Today: Jun 01 , 2020
Current News

Current News

CAFMA and the Prescott Fire Department have announced that Stage 2 fire restrictions will be in place startingJune 3, at 8 am.

wildfire

The Prescott City Fire Department and the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) have issued guidance outlining fire restrictions to be implemented in all areas under their jurisdictions. These Stage Two Fire Restrictions, effective June 3rd, cover the 42 square miles of the City of Prescott and the 365 miles of Yavapai County under the jurisdiction of CAFMA, including the Town of Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, Chino Valley and Paulden.

CAFMA’s jurisdiction also applies to areas surrounding the City of Prescott such as Williamson Valley, upper Copper Basin Road, the Mountain Club area, Ponderossa Park off of White Spar Road, the Senator Highway area off Karen Drive, Sweet Acres and Oak Knoll Village, along with the areas of Government Canyon and Diamond Valley which are south of Prescott.

The Prescott Fire Department and Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority will be enacting Stage Two fire restrictions which are more restrictive than the current Stage 1 restrictions, at 8:00am, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Moving to Stage 2 restrictions is consistent with actions taken by the Prescott National Forest, and will also cover unincorporated areas of Yavapai County not protected by fire districts and local fire departments. Guidance issued by the Fire Marshals indicates that the Stage 2 Fire Restrictions will stay in effect until the area receives sufficient rain to justify their safe removal. Further information can be found at the CAFMA website or the Prescott Fire Department website.

The full text of the guidance provided by the Fire Marshals is printed below.

Stage I Fire Restrictions:

NO residential burn permits will be issued.

Use of model rockets is PROHIBITED.

Use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays are PROHIBITED except by commercial special events permit.

NO smoking outside of vehicles, outside of residential yards, or outside of designated smoking areas.

NO outdoor use of firearms.

Cooking, warming, or camp fires (ash or ember producing) ARE still ALLOWED at single and multi-family residential properties and Town parks (where approved) but MUST BE attended at all times.

 

Stage II Fire Restrictions:

NO burn permits will be issued-residential or commercial.

Use of model rockets is PROHIBITED.

Use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays are PROHIBITED except by commercial special events permit.

NO smoking outside of vehicles, outside of residential yards, or outside of designated smoking areas.

NO outdoor use of firearms.

Welding, cutting and grinding is PROHIBITED (Permission may be granted under special circumstances and repair situations as approved by the Fire Marshal).**

Chain saws are allowed with a spark arrestor, water or fire extinguisher and a fire watch.

Warming fires, camp fires, as well as charcoal and wood burning barbecues (ember and ash producing) are PROHIBITED in all locations. This also prohibits the use of other devices that produce open flame such as tiki lamps.

The use of propane, natural gas or other gas flame-producing barbeque cooking grills or fire pits MAY BE USED as long as they are constantly attended, are in an enclosed device, and can be turned off.

 

** Certain activities including welding, cutting, grinding (any spark/flame producing activity) outdoors shall require the following:

A Fire Department permit for a specific time period, location, and activity granting permission to conduct such activity in a safe manner.

A fire watch, an individual for the sole purpose of watching for any sparks and/or ignition.

Firefighting tool(s) such as a shovel.

Approved water supply available from a hose, water truck, etc.

A major milestone reached for electronic returns.

IRS

The Internal Revenue Service announced that later this summer taxpayers will for the first time be able to file their Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return, electronically using available tax software products.

Making the 1040-X an electronically filed form has been a goal of the IRS for a number of years. It’s also been an ongoing request from the nation’s tax professional community and has been a continuing recommendation from the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) and Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC).

Currently, taxpayers must mail a completed Form 1040-X to the IRS for processing. The new electronic option allows the IRS to receive amended returns faster while minimizing errors normally associated with manually completing the form.

“This new process is a major milestone for the IRS, and it follows hard work by people across the agency,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “E-filing has been one of the great success stories of the IRS, and more than 90 percent of taxpayers use it routinely. But the big hurdle that’s been remaining for years is to convert amended returns into this electronic process. Our teams have worked diligently to overcome the unique challenges related to the 1040-X, and we look forward to offering this new service this summer.”

About 3 million Forms 1040-X are filed by taxpayers each year.

The new electronic filing option will provide the IRS with more complete and accurate data in an easily readable format to enable customer service representatives to answer taxpayers’ questions. Taxpayers can still use the "Where's My Amended Return?" online tool to check the status of their electronically-filed 1040-X.

When the electronic filing option becomes available, only tax year 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns can be amended electronically. In general, taxpayers will still have the option to submit a paper version of the Form 1040-X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form. Additional enhancements are planned for the future.

“Adding amended returns to the electronic family also complements our partnership with the tax software industry, which continues to work with us to provide better ways to help taxpayers,” said Ken Corbin, Commissioner of the IRS Wage and Investment division.

Plan for overnight lane restrictions on State Route 89A in Prescott Valley and Prescott May 31-June 4.

President Trump is fighting back against the censorship of Americans online.

White House

"I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet.” – President Donald J. Trump

President Trump is fighting back against the censorship of Americans online.

President Trump has issued an order to uphold free and open debate on online platforms.

The order calls for the start of a regulatory process to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to ensure social media companies who claim to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but engage in deceptive or pretextual censorship, will not be allowed to entitled to immunity for such actions.

Social media companies should not receive liability protections when they act as editors of content on their platform or take down lawful speech based on politics.

It also instructs the Federal Trade Commission to consider prohibiting social media companies from engaging in any deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce.

Federal agencies will review policies and procedures regarding taxpayer dollars that are going to online platforms that inappropriately restrict free speech.

Furthermore, the order establishes a working group to develop model legislation that States could adopt.

The idea that large, powerful social media companies have the ability to censor opinions they disagree is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.

It is not acceptable for a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick speech that Americans may access and convey.

Americans all throughout the Nation have reported troubling behavior by platforms to censor speech, including deleting entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.

While online platforms denigrate our national discourse by disfavoring certain viewpoints, they are simultaneously profiting from disinformation spread by foreign governments.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all profited off the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to subjugate their people and spread misinformation around the world.

President Trump is committed to preserving the integrity and openness of our Nation’s discourse and upholding freedom of expression for all Americans.

President Trump has already taken multiple actions to make sure Americans can engage in free expression.

Last year, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship – collecting 16,000 complaints in just weeks.

Also in 2019, President Trump held a social media summit at the White House, highlighting the valuable role that online journalists and influencers fulfill for our Nation.

The President has signed an Executive Order to protect the free speech rights of students on college campuses.

During his first year in office, the President signed an Executive Order upholding religious liberty and the right to engage in religious speech.

The Arizona Department of Revenue tells taxpayers to disregard letters entitled "Distraint Warrant".

Dept revenue

The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) wants taxpayers to know if they receive a letter from a third-party collections agency that uses the title “Distraint Warrant,” the department does not sanction this notice and does not currently use third-party tax collectors.

The Distraint Warrant letter advises the recipient of unpaid taxes to the State of Arizona and that the “State of Arizona uses the warrant in collection actions, such as garnishment of wages, bank accounts, property seizures, federal tax refund offset, and creation of a property lien.” The notice then provides a deadline to call a 1-800 number.

The Department of Revenue has been made aware of taxpayer concerns regarding the letter’s aggressive tone.

Before considering more formal enforcement action, the department will work with a taxpayer to arrive at voluntary compliance including utilizing options such as an appropriate payment plan.If the Department of Revenue determines formal enforcement actions are required, written notices will clearly include department letterhead, taxpayer information, and outline next steps. An ADOR written notice will not use the term, “Distraint Warrant.”

Taxpayers with questions about ADOR correspondence can contact the department here.

For additional information on the Arizona Department of Revenue visit our website

Arizona's AG files a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court to stop Google's deceptive collection of user data.

Google2

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court today against Google LLC for deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users’ location data, which Google then exploits for its lucrative advertising business. Arizona has brought forward this action under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act to put a stop to Google's deceptive collection of user data and obtain monetary relief up to and including forcing Google to disgorge gross receipts arising from its Arizona activities.

“While Google users were led to believe they could opt-out of location tracking, the company exploited other avenues to invade personal privacy,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent. The Arizona Consumer Fraud Act helps ensure even the most innovative and powerful companies are held accountable and operate within the law.”

Google derives the vast majority of its profit through selling advertisements and displaying them to users of Google’s products and services. In 2019, over 80% of Google’s revenues—$135 billion out of $161 billion total—were generated through advertising. Google collects detailed information about its users, including their physical locations, to target users for advertising in a specific geographic location. Google’s collection of location data also allows the tech giant to validate the effectiveness of ads by reporting to advertisers how often online ad clicks are converted into real-world store visits. As outlined in the lawsuit filed by Arizona, Google's advertising revenues are largely driven by the company's collection of detailed data about its users, including location information, often done without the users’ consent or knowledge.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office began its consumer fraud investigation of Google in August 2018, following an Associated Press article entitled, "Google tracks your movements, like it or not", which detailed how users are lulled into a false sense of security, believing Google provided users the ability to actually disable their Location History. Google told users that "with Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored." But as the AP article revealed, this statement was blatantly false — even with Location History off, Google surreptitiously collects location information through other settings such as Web & App Activity and uses that information to sell ads. At the same time, Google’s disclosures regarding Web & App Activity misled users into believing that setting had nothing to do with tracking user location. Google’s account set-up disclosures made no mention of the fact that location information is collected though Web and App Activity, which is defaulted to “on," until early-to mid-2018.

Arizona's investigation has also revealed that Google uses deceptive and unfair practices to collect as much user information as possible and makes it exceedingly difficult for users to understand what’s being done with their data, let alone opt-out. Given the lucrative nature of Google's advertising business, the company goes to great lengths to collect users' location, including through presenting users with a misleading mess of settings, some of which seemingly have nothing to do with the collection of location information. According to Harvard Professor Shoshana Zuboff, "Google's proprietary methods enable it to surveil, capture, expand, construct and claim behavioral" data "including data that users intentionally choose not to share."

The almost 50-page complaint cites extensive testimony from Google employees given under oath and contains nearly 100 additional exhibits, including internal documents that were obtained from Google over the course of the nearly two-year investigation. The public version of the filing redacts certain information that Google has asserted is confidential; the State will be seeking to make more information public consistent with applicable court rules.

A copy of the lawsuit is available here.

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