AAPS Asks Pima County Supervisors to Reject COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

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On Sept 7, the Pima County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal to mandate that all healthcare workers in Pima County licensed by the State of Arizona, and their direct support staff, be vaccinated against COVID-19. The original deadline for beginning the vaccination process was Sept 1. Employers of the workers would be required to file compliance documents with the Department of Health. The consequences for non-compliance have not yet been spelled out.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) submitted written testimony objecting to “the proposal to violate the fundamental human rights of all citizens associated with healthcare by forcing them to take an injection without voluntary informed consent.”

AAPS notes that all the COVID-19 injections are experimental and that studies are not scheduled for completion before the end of 2022. The only FDA-approved product, which is generally unavailable here, is Comirnaty made by BioNTech in Mainz, Germany. The manufacturer is required to conduct post-marketing studies of adverse effects including myocarditis, with a 5-year follow-up.

The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines are only available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), AAPS notes, and are supposed to be fully voluntary.

Many workers have had COVID-19 and are thus already immune, and the majority are at low risk of a poor outcome if they are infected. They may therefore judge that the risks of the vaccine outweigh any benefit, AAPS states. Also, the vaccine may not prevent transmission.

“Patients in Pima County are already reporting difficulty in accessing medical care of any kind,” AAPS reports. “If personnel are diminished because of declining to accept the COVID product or because of vaccine-related disability or death, tremendous preventable death and suffering will occur.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has represented physicians in all specialties since 1943. Its motto is omnia pro aegroto, everything for the patient.

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This article was published on September 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons

Arizona First In Nation to Sue Biden Over COVID Vaccine Mandate

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has fired the opening salvo in the anticipated legal fight over President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Brnovich filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, claiming Biden’s mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause by favoring migrants who can decline the vaccine, “protecting their freedom and bodily autonomy more than American citizens’.”

“The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda,” Brnovich said in a statement. “There can be no serious or scientific discussion about containing the spread of COVID-19 that doesn’t begin at our southern border.”

Biden announced the prominent aspects of his COVID-19 plan last week, saying all federal employees and those who do business with the federal government, in addition to any private employer with 100 or more workers, must be vaccinated as a condition of employment or face rigorous testing.

Although it’s not yet active, Brnovich’s lawsuit directly contrasts the coming mandate with the lack of a similar requirement for immigrants who enter the U.S. from Mexico.

“In a nutshell: unauthorized aliens will not be subject to any vaccination requirements even when released directly into the United States (where most will remain), while roughly a hundred million U.S. citizens will be subject to unprecedented vaccination requirements,” the lawsuit said.

Brnovich estimated 1 in 5 immigrants who illegally cross the southern border are infected with COVID-19.

Brnovich’s complaint also calls out White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain for retweeting a statement regarding how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate is the “ultimate work-around” for a federal COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

The U.S. Border Patrol estimated more than 212,000 people crossed the border into the U.S. illegally in July.

Brnovich is running as a Republican for U.S. Senate.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Friday he also plans to sue Biden over the mandate.

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This article was published on September 14, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square .

Arizona Police Recruiting in Washington Days After Vaccine Mandate

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Arizona’s state police force is in the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to bolster its ranks. The push comes on the heels of news that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t allowing exceptions to his vaccine mandate.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety announced that they would be in Washington from Sept. 7 through Sept. 19 to recruit potential new officers.

Their counterpart, the Washington State Patrol, shared Arizona’s announcement on Twitter.

The recruiting push aimed specifically at Washington state is noticeable since news broke the week prior that Gov. Jay Inslee’s office had issued blanket denials of requests from officers to be exempt from his vaccination mandate.

Emails obtained by KTTH show a response to an inquiry about religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“At this time it has been confirmed that for any public-facing position, there are limited accommodations available,” the email read, adding that “there is no accommodation we can provide for their religious exemption requests.”

The governor’s order says that all state workers, K-12 and public university employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face losing their jobs. Inslee initially said the state would make religious and medical exemptions available.

A public information officer denied that Inslee’s vaccination decree was a factor in their decision to recruit in the state.

“We are not focused on Washington specifically, it’s just our first recruiting trip ahead of other states we intend to visit,” said media specialist Bart Graves. “We don’t have a set number of candidates we intend to recruit. We are hoping to fill numerous sworn and professional staff (civilian) positions.”

Arizona DPS has advertised out-of-state recruitment opportunities earlier in the year, including welcoming lateral moves from other police departments. However, it’s yet to single out a state as it had done in Washington this year.

Gov. Doug Ducey retweeted the Washington State Patrol announcement that Arizona’s police force was recruiting there, saying, “in Arizona we’re funding the police.”

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This article was published on September 12, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Arizona News – September 13, 2021

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The Prickly Pear will provide current, linked articles about Arizona consistent with our Mission Statement to ‘inform, educate and advocate’. We are an Arizona based website and believe this information should be available to all of our statewide readers.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Large Sections of the Border Wall Have Been REMOVED and Left WIDE OPEN Along Heavily Trafficked Drug Route in Southern Arizona

Feds identify Phoenix as best city for Afghan refugees

Arizona student assessments hint at significant learning loss amid COVID pandemic

Federal Tax Changes Could Kill Thousands of Arizona Jobs And Lead To $12 Billion In Lost Investments

Border Security: It Is Time For Arizona To Act

Prop 208 Ruling Destroys Narrative That K-12 Education Is Underfunded

Cost Analysis Shows AZ Green New Deal Energy Mandates Will Cost Ratepayers Over $6 Billion

Biggs Calls On HHS Secretary To Respond To Reports Of Lost Unaccompanied Alien Children

Audit Foe Ugenti-Rita’s Claims Brings Attention To Bipartisan Threats

Meeting Our Future Water, Power And Infrastructure Needs In Arizona

Don’t Bitch At Brnovich, Ugenti-Rita And Shope Killed Vaccine Passport Prohibition

Sinema and Kelly: Stand with Workers and Reject the PRO Act

Are Your Legislators Defending Liberty Or Big Government?

Arizona Officials React to Biden Vaccination Announcement

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President Joe Biden’s Thursday announcement of broad new COVID-19 vaccination requirements has some Arizona officials cheering and others settling in for a fight.

Biden announced a vaccination requirement for employees of any business with more than 100 people, something that’s estimated to be a vaccine requirement for 100 million people. Another estimated 80 million workers who refuse would be subjected to regular testing.

“While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact, we’re in a tough stretch and it could last a while,” Biden said in a speech Thursday afternoon.

Fines for a violation would reportedly be $14,000 per instance.

In addition, Biden announced he would require any federal employee under the executive branch’s umbrella to be required to be inoculated. The same goes for employees of any company that accepts federal contracts.

This marks Biden’s latest attempt at a governmental response to rising infections nationwide largely due to the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. Even though more than 200 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, nearly 80 million of those eligible have abstained.

Gov. Doug Ducey responded to the new rule Thursday, promising to fight Biden’s “dictatorial approach” to governing.

“Joe Biden has failed us on COVID. He ran for office on a promise to ‘shut down the virus.’ He has failed on this, much as he has failed on the border crisis and in Afghanistan. So now, President Biden’s plan is to shut down freedom,” Ducey said in a statement. “These mandates are outrageous. They will never stand up in court. We must and will push back.”

Arizona’s two U.S. Senators were largely quiet on the announcement. Neither office was immediately available to respond to a request for comment, but Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, tweeted, “Arizona – if you haven’t already, today is a great day to get vaccinated.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego applauded the move.

“This is the critical action we need to appropriately fight this virus,” she said Thursday afternoon. “It’s great to see strong leadership at a time when others have prioritized politics over science. Safety for every resident has & remains my top priority – this requirement will allow us to protect & save lives.”

Like others, Attorney General Mark Brnovich questioned the legality of the order.

President Biden is now taking federal overreach to unheard-of levels by dictating vaccine mandates for all private companies with over 100 people, federal contractors, and healthcare providers receiving federal dollars,” the Republican tweeted. “I am reviewing his outrageous actions and will take all legal recourse to defend our state’s sovereignty and the rights of Arizonans to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, a conservative Republican from Gilbert, called Biden’s requirements an assault on individuals’ freedoms and livelihoods.

“We must fight this,” he said Thursday.

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This article was published on September 9, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The CenterSquare.

Arizona Elementary School District Hit by Same Covid Vaccine Madness Afflicting the NFL

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Keeping kids safe is the number-one priority for any elementary school in America, right? But then there is the Cartwright School District in Phoenix, where selectively enforcing a Covid vaccination policy tops taking care of the kids.

How do we know this? Consider the case of one William Bishop, the now-former director for buildings and operations, who was recently demoted to substitute teacher by Cartwright Superintendent Dr. Lee-Ann Aguilar-Lawlor.

Why was Bishop demoted? Because his faith precludes his submitting to the Covid vaccination shot. The demotion came after he requested a religious accommodation, a request to which school officials never responded, except to bust him way down the pay chart.

Bishop is represented by the First Liberty Institute, the Plano, Texas-based public interest law firm that specializes in First Amendment litigation, especially when issues of religious freedom are involved.

Cartwright’s conduct is shot through with disrespect for constitutional liberties, to say nothing of common sense. Consider the description cited by First Liberty Counsel Rebecca Dummermuth in a September 9 letter to Aguilar-Lawlor:

“Cartwright’s actions are particularly indefensible because: (1) it already granted at least one nonreligious exemption from the mandate; (2) its demotion of Mr. Bishop will bring him into far more contact with students and other staff, thus contradicting the district’s presumed rationale for refusing to grant his accommodation request; (3) it chose not to impose its mandate on teachers, those most in contact with students and staff; (4) 21 percent of district employees remain unvaccinated; and (5) Mr. Bishop has natural immunity and his doctor advises against receiving the vaccine.

“These circumstances leave Cartwright with no tenable argument that a religious accommodation would impose undue hardship on it or that it has a compelling interest in imposing its mandate on Mr. Bishop but not many other employees (including those whose duties involve far more contact with students and staff).

“Therefore, the district is plainly in violation of the laws set forth above. To be clear, Mr. Bishop has no objection to a reasonable accommodation that could serve the District’s presumed health concerns. But he cannot accept the unlawful, second-class treatment to which the district has subjected him.”

Bishop’s objections are deeply rooted in his Christian faith, according to Dummermuth, who told Aquilar-Lawlor in the letter that:

“Mr. Bishop’s sincerely held religious beliefs prevent him from complying with the mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. As a Christian, he believes that his body is a temple of God (I Corinthians. 3:16-17, 6:19), and therefore he has a God-given responsibility to protect the physical integrity of his body and not to defile it (I Corinthians. 8:7; II Corinthians. 7:1).

“Additionally, he believes that human life begins at conception, and he staunchly opposes abortion. Therefore, receiving a vaccine that has been developed using aborted fetal cell lines would violate his conscience.”

The district continues to pay Bishop his old salary, but the contract that specified the amount expires in the near future. Replacing it with a new contract based on a substitute teacher’s compensation will represent a 50 percent pay cut for Bishop.

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Continue reading this article, published September 10, 2021 at  PJ Media.

 

Feds Identify Phoenix As Best City For Afghan Refugees

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Editors’ Note: While the generosity of state officials is laudable, there is an uncomfortable question to be asked: Considering the growing evidence that the Biden Administration is not properly vetting refugees, what should  Arizona officials do to protect this state and its citizens from mistakenly importing terrorists? It is likely many of these Afghans were not translators or otherwise working with US forces in Afghanistan as Rusty Bowers assumes. Given the administrative chaos in Afghanistan and primitive record-keeping, how can proper background investigations be conducted? One could just assume it is being done properly but given the utter incompetency of the Biden Administration, would that not be a bit of a stretch?  Moreover, even a diligent and competent vetting process relies in this particular case on a hostile government, in fact, a terrorist nation, to provide the basic data. You don’t suppose they would fudge the data to plant sleeper cells, do you? National Review did an interesting article on the subject. To read, click here.

A federal agency has named Phoenix the ideal location for Afghan refugees to resettle.

The U.S. government is assisting thousands of Afghans in finding new homes after they fled what’s now a Taliban-controlled country. Governors and mayors from New York to California expressed their desire to help these refugees.

Gov. Doug Ducey and House Speaker Rusty Bowers released a joint statement Aug. 19, saying the refugees had a home in Arizona.

“Despite the President’s poor response to growing tensions in the Middle East, Arizona recognizes the service of thousands of Afghans over the last 20 years,” the statement said. “As refugees come and find homes in states across the nation, we welcome them to our state full of opportunity and choice, and we’re working closely with federal and state officials to offer them safety in Arizona.”

Ducey and Bowers said the Arizona Office of Refugee Resettlement would “work with refugees to secure housing and employment, enroll in English classes if needed, connect them with health care resources, and their children – including their daughters who would be denied an education under the Taliban – will be enrolled in school.”

Although other states, namely California and New York, have higher concentrations of Afghan communities, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs lists the Phoenix as the most opportune place in the country for those seeking to resettle.

The list of 19 cities is sorted by “reasonable cost of living, housing availability, employment opportunities, and strong resettlement services and support.”

Refugees working with the bureau are given $1,100 in a monthly stipend for the first three months once they arrive in the country.

Even though California has communities such as Fremont’s Little Kabul that are known as the largest concentration of Afghan residents in the country, the bureau discourages settlement there.

“Please be aware that the cost of living and the availability of housing can vary significantly in different locations across the United States,” the bureau said. “The Washington, DC metro area including northern Virginia and some cities in California are very expensive places to live, and it can be difficult to find reasonable housing and employment. Any resettlement benefits you receive may not comfortably cover the cost of living in these areas.”

UPDATE: The bureau removed the list of 19 cities from its resettlement page over the weekend. A State Department spokesperson said the change was to “maximize potential placement options and flexibility” and would eventually use the list again once the placement process becomes more normalized. The official maintains that the list was for refugees to self-select a place to resettle should they not have close ties in the U.S.

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This article was published on September 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The CenterSquare.

Yee Divests Arizona Treasury From Ben & Jerry’s For Israel Boycott

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Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee is pulling the state’s public funds from a company over its decision to boycott Israel after multiple warnings.

Yee announced Tuesday she had taken steps to eventually divest all public money from Unilever, the British corporation that owns ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s. The move, she said, is in accordance with an Arizona law that forbids state funds from being invested in companies that boycott Israel.

“I gave Unilever PLC, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, an ultimatum: reverse the action of Ben & Jerry’s or divest itself of Ben & Jerry’s to come into compliance with Arizona law or face the consequences. They chose the latter,” Yee said in a statement. “It does not matter how much investment Unilever PLC has in Israel, with Ben & Jerry’s decision to no longer sell its product in the West Bank, the companies are in violation of the law in Arizona.” Yee said the state would not do business with companies that attempt to undermine Israel’s economy and “blatantly” disregard Arizona’s law.

The Vermont ice cream brand announced July 19 it no longer would sell its products in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. It referred to the areas as “Occupied Palestinian Territory” in its announcement.

“We reject and repudiate all forms of hate and racism,” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement. “Our decision to exit the OPT was based on our belief that it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s to be present within an internationally recognized illegal occupation. Speaking and acting on our values is neither anti-Israel nor antisemitic.”

The company said it would continue to sell ice cream in Israel for the time being.

Israel President Isaac Herzog called the decision “a new form of terrorism, economic terrorism,” with other officials warning Unilever would face consequences for allowing the divestment.

Arizona had invested $143 million into the British conglomerate. That was reduced to $50 million, and will be zeroed out as of Sept. 21 once the state’s last investment matures.

The treasurer’s office has invested more than $30 million in Israeli bonds since 2013.

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This article was published on September 8, 2021  and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Brnovich Warns Biden Secretary of Education About Meddling in Arizona School Mask Ban

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office says it will not tolerate a federal government investigation into Arizona’s school mask policies. That’s according to a letter from Brnovich to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Aug. 31.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced Monday that they “opened directed investigations in five states exploring whether statewide prohibitions on universal indoor masking discriminate against students with disabilities” by obstructing their ability to attend in-person classes, according to a press release.

The five states under scrutiny are Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

OCR said they are not investigating Florida, Texas, Arkansas, or Arizona at this time due to the lack of enforcement of the states’ bans on indoor mask mandates as a result of pending litigation. However, the press release said that the department will “continue to closely monitor those states and is prepared to take action if state leaders prevent local schools or districts from implementing universal indoor masking or if the current court decisions were to be reversed.”

In his letter, Brnovich demanded that the secretary “retract” his threat, saying that the state would address violations of its constitutional rights in federal court.

“Our legislators and courts will ensure that our state Constitution is followed, not your radical agenda,” he wrote.

Cardona’s office said the investigations would determine if the states comply with Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The two laws prohibit disability discrimination in schools and public entities, including public education systems and institutions.

“The Department has heard from parents from across the country – particularly parents of students with disabilities and with underlying medical conditions – about how state bans on universal indoor masking are putting their children at risk and preventing them from accessing in-person learning equally,” Cardona said in the OCR press release.

Brnovich stressed that the state of Arizona is well aware of the importance of balancing power between the federal and state governments.

“It is true that over many generations, this crucial balance has been tested as the federal government has grown beyond its original intent,” Brnovich said. “It has perhaps never been more of an issue than in this first year of the Biden Administration though, where we have seen historic threats and attacks on powers reserved for the states.”

Such attacks against the Ninth and Tenth Amendments threaten the liberties of every American, Brnovich stated, adding that Arizona would take legal action against any federal attempts at overreach into state affairs.

“As I have stated previously, my office will not tolerate any effort from the federal government to undermine or interfere with Arizona’s sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote.

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This article was published on September 2, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Arizona Businesses Warn PRO Act Would Erase State’s Economic Edge

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Arizona’s business leaders say labor legislation awaiting consideration in the U.S. Senate would cause a seismic shift in labor-employer relations, nullifying many aspects of state law employers look for when considering relocation.

Associated General Contractors Arizona chapter President David Martin praised Arizona Democratic U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly for their “pragmatic approach” on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021. He pressured President Joe Biden to keep his promise to be an “inclusive president.”

The PRO act prohibits employers’ ability to communicate with employees during an organizing drive,” Martin said Monday during a news conference. “It allows private info on employees to be provided to the union, allows strikes at any time and for any reason.”

The U.S. House passed PRO Act March 9 along partisan lines. A similar version passed from the House in 2020 but was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Several states already have laws that implement much of the bill, meaning the PRO Act would force more business-friendly states to adopt the act’s labor-friendly policies.

“The PRO Act is a harmful bill that would, essentially, give unions free rein to wreak havoc on local businesses by lifting limitations picketing and causing economic injury to third parties,” said Michelle Ahlmer, executive director of the Arizona Retailers Association.

One of the most significant changes contained in the PRO Act strikes right-to-work laws at the state level. Right-to-work laws ban union membership as a condition of employment.

Arizona and 26 other states have right-to-work laws pertaining to the private sector. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that public-sector right-to-work laws were a violation of free speech.

“We know that right-to-work states typically outperform non-right-to-work states with higher job growth, lower unemployment rates, and better economic output,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said.

The AFL-CIO and its 56 labor organizations wrote Kelly on Aug. 3, pressuring him to support the PRO Act.

“The US is falling behind on numerous fronts, and our labor protections are no exception,” the union wrote. “Workers need you now to show your support for the right to organize.”

The AFL-CIO told Kelly the PRO Act would give workers “a voice at the table to bargain for better wages, retirement, health and safety standards, and other vital benefits.”

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This article was published on September 1, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.