Latest from Diannie Chavez
COVID-19 on track to be leading cause of death in Arizona in 2021
WASHINGTON - COVID-19 claimed almost 15,800 lives in Arizona this year, which puts it on track to outpace both cancer and heart disease and be the leading cause of death in the state in 2021.
Fentanyl, COVID-19 help drive overdose deaths to record 12-month high
The COVID-19 pandemic and a growing unsafe drug supply combined to push overdose deaths up by 27.6% in the U.S. over a 12-month period from 2020 to 2021, a surge in deaths that was matched in Arizona.
Arizona lags in prenatal care, but ranks well in infant deaths, preemies
WASHINGTON - Arizona outperformed the nation on its rates of premature births and infant deaths, despite having some of lowest rates of prenatal care among the states, according to a recent March of Dimes report.
Arizona saw ten-fold jump in catalytic converter thefts, second-most in nation
WASHINGTON - Theft of catalytic converters - the part of a car's exhaust system that changes toxic gases to less-harmful emissions - is surging across the country, including Arizona.
‘Remain in Mexico’ migrant policy resumes, even as feds vow to end it
WASHINGTON - The Trump-era "remain in Mexico" policy will resume Monday, after the Mexican government agreed to accept migrants who are turned away at the border and forced to wait in Mexico for their hearing.
House approves $1.9 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ social spending plan
The House passed the 10-year, roughly $1.9 trillion "Build Back Better" bill early Friday, a plan supporters say would extend tax credits, child care, health care and more to tens of thousands of Arizonans but which still needs Senate approval.
‘Q-Shaman,’ face of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, sentenced to 41 months
WASHINGTON - A contrite Jacob Anthony Chansley, the self-described "QAnon Shaman" who became the face of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison for his role in the assault.
Court: Higher water charge for public housing is not discriminatory
WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court said Friday that an Arizona water district can charge more in upfront fees to public housing residents, even though the policy disproportionately affects minority customers and single mothers.
Democrats continue to press for action against Gosar, call for censure
WASHINGTON - House Democrats continued to press for action Friday against Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, over a violent cartoon video that appears to show him attacking the president and killing a liberal House Democrat.
Thank a veteran? Good luck finding one in Congress, as numbers dwindle
The number of veterans serving in Congress is at its lowest point since the start of World War II, with vets making up only about 17% of current lawmakers, a decline that analysts say deprives Congress of valuable perspectives in governing.
Arizona lawmakers split as House OKs $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill
WASHINGTON - Arizona lawmakers split on party lines late Friday night as the House voted 228-206 to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, giving final passage to a centerpiece of the Biden administration's agenda.
White House orders workplace vaccinations, state officials vow fight
WASHINGTON - Just hours after the Biden administration issued regulations Thursday to require that businesses mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their workers, Arizona officials were vowing to fight what one called a "direct attack" on personal liberty.
Tucson chief moves a step closer to CBP job, on narrow committee vote
WASHINGTON - Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus moved closer to becoming the next commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Wednesday after a Senate committee narrowly approved his nomination.
Protesters take sides, as Supreme Court takes up Texas abortion law
WASHINGTON - The future of abortion rights was not strictly the issue before the Supreme Court when it took up Texas' strict abortion law Monday, but that was not evident from the scores of protesters who gathered outside the court.
Democrats’ slimmer $1.75 trillion Build Back Better still has skeptics
WASHINGTON - Democratic leaders said Thursday that they reached agreement on a $1.75 trillion "framework" for their Build Back Better plan, a sweeping social and environmental spending plan that would increase funding for everything from child care to Medicare.
Arizonans join rallies in D.C. urging action on Build Back Better plan
WASHINGTON - Hundreds of protesters, including several from Arizona, gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday to demand that Democrats fulfill promises on childcare, health care and immigration reform by taking action on President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan.
Obamacare enrollment in Arizona rose by 40,000, with more gains likely
WASHINGTON - More than 40,000 Arizonans signed up for Affordable Care Act health insurance in the six-month special enrollment period earlier this year, and advocates expect the numbers to keep rising in the enrollment period that opens next month.
Court upholds death sentence for man who burned ex-roommate to death
WASHINGTON - An appeals court Thursday rejected an Arizona death-row inmate's argument that his sentence was unconstitutional because his crime, burning a former roommate to death, was committed in a brief window when the state was revising its death penalty law.
Navajo president backs bill to protect Native American voting rights
WASHINGTON - Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told a Senate panel Wednesday that special protections are needed to reverse the "very disrespectful" treatment of Native Americans who face extraordinary challenges in the voting process.
Citizenship applications backlog leaves thousands with cases pending
WASHINGTON - More than 11,000 citizenship applications are pending in Arizona. Federal offials blame the pandemic for the delays, but critics blame Trump-era agency cuts.
DHS to end workplace raids, turn focus on companies exploiting workers
WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security said it will stop raiding workplaces to search for undocumented immigrants and will focus instead on "unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerability" of undocumented labor.
Biden reverses Trump cuts to national monuments, restores Bears Ears
WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden restored Bears Ears National Monument to its previous 1.36 million-acres footprint Friday, reversing a Trump-era decision to cut as much as 85% of the southern Utah site valued for its environmental, archeological and tribal treasures.
Maricopa officials blast election review’s ‘spread of disinformation’
WASHINGTON - Maricopa County supervisors told a congressional committee Thursday that the state Senate's review of the county's 2020 election results amounted to a "staggering refusal to follow the will of the voters."
Arizonans hopeful that focus on missing Indigenous persons may pay off
WASHINGTON - Duane Garvais-Lawrence pulled into Washington, D.C., Friday, ending his second annual coast-to-coast trip to bring attention to the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women - a trip he hopes he does not have to make again.
Can you hear me now? Centrist positioning makes Sinema a player, pariah
WASHINGTON - Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's refusal to back the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion social and clean-energy spending package has made her a target for Democrats - and possibly "the most powerful person in Washington right now," one analyst said.
From the Hill to the mound: Playing ball is break from political brawl
WASHINGTON - Arizona Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego, both Phoenix Democrats, among the players at this week's Congressional Baseball Game that pits Republicans against Democrats, lets them let their hair down and raise money for charity at the same time.
COVID-19 death toll in Arizona expected to top 20,000 this week
WASHINGTON - Arizona is on pace to reach 20,000 COVID-19 deaths this week, according to state data, as the disease that seemed to be waning just months ago has come roaring back with a new variant and new battles on safety protocols.
Maricopa election probe is complete, but fight may just be starting
WASHINGTON - After months of work and millions of dollars, the contractors investigating Maricopa County's elections were able to answer one question Friday - President Joe Biden did win. Otherwise, they spent hours raising questions and calling for more investigation.
Rally to support seven Arizonans charged in Jan. 6 Capitol attack
WASHINGTON - Organizers are downplaying expectations for a large crowd at Saturday's rally in Phoenix to support the "political prisoners" arrested in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol - but they are not downplaying the seriousness of their cause.
Democrats blast ‘cancer’ of Arizona election probe on eve of release
WASHINGTON - Democrats went on the offensive Thursday, saying the Arizona election audit scheduled to be released Friday is a "cancer spreading through the country" as it is mimicked by other states.
Fencing goes up around Capitol again, as police brace for Jan. 6 rally
WASHINGTON - Fences, cameras and barricades went up around the Capitol as federal and local police braced for possible violence at a Saturday rally defending those who were arrested in the Jan. 6 insurrection - but if anyone is coming from Arizona, they were not saying.
Tucson official touts benefits of school gardens to fight kids’ hunger
WASHINGTON - The director of Tucson Unified School District's Community and School Garden Program joined advocates from around the country Wednesday at a House Rules Committee roundtable on the ways that schools can help fight childhood hunger.
White House plan would help schools skirt Ducey ban on mask mandates
WASHINGTON - Gov. Doug Ducey's threat to withhold funding from schools that impose mask mandates took a severe hit Thursday, when the White House said local school districts can apply directly to the federal government "to restore funding withheld by state leaders."
Pandemic unemployment relief ends, cutting off 45,000 jobless in state
WASHINGTON - A federal pandemic relief program that provided extra financial aid to jobless workers ended Monday, hitting more than 45,000 unemployed Arizonans who had already seen the state pull away another source of federal aid in July.
Some schools sticking with mask mandates, despite Ducey funding threat
WASHINGTON - Friday was the deadline for schools to drop mask mandates if they wanted to be eligible for a share of millions in COVID-19 state aid, but at least several districts in the state were refusing to comply with Gov. Doug Ducey's demand.
Senators review draft of election audit, as critics redouble attacks
WASHINGTON - Arizona Senate Republicans are expected to begin their review Wednesday of a partial Maricopa County election audit, but critics are not waiting until then to target the report as little more than "invalid and unreliable" partisan propaganda.
Surge in COVID-19 puts state on pace to hit 1 million cases next week
WASHINGTON - Arizona is on pace to record its 1 millionth COVID-19 infection within the next week, and health experts fear that kids in schools and the looming Labor Day holiday will only make matters worse.