April 14, 2021 / Modified apr 14, 2021 6:51 p.m.

News roundup: Magnus’s history under scrutiny after nomination, Pima County to be reimbursed for migrant housing costs

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 14.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 851,265 | Deaths 17,109

On Wednesday, April 14, Arizona reported 419 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths.

Magnus' history with transparency under scrutiny amid CBP nomination


Southern Arizona is in national focus this week after the Biden administration nominated Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to serve as Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.

Magnus was an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies and opposed Operation Stonegarden, a program that gives federal funds to local law enforcement for activities related to border security and enforcement.

Immigrant advocates say his nomination could bring about positive change, but some still have concerns.

Magnus offered to resign last summer when his department came under fire over the in-custody death of Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez that April.

Learn more here.

Marketing to kids a big concern during pandemic


A year of staying home from school has intensified troubles for parents stressed out by their kids asking for commercial goods.

University of Arizona Communications researcher Matt Lapierre says children have spent more time on screens during the pandemic. He notes kids who use smartphone apps for games or other video content are urged to spend money to keep access.

He studies what happens in families where children are exposed to commercial advertising. Lapierre says better communication between parents and their kids can reduce stress caused by exposure to child-focused ads.

Learn more here.

Pima County to get $2M to cover costs of asylum seekers


County officials in southern Arizona have said the federal government will provide $2.1 million to cover the costs of supporting people who are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum.

The Arizona Daily Star reported Tuesday that County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the grant to Pima County, which includes Tucson.

The funding is expected to cover costs related to food, shelter, transportation and medical care for migrants.

The county in 2019 helped shelter more than 20,000 asylum seekers and the federal government reimbursed the county for associated costs more than a year later. The funding was advanced this year.

Learn more here.

Arizona court rules for Tucson in election date dispute


The Arizona Supreme Court ruling in a case involving Tucson says a state law on local election dates unconstitutionally tramples the autonomy of so-called charter cities.

The state high court’s 5-1 ruling Wednesday decides a dispute between Tucson and the state Legislature by letting the city hold its election in 2021 instead of an even-numbered year.

State Attorney General Mark Brnovich had said Tucson’s election plans may violate a 2018 law requiring cities to hold their elections in even-numbered years if their off-year elections show a significantly lower turnout.

But the court said when to hold a local election is a local concern, not a statewide matter.

Learn more here.

Arizona finds 419 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths


PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are reporting 419 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and an additional four deaths.

The latest number of daily new cases released Wednesday by the state Department of Health Services is somewhat lower than the previous few days. That brings the total number of cases statewide since the pandemic’s onset 851,265 and the death toll to 17,109.

For the past two weeks, the number of patients hospitalized because of the virus have oscillated between 500 and 600. Arizona on Tuesday reported 531 hospitalizations with 150 of them in ICUs.

Meanwhile, more than 4 million vaccine doses have been administered in Arizona.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports no COVID-19 deaths for 3rd day in row


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported two new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the third consecutive day.

The latest numbers brought the pandemic totals on the tribe’s reservation to 30,269 cases and 1,262 known deaths.

Tribal officials had ordered a lockdown last weekend over fears that a new variant could drive another deadly surge. The Stay-At-Home order required all Navajo Nation residents to refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the spread of the virus, including a new and more contagious strain.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez recently announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Learn more here.

Conservatives propose revised sex ed rules in LGBTQ pushback


PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers have approved changes to sex education laws that make them some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues.

The legislation passed the state House on Wednesday. It's framed as a parental rights issue by requiring schools to get parents' permission for discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in sex education classes.

Opponents say parents already have those rights and conservatives are just pushing back on social changes they don’t like. Arizona is among several Republican-led states where lawmakers are considering similar changes.

Arizona's proposal also requires schools to get parents to sign off on their children learning about historical events involving sexual orientation.

Learn more here.

Arizona Senate Passes Bill That Bans Prohibiting Tribal Regalia At Graduations

Fronteras Desk

The Arizona Senate has passeda bill that would prohibit public schools from banning Native American students from wearing traditional tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance to their graduation ceremonies. This includes an eagle feather or eagle plume.

The legislation — originally sponsored by former state Rep. Arlando Teller who left the legislature for a job with the Biden administration — will take effect immediately, pending Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature.

“I wish to congratulate all the 2020-21 graduates and hope that they’re all able to wear their Native American outfits and traditional clothes to graduation," said state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai is one of the bill’s supporters.

Older Adults In Sonora Begin Receiving Second COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

Fronteras Desk

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue a slow rollout in Mexico, some older adults in the state of Sonora are finally receiving second doses this week.

Second vaccine doses are being administered to adults 60 and older in eight Sonoran cities this week, where many seniors have waited more than the indicated 21 days between doses.

But most say they still feel a sense of hope and relief with the second shot.

Others say they’re looking forward to seeing family, or just worrying a little less when they leave the house.

Learn more here.

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