U.S. SENATE – Today, U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) secured Senate passage of her bipartisan bill to make the judicial system more accessible to victims, witnesses, parties, and jurors in northern and southern Arizona. The bill now heads to the president’s desk.
Currently, Arizonans living in and around Flagstaff and Yuma, including parties to cases, victims of crime, and jurors, must travel long distances for district court proceedings.
“It is great to see my commonsense, bipartisan legislation that increases access to our judicial system headed to the president’s desk,” said McSally. “Now, Arizonans will be able to access federal proceedings in Yuma and Flagstaff to better serve our growing communities.”
Under current law, court can be held in Globe, Phoenix, Prescott and Tucson. Both Flagstaff and Yuma have federal courthouses, and substantial judicial and law-enforcement activity, mainly overseen by magistrate judges, takes place in both cities. McSally’s bill provides the statutory authority necessary for proceedings requiring district judges, including most criminal cases and trials, to be held in Yuma or Flagstaff.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is a co-sponsor of the legislation. Representative Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) introduced the House companion to McSally’s legislation, which every member of the Arizona delegation has joined.
What Yuma and Flagstaff leaders are saying:
Mayor Douglas Nicholls, Yuma: “As the third largest metropolitan area in the State of Arizona, the passage of this bill is monumental for Yuma. Before, residents in southwestern Arizona had to travel to larger cities for justice in federal court. Now, judicial accessibility and greater room for development in that arena will be able to serve our fast-growing community. Thank you to Senators McSally and Sinema for seeing the need to have easier access to justice in our Yuma courts.”
Mayor Coral Evans, Flagstaff: “I congratulate Senators Sinema and McSally for shepherding through legislation that will allow Flagstaff to hold federal district court proceedings. As the largest City in northern Arizona and with multiple Indian tribes in and around Flagstaff, this legislation is long overdue and will make the federal court system more accessible for rural Arizonans.”
Julie Pastrick, President/CEO, Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce: “We are very excited about officially adding an Article three court in northern Arizona, and grateful to Senator McSally and Congressman O’Halleran for getting this done. For too long, northern Arizona US District court proceedings took place in Prescott or Phoenix, a burden to many. Now northern Arizona’s ever-growing population will be justly served. Our new Flagstaff court will also be a real boon locally, providing increased economic development through a growing legal community. We are thrilled.”
Julie Engel, President/CEO, Greater Yuma EDC: “The Yuma Region is grateful for the combined efforts of Senator McSally and Senator Sinema for their deliberate solution towards equitable Federal Court representation throughout the State of Arizona. With the passing of this bill Yuma and Flagstaff will be able to serve our citizens without the burden of lost days due to travel. Victims in particular will no longer experience the added burden of leaving their homes in order to testify and Jurors will not suffer multiple lost days from employment. This truly is a great service to Yuma and Flagstaff and we are very grateful for the work that went into this by Senator's Sinema and McSally. Thank you both for your leadership and service.”
On July 10, McSally applauded the passage of her bill in the U.S House of Representatives.
On March 7, McSally introduced the bipartisan legislation that would allow Arizona federal district court proceedings to be held in Flagstaff and Yuma.