too much on information that anyone with an internet connection and a vague understanding of how to use it can find in less than ten seconds.
Supporters of the Mesa Public Schools override say the $31.8 million dollars at stake are vital to keep the school district afloat, but opponents say the district would use those funds inefficiently.
As we begin National Bully Prevention Month, I feel it would be pertinent to put some thoughts on paper that would bring to light an important aspect of the bullying issue that is not usually addressed.
Having to account for growing student enrollment, Leading Edge Academy came up with a unique solution to the problem — open up a brand-new facility at a former grocery store.
PHOENIX -- Saying the state needs the cash, a first-term Tucson Republican lawmaker wants to legalize marijuana -- and do it before it ends up on the 2016 ballot.
Ethan Orr said he believes a Colorado-style law here could generate upwards of $250 million a year in tax revenues. He said the state, heading into a budget deficit, needs the cash.
But Orr said there's another reason for lawmakers to act: a proposed 2016 ballot measure.
He said if that is passed, it is virtually impossible to make changes if it turns out there are problems. By contrast, Orr said anything approved by the Legislature can be amended by the Legislature.
The proposal drew a sharp rebuke from Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, who is also running in the same legislative district. She said the timing -- a month before the general election -- is suspicious as she, Orr and Democrat Randy Friese face off for the two available seats.
But this isn't Orr's first foray into the issue of marijuana.
Last session he sponsored legislation designed to allow the use of state dollars, obtained from medical marijuana users and dispensaries, to study the effects of the drug. That measure was approved by the House but killed in the Senate.
Timing aside, Steele said that, as a substance abuse counselor, she cannot support anything that has the possibility of making marijuana more easily available to teens, even if the law were designed to limit its purchase to adults.
The proposal is getting a decidedly chilly reception from Republican gubernatorial hopeful Doug Ducey who would be in a position to sign or veto the bill if it ever got to his desk.
"As the father of three boys and the son of a cop, he thinks it's a bad idea,'' said spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney.
But Democrat Fred DuVal appears open to the idea -- but just not yet.
"Fred wants to wait and see what happens with the states that already moved to legalize recreational marijuana,'' said Geoff Vetter, his press aide. "There's a lot of things we're still learning and Fred wants to discover all the consequences of legalization before moving in that direction.''
But the Marijuana Policy Project, which got voters in 2010 to approve a medical marijuana law, is not about to drop its plans for 2016.
Chris Lindsey, the group's legislative analyst, said Orr's proposal is "not surprising'' given what he said has been the success of legalization in Colorado.
"We applaud Rep. Orr for taking a stand for a more sensible law,'' Lindsey said. But simply introducing a bill is far from a guarantee of getting a hearing, much less the measure making its way onto the books.
"For the time being, while we wish the representative and his legislation every success, our plans to place a measure before voters in 2016 has not changed,'' Lindsey said.
Orr's plan is a direct extension of that 2010 initiative when voters decided that those with certain medical conditions and a doctor's recommendation could purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from state-regulated dispensaries.
Since that time the state's finances have deteriorated.
The current projection is Arizona will end this budget year $520 million in the red if lawmakers have to reset state aid to schools to where it would have been had they not ignored for several years a requirement to consider inflation. And for the coming year the deficit is projected to exceed $1 billion.
Orr said the experience in Colorado shows legalization can work.
"All of the apocalyptic predictions made have not come true,'' he said.
"You have not seen an increase in the hardcore drug usage of things like heroin and cocaine,'' Orr said, or any increase in arrests for disorderly conduct. "But what you have seen is an increase in tax revenue.''
Potentially more significant, Orr said, is the chance that the 2016 initiative might pass.
He said this means Arizona law will be crafted not after careful consideration and debate by lawmakers but instead go to voters as a take-it-or-leave-it plan. Worse yet, Orr said, is the Arizona Constitution precludes virtually any change by lawmakers in voter-approved measures even if problems develop.
"This is going to happen,'' he said.
"Is it going to happen in an intelligent way because my colleagues chose to act like leaders and do what was right for the state?'' Orr continued. "I guess another way of putting it (is), are we going to govern or are we going to be governed by the initiative process?''
"I don't think we should have it either way,'' responded Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall. "We don't need another highly addictive substance available to adults or adolescents.''
LaWall acknowledged that what Orr is proposing would be only for adults. But she said its greater availability will make it more accessible to teens.
"Research shows it has a devastating and damaging impact on developing brains and can lead to life-long addiction,'' she said. "Among other risks, marijuana impairs thinking, leads to poor educational outcomes and lowered IQ, and increases a teen's likelihood of dropping out of school.''
And LaWall said even assuming marijuana sales could be limited to adults, legalization sends the message that it's use is somehow OK.
Steele said Colorado residents are having second thoughts. In a poll last month by Suffolk University and USA today, about half of residents surveyed said they are not happy with the law and how it is being implemented.
"And in Colorado, we're seeing since this has happened, that the use of marijuana among teenagers is 39 percent higher than the national average,'' Steele said.
But another report raises the question of whether any of this is related to the 2012 law.
A report released by Healthy Kids Colorado found that in 2013, the first full year the drug was legal for adults, 20 percent of high schoolers admitted using marijuana in the prior month and 37 percent said they had used it at some point in their lives.
By contrast, the 2011 survey found 22 percent who admitted to use in the prior month and 39 percent to sampling it.
But along the lines of LaWall's concern of acceptance, the same survey said the percentage of students who perceive a moderate or great risk from marijuana use declined from 58 percent in 2011 to 54 percent two years later.
Steele said her concern is for those children.
"I do think that adults have the right to make that decision,'' she said.
"But I'm a substance abuse counselor,'' Steele continued. "And I have dealt with so many people who started their drug and alcohol addiction in their teenage years, starting at 11 and 12.''
Orr said he has never used marijuana. And he agrees that, at least for teens, the drug should remain off limits for recreational use.
"In high school I saw it fundamentally destroyed some of my friends' lives,'' Orr said, who started with marijuana and, having decided that illegal drug use is OK, moved on to other substances.
This isn't the first foray by lawmakers into the area of legalizing -- or at least decriminalizing -- marijuana for recreational use.
John Fillmore, then a Republican representative from Apache Junction, tried in 2011 to make possession of up to two ounces a fine of no more than $200. When that failed, he tried a scaled-back measure the following year, with a $500 fine for possession of up to an ounce.
That also failed.
Just this past session Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, tried total legalization and recreation but could not get a hearing for his measure.
PHOENIX -- Same-sex weddings in Arizona could be less than a week away.
In a brief order made available Friday, a federal judge considering challenges to the Arizona ban said he's all but convinced that Arizona's laws and constitutional provision against gays being able to marry are illegal.
Judge John Sedwick said his conclusion follows a ruling earlier this week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously those restrictions violate the rights of homosexuals who want the same rights to wed granted to heterosexuals.
Sedwick said it appears that decisions "controls the outcome'' of challenges here.
In essence, the judge gave attorneys for the state through this coming Thursday to convince him that's not true. If they cannot, the judge indicated he will grant a motion by challengers to summarily rule the Arizona restrictions illegal and reject a separate request by the state to dismiss the challenge.
That could come as early as Friday.
Jennifer Pizer, attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, who is handling one of the two challenges in Sedwick's court, said she sees his action as a good sign.
"The order ... confirms that Judge Sedwick is prepared to apply the 9th Circuit decision and vindicate the basic rights of lesbian and gay Arizonans and their families,'' she said.
Pizer pointed out that last month, it took the judge just hours after oral arguments to decide that Fred McQuire was entitled to be listed by Arizona authorities as the surviving spouse of George Martinez who he married in California.
"Judge Sedwick doesn't dawdle when he's been persuaded,'' she said.
Less clear is how quickly gays would be able to marry.
Sedwick could follow the precedent set by the 9th Circuit and make his ruling effective immediately. Efforts by other states to delay similar orders have been rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the high court on Friday dissolving the temporary stay it had given Idaho officials from that appellate ruling, requiring that state now to also start letting gays wed.
Attorney General Tom Horne told Capitol Media Services his office is still reviewing that 9th Circuit ruling. Horne said he has not yet decided whether any of the arguments Arizona is making to preserve its restrictions are sufficiently different than what the appellate judges already have dismissed in the other cases.
More to the point, Horne said any decision of whether to appeal of Sedwick's ruling will depend on whether he believes Arizona would have more success defending its ban than any of the other states have had.
It may be difficult to prove that the arguments here are any different than have been made -- and rejected -- elsewhere.
In defending Arizona's restriction, lawyers said that defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman "furthers the state's compelling interest in connecting children to both their biological mother and their biological father.''
"The most reliable studies on alternative family structures show that, in general, the optimal childrearing environment is a home headed by a married biological mother and biological father,'' wrote Byron Babione. He is an attorney with the Christian public interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom who Horne has allowed to take the lead in making Arizona's arguments.
"Moreover, every set of biological parents provides their children with a parent of each sex, and much social science indicates that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development,'' Babione wrote.
But in the 9th Circuit ruling just this past Tuesday, appellate Judge Stephen Reinhardt said Idaho and Nevada were making the same arguments: that marriage laws "promote child welfare by encouraging optimal parenting.'' That included the idea that children raised by two parents of opposite sex are "most likely to thrive'' because mothers and fathers have "complementary approaches to parenting.''
Reinhardt said, however, there was nothing presented to the court supporting those contentions.
In the brief Sedwick said he will rule on, Babione also said it is "logical'' to assume that if gays can marry "that marriage between man-woman couples having or raising children will decrease.''
"As fewer man-woman couples marry and as more of their relationships ends prematurely, the already significant costs associated with unwed childbearing and divorce would further increase,'' Babione wrote.
Reinhardt, however, addressed that specific contention in the appellate court ruling by citing data from Massachusetts where gays have been able to marry since 2004. He said there was no decrease in marriage rates or increase in divorce rates in that time.
And the judge said allowing gays to marry actually might have the opposite result predicted by foes.
"It would seem that allowing couples who want to marry so badly that they have endured years of litigation to win the right to do so would reaffirm the state's endorsement, without reservation, of spousal and parental commitment,'' Reinhardt wrote.
Babione also contends that that if gays can wed "it is logical to project that fewer fathers will commit to their children's mothers and jointly raise their children.''
But Reinhardt, addressing the same arguments from Idaho and Nevada, said that comes down to a contention that a man who has a child with a woman, seeing a child raised by two women allowed to marry by the state, will somehow conclude that it is unnecessary for his own child to have a father.
"This proposition reflects a crass and callous view of parental love and the parental bond that is not worthy of a response,'' Reindardt sniffed. "We reject it out of hand.''
Along the same lines, Reinhardt brushed aside arguments by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch'' Otter than that allowing same-sex marriage will lead to bad behavior by heterosexual couples.
"We seriously doubt that allowing committed same-sex couples to settle down in legally recognized marriages will drive opposite-sex couples to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll,'' the judge wrote.
Finally, Babione said the people of Arizona, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2008, have a right to define marriage for their community. But Reinhardt, in the earlier ruling, said that does not trump the fact that, absent some legitimate purpose, "laws that treat people differently based on sexual orientation are unconstitutional.''
On a strictly legal question, Babione contends Arizona's restriction should be upheld if the state can show a rational basis for it. But the 9th Circuit, saying fundamental rights are at issue, already has said it examines these kind of laws on a "strict scrutiny'' basis which require states to show some compelling reason for them.
Q: Why are you running
Q: Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
Q: Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
Q. Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for the 2014 Palo Verde Women in Business Award.
Mesa Community College has received a grant from the EPA totaling just more than $80,000, which it plans to use for stimulating interest and education in a variety of new agriculture techniques best suited to Mesa’s increasingly urban environment.
Attorneys for the state are warning a federal judge that fewer “straight” couples will marry and existing marriages will become less stable if he allows gays to wed.
Rock musician Alice Cooper’s annual youth music competition showcases his passion for furthering education by giving young musicians a shot on stage.
Lost in all the big statewide races in Arizona's primary election are hard-fought congressional battles in which Democrats are trying to clinch a Phoenix-area seat and Republicans are vying for the chance to unseat Democratic incumbents in three districts.
Partisan bickering in Washington may be a gold mine for 24-hour news channels and some print media, but it could bring Main Street in for some hard economic times.