Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios issued the following statement in support of the emergency injunction on the Senate audit.

“We stand by and strongly support Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo and the Arizona Democratic Party filing an emergency injunction to halt the Senate audit. We’ve seen that the Senate has abdicated its responsibility over this audit and handed it to rogue groups that have no experience with Arizona elections, and have created no security or safeguards to protect voters’ ballots, private data and Maricopa County Elections equipment. When issued by the judge, the subpoena assumed that government officials would comply with all laws on privacy, confidentiality and integrity of ballots and equipment. None of this has happened.

There are those out there who want to cast doubt and sow division over our election and are encouraging the completely made up claims of fraud. We’ve now seen them use this to cast doubt in the public to pass laws this session that make it more difficult for Arizonans to vote. But here are the facts. More than 2 million lawful ballots were cast in Maricopa County and there is no evidence of fraud or misconduct. No matter how you voted, this election was administered with integrity, transparency and in accordance with state laws. It’s clear that this audit is no more than a temper tantrum from those still upset that they lost the election and it is deeply damaging to the integrity of our elections and our democracy.”

PHOENIX– Arizona Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios and House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding released the following statement today after the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission selected Republican operative Brian Schmitt as the Executive Director.

“It's deeply dismaying that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission voted 3-2 to offer the critical role of Executive Director to Brian Schmitt, a Republican operative who failed to disclose to the commission recent, relevant and partisan campaign work. Schmitt’s name is linked to a 2020 campaign disbursement from Martha McSally for Congress in the amount of $63,652.44, made three days after the November election, as well as disbursements from the Republican National Committee in 2020 and 2018. This type of campaign work, and the candidate's decision to initially withhold that critical information from his application, should have been immediately disqualifying.

Schmitt, chief of staff to Republican Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, tried to downplay this five-figure payment from McSally by saying, ‘a friend called and asked me to help with logistics, that was my only involvement.’ Such a large payment for something as minor as 'logistics' for a Republican candidate is alarming and needs to be independently investigated. The Independent Redistricting Commission must be seen as exactly that --independent. This selection – the first in the Commission's history where the selection was not unanimous -- risks losing the public’s confidence and trust in the Commission to redraw Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts fairly and transparently. The Commission's work is too important to every Arizonan to take this risk."

PHOENIX— House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding and Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios released the following statements regarding Gov. Ducey's executive order requiring schools to return to in-person learning by March 15.

"This sudden executive order on school reopening raises numerous questions. Many school districts have already meticulously crafted reopening plans that work best for their students and parents, and this Executive Order callously throws those plans into disarray," said Senator Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios. "Our top priority regarding schools reopening must be community health and safety and ensuring that our schools have the funding and PPE they need to keep students, teachers and staff safe, via adequate ventilation and social distancing. We shouldn't have to choose between public health and public schools. We all know that school is the best place for our students to learn, but we need to make decisions that protect our communities, children, teachers, support staff and parents. Arizona is finally seeing our COVID cases go down and now is not the time to relax our guard. We must remain vigilant and cautious to protect the lives of our children."

"Everybody wants schools to return to in-person learning. But the decision should not be taken away from locally elected governing boards and the staff, students and communities they serve – following guidance from their local health departments and public health experts," said Leader Bolding. "The fact remains that people are still contracting COVID-19 and dying in large numbers. Arizona is moving in the right direction, but when this year began we were seeing over 10,000 cases a day. Since that time less than 20 percent of our state has gotten vaccinated. Whenever Arizona puts itself in position to finally bend the COVID-19 curve, there has been an overreaction that creates new opportunities for the pandemic to re-emerge and spread. We don't want to relive one of those moments by mandating schools return to in-person learning in less than two weeks without providing resources, PPE and sufficient vaccinations to do so safely."