Political Notebook: Grijalva seeks protections for workers who toil in the heat

Earlier this week, Tucson Democrat Raúl Grijalva co-sponsored legislation that seeks to establish a federal standard to protect workers from heat-related illnesses

The bill is named for a California worker who died after picking grapes for hours in triple-digit heat.

Asunción Valdivia, 53, foaming at the mouth, died from heatstroke as his son watched helplessly, Grijalva told colleagues recently. After picking grapes for 10 hours in 105-degree temperatures, Valdivia collapsed and was sent home. His employer did not to call an ambulance.

“His death was completely avoidable, yet his story is not unique,” Grijalva wrote, urging his House colleagues to establish a federal standard for heat stress protections in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Excessive heat killed 783 people and seriously injured 69,374 workers from 1992 through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Proper hydration, shade, and breaks in cool environments are not ‘perks’—but vital conditions that could make the difference between life and death for thousands of workers,” Grijalva said.

California, Minnesota, and Washington already have similar laws.

New Pima County letter supports I-11 plan

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry issued a memo earlier this week in the form of a letter to Arizona Department of Transportation, echoing some community concerns about the environmental impact of a new highway through Avra Valley.

But he stressed that the route from Mexico to Canada is needed and must run through Pima County.

“Given the importance of I-11 as a trade corridor, the no-build alternative is unacceptable and should be rejected,” Huckelberry wrote.

Huckelberry conceded that an alternative route along the existing Interstate 10 is not without its challenges.

“Both corridor alignments, the one using the existing Interstate 10 and the Avra Valley alignment, have significant impacts and will require extensive mitigation,” he wrote.

Mayoral forum this Saturday

Can’t decide who you want to support in the mayor’s race ahead of the Democratic primary?

Democratic candidates Steve Farley, Regina Romero, and Randi Dorman will square off at a forum organized by the Tanque Verde Valley Democratic Club.

The 90-minute forum will be held at Risky Business, 8848 E Tanque Verde.

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