A Maricopa County judge struck down a ban on public schools imposing face mask mandates and a host of other policy changes that lawmakers inserted into the state budget, and with them, may have forced a fundamental change in the way the legislature does business when it passes its annual budget each year.
The ruling comes two days before the mask mandate prohibition and various other changes to state law were to go into effect.
Along with the ban on face mask mandates, the ruling strikes down several other laws pertaining to COVID-19 mitigation measures and the operation of public schools. That includes laws banning “critical race theory” in K-12 schools, barring colleges and universities from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or testing of students, prohibiting K-12 schools from requiring students to receive vaccines that have received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and barring cities and counties from requiring “vaccine passports.”
And Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper struck down an entire budget bill that included wide-ranging measures on election integrity laws and pandemic-related business regulations.
The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of left-leaning advocacy groups and Democratic political figures, argued that several budget bills passed by the legislature in the waning days of the 2021 session violated a provision of the Arizona Constitution known as the single-subject rule. That provision mandates that bills passed by the legislature embrace “one general subject,” and that that subject be clear in the title of the bill.
Nadia and Ernest Saco of Gilbert already had been searching for a new home before the pandemic hit in 2020, but when schools and offices closed across Arizona, their quest became more urgent.
“I was working from home all of a sudden,” said Ernest Saco, a senior product manager for a software company and a father of three. “And we have all five of us just on top of each other in this 1,500-square-foot house. I’m working out of our bedroom. And our kids are home because school’s out, but they’re also home because all the places they would normally go to for fun are closed.”
“We were pretty desperate to get out,” Nadia Saco added.
But as the Sacos’ search intensified, they found themselves competing for a shrinking pool of available homes. From April to July 2020, active listings in metro Phoenix declined by 42%, according to data from Realtor.com. So to stand out among the bidders, the Sacos turned to a tactic that’s become increasingly common – and increasingly scrutinized – in the homebuying process: the love letter.
In a letter delivered to the seller of the home they closed on in August 2020, Nadia Saco introduced their family, mentioned what her husband did for a living and detailed the “dreams” they had for the home.
“I could picture the Christmas tree, where it would go and my kids coming down the stairs Christmas morning,” she said. “I love to cook and so I pictured myself making these family dinners. And I just really visualized ourselves in this home and kind of tried to express those feelings.”
A photo of the Saco family accompanied the letter.
Arizona voters overwhelmingly support a pathway to citizenship for some immigrants who meet some conditions for eligibility, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The survey of 323 Arizona voters between Sept. 10 and 18 found broad support, even among Trump voters, for “earned citizenship” for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children (often called dreamers), farmworkers, essential workers and those with Temporary Protected Status. Earned citizenship is a term that broadly means naturalization that is granted after immigrants pay a fine, pass language tests or other meet requirements to comply with eligibility.
It comes as Democrats in Congress struggle to pass a pathway for citizenship for millions, but not all, undocumented immigrants through the budget reconciliation process.
The poll was commissioned by the American Business Immigration Coalition and FWD.us, an immigration and criminal justice reform advocacy group, and released during a press call. The survey was conducted by Democratic polling firm BSP Research and Republican firm Shaw & Company Research. Arizona was one of 11 battleground states polled.
Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., spoke at the press event. He said Arizona is home to an estimated 170,000 undocumented residents who are dreamers, farmworkers and TPS holders.
“No state stands to benefit more from immigration modernization than my home state of Arizona,” Stanton said. “It’s clear to me that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, are demanding immigration reform. It’s up to us to deliver.”
Stanton, who supported the House version of the reconciliation package that includes a pathway to citizenship for some immigrants, called on other Democrats in Congress and the White House to end the paralysis in the Senate.
El Tour de Tucson will hold the fifth Pima County El Tour Loop de Loop on Saturday, Sept. 25, and will conclude with an after-party.
The activity, which helps promote the more than 20 nonprofit partners involved in the El Tour event, is the official kickoff for the Banner – University Medicine 38th El Tour de Tucson on Nov. 20.
The Loop de Loop is for 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. and will be held on The Chuck Huckelberry Loop. The after-party will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mercado Annex on The Loop, 267 Avendida del Convento, with live music, prize drawings and more.
The band Badlands will play from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Raffle tickets will be provided at the event.
The grand raffle prize for this year’s Loop de Loop is a LeMond Prolog carbon fiber ebike, designed by Greg LeMond and retails for $4,500.
It is a free, easy, casual and fun ride open to individuals of all ages and abilities.