Mitzi Epstein works hard for Truth and Justice
ABC Ch15 News Report Sept. 16, 2020:
"'What do we do with a mass unemployment event.' That was State Democratic Representative Mitzi Epstein back in March in front of legislators before anyone knew what the pandemic might cause." - see news report Sept. 16, 2020-
It's true, I do work for long-term plans to avoid crises. For too long, the Arizona budget and the legislative majority leadership (elected Republicans) have been looking at reacting to crises like chickens running in a yard,
rather than investing in the people who have expertise to make long-term plans for a recession and for a pandemic.
Channel 15 News Investigative Reporter, Joe Ducey looked at the large problems we have with Unemployment Insurance now, and asked, "What has been done? What have you tried to do?"
I told him that we - The House Democratic Caucus -worked as a team in March calling for better plans to help people during the pandemic. We had budget amendments for food and housing assistance, to stop price-gouging, delay evictions and car repossessions, tele-health, workers' protections, and of course, Unemployment Insurance improvements. Our plans would have put many of them in place through June of 2021, with the option to repeal if the economy improved. Instead of working with us, the legislative Republican Leadership chose to not even hear our amendments. For real-life drama of your Democratic representatives fighting for you, watch the video of the floor debate.
The fireworks in that debate start at about minute #9 - with Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler saying, "I want the people of Arizona to know we've got to do something. People need help, like the pregnant woman who wrote to me this morning that she would end up homeless if we don't do something." Rep. Warren Petersen- Republican Leader - repeatedly called the question, meaning he called to end time for debate or discussion. Around minute 20, I had to work some parliamentary fancy footwork to get a chance to speak. I made the case then that we need a plan for a "Mass Unemployment Event" because that is a term that economists use to coordinate crisis plans among states.
Now in September, our coalition for Unemployment Insurance reforms has good data showing that $490/week would transform AZ UI from a meager allowance, into a mighty economic stabilizer.
Joe Ducey said, "Economic stabilizer meaning more money in pockets means more money being spent in the economy." -- read more:Read more
Instead of listening to the people of Arizona, Kelli Ward, leader of the Arizona Republican Party, Scot Musi and the Free Enterprise Club have been tweeting and posting false and ludicrous complaints about voter fraud.
I know they are false. I know their accusations are wrong because their most recent attacks have been directed at my son. Like many Arizonans, he used a mail-in ballot when he attended college out of state.
My son has voted legally, properly, correctly.
However, these few Republican operatives accused him of crimes he did not commit – voting in two states during the same election cycle -- and Ward's followers accused him of being arrested.
None of their allegations have any merit.
The Arizona Attorney General’s office researched the evidence and case law and declined any further action. Nonetheless, the Arizona Republican Party and Scott Musi used this false accusation to advance an equally false narrative ...Read more
COVID-19 Newsletter #4 - May 1, 2020
from State Representative Mitzi Epstein
Many Thanks to our essential workers. You are there providing healing and vital goods and services for us, and we are staying home for you. It seems to be working. Most of our hospitals have capacity.
However, Arizona had the highest number of new cases in one day April 30th with 446, so we are not clear from the virus, yet.
The number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Arizona seems to be on an overall trend of increasing, but also the number of tests being done is increasing. So those numbers do not tell a whole story.
Therefore, it's useful to look to the hospital capacity. ....
(If you prefer, you can download the newsletter as a pdf, CLICK Here. )Read more
May 12! The good news for those awaiting Unemployment Benefits …
In Arizona, May will bring flowers, and also dollars.
Payments for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) will begin the week of May 12th. Of course, that is also bad news because that means over 2 more weeks of waiting.
The better news is that the DES Director confirms the payments will be retroactive to the time you filed. If you filed for UI at the end of March, you should get 6 weeks’ worth (or so) of weekly payments, plus the checks going forward. Individual situations may differ, but that's the general direction.
More good news...Read more
Should we Shelter in Place, Hopeful Social Distancing, or Do Nothing?
I believe we need to call for a state-wide policy of Shelter in Place. -- as of April 10, 2020 updated.
*** April 24th update: Hair salons have been closed by Gov. Ducey's Executive Order, and this "Stay Home" method is proving to be an effective form of "Shelter in Place." Our hospitals are at about 78% capacity for in-patient beds; they are not overwhelmed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all essential workers.
Gov. Ducey's Executive Order, in early April used the slogan, "Stay home; stay healthy; stay connected." Click for details.
Schools will stay closed for the rest of this school year. The order urges people to stay home except for essential services. The list of essential services is broad, and apparently seems to include hair salons and nail salons. I do not see the reason for that. The list of businesses that are "essential" includes golf courses, too. There is value in physical exercise, which can be found on a golf course, but at least one golf employee has shared his concerns about workers' safety there.
Do the right thing. Stay home. Get along without a haircut or a manicure for a while. Every time one person interacts with another it is an opportunity for the disease to spread, and this disease is highly contagious, very painful, and deadly. People of all ages have died from COVID-19.
If the "Stay Home" policy is hard on you financially, click here for many supports from federal and state governments. If those are not enough, and you want to tell me about your situation, please do. Call my office, 602-926-4870.
WHY SHOULD WE STAY AT HOME? ...Read more
Local Girl Scouts push to make Balloon Litter outdoors illegal.
Consequence: No fines; just pick up litter.
It's about the drastic decline of birds, and balloons harm farm animals too.
If you release balloons indoors, it's okay because the litter can be picked up.
I'll drop the bill Fri.
"Animals are awesome and we shouldn’t live in a world without animals.” - Scout Amber who wrote me a letter that started this bill.
She and all the girls in her troop are great advocates for a healthy environment.
❎❗😓We have also learned that for people with severe allergies to latex, balloons are a danger-- even in the air near an allergic person.
🐦🦅🦆🐦You've heard about the drastic loss of birds. In North America, bird populations have declined by nearly 30% since 1970. Balloons are the most lethal kind of plastic that birds consume.
🐄🐃🐂Birds - like turtles, big horn sheep, and cattle-- think the balloon litter is food. They eat them or get tangled in the strings
Gun violence prevention requires both action for gun safety and action for the people who use guns.
Action for gun safety must include background checks, careful red flag laws, more gun safety classes, and more. (See below)
Action for the people who use guns is about behavioral changes. We want to stop people from being violent. Full stop. Whether they use guns, sticks, knives or any other deadly weapon, we can do more to stop their violent intentions. Teaching coping skills and healthy relationship skills to high school students probably will not stop homicides by drug cartels, but it certainly can reduce domestic violence.
Preventing suicides -- by firearm or any method -- can be improved with better access to mental health and substance use treatment.
I've just returned from the NCSL Summit, National Conference of State Legislatures 2019 convention, where I've learned some useful approaches.
At the event, I was honored by Mental Health America as a Champion for Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment. It is recognition of the work that Neighbors Council and I have done to prevent suicide and improve access to mental health treatment in Arizona. Currently we are working on a big project to improve access to counselors, psychologists and all forms of mental health and behavioral health treatment.
You can help! We are gathering stories to develop data about the problems of access to care in Arizona.
Have you, or do you know somebody who was denied treatment or who cannot find a provider? Please CLICK HERE to help. You will be anonymous on the survey.
The Arizona Connection to Mass Shootings:
In El Paso, Madison McGuire was a little girl who was at that Walmart selling juice as a fundraiser so her soccer team could come to Arizona for a tournament. Her teammates and ...
Brownies' project provokes GOP leader attack
Ahwatukee Foothill News
By Paul Maryniak, April 24, 2019
LD 18 representative Mitzi Epstein, pictured on the right, worked with an Ahwatukee Girl Scout Troop this legislative session to draft a bill (HB 2664) that would curb the harmful release of balloons outdoors. Republican LD 12 representative Warren Peterson, pictured on the left, released a press release celebrating the demise of this "radical" bill.Read more
Dist. 18 Reps Talk About Priorities for Funding
By: Noah Kutz, April 22, 2019
Mitzi Epstein and Jennifer Jermaine discuss legislative priorities with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. Both representatives support strengthening education funding.Read more
Strike Out the Band ...
Law to levy tax for city band nears final note
February 18, 2019
Note from Mitzi Epstein - HB2454 might be intended to remove unnecessary laws, or it might be a placeholder for a striker. I expect it to be a "vehicle" bill, one that will be used to skip normal vetting steps.
But on the face of it, ... here's a quote from the article...
“I love marching bands, I love music, I love the idea of a band in the gazebo,” Rep. Mitzi Epstein, D-Tempe, said when the legislation was debated in committee. “Arizona has a lot of small towns and therefore should be able to have the flexibility to do what they want.”