Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen hosted a town hall in Joseph City last week to address concerns regarding restrictions being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants.
While the EPA has yet to respond to the latest regional haze proposal submitted from the state, the attack is now focusing on CO2 emissions produced by coal-fired power plants such as Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City, or other plants that use natural gas, petroleum, or any form of solid, liquid or gaseous fuel derived from fossil fuels. This latest endeavor comes after President Obama unveiled the final version of the Clean Power Plan in August.
The plan calls for Arizona to reduce CO2 emissions from in-state power plants by 34 percent by 2030, putting it in the moderate range compared to states throughout the country. The period for mandatory reductions begins in 2020 with what’s being called a “glide path” from that time until 2030. The glide path is a gradual step down in emissions to meet the overall goal in 2030.
Approximately 100 people attended the town hall. Speakers included Allen, District 5 State Representatives Brenda Barton and Bob Thorpe, and Eric Massey, Air Quality Division director with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
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“Governor Doug Ducey has issued a statement calling for an immediate halt in the settlement of refugees in Arizona until the federal government consults the state and takes into account our grave concerns and recommendations before proceeding any further. The Governor properly cited existing federal law that gives Arizona this right. The Republican leadership of the State Senate strongly supports this approach to deal with this developing crisis, in an effort to keep all the residents of Arizona safe from the kind of despicable violence perpetrated by radical Islamists as we have seen here in the United States and most recently in Paris. We applaud the Governor’s leadership and stand with him to protect our homeland.”
The Legislative Joint Border Security Advisory Committee voted today to recommend that the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office be the first recipient of funds from the Border Security Trust Fund. The sheriff’s office will receive approximately $219,000 to enhance border security.
In 2011, SB 1406, sponsored by Senator Steve Smith and signed by the Governor, established a website for the purpose of raising private money to improve security along the Arizona-Mexico border. All the funds raised at www.buildtheborderfence.com are held in a trust fund account in the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office. The Joint Border Security Advisory Committee oversees the project and determines disbursement of monies. On the first day of existence, 1,265 individual donors from all fifty states donated to www.buildtheborderfence.com
In today’s committee meeting, members heard from Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, a member of law enforcement for three decades and a recognized national leader in fighting crime along the border. Sheriff Dannels requested the money from the fund to purchase equipment to combat human and drug smuggling and all illegal border activity, as a result of the unsecured border. His plan is for a virtual fence, including the purchase of Global Positioning Systems, binoculars, handheld thermal imaging cameras and a thermal binocular, all synced with the sheriff’s office and its elite Border Security Task Force. Subsequent disbursements from the committee could include funding for a physical fence.
“The Federal Government continues to avoid addressing the crisis of drug cartels, illegal aliens and violent crimes along our border. The people have responded through this website that they demand a response. Today’s disbursement announcement is a good first step for this effort, and I expect the public to continue to respond to this mission, to hopefully shame the Federal Government into doing its job“, said Senator Smith.
Senator Steve Smith has been named Legislator of the Year by the Arizona Police Association (APA), an organization representing nearly 9,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers in Arizona.
Senator Smith is Chair of the Senate Public Safety, Military & Technology Committee and is a lifelong supporter of all levels of law enforcement.
He earned the Legislator of the Year honor for his commitment to line officers and how they can safely do their difficult jobs. He was acknowledged for his work on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and funding for training and better technology for officers.
“Every year Senator Smith displays passion for these issues, and he consistently goes to bat for officers and their families,” said APA lobbyist Mike Williams.
Smith is only the third legislator to receive this honor from APA.
“Today the Arizona Legislature passed a plan to increase K-12 funding by $3.5 billion over the next ten years. This proposal is the result of months of discussions between the Governor’s office, Republican legislative leaders and school groups. I am proud to be one of the prime sponsors of this bill.
The agreement is well-thought out, and voters will have a chance to support the plan this spring. We have seen great leadership during these negotiations, to make sure these dollars get to the classroom.
Unfortunately, we’ve also seen political hypocrisy. The agreement is drafted in three bills. We’ve seen House and Senate members vote ‘yes’ on one and ‘no’ on the others. That means they don’t support the settlement reached or the benefits to our schools. This isn’t an a la carte approach. But watch, later on these members will say they supported the plan, when they really didn’t.
I voted for the plan without hesitation. I think it is the best we can do to resolve the inflation funding issue and move forward in a positive way.”
“For many years, Arizona has been the nationally-recognized leader in school choice. A number of our high schools are consistently ranked near the top of U.S. studies. We were one of the first states to create public charter schools. Our Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) allowing parents to find the best education option for their student are a model being emulated throughout the country. Today, Arizona took the lead in education funding, with a plan to add $3.5 billion to our schools, without raising taxes. It has built-in measures to grow K-12 funding every year, but to also make sure other critical areas of state funding are not negatively impacted by the education increases.
This landmark agreement is a sign of effective leadership in our state. The Governor, Republican legislative leadership and the education community worked together to find the best funding package for our children. Now, voters will have the opportunity to decide if they agree. Today is a day to celebrate passage of this bipartisan agreement. We will continue our work to improve our schools and give our children the finest education possible.”
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club has named Senator Gail Griffin a 2015 Free Market Champion Award recipient. The Free Market Champion Award is given to members of the Legislature who demonstrate leadership and a commitment to free market, pro-growth policies in Arizona. Senator Griffin won this year’s honor, along with Representative Jill Norgaard.
“The Free Enterprise Club is proud to honor these two legislators for their hard work and consistent support of economic freedom and prosperity at our state capitol,” said Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi. “They truly made a difference for Arizona taxpayers and businesses.”