Arizona budget: House passes partisan spending plan

House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, said Democrats have repeatedly been told they should embrace the budget plan. While it does include some of Democrats’ priorities, they were never involved in negotiations, she said.

“I wish we had been brought to the table, I wish this was a bipartisan budget, and I vote 'no,'” she said when explaining her final vote on the budget Saturday.

Read more

Governor could end budget stalemate by working with Democrats

Unveiling her party's draft spending plan, House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, said it largely mirrored the Republican governor's — unlike a Senate draft shared last week that revealed a wide gap in GOP spending priorities.

"Compared to the Senate Republican draft budget that has been making the rounds, Gov. Ducey's budget looks downright reasonable, and it's a very good place for us to start," Fernandez said Wednesday, flanked by other state representatives.

Read more

Lawsuit proposal complicating Arizona budget battle

Minority leader Rep. Charlene Fernandez slapped GOP lawmakers, noting that they don’t know how to deal with a $1 billion surplus.

“It’s always been tax cuts and tax credits and sweeping funds to balance the budget,” Fernandez said last week. “And now that they have some revenue they’re not sure how to act. They need to start pulling us in so that we can work together so we can start investing in the things that we need.”

Read more

#RedForEd seeks action on per-pupil funding

“We want to make sure our schools have the resources they need to make sure that our kids flourish in schools, that our teachers are well-paid,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Charlene Fernandez.

When teachers walked to the Capitol last year, “you weren’t just talking about raises for yourselves, you said you cared about your schools, you cared about support staff, you cared about nurses and cafeteria workers and groundskeepers and speech pathologists and special education teachers,” Fernandez said.

“But most of all, you cared about the kids; that’s because it comes right down to that,” Fernandez continued. “Whenever we do our edits, whenever we think about the budget, we keep your stories in mind.”

Fernandez also took aim at the governor’s results-based funding plan.

“That’s $140 million going to schools that are already doing well. That is not equity, and that is not fairness,” Fernandez said. “We need to make sure that all our kids succeed, that all our schools are well-funded.”

Read more

Arizona Finally Has Ban on Hand Phone Use and Driving

Thursday’s votes occurred with family members of those killed by texting motorists watching in the gallery. House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma, specifically addressed the survivors of Clayton Townsend, an officer with the Salt River Police Department who was killed in January when he was struck by a texting motorist while conducting a traffic stop.

“We’re going to get it done today,” she told them.

Read more

Legislators Vote to Reduce Corporate Tax Credits That Fund Private Schools

House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez said, “Our responsibility as legislators is to fully fund public education, and when we do that, we support public school students and with that we support public school teachers.”

“I think what we’ve lost in this message is that our schools are still falling apart, they need more money. Our teachers need resources to make sure that our kids are successful,” Rep. Fernandez said.

Read more

Arizona House OKs repeal of ‘antiquated’ HIV/AIDS instruction law

Rep. Charlene Fernandez, the House Democratic leader, issued a statement after the vote saying she was “proud of my colleagues.”

“Today we had the opportunity to stand together in a bipartisan manner and right a wrong,” the statement said.

“We are repealing a law that has stigmatized untold numbers of Arizonans, and has led to erroneous and dangerous stereotypes, discrimination and bullying.”

Read more

Arizona House moves forward on code of conduct before session ends

“We are now on day 79 of this legislative session. We have no policy and no committee,” Rep. Charlene Fernandez, Democratic caucus leader, said at the press conference. “We are in violation of our own rules, and I certainly don’t think any member of the public is going to argue that we don’t need this.”

Read more