Arizona Treasurer And Credit Unions Oppose IRS Data Mining Proposal

Arizona Treasurer And Credit Unions Oppose IRS Data Mining Proposal

By AZ Free News |

Credit unions in Arizona have joined the Arizona Treasurer’s Office  in opposition to a proposal requiring financial institutions to give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) citizens’ personal account information if the account exceeds $600 of deposits or withdrawals. In a letter, they urged Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Mark Kelly to oppose this measure being considered in Congress as part of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. This proposal would threaten the financial security of more than 100 million Americans from all demographics.

“Being forced to hand over your personal household or small business financial records to the government as a law-abiding citizen is as intrusive as it gets. There are no guardrails in the bill for how the government can leverage this highly private information,” said Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee. “As Arizona’s Chief Banking and Investment Officer, I cannot stay silent while Arizonan’s sensitive financial data is at risk of unprecedented government surveillance.”

“There is simply no scenario in which this is a good idea for credit union members, or customers at any financial institution for that matter,” said Scott Earl, President and CEO of Mountain West Credit Union Association. “Between the exposure risk of data privacy, and the
significant resources and associated costs that would need be required to comply with this measure, it is a bad idea all around.”

The letter states, “As State Treasurer and credit unions in Arizona, we join with the many voices and groups from across the nation who strongly oppose this intrusive proposal.

Congress should not approve the IRS to have access to law-abiding Arizonan’s personal financial transactions in a blatant attempt to tax them unnecessarily.”

Ducey Appoints Drake, Villaverde Halvorson, And Miller To Maricopa County Superior Court

Ducey Appoints Drake, Villaverde Halvorson, And Miller To Maricopa County Superior Court

By AZ Free News |

On Friday, Governor Doug Ducey announced the appointments of James Drake, Ashley Villaverde Halvorson and Keith Miller to the Maricopa County Superior Court. These appointments are to fill vacancies created by the retirement of Judges Roger E. Brodman, Connie Coin Contes and Karen A. Mullins.

James “Jim” Drake has been serving as the nonpartisan, elected Chief Clerk and Counsel for the Arizona House of Representatives since 2015. In addition to overseeing 14 staff members, he works on questions of law regarding public records, parliamentary advice, constitutional issues, financial disclosure, and election law matters. Jim also works as of-counsel for Shannon and Fleming, P.C. in civil matters, particularly evidentiary hearings with self-represented litigants.

Prior to being elected Chief Clerk, Jim was the Assistant Secretary of State in the Secretary of State’s Office from 2009 to 2015. He oversaw approximately 140 employees under the State Law Library, State Elections, Business Services, and Archives and Public Records Divisions.

From 1996 to 2009, Jim held several positions in the Arizona House of Representatives, including Rules Attorney, Counsel to the Ethics Committee, Judiciary Committee Analyst, and Banking Committee Analyst/Staff Attorney. During his tenure as the nonpartisan Rules Attorney, Jim’s work was devoted almost exclusively to constitutional analysis under the Arizona and United States Constitutions. In addition, he has recommended and crafted amendments to cure constitutional infirmities on bills, consistently rendering nonpartisan opinions.

Jim also volunteers in the community, including as an active supporter of the Foundation for Blind Children. He has regularly participated with and guided blind and visually impaired children in a sailing expedition, Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon hike, and swimming challenge from Alcatraz.

“Jim’s devotion to serving the public will serve the bench well. I am delighted to appoint him to the Maricopa County Superior Court,” said Governor Ducey.

Jim received his law degree from the California Western School of Law and his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Arizona.

Ashley Villaverde Halvorson has spent her career at Jones Skelton & Hochuli, where she currently is a Partner. She primarily defends insurance companies in complex breach of contract and bad faith litigation. She also defends persons and businesses in personal injury/wrongful death litigation, including auto, premises, and dram shop liability. Additionally, Ashley was appointed as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge pro tem in 2018.

Ashley has been named a Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2013 to the present. In 2017, she was named one of the Top Lawyers Under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Ashley has been a leader in improving diversity in the legal profession. She has been significantly involved with the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association, including serving as its President. Ashley has been a part of the Latina Mentoring Project since she was in law school and was its very first judicial pipeline candidate. She has also been an active member of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the State Bar of Arizona Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law. In 2020, she received the State Bar of Arizona’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award, which annually recognizes an attorney, judge, employer, organization or bar association that significantly advances diversity and inclusion in the Arizona legal community through creative, strategic, or innovative efforts.

“Ashley’s civil litigation experience and involvement in the community will allow her to be a strong contributor, and I am pleased to appoint her to the Maricopa County Superior Court,” said Governor Ducey.

Ashley received her bachelor’s degree cum laude in Political Science and her law degree from Arizona State University.

Keith Miller has been serving as an Associate Attorney at Fennemore since January 2020, where he primarily practices in business litigation representing a variety of clients in matters pending in state and federal courts, as well as in mediation. Additionally, he has represented clients in matters pending before state and local administrative agencies.

From 2015 to 2019, Keith was an Assistant Attorney General at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. He initially was part of the Federalism Unit in the Solicitor General’s Office, where he was involved with several pieces of high profile litigation involving constitutional issues. In addition, he served on the Opinions Review Committee and Ethics Review Committee. He then worked in the Environmental Enforcement Section as counsel to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Keith also worked as an Assistant Legal Counsel and Assistant Director of Career Services for Hillsdale College in Michigan from 2011 to 2015. During this time, he also coached the college’s mock trial team for 2 seasons, finishing a season with the college’s highest ranking ever.

Prior to that, Keith was a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge James Teilborg in Phoenix from 2009 to 2011. Upon graduating from law school, Keith was an Associate Attorney at O’Melveny in Newport Beach, California from 2008 to 2009.

“Keith has a broad amount of legal experience from the private to public sectors, and I am thrilled to appoint him to the Maricopa County Superior Court,” said Governor Ducey.

Keith received his law degree from Columbia Law School and his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Mathematics and History from Hillsdale College.

Arizona Officials, Families Honor Fallen Heroes At Peace Officers Memorial Service

Arizona Officials, Families Honor Fallen Heroes At Peace Officers Memorial Service

By AZ Free News |

Arizona officials including Governor Doug Ducey honored 17 fallen law enforcement officers at the 47th Annual Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Service Wednesday evening. The somber ceremony was also attended by the families and colleagues of officers who died in the line of duty.

“Through the countless dangers Arizona’s officers face, they have shown nothing but fearlessness and heroism,” said Ducey in a press release. “As we honor the officers who have fallen, we also recognize how they lived — with an unwavering dedication to keeping our communities safe.”

The memorial service honored fallen officers from across the state and their families. The event is typically held in May, but the last two memorials were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor read the names of the following officers at tonight’s memorial service:

Officer Clayton Joel Townsend, Salt River Tribal PD, End of Watch (EOW): 1/08/2019
Officer Paul T. Rutherford, Phoenix PD, EOW: 3/21/2019
Border Patrol Agent Robert M. Hotten, US Border Patrol, EOW: 10/06/2019
Detention Officer Gene “Jim” W. Lee, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 10/30/2019
Border Patrol Agent Luis Pena Jr., US Border Patrol, EOW: 12/23/2019
Officer David W. Kellywood, White Mountain Apache Tribal PD, EOW: 2/17/2020
Commander Greg S. Carnicle, Phoenix PD, EOW: 3/29/2020
Detention Officer Alvin Ramirez, Avondale PD, EOW: 6/07/2020
Officer Michael E. Lee, Navajo Division of Public Safety, EOW: 6/18/2020
Investigator Esther Charley, Navajo Division of Public Safety, EOW: 6/22/2020
Officer Jason W. Judd, Peoria PD, EOW: 7/01/2020
Sergeant Ernie Quintero, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 7/06/2020
Detention Officer Kevin Fletcher, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 7/06/2020
Officer Alfonso H. Murrieta, Dept. of Homeland Security CBP, EOW: 7/09/2020
Detention Officer Miroslaw Mroczkowski, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 7/15/2020
Officer Bryan R. Brown, Tohono O’odham Nation PD, EOW: 8/27/2020
Officer Peter Anthony Mannino, Tucson PD, EOW: 5/17/2009

“Our law enforcement officers and their families know that when they leave home every day, they may not come back. They don’t let that—or anything—stop them from serving their communities, state and country. My deepest gratitude goes to all our officers for their commitment to keeping our state safe, and my prayers are with all the officers who laid down their lives to protect fellow Arizonans.”

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.2%

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.2%

Less than a year and a half after the initial economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona has already recovered more than 100 percent of private sector jobs, representing one of the fastest jobs recoveries in the nation.

The Arizona seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 6.2% in August 2021 from 6.6% in July 2021.  The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.2% in August 2021 from 5.4% in July 2021.

Month over month, Arizona’s seasonally adjusted labor force increased by 6,169 individuals or 0.2%. Year over year, the labor force increased by 119,257 individuals or 3.4%. Month over month, Arizona total non-farm employment increased by 53,600 jobs or 1.8%. Year over year, total non-farm employment increased by 162,400 jobs or 5.8%.

“The last year and a half have challenged Arizonans like never before,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “But thanks to the ingenuity and perseverance of our hard-working employees and business community, Arizona’s recovery is in full swing, with a real momentum headed in the right direction. This isn’t the case for every state, and we will continue to work hard to make sure Arizonans have ample opportunity to reenter the workforce, access new skills, and get back to work.”

Frustrated California Voters May Have Lost The Recall, But The War On Newsom Isn’t Over

Frustrated California Voters May Have Lost The Recall, But The War On Newsom Isn’t Over

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Frustrated California voters may have lost the battle to recall Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 14, but the war to unseat him in 2022 is just beginning.

Multiple outlets officially called the referendum on removing the governor a failure on Tuesday night, less than one hour after polls closed. Some California residents were stunned, but others said they are determined to use the power they amassed to create the recall to keep fighting to hold the governor accountable for his tyranny.