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New York • The milk industry is fed up with all the sourness over dairy.
As Americans continue turning away from milk, an industry group is pushing back at its critics with a social media campaign trumpeting the benefits of milk.
PHOENIX (AP) — Five former Arizona child-welfare workers have filed suit against the state for what they call their wrongful termination amid an agency scandal, their attorney said Wednesday.
As a Democrat, the November elections were not kind to my party. We lost, often badly, in most of the races where we ran competitive campaigns. There are many reasons for this defeat, but the conclusion is the same: when it comes to the reins of power in Arizona, Republicans hold all of the cards.
PHOENIX (AP) — The director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, who survived a scandal at his Child Protective Services unit last year with the backing of then-Gov. Jan Brewer, handed in his resignation letter Monday just after Gov. Doug Ducey took the oath of office
Building healthy family traditions might be the most difficult thing you do. But, go for it anyway. It’ll bless your world and mine.
When another possible government shutdown was threatened recently, not everyone was living in fear and dread. During the previous shutdown in October 2013, furloughed government workers went looking for love. The dating site Zoosk reported a 46-percent jump in business in the Washington, D.C. area.
Spending time with family is a major part of the holiday season and oftentimes that includes the four-legged members of our families as well. But not every animal has a home for the holidays and many are in shelters like Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s East Valley shelter in Mesa and Lost Our Home Pet Foundation in Tempe.
PHOENIX (AP) — Outgoing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she is preparing a budget proposal that protects her top priorities but that she acknowledges can be ignored by governor-elect Doug Ducey.
Brewer said her budget will spare education, child welfare and mental health services from big cuts that will be needed as she seeks to fill a projected $1 billion deficit for the budget year that begins July 1. But she said it will difficult to avoid including big spending cuts in other areas.
"There are several things that are very protected in that budget, that I'll be guarding very carefully," Brewer said, ticking off the three top priorities. "So I've got those priorities, they've always been my priorities and they will continue to be my priorities."
But the Republican governor said it will be "probably be very, very difficult," to avoid major cuts in other programs, especially since Ducey has promised not to raise taxes. And she acknowledge that Ducey can take her proposal and change it however he likes, even if that means cuts to the new Department of Child Safety or behavioral health services.
"I think they will probably take my budget that's been drafted by my staff and then go in there and address the issues that they feel are important or not so important," Brewer said. "He'll be governor, he can do whatever he wants to do."
Ducey, also a Republican, takes office Jan. 5 and will roll out his budget on Jan. 16, meaning Brewer's efforts will save him time. Brewer budget director John Arnold is leading the effort to craft her new budget, and he also is part of Ducey's transition team. That means he'll likely leave plenty of options available for Ducey as he takes charge.
The budget proposal won't be made public, Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said Ducey welcomes the governor's input, but he did not give any additional comment.
Brewer called the looming budget crisis — a revenue shortfall of more than 10 percent of this budget year's $9.3 billion in spending — a challenge that Ducey can overcome. She herself faced a much bigger shortfall when she became governor after Janet Napolitano resigned in 2009 to take a job in the Obama Administration.
"Coming from where I came from it doesn't seem like such an enormous task — we were faced with a $3 billion deficit," Brewer said. "You just have to get a plan and you have to decide what it is and what your priorities are and move forward and then stick to your guns and get it done."
Brewer didn't have the chance to work with Napolitano on a budget proposal when she took office. Napolitano had stayed in office and presented her own budget proposal after accepting Barack Obama's offer to become his Homeland Security secretary, then resigned.
The state, mired in the throes of the Great recession, made massive spending cuts in Brewer's first years in office, including cuts to those top priorities Brewer is now trying to protect.
Oscar winner Hilary Swank is unleashing some serious star power to help rescue dogs get adopted by families who want to make a difference on Thanksgiving — or those who just want to watch terriers instead of touchdowns on TV.
Roger, a 3-year-old Chinese Shar-Pei mix, is an intelligent dog with a lot of energy. He likes to play and gets very wiggly and silly. He needs to meet dogs before going home, as Roger prefers calm and easy going dogs. He really like treats, but will need training on how to wait and be patient. Roger’s a big and lovable dog, who just needs a family who is patient and experienced enough to handle his energy needs and training.
Not even waiting until President Obama gave his speech Thursday night, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed suit in federal court seeking to block the announced plans to allow millions of people not in this country to remain and work here legally.
Foxie, a Catahoula Leopard dog/Rhodesian Ridgeback, may seem a little shy at first, but once she gets to know you she will be your best friend forever. All she wants is fresh air, love and cuddles, and guidance. If 3-year-old Foxie sounds like the girl for you, come meet her at the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, Building 6, 25 N. 40th St. in Phoenix. She would love a comfy home to sleep in. Her adoption fee is $150 and she is spayed.
Some things we learned from the recent Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board election. Democracy works at the local level, at least sometimes. Voters made it clear they want school board members who focus on the welfare of students and not on political ideology. The endorsement of Gilbert Mayor Lewis and the town council members does not mean much. None of the candidates they endorsed won. Mr. Colvin’s pathetic lament that he “… no longer has a seat at the table” as he likely finds himself in the minority is not true. Mr. Colvin will find that the new majority of Tram, Humpherys and Santa Cruz will treat him with more respect than how he treated those who disagreed with him in the past.
Outside groups that want Doug Ducey as Arizona's next governor have spent enough to give every man, woman and child in the state a dollar — and still have $1 million left over. That doesn't count the $2.2 million that Ducey himself has spent in the general election, on top of the $5 million he expended just getting to be the Republican nominee in the first place.
PHOENIX -- Outside groups that want Doug Ducey as Arizona's next governor have spent enough to give every man, woman and child in the state a dollar -- and still have $1 million left over.
A man is in the hospital after he allegedly stole a city-owned truck and crashed it into a pole, according to the Mesa Police Department.
Proponents of Proposition 122 insist that a potentially far-reaching amendment to the Arizona Constitution is necessary to ensure the public gets to monitor how well — or poorly — Arizona does in protecting children.
PHOENIX -- Proponents of Proposition 122 insist a potentially far-reaching amendment to the Arizona Constitution is necessary to ensure the public gets to monitor how well -- or poorly -- Arizona does in protecting children.
Postcards being paid for and mailed to voters by the Arizona Republican Party declare that "an unconstitutional federal law'' forces Child Protective Services -- which technically no longer exists -- "to hide botched investigations of abused kids.'' It features a photo of a young girl with a bruise on her arm crouching in the corner with her teddy bear.
The measure on the November ballot would allow the Legislature -- or voters -- to declare that the new Department of Child Safety will not follow the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act which includes provisions about what can and cannot be publicly released.
But it may not be necessary to amend the state constitution to do that.
"We could get out of CAPTA now if we reject the federal funds,'' said Dana Naimark, president of the Children's Action Alliance. Naimark, whose organization has taken no position on Prop 122, said she objects to proponents of the ballot measure using child-abuse issues to gain support, calling it a "distraction.''
Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, who has been at the forefront of demanding more transparency at DCS, supports Proposition 122. But she acknowledged the problem may not be with CAPTA, the federal law which the ballot measure would let legislators decide they don't want to enforce here -- and the one the mailer claims without backup is "unconstitutional.'' In fact, she said CAPTA specifically mandates disclosure of information in cases of deaths or near-fatal cases of abuse.
The big problem, she said, is how the state attorneys assigned to the child-welfare agency have chosen to read the federal law -- and to use it as a shield to reject requests for public records.
"They interpret CAPTA so broadly as to make it shut down the access to and flow of information, as opposed to do what CAPTA was intended, which is to facilitate the sharing of information in the case of the death or the near-death of a child,'' Brophy McGee said.
So is Proposition 122 needed to open up records?
"It's another tool in the tool box,'' she said, to ensure the new DCS she helped create -- and the lawyers that advise it -- err on the side of disclosure. "I'm fully prepared to use it.''
In essence, Proposition 122 would permit lawmakers or voters to decide that some federal law or program is not "consistent with the (federal) constitution.'' If that happens, all state and local governments and school districts would be prohibited from using their workers or funds "to enforce, administer or cooperate with the designated federal action or program.''
Where child abuse comes in is with CAPTA.
On one hand, the law which provides federal dollars to states for child-abuse programs specifically allows disclosure of information in instances of abuse that result in a fatality or near fatality. But other information is considered off limits.
More to the point, officials at Child Protective Services for years have cited CAPTA restrictions in rejecting requests for public records.
Brophy McGee said recent amendments to the law on confidentiality were designed to address some of that.
For example, the statute says records have to be maintained as required by federal law. But they also have declared that "all exceptions for the public release of DCS information shall be construed as openly as possible under federal law.''
"Every time we 'fix' (the law), they go right back to where they were and they cite CAPTA,'' Brophy McGee said. And she said that the new DCS is "not doing any better'' than the old CPS at being transparent about its operations -- even after she inserted a provision into the law creating DCS allowing the agency to hire its own attorney who might be willing to approve more disclosure.
That still leaves the question of whether lawmakers need Proposition 122 or can simply alter the existing Arizona law to demand fuller disclosure, regardless of federal law.
Businessman Jack Biltis, who is financing much of the pro-122 campaign, said he doubts that a simple amendment to state law would do much.
"CPS has really just been creating excuses not to disclose anything they didn't want to,'' he said, with the agency claiming the supremacy of the federal law. He said Proposition 122 would solve that by allowing lawmakers, citing the Arizona Constitution, to preclude precluding the DCS from participating in the federal CAPTA program if that is what is keeping records secret.
Biltis acknowledged that part of the decision lawmakers would have to make is whether such a mandate is worth the risk of losing federal dollars.
It's not a lot: Jennifer Bowser Richards, spokeswoman for DCS, put CAPTA aid to Arizona at just $670,000.
Biltis contends there is precedent that Washington cannot take away funds simply because Arizona refuses to follow federal law. That comes from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling two years ago which blocked the Obama administration from cutting off Medicaid dollars to states that refuse to expand their programs as part of the Affordable Care Act.
But that ruling dealt with a new requirement being superimposed on existing Medicaid law. This would involve Arizona trying to unilaterally alter an existing agreement.
Brophy McGee said she doubts there would be a legal fight if Arizona were to say it is going to make more information public, with or without Proposition 122.
"No state has ever lost funds because of CAPTA violations,'' she said.
DCS Director Charles Flanagan declined to be interviewed about the issue.
With the USA and coalitions dabbling in some type of skirmish with ISIS terrorists in the Syrian and Iraqi regions, now’s an important time to reflect on the advancement of terrorism and its impact on America’s way of life. Case in point:
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?
A: LD 18 deserves a senator whose primary concern is the needs and values of its residents. I’m a Clean Elections candidate, accountable solely to the LD 18 voters, not to out-of-state lobbyists, PACs or special interests. I will make education a priority as the voters have. I will defend women’s rights, not pass invasive policies and unfair pay laws. I will not drop Arizona down to the bottom of the list of states in economic recovery. I will not use accounting tricks to balance the budget, such as raid the Highway User Revenue Fund and threaten the safety of our infrastructure. I will not take funds from Arizona kids and roll them into corporate welfare bills to benefit out-of-state corporations. I will listen to my LD 18 constituents and pass bills and budgets that reflect their needs and values.
Q: Arizona is predicted to be among the fastest-growing states in terms of job growth in the coming years. What can Arizona do to accelerate the growth and what industries should it target, especially for residents of your district?
A: Arizona is one of six states with the slowest economic recoveries. We can create jobs by providing support to small and local business and by investing in public education. These priorities will pay off, particularly for LD 18 through research and development in bioscience, sustainable energy and other innovative technologies.
More than 97 percent of Arizona businesses are small businesses, and they represent Arizona’s largest employer. Arizona’s Legislature needs to turn away from backdoor giveaways and corporate bailouts and instead give priority to small businesses.
Additionally, Arizona has made the deepest cuts in the country to public education and is currently last in per-pupil spending. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the best way to ensure both economic prosperity and job creation is to invest in education. The simple message: “If you educate them, jobs will come.” With jobs and an educated workforce will come a strong state economy.
Q: Given the state’s decision to back out of the PARCC test, should Arizona continue to follow Common Core standards? If not, what standards should the state implement for its students?
A: Arizona did not back out of Common Core/Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (ACCRS). Nor did Arizona back out of PARCC. Arizona law requires the state to put out an RFP to select a vendor for a new assessment aligned to our new standards. PARCC will likely be one of the assessments considered, but the rigorous RFP process can now be applied without conflict of interest. The assessment selected should be a tool to help inform teachers in the classroom about student progress and learning, not used to judge, label, and punish teachers and schools.
Common Core (ACCR) standards are aligned with college and career expectations and are the foundation for writing an Arizona-appropriate curriculum. The standards are based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills. Standards mastery is essential for success in college, career, and life in today’s global economy. Arizona students deserve nothing less.
Q: The approval of Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid funding was a contentious issue in 2013. Now with a year gone, was the decision by Brewer and the Legislature the correct decision for Arizona?
A: It was the correct decision for Arizonans’ health care. The percentage of uninsured and the cost for uncompensated care declined dramatically, and Arizona exceeded its goals for Arizona marketplace enrollees. Arizonans and health care providers can now focus more on prevention and wellness care.
Medicaid expansion was also a fiscally correct decision. One-hundred percent of the costs will be covered for three years for the expansion category, and state costs for the restoration category will be covered by a hospital assessment.
The negative fallout occurred because the state Legislature had defunded KidsCare (affordable health care to kids in working families), disregarding a federal payback of $3 for every $1 spent by Arizona. This egregious act placed 105,000 kids on a waiting list for health care then, and now, at least 14,000 will be ineligible for affordable health care because there was no restoration of KidsCare.
Q: Given recent protestations about “dark money” affecting political campaigns, is there a problem with the campaign finance system in Arizona? Similarly, would you vote to present campaign finance reform legislation to voters in the next two election cycles?
A: Problems exist when voters in a democracy do not have equal access to legislative processes or democratic representation. When our state Legislature raised the limits on campaign contributions, it closed the door to equal access. Voters rightfully feel disenfranchised when their will is dwarfed — their voice silenced — by huge contributions, often from sources outside of our districts and states, with agendas that do not reflect the needs and values of our community. With the lack of transparency regarding the source of dark money, voters cannot even know who or what is purchasing a candidate.
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission is the best shot we have at authentic democratic representation. Clean Elections candidates are beholden only to the voters, and the amount of a contribution does not determine the level of access to legislative process or democratic representation, which is why I am running as a Clean Elections candidate.
Q. Why are you running
Pearl was originally found as a stray in Apache Junction. She’s been waiting a few months for a new home. She would love a home where she can have a regular feeding and exercise routine. Pearl could benefit from dropping a few pounds and now that the weather is nicer a walk here and there would be nice for her. Pearl is estimated to be about 3 years old. She is a real sweetheart of a girl. She seems to get along well with dogs. She is believed to be a hound/lab mix. Pearl is spayed, current on vaccinations, and microchipped.
A state hearing officer on Wednesday recommended rescinding a permit given to a company to extract copper from the ground underneath Florence using chemicals.