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January 30, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Technology & Innovation: SciTech Festival

  |   Video
  • Arizona is hosting a statewide celebration of science, technology and engineering. Jeremy Babendure, executive director of the Arizona SciTech Festival, outlines what to expect.
  • Jeremy Babendure - Executive Director, Arizona SciTech Festival
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: AZ, Technology, Innovation, Intel, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: In coverage of Arizona technology and innovation we focus on the Arizona sigh tech festival, a statewide celebration of science, technology, and engineering. The festival kicks off next week, and here to tell us what to expect is jeremy babendure. The executive director of the Arizona festival. It's good to see you.

Jeremy Babendure: Thanks for having me here.

Ted Simons: We had you here last year, but it has been a year, and some folks may not have been onboard, what is the festival?

Jeremy Babendure: It's a statewide celebration of science and technology, there are over 300 events that will occur throughout a five-week period throughout the state.

Ted Simons: 300?

Jeremy Babendure: Yeah. There is tons of events that happen in communities from Yuma to Flagstaff.

Ted Simons: And it's designed to do what?

Jeremy Babendure: The idea of the festival is to really showcase the science and technology in everything that we do, almost like an Earth day for science, people celebrate it in their own areas.

Ted Simons: So science, technology, engineering, and math, and if you give us an example, what events are going on?

Jeremy Babendure: There is great efforts going on but the cities, a lot of them are growing, one event really popular last year is geeks night out. It's a, this great merge between the science fiction and the science, there is an event in Tucson, the festival of books, they do the science city, and where they have this major open house, at the u of a. They are showcasing the labs. And --

Ted Simons: We're looking at a start-up lab right now, and it's not just for -- young folks is the focus here.

Jeremy Babendure: We really see it more as motivations, what do people like to see. Chandler has this, this open house at their innovation incubator or midwestern University will have a tour of their, their optics' labs and medical labs. And there is a tour for teachers. So, people like baseball, for example, and you may like the spring training festival and see the signs of baseball.

Ted Simons: We just saw a guy taking a swing with gadgets and, and gears and monitoring and measuring. The science of baseball, what is that all about?

Jeremy Babendure: We have great professors both at u of a and ASU that study sports science, for example, we had a kinesiology professor that studies how the spin on, on footballs and baseballs work, and how the motion actually works in terms of how people throw balls.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Jeremy Babendure: And basically, there is science and technology in almost anything that we do. We have a chocolate affair event.

Ted Simons: Please, tell me more.

Jeremy Babendure: So, there is medicinal properties chocolates. We had a professor that started company from the active ingredient in chocolate, there is professors at, at midwestern that do that, too. And we have a chef that's going to come and talk about some of the applications and the psychology of chocolate.

Ted Simons: You talk about clock, and you will get a crowd.

Jeremy Babendure: Right.

Ted Simons: Right. And expos, demonstrations, tours, give us examples of those.

Jeremy Babendure: So, in terms of, of, you know, Chandler will have the science spectacular event, a lot of booths, and they have 30 of the companies, coming to showcase what they have got, and Arizona science center will have an innovator's fair so people with inventions that they are looking to set up, that's a good one to do, and asu has an amazing open house called night of the open door, and that's now connected with the west campus events where they have about 135 interactive activities where you can go to the campus and see what people are doing to innovate. There is also an event called the science and engineering festival where they will have a lot of maker type of booths and demonstrations there.

Ted Simons: That sounds like a lot of stuff going on, and how did this get started?

Jeremy Babendure: We have a, you know, a, from a personal perspective I was excited to help take what I learned in San Diego, I grew up here but was there for ten years and see how can we slow case what goes on in Arizona. There is a real, there is a lot of stuff going on that we do in science and technology that goes unnoticed so we're really excited to figure out how do you take all this, all this that we have and let people realize that it's in your backyard.

Ted Simons: You mentioned San Diego, do, did they do this?

Jeremy Babendure: Absolutely, San Diego, we started the science and technology festival there, and really, highlighted a lot of the companies there.

Ted Simons: And they are probably going strong still?

Jeremy Babendure: Yes.

Ted Simons: And this is now -- with schools and universities, and with, with industries, you got hikes and debates.

Jeremy Babendure: Science is all around us. What we're after is to help establish a culture of, of what we call culture in the state that people can identify Arizona as a community that innovates as a community that has science and technology, and having it be part of something that we celebrate is a cultural demonstration, really provides an opportunity to do so.

Ted Simons: Is Arizona getting that reputation?

Jeremy Babendure: From our -- it's hard for me, the judge, we have metrics and we are going to ask people to identify with science and technology but there are more stakeholders involved. We had this conversation with the chocolate affair, we had a chef, we had economic development leaders. We had informal educators, and we had, what's the other one, traditional educator on the line. It's just a nice, collaborative way that people come together and really, really celebrate it.

Ted Simons: And you have got a book right there. What is this all about? This fun book?

Jeremy Babendure: So we pilot, I don't know which way --

Ted Simons: Like that.

Jeremy Babendure: We piloted this, this -- all right.

Ted Simons: Go ahead.

Jeremy Babendure: We piloted doing this fun book, which is a lot of people said, what can I do after the festival or how can I really take tours or ways to really do more knowledge? We piloted in fun book which has the challenges that we're doing in collaboration with one of our companies called Sun Valley solar. And it has the challenges that you can do through -- we got activities and biotechnology, and there is activities --

Ted Simons: Oh, yeah.

Jeremy Babendure: In water with SRP. But, we'll pilot it and see how it goes but we're hoping people will have a take away during the festival.

Ted Simons: That's February 6th at the science center?

Jeremy Babendure: Correct.

Ted Simons: And off until March 17th.

Jeremy Babendure: Yes, I hope you will make it.

Ted Simons: I don't know how I can avoid it. Thanks for joining us.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

  |   Video
  • The president and a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators unveiled the framework for comprehensive immigration reform this week. Immigration attorney Regina Jefferies discusses the changes.
  • Regina Jefferies - Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: comprehensive, immigration, reform, president, ,

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Ted Simons: The President and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators unveiled a framework for comprehensive immigration reform this week. And here to talk more about the proposals is immigration attorney regina jeffries. Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Regina Jeffries: Good to see you.

Ted Simons: I want to get an impression from the immigrant community what you are hearing, the response to the proposals, but first, your thoughts on what you heard?

Regina Jeffries: I think that, you know, what we have got in the last couple of weeks is, is, even, two fairly similar proposals. I think that there is a lot of -- there are a lot of good ideas, and there are a lot of things that do need to happen. So, as far as people being provided a path to citizenship or a path to legal residency, especially dealing with the dreamer issue, with kids that have grown up their lives here have gone to school and have contribute. And those kinds of things, it's as we exciting to, to see these things, and in those proposals, and I think that, that, you know, it's very hopeful, as well, we're very hopeful that something will happen, and in a bipartisan way.

Ted Simons: So what are you hearing from the immigrant community?

Regina Jeffries: Well, people, people are hopeful, I mean, they are excited for the most part but they are also cautious because I think that, that what we have seen over the past ten years with the immigration debate is, is a lot of discord and a lot of, a lot of back and forth and, and essentially, petty arguing, and not a focus on the policy. I mean, the immigration system in this country is broken. And it needs to be fix. And we need to have a reason, a sensible approach to fix it, and not add on just, you know, things and hoops that are just going to make the process more of a quagmire than it already is.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, how many, and will, will folks emerge from the shadows hearing something like this, and even if, if some of these ideas are implemented, is that, is that enough because that's a community with so many folks who have been there for so long. Not participating in a lot of things that these requirements mandate.

Regina Jeffries: And I think that, that one of the things that, that you see, for example, take the example of paying back taxes, well, a large number of immigrants who are here, even if they are here unlawfully, pay taxes. And a large number of them, and I mean, not only income taxes but property taxes, and sales taxes and all the taxes that we have. So, the idea that, that, that people are going to emerge, I think people will emerge, if they are provided an opportunity to, to apply and legalize their status, and afford an opportunity to, to work and support their family, they, absolutely, will step forward and do that. The problem now is that there is no way for many people to do that. And there is no line for people to get into. So, if people are afforded an opportunity to get in a line, I think that they will step forward, absolutely.

Ted Simons: Future citizenship is a concern for those who have always a problem with, with illegal immigration in any concept of being a citizen in the future. Is that a big draw, do you think, for the community or is that just one of many things in these proposals to be considered?

Regina Jeffries: I think that it's absolutely a big draw for the community. Especially when you look at kids who were brought here as, you know, an infant and have lived their lives here, they consider themselves citizens of the United States anyway. This is something that is incredibly important, and actually, that we have seen over the last five years, that the power of the Latino voters coming out, and people that, that, that have become citizens, so that they can take part and they can take part in the civic life, in the United States and, and I think it's a very important thing.

Ted Simons: The background checks for temporary legal status, is that, is that viable? Is that realistic?

Regina Jeffries: Absolutely. The immigration service, they run background checks for, for any, any kind of application, for, for residency, for citizenship, and for, for, for, for work permits and in certain cases, and for the deferred action process, they run extensive checks.

Ted Simons: And the talk of toughening the border, is that a deterrent? Is that something that, that the immigrant community, the people you work with, they hear that and they go, this could be a problem? This could be something that, that may keep us from doing x, y, and z?

Regina Jeffries: I think that that is, in my view, that is an issue with, with the proposals that have been put forth. This idea of, of border security, I mean, the border has -- the border security has never been better enforced than it has been under the Obama administration and that's a fact. You can look at the number of, of deportations. They have skyrocketed, and I'm not saying, you know, it's a good or bad thing but the fact of the matter is that there is more border enforcement now than there ever has been. And so, I think that tieing this citizenship idea to, to securing the border when there is no, no defined example of what that would mean, it's a red herring. You are going to have a lot of people stuck in limbo for no reason because Congress, again, is abdicating its responsibility and to put a process into place.

Ted Simons: It sounds like the process might include a commission that deals with border Governors and attorneys general and sheriffs and these sorts of things, which again, it could be problematic to those who look at these folks and say, I don't want any part of that. And that's not good for the system.

Regina Jeffries: No, and I can understand the, the interest in having input from people that are dealing with, with the issues like this. But, the issue is, that it needs to be something that's practical, that does not add to, to the, the unwieldyness of the system. It has to be something that's practical and can be implemented, and not something that's a ploy or somebody sticking it in there because they think it will get votes. It has to work, and I think that's what we're waiting to see.

Ted Simons: And a couple other ideas here, new penalties for fraud and I.D. theft. New penalties, there already are some but it's rampant, is that a deterrent? Would that be much of one, any new penalties?

Regina Jeffries: Any new penalties would be duplicative, it's -- there are penalties for that. It's already penalized, it's already -- it renders someone inadmissible so unable to get a green card unless they can jump through hoops and, and so, I'm not sure it's really necessary, and this is, actually, a perfect example. What I'm saying it, needs to be something that works, not something that, that adds to, to the unwieldyness of the system. Why would you add something like that when there is already something preventing fraud or punishing fraud that's in the system? It does not make any sense.

Ted Simons: I guess, yeah, most of the questions I'm asking regarding a response from the immigrant community is, are they buying it? And you said that there's there was hope, so, it sounds like they are buying most of it. And but, is it the kind of thing that, that instead of us constantly saying the immigration system is broken, in a year, or two, or however long it takes to get some of this, if they ever do get implemented, we can say, take a little breath and say, it's time to move forward.

Regina Jeffries: Right. And I think that, that the immigrant community from what I have heard, I think that, that people are hopeful but I think that people are, are skeptical, as well. And for good reason. And I think that, you know, if we are going to have to see what people come up with, and if Congress can come up with a solution that's going to allow us that breathing room. And I think that the way to go that is to, is to put into place a system that is, is functional, and simpler than the current system, and more streamlined, and that will help business, and that will help immigrants, and that will help, basically, everyone. So, we'll see if that will happen but I'm hopeful it will.

Ted Simons: And it remains to be seen how your job will change because the requirements mean, mean a new learning curve.

Regina Jeffries: If it puts me out of a job, that's totally fine. But, thank you.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • A mid-week legislative update with a reporter from the Arizona Capitol Times.
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislative, update, legislature, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: More money for cps caseworkers and more money for Arizona's independent redistricting commission to defend itself from lawsuits. For details on those stories and other things happening at the capitol, we welcome Jim Small of the Arizona Capitol Times for our midweek legislative update. Good to see and you thanks for being here. Cps money, fastrack, not a lot of opposition for that?

Jim Small: No, no opposition so far. You know, this is something that the Governor called for in her state of the state address. She asked for -- legislature to give her money to hire 50 new cps case workers.

Ted Simons: And 4.5 million or something along those lines?

Jim Small: Yes, the bills went through the house and the Senate, bills on parallel tracks and they went through the committee today, and sailed through. So, they are expected to go to the floor tomorrow, get debate and had voted on and should be on the Governor's desk by the end of the day.

Ted Simons: By the end of the day tomorrow and signed, I would imagine, quickly. How soon would wee see the caseworkers? The money will go into effect immediately. It will be up to, to the Department of Economic Security, and cps to, to go out and hire those books, and I'm sure that they have got a plan for it. They were anticipating getting this money.

Jim Small: And also, money fastracked for the redistricting commission. I am sure this was not as easy to swallow?

Jim Small: No, these -- they approved the bills, to give $500,000, excuse me, to the independent redistricting commission to, to fund one of the three lawsuits it has coming up and, and get it, basically, through, you know, the end of March. It's what this money is designed to do, as it, was they were going to run out of money at the end of February, and, you know, the commission testified today that ok, this is a nice first step, but, we're going to be back for more. We need more money because we have other bills that are due, and the money, basically, pays for, for a, a trial that begins in March 25th, trial in Federal Court about the, the legislative lines that were drawn in 2011.

Ted Simons: And this is something that -- I know the IRS was saying, basically, as you mentioned, this is nice, not as much as they were asking for?

Jim Small: No, they asked for 2.25 million, which included some, some money maybe that, you know, it seems that they put in there as a way to let the legislature take some of that money away. And, and they would not be left hurting, you know, they included 800,000 to draw new maps, and in case, just in case the court comes back and says, you need to draw new maps, and they included 500,000 in that request as just kind of a cost overrun, basically, and kind of a cushion, so, you know, the 1.3 of that is money that maybe would not necessarily have to be used. So, I would imagine the legislature when they come back will, will keep that in mind and will give them another 500,000 or 600, 000.

Ted Simons: So it does not make it easy, if you want the more money, come back and hand and hand and we'll see what we can do?

Jim Small: But the one thing that, that is true about this, that's interesting, the legislature is not going to not give them the money.

Ted Simons: Right.

Jim Small: They are constitutionally obligate to find it, and they know that, and you know, they have haded this discussion last year and decided after they posture a bit about it, and decided well, we're going to back down because we're going to lose this lawsuit if we go to court.

Ted Simons: All right, it sounds like anti-union bills are again, a hot topic at the capitol, and I know that we went through this last session, and what's the difference this go around?

Jim Small: The difference this time is, is really, the difference, I think, that we are going to see all year, which is a different makeup of the legislature. You know. Don't have the legislative supermajorities, or Republican supermajorities where they have an iron clad control. You have a new crop of legislators and three union bills that went through, heard yesterday in the house Government committee, and one of them passed. One of them failed. And then the sponsor of the third one realized that they did not super the votes on the third one so they held it in discussion, but an interesting thing that happened was, was the Democrats tried to basically use a Parliamentary maneuver to, to kill for good, the bill that failed. And it backfired on them because the Republicans, who had voted against it, there were two Republicans on the panel who voted against one of the bills, and they decided that, that, they did not really like the tactic the Democrats were using so they voted to keep it alive, send it to the floor and move through the process, and both of them said that they are not -- as it stands they would not vote for the bill but they were, out of respect for the sponsor and for the chairman, and disrespect for the Democrats, who are going to vote to keep it alive.

Ted Simons: Isn’t that interesting, now, which one, the one regarding all city council and county boards have to vote on paycheck deduction, up or down?

Jim Small: That one got up.

Ted Simons: Which one didn't make it?

Ted Simons: It's the same three, and it's just -- there is no compensation, got to make it public, and you have to, to vote to authorize paycheck deductions by the end of the year.

Jim Small: And we'll see, last year, these ideas, these anti-union legislation, you know, the components of the legislation, didn't really find a welcomed landing spot in the house. And, you know, this year, there is fewer Republicans, and you still have generally the same leadership, certainly, in house speaker Andy Tobin, so if they couldn't find it last year, whether they can find it now, that not only have, you know, they have 30, 37 house Republicans, I don't know that they will be able to do this.

Ted Simons: And I should mention again, these are all pushed by the goldwater institute.

Jim Small: All of them except for the up or down vote by city council. That one is not endorsed.

Ted Simons: But that was similar to this kind of an out-right ban or something like that from last year?

Jim Small: Right, and the goldwater institute has that, similar bills in the house and Senate back.

Ted Simons: Before you go, the budget, obviously, it's always there, and all the time. What are you hearing? Anything, any closing of the gaps or is it just, just --

Jim Small: Not yet. Right now, we're still kind of in the early stages, you know, Republicans, you know, I think it was last week, we had discussions about the plan, and where they see the budget and revenues, and I think right now we're highlighting differences between what the Governor wants and what the, the Republican-controlled legislature would like and, and in the next few weeks they will have conversation, and things will start to pick up. But, if we are going to talk about 100-day session, the goal, probably be around day 75 or 80. When the talks really kind of get going and, and, you know in a meaningful capacity.

Ted Simons: real quickly here, as far as the immigration proposals, we'll talk more about this but what reaction from the Governor or the legislature?

Jim Small: Well, they said more about it in the legislature as a whole. In the legislature, you had partisan lines. Democrats have been optimistic about the bipartisan gang of eight immigration proposal from the U.S. Senate, and really, like what the President had to say yesterday. And Republicans have been a lot, a lot more muted on, on it, and I think that, that one of the things that you hear from, from a lot of Republicans and, and Governor brewer, certainly, is no exception in this, is that they want to make sure that there is border security. That really is truly going to be addressed in whatever happens. And, and, you know, she brought out a statement the other day talking backs and not really taking a stand on it saying, we need to see more details, which is understandable. This was just kind of the framework of an agreement. And the devil is always in the details in these things.

Ted Simons: All right. Good to see you and thanks for joining us.