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If you’re looking for a job, you may have posted your resume on the state website, azjobconnection.gov. It’s required if you collect unemployment benefits in Arizona.
NEW YORK — Planes are full. Passengers clamor for amenities. Investors want a payout. New planes are on order.
PHOENIX -- Hundreds of immigrants in this country illegally who are locked away on state charges will now be entitled to seek bail -- at least in Maricopa County if not elsewhere in Arizona.
Hundreds of immigrants in this country illegally who are locked away on state charges will now be entitled to seek bail — at least in Maricopa County if not elsewhere in Arizona.
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission concluded Thursday there's reason to believe a video by the state's school chief paid for by taxpayers actually was designed to help his campaign for reelection. But the odds are good that John Huppenthal will escape with little more than a fine.
PHOENIX -- The Citizens Clean Elections Commission concluded Thursday there's reason to believe a video by the state's school chief paid for by taxpayers actually was designed to help his campaign for re-election.
But the odds are good that John Huppenthal will escape with little more than a fine.
The 3-1 vote came despite Huppenthal's personal plea to the panel that the purpose of the video, sent to 60,000 educators and posted on YouTube, was to deal with the "anxiety-ridden feedback from the education community'' that the Common Core standards the state adopted four years earlier were going to be trashed. Huppenthal said it was never done in an effort to salvage his campaign to be the Republican nominee for state school superintendent, a race he eventually lost to Diane Douglas.
In fact, he told commissioners, the video, produced by and paid for the state Department of Education, actually could be interpreted to hurt him since he did express support for math and English standards. "We knew, had known for some time, that I was, by supporting the standards, that I was digging a hole for myself deeper and deeper politically,'' Huppenthal said.
Commissioner Thomas Koester said most of the video, issued just two weeks before the Aug. 26 primary, probably fits within Huppenthal's role as the state's top school official. But he said where the message went off the tracks was when Huppenthal promised to work with the next governor "to fully review the standards in a series of open, public forums to ensure that we are implementing the standards that are best for Arizona students.'' And Huppental said that will give families "an opportunity fully voice their concerns.''
"I acknowledge what you're saying,'' Huppenthal responded. But he denied there was any political purpose in the message, saying his promise for hearings was his effort to ensure the standards were not simply jettisoned by the public.
Commissioner Louis Hoffman had his own concerns about the video and the timing.
He noted that Huppenthal had just been accused of flip-flopping on the his support of what had since been renamed the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. Hoffman said the video could be seen as Huppenthal's attempt to address those criticism.
And then there was the timing of the Aug. 12 video.
"I'm very suspicious of this because it was done two weeks before the election,'' Hoffman said. "If it were merely a policy matter it could have been done earlier.''
But Huppenthal said the timing was related to the increasing criticism of the standards.
Thursday's vote essentially authorized Tom Collins, the commission's executive director, to conduct a full-blown investigation into the video and its costs. But Collins said he presumes that the inquiry likely will be short-circuited with what amounts to a deal for Huppenthal to pay a fine to end the matter.
Mitchell Laird, another member of the commission, said that might be the best outcome for all concerned.
"It's a really close call,'' he said of whether the video really amounts to a donation by taxpayers to Huppenthal's campaign.
Only Commissioner Steve Titla voted against proceeding, saying he thinks nothing that Huppenthal did broke the law.
With his political life cut short by his defeat in August, Huppenthal said after the hearing he's not looking for a fight.
"I'm anxious to get on with life,'' he said.
PHOENIX -- Having won benefits for current of gay state and university employees, attorneys are back in court demanding the same for everyone hired in the future. And if they win, count on them to start going after cities, counties, school districts and all government employers in Arizona.
Tara Borelli of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund wants U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick to permanently void a 2009 Arizona law that says benefits like health insurance are available only to those who are married. Borelli, the lead counsel on the case, said gay employees need benefits for their partners and children just the same as those who are married.
But Assistant Attorney General Charles Grube, in his own legal filings, effectively is urging Sedwick to butt out.
"Domestic-partner health coverage is not a fundamental right,'' he told the judge.
He said that means state lawmakers were free to decide to pass a law saying that benefits are limited to those who are wed. Grube said that is a financial decision well within the powers of legislators.
Grube said because the state provides no benefits for any unmarried partners, gay and straight, there is no discrimination against anyone because of sexual orientation.
But Borelli said that ignores one key fact: Straight couples have the option to get those benefits by marrying; a 2008 voter-approved state constitutional amendment denies that same right to gays, thereby making those same benefits inaccessible.
And that remains the case in Arizona unless and until federal courts rule gays can wed.
Gov. Jan Brewer is defending the law as one based not on sexual orientation but on budget considerations. She told Capitol Media Services the state needed the money it was spending providing benefits to the partners of its gay workers -- benefits Sedwick blocked her from cutting.
Borelli, however, said the effects are minimal, saying gays make up just 0.2 percent of all state employees getting benefits.
Arizona first provided domestic-partner benefits in 2008 when then-Gov. Janet Napolitano ordered state personnel rules rewritten to expand the definition of who is a "dependent'' for purposes of getting benefits. Those rules, which did not specify the gender of the partner, required a showing of financial interdependence and an affidavit by the worker affirming there is a domestic partnership.
But in 2009, after Napolitano resigned to take a post in the Obama administration, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved, and Brewer signed, a state law narrowing the definition -- and specifically excluding unmarried couples.
Sedwick issued a preliminary injunction blocking the change, at least as it applies to gay employees.
The judge acknowledged the change in law, tucked into a provision of the state budget, is not discriminatory on its face. But he said the denial has to be examined in light of the ban on same-sex marriage.
"As a result, (the law) denies lesbian and gay state employees in qualifying domestic partnership a valuable form of compensation on the basis of sexual orientation,'' he wrote in 2010.
Sedwick has since given the case class-action status. That sets the stage for the fight over whether the law should be permanently blocked.
Grube told the judge there's no basis for such an order. He said any disparate impact on gays is the result not of this law but of the other statutes and constitutional provisions which bar gays from marrying.
On a more practical level, Brewer said there's the question of cost.
"I think we all know that Arizona was in dire shape financially,'' she said of her 2009 decision to sign the law voiding the change in rules.
"We had to make some tough choices,'' the governor continued. "I believe that was one area we could cut costs, just like we had to do in behavioral health or education.''
Borelli, however, gave Sedwick figures -- produced by the state -- that show the cost of benefits for the partners of gay workers now covered is less than 0.3 percent of the total program, with the cost of claims for children at about 0.01 percent.
Brewer also brushed aside questions of whether the state should reconsider now that its finances are vastly improved from 2009.
"I would tell you that, almost today, no one can afford insurance,'' saying that is a question that can be taken up by the next governor and the next crop of legislators.
Finances aside, Grube said there's a rational reason for lawmakers providing benefits to those who are married versus those who are not.
"Under Arizona law, married persons have a legal duty to supply support to their spouses,'' he told the judge.
"A married person who fails to provide a spouse with necessary medical attendance actually commits a crime,'' Grube continued. "There is no such criminal statute for unmarried persons.''
But Borelli noted it is the state itself that prohibits gays from marrying in the first place and being subject to laws governing marriage. Beyond that, she said this is not a matter of criminal law.
"Plaintiffs rely on family coverage as an important part of their compensation for the same reason as their heterosexual colleagues: to provide shelter and protection to their families from the potential extreme stress of untreated illnesses and attendant financial burdens,'' she wrote.
And that, she said, goes to the other part of her discrimination argument. She said the gay workers are doing the same job as their heterosexual counterparts.
Brewer had one more reason to justify the Arizona law.
"The federal government also does not provide insurance to domestic partners,'' she said.
Borelli said that's true. But she also said it's unnecessary since the federal government recognizes the marriages performed in states where that is legal, allowing gay employees to get benefits for their partners.
It is only in states like Arizona, she said, where that is an issue.
Having won benefits for current gay state and university employees, attorneys are back in court demanding the same for everyone hired in the future. And if they win, count on them to start going after cities, counties, school districts and all government employers in Arizona.
A panel of local education, business and government leaders emphasized the importance of education to Gilbert’s fiscal future during an event on Sept. 25.
Arizona booksellers and others are asking a federal judge to void a new law aimed at “revenge porn” because it also could land them in prison.
Last Friday, I had the privilege of sitting down with young, up-and-coming author/actress Jessica Hickam, one of Arizona’s own who has decided to make her way in L.A. The firstborn of three girls, Jessica grew up in Tucson and graduated from Arizona State University. While Hickam noted that she was afraid to “leave the nest,” she did and has been flying high ever since. I was able to chat about her recently published book, “The Revealed.”
(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of stories about “snowbirds” in the Valley of the Sun).
A Pima County Superior Court judge may have paved the way for the state's more than 52,000 medical marijuana users to get into business of selling the drug, at least to each other.
A University of Arizona doctor and researcher, given her walking papers last month, is not going quietly.
Money can be a topic people are reluctant to discuss, but having an open, transparent dialogue about your finances should be the goal when it comes to your relationship with your financial advisor. An integral part of the client-advisor relationship is dependent on your advisor knowing the ins and outs of your overall financial situation, as well as your goals for the future. Arming your advisor with this information helps ensure that he or she can provide you with the most appropriate resources and strategies.
A major auto dealer has become a prime force in trying to ensure that Doug Ducey is the Republican nominee for governor — and that Christine Jones is not.
It used to be something only the Arizona geek community knew about but now Phoenix Comicon has become one of the largest conventions in the U.S. This year’s event brought in over 77,000 people to the downtown Phoenix area and in anticipation of this growth, the organizers of PCC utilized more of the Phoenix Convention Center this time.
The Chandler Fire Department plans to implement a new school fire safety and education program this fall to ensure city schools are inspected annually.
NEW YORK — Times Square is a lot of things — a sensory-overload, horribly crowded, eye-popping and deeply exciting. One thing it has never seemed to be is a place to go for food.
A Mesa man has been leading an online campaign for same-sex relationships in the upcoming U.S. release of the Nintendo 3DS game Tomodachi Life.
Not content to deal with domestic issues, the Arizona House has gone on record as saying the entire West Bank belongs to Israel and the 650,000 Jews who have settled there since the 1967 war “reside there legitimately.”
Plans to create a veterinary school at the University of Arizona have hit a roadblock as state lawmakers approved just enough money to tease the idea but not enough to actually make it happen.
A Phoenix Republican lawmaker is using her power to single-handedly kill a House-passed bill that could provide the necessary funds to finally have a study of possible beneficial effects of medical marijuana.