Civil asset forfeiture laws let Arizona police seize tens of millions of dollars in cash and property each year, even if suspected criminals aren’t convicted, and with little oversight of how the proceeds are spent.
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At least a handful of the 1,361 bills introduced in Arizona this year match bills introduced in other state legislatures, according to an AZCIR analysis comparing Arizona legislation to more than 500,000 bills, proposed in other states over the past eight years.
Nearly identical legislation introduced in multiple states, or “model legislation,” comes from national or regional industry associations, individual companies, or policy think-tanks and advocacy groups.
Sonora River: Massive mine spill continues to impact Sonora River Basin
It’s been more than a year since the Buenavista del Cobre copper mine, owned by mining conglomerate Grupo México, spilled 11 million gallons of toxic chemicals into the Bacanuchi and Sonora Rivers. The mine is in Cananea, a city in northern Sonora, which is also the headwaters for Arizona’s San Pedro River. The mine and authorities from the Mexican government claim the water is now clean, but people with illnesses related to heavy metals contamination continue to emerge.
It’s been more than a year since a toxic mine spill, dubbed as the worst environmental disaster in Mexico’s history, contaminated the Sonora River. The toxic metals reached nearly 200 miles and impacted seven municipalities. Communities are now pushing back against the mine and the government to protect their families and the lands they call home.
Since a toxic mine spill in 2014 impacted nearly 25,000, Mexican authorities say the Sonora River is clean. The government has identified nearly 400 people with illnesses tied directly to heavy metal contamination. As new cases continue to emerge, experts warn that the problem could be much greater than the government admits.
Arizona’s 15 county recorders this week delivered a letter to Secretary of State Michele Reagan in which they said communication between their offices and hers are “in a dire state” because state Election Director Eric Spencer has been “ineffective and disrespectful.”
According to a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the chairwoman of the Arizona Democratic Party directed campaign expenditures toward her friend and husband, and when the party’s top staffer objected to the payments, she was fired.
Secretary of State Michele Reagan has begun circulating a memo detailing a proposed overhaul of the laws governing virtually every aspect of how elections are conducted in Arizona, from data protocols and recount procedures, to “sore loser” candidates and voter fraud investigations.
“Sheriff Joe” inspired outrage among Maricopa County’s Hispanic community for years, but the final blow to his political fortunes came from Republicans.
Democrats who have become increasingly worried about possible voter intimidation at the polls say local Republicans could find themselves on the wrong side of the law, after a poll watching training led by the Maricopa County GOP. Republican activists there were told to follow and photograph voters they suspect of breaking a new Arizona law banning “ballot harvesting.”
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday temporarily blocked the new law that makes it a felony to collect and submit someone else’s mail-in ballot.
PHOENIX — Two decades after Arizona helped pioneer the charter school movement, enrollment data show the schools don’t match the school age demographics of the state and, in many cases, their neighborhoods. White – and especially Asian – students attend charter schools at a higher rate than Hispanics, who now make up the the greatest portion of Arizona’s school age population.
Hispanic students account for 44 percent of all students in Arizona, but they make up just 36 percent of charter school students. White students, who make up 40 percent of the school age population, account for 48 percent of all charter students.
While there are exceptions, when charter schools are compared to their neighborhoods and to other nearby schools, data shows that they are more likely to be whiter than the surrounding area, while district schools tend to over-represent Hispanic students.
A federal task force identified sweeping shortfalls in the oversight of hazardous materials in the U.S., showing that short and long-term challenges exist to protect communities from the toxic and explosive chemicals stored at facilities across the nation and in Arizona.
Government agencies across the U.S. can’t regulate ammonium nitrate, the hazardous chemical compound that detonated in West, Texas, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds more, a congressional investigation has found. Emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels don’t know how many facilities in the U.S. store the hazardous chemical. A patchwork of outdated regulations, lack of communication between agencies, and a series of exemptions exist for reporting storage of ammonium nitrate, the U.S. Government Accountability Office report stated, which was publicly released May 21. These findings mirror a recent AZCIR and ABC15 investigation into Arizona oversight of ammonium nitrate.
In the wake of a yearlong AZCIR investigation that found lax oversight of the state program that allowed Arizona law enforcement agencies to seize $200 million from people suspected of committing crimes and spend more than half of it on general operations, the Arizona Legislature is considering a measure that would fundamentally alter how police agencies can take a private citizen’s money or property.
A top staffer at the Arizona Secretary of State staff denied accusations made by county recorders earlier this week that the office ordered voter registrations to be cancelled without proper documentation.