Arizona officials decry, delight as Supreme Court ends abortion rights

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Roe Arizona,1090
  • 7 photos, video story available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Neetish Basnet
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Friday that there is no constitutional right to an abortion in the U.S., overturning nearly 50 years of precedence and returning the power to regulate abortions to the states.

In Arizona – where Planned Parenthood said it will suspend abortion services and the attorney general said a new, more restrictive abortion law can now take effect – reaction was swift, and ranged from advocates being “furious” to calling it “a great day.” Continue reading “Arizona officials decry, delight as Supreme Court ends abortion rights”

Bowers: Trump efforts to overturn election devolved to ‘tragic parody’

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Bowers Testifies,930
  • 2 photos, video story available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Tracy Abiaka
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers told lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection Tuesday about the Trump campaign’s persistent, and increasingly questionable, efforts to pressure state officials into overturning the 2020 elections.

But Bowers testified that he repeatedly rebuffed Trump campaign officials, who he said were never able to produce evidence for the claims they were making and that he refused to violate his oath of office by interfering with a legitimate election. Continue reading “Bowers: Trump efforts to overturn election devolved to ‘tragic parody’”

New Juneteenth holiday gains acceptance – slowly – in Arizona, elsewhere

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Junteenth Creep,870
  • 2 photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Neetish Basnet
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – It took more than two years for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach the last enslaved people in Texas – and it may take as long to win wide acceptance for the new federal holiday marking that event.

Juneteenth, designated a federal holiday just last year, meant a day off for most federal workers Monday, but not for workers in half the states, including Arizona. It was recognized by some cities, but not by others, and just 30% of private businesses this year gave their workers the day off.

But supporters say the national holiday, years in the making, is a “big deal.” They said they intend to keep raising awareness about the day and what it means as a celebration of the “independence and freedom of Black people in the United States.” Continue reading “New Juneteenth holiday gains acceptance – slowly – in Arizona, elsewhere”

CORRECTION to June 17 story on off-Broadway Dreamer play

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged BC-CNS-Dreamer Drama that moved Friday, June 17, under a NEW YORK dateline are asked to run the following correction. The error occurred in the ninth graf of the original. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

NEW YORK – A June 17 Cronkite News story on Tony Valdovinos, the Arizona Dreamer whose story inspired an off-Broadway musical, misstated his age when he talked with a Marine recruiter, as well as the nature of that recruiter’s relationship to Valdovinos’ high school. Valdovinos was 17 when he spoke with a recruiter who was visiting his school.

Dreamer drama: Arizona man hopes play about his life drives DACA discussion

EDS: A previous version of this story misstated, in the ninth graf, Valdovinos’ age when he talked with a Marine recruiter, as well as the nature of that recruiter’s relationship to Valdovinos’ high school. The story below has been corrected, but clients who used earlier versions are asked to run the correction found here.

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Dreamer Drama,890
  • 5 photos, video story available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Tracy Abiaka
Cronkite News

NEW YORK – Tony Valdovinos is sitting outside New World Stages, a performing arts complex in Manhattan where his life story has been taking center stage in the musical “¡Americano!” for weeks now.

The former Arizona resident is talking about the need to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – what he calls a “saving grace” in his life – and the role his story plays in that fight. And he’s talking about meeting Barack Obama. Again.

Obama visited the show recently, 13 years after Valdovinos and other immigration activists asked the then-president for help. He said Obama told them to organize, organize, organize. Continue reading “Dreamer drama: Arizona man hopes play about his life drives DACA discussion”

A decade of DACA helped thousands in Arizona; advocates say more needed

  • Slug: BC-CNS-DACA Decade,1220
  • 3 photos, video story available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Daisy Gonzalez-Perez
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – It wasn’t a great job – dishwasher – but Mario Montoya was happy because it was his first job and because he needed money for the prom.

But Montoya was happy for another reason, too: The undocumented Mesa resident was only able to work because he was one of the first beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when it took effect 10 years ago.

“My life would have been completely different if DACA never came to life,” said Montoya, now 24 and a college graduate. “I don’t know if I would’ve gone to college, or finished it, or thought about it. I wouldn’t be able to work to provide for myself. Continue reading “A decade of DACA helped thousands in Arizona; advocates say more needed”

CORRECTION to June 13 story on Senate gun-reform proposal

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged BC-CNS-Guns Deal that moved Monday, June 13, under a WASHINGTON dateline are asked to run the following correction. The error occurred in grafs 17 and 18 of the original. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

WASHINGTON – A June 13 Cronkite News story on a bipartisan Senate gun-reform plan incorrectly attributed a quote from an Arizona lawmaker. It was Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, who said he preferred tougher reforms passed by the House, but that he does “not want perfect to be the enemy of good,” and that the Senate plan is a step in the right direction.

Advocates blast Supreme Court rulings denying bond hearings to migrants

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Migrant Bond,780
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

By Tracy Abiaka
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that noncitizens being held for deportation are not entitled to a bond hearing after months in detention, decisions that advocates said could let the government keep migrants behind bars indefinitely.

The ruling, in a pair of decisions, overturned lower courts that had ordered a bond hearing for one undocumented migrant from Mexico after he was held for six months, and for others who had successfully filed class-action suits demanding bond hearings in such cases. Continue reading “Advocates blast Supreme Court rulings denying bond hearings to migrants”

Advocates hope endangered status for wildflower helps save San Pedro, too

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Endangered Eryngo,720
  • 2 photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Morgan Fischer
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Federal officials this week declared the Arizona eryngo, a rare wildflower, an endangered species, a move advocates hope will also help boost efforts to save the San Pedro River where the plant is found.

The action Thursday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows years of efforts by conservation groups to save the eryngo, a cream-colored flowering wetland plant native to Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.

But the plant only grows in cienegas, a type of wetland created by natural springs, and those are being depleted by overpumping of groundwater in the region, the service and environmental groups said. Continue reading “Advocates hope endangered status for wildflower helps save San Pedro, too”

Arizona lawmakers split as House passes gun reform after Uvalde shooting

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Voting Guns,1010
  • 2 file photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Morgan Fischer
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona legislators voted on party lines this week as the House rushed through a pair of sweeping gun reform bills just weeks after a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The Protecting Our Kids Act would raise the age to buy semiautomatic weapons, toughen gun-trafficking rules, regulate “ghost guns” and more, while a second bill would extend “red flag” laws nationwide.

Neither bill is expected to pass the Senate, which is trying to craft its own bipartisan gun-control plan, but House Democrats said it was time to act. Continue reading “Arizona lawmakers split as House passes gun reform after Uvalde shooting”

GOP Senate hopefuls try to shrug off Trump endorsement of Masters’ bid

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Trump Senate,700
  • 2 file photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Tracy Abiaka
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – While other Republicans tried to downplay the impact of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement this week of Blake Masters’ bid for Senate, analysts said the nod could be the “rocket fuel” Masters needs to move to the front of a crowded field.

“The candidates in the race have not done a good job of breaking away from the pack and Masters has money, (but) lacks credibility, which Trump can bring to the table,” said Mike Noble, chief of research at OH Predictive Insights.

Masters said in a tweet Thursday that it “doesn’t get any better” than Trump’s endorsement, but other Republican hopefuls – most of whom had been vying for the endorsement – tried to say it doesn’t make a difference. Continue reading “GOP Senate hopefuls try to shrug off Trump endorsement of Masters’ bid”

Arizona cities continued booming growth last year, Census Bureau says

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Surging Cities,760
  • File photo, graphic available (embed code, thumbnail, caption below)

By Daisy Gonzalez-Perez
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona had five of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. last year while Phoenix continued to add residents, bucking the trend of major cities that lost population during the pandemic, according to the Census Bureau.

Census data released Thursday showed Queen Creek, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Maricopa City and Goodyear all grew at rates ranging from 5.4% to 8.9% between July 2020 and 2021. The report also said Goodyear and Buckeye were among the six cities nationwide that topped 100,000 residents last year, with populations hitting 101,733 and 101,315 respectively. Continue reading “Arizona cities continued booming growth last year, Census Bureau says”

Despite record-high gas prices, Memorial Day travel nears pre-pandemic levels

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Travel Travails,620
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

By Morgan Fischer
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Higher prices for gas, airfares and just about everything else do not appear to be holding back travel this Memorial Day weekend, which is “falling back to pre-pandemic levels,” experts said Friday.

Travel this weekend is expected to increase by 8.3% nationwide from the last Memorial Day holiday, with 39.2 million Americans traveling and more than 90% of them driving to their destinations, said Aldo Vazquez, AAA Arizona spokesperson. That includes about 811,000 Arizonans who are expected to travel for the holiday, with 724,000 going by car. Continue reading “Despite record-high gas prices, Memorial Day travel nears pre-pandemic levels”

Are Arizona lawmakers upset about being on Russian travel ban list? Nyet

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Russian Ban,620
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

By Tracy Abiaka
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, took the news that he has been banned from entering Russia by its foreign ministry in stride – and with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

“I’m heartbroken. I was so looking forward to vacationing in Siberia,” Gallego tweeted in April in response to the list that was updated this weekend.

All nine members of Arizona’s House delegation were on the latest list, which includes hundreds of U.S. lawmakers, business and policy leaders, academics, activists, journalists and “other U.S. citizens under personal sanctions, including a ban on entry into the Russian Federation.” Continue reading “Are Arizona lawmakers upset about being on Russian travel ban list? Nyet”

CORRECTION to May 23 story on Supreme Court death-row rulings

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged BC-CNS-Execution Appeals that moved Monday, May 23, under a WASHINGTON dateline are asked to run the following correction. The error occurred in the 18th graf of the original. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

WASHINGTON – A May 23 Cronkite News story on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in two Arizona death-row appeals incorrectly reported the number of death row inmates, both nationally and in Arizona, who were later exonerated. The National Registry of Exonerations reports that 134 former death-row inmates have been exonerated in the U.S. since 1989, with eight of those cases in Arizona.

Title 42 remains in place at border for now – as does the fight over it

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Title Fight,920
  • File photo, graphic available (embed code, thumbnail, caption below)

By Elsa Hortareas
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Supporters of Title 42, the pandemic-era health regulation used to turn away migrants at the border, welcomed the court ruling that blocked a Biden administration plan to pull the plug on the program Monday.

But migration advocates said the Friday ruling by a federal district judge in Louisiana will only prolong a “counterproductive” rule that has been an “outright failure” as a border policy. Continue reading “Title 42 remains in place at border for now – as does the fight over it”

Arizona again near bottom of states for per pupil spending, Census says

  • Slug: BC-CNS-School Bucks,810
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

By Morgan Fischer
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona was again among the worst states in the nation for per pupil spending on K-12 education in 2020, a ranking that advocates said was embarrassing but not surprising.

The numbers from a recent Census Bureau report said Arizona spent $8,785 per pupil in 2020, ahead of only Utah and Idaho that year. And it was dead last – 51st among states and the District of Columbia – when it came to the amount spent on actual instruction, at $4,801 per pupil.

Both were well below the national average of $13,494 overall and $8,176 on instruction per pupil for that year. Continue reading “Arizona again near bottom of states for per pupil spending, Census says”

MANDATORY KILL of May 5 story on MechanicalTrees

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged BC-CNS-ASU MechanicalTree that moved Thursday, May 5, under a TEMPE dateline MUST kill the story. It and two of the accompanying photos may have inadvertently included proprietary information. Clients are encouraged to run the updated version of the story, found here, which removes the challenged photos and a quote.

Kayla Mueller’s parents speak as ISIS fighter is sentenced in her death

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Mueller’s Killer,730
  • 3 file photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Emily Sacia
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Kayla Jean Mueller’s parents told a federal judge Friday that “there’s not a day, barely an hour” when they don’t think of their daughter, who was kidnapped in Syria and held hostage by ISIS for 18 months before being killed in 2015.

Carl and Marsha Mueller of Prescott were among the dozens of survivors who spoke at the sentencing of Alexanda Amon Kotey, one of the ISIS fighters convicted in connection with the deaths of four U.S. hostages, including Kayla. Continue reading “Kayla Mueller’s parents speak as ISIS fighter is sentenced in her death”

States win delay, for now, in White House plan to end Title 42 at border

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Title42 Delay,870
  • File photo, graphic available (embed code, thumbnail, caption below)

By Reagan Priest
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – White House officials said Tuesday that a potential court order delaying the end of Title 42 would only worsen the border crisis that state officials claim they are trying to prevent by seeking the order.

The comments came one day after a federal judge agreed with three states, including Arizona, to temporarily stop the administration’s plan to lift the pandemic-era border policy on May 23. Title 42 has been used to turn away more than 1.8 million migrants since it was invoked in March 2020. Continue reading “States win delay, for now, in White House plan to end Title 42 at border”