ARIZONA NEWS

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from May 20-22

May 22, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: May 23, 2022, 7:23 am
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — An employment report found Arizona saw a significant jobs increase last month, Arizona politicians reacted to a judge’s decision to not end Title 42, and Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that prevents state health officials from ever adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school inoculations.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.


Arizona sees significant jobs increase in April, per employment report

The state of Arizona saw an increase of 13,100 jobs in the month of April, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority’s monthly report.

That is significantly higher than the state’s norm for April from 2010-19, which averaged a gain of 9,500 jobs.

The labor force has grown for 22 straight months.

Arizona has a labor force level of 3,556,972 people with a seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 3.2%, according to the report.


Arizona politicians react to judge ruling Title 42 asylum restrictions must continue

Arizona politicians on Friday reacted to a judge’s decision to not end Title 42, a pandemic-related border restriction that prevents migrants from seeking asylum in the United States on grounds of halting the spread of COVID-19.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey commended the ruling of the federal court.

“This is the right decision. The federal court stepped in to protect our nation when the Biden administration failed to do so,” Ducey said in a tweet.

The public health policy — Title 42 — dates back to the 1940s and is used to keep diseases from entering into the United States. Since 2020, nearly 2 million entries into the U.S. have been prevented.


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey OK’s ban on school COVID-19 vaccines

Arizona’s Republican governor has signed legislation that will prevent state health officials from ever adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school inoculations and bar face mask mandates in any buildings operated by state or local governments.

The two coronavirus bills signed by Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday would permanently block disease mitigation measures that health professionals say are critical to reining in the coronavirus pandemic if case counts again surge or the virus mutates and becomes more deadly to children.

The ban on face masks in libraries, courthouses and other public buildings could also affect efforts to stem the spread of a new airborne illness. Ducey’s office released no comment from the governor when it announced late Friday afternoon that he had signed the two bills along with 18 others.

He did tout the signing of legislation requiring public K-12 schools to devote a portion of the school day each Sept. 11 to teach about the terror attacks that struck the nation in 2001, and a bill that forbids insurance companies from considering a dog’s breed when reviewing homeowner’s insurance applications.


Tempe streetcar service launches with free rides to be provided for first year

After four years of construction, Tempe and Valley Metro launched its streetcar service in the East Valley city on Friday.

The three-mile route will shuttle riders across 14 stops and will come every 20 minutes, with the frequency of service expected to increase later this year with the addition of two streetcars.

Tempe Beach Park, Gammage Auditorium and Arizona State University sports stadiums are among the attractions along the route.

Rides will be free for the first year of service.


Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley, charter school plan campus in Phoenix’s Metrocenter area

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley and charter school Vista College Preparatory announced plans on Friday to open a campus at the reimagined Metrocenter area in north Phoenix.

The organizations said in a press release the adaptive reuse of a 64,000-square-foot commercial building at 21st and Peoria avenues would open in August and house a Club and a K-8 grade school.

“The Metrocenter area’s renaissance created a unique opportunity to bring a high-quality charter school and Boys & Girls Club into this community,” Marcia Mintz, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley’s president and CEO, said in the release.

“We look forward to bringing our signature afterschool and summer programs to kids and families who live and work in the Metro North neighborhood and those who will be moving to the area.”

The campus expects to provide tuition-free education to 820 students by 2025, the organizations said, starting off with kindergarten through second and fifth grades before adding a grade level each year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from May 20-22