March 28, 2014
The Arizona Legislature spent a great deal of the week waiting -- waiting to see the latest proposal on the budget, waiting to see if there were enough votes in the House to pass a budget, waiting to see who would blink first. At the time this was drafted, the House was in the midst of passing a budget. It will have to go back to the Senate for final passage and then approval by the Governor. Overall, this budget will do very little to help Arizona's air, land, and water, and it certainly won't help our parks. After they finish the budget, it would be wonderful if they would just jettison a large number of the remaining bills and call the session a wrap. That is what is called wishful thinking.
Help Stop the Legislature's Attack on Wolves!
There are only 83 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Rather than step up to protect these animals, our legislators are pushing three bills attacking wolf recovery in the House -- SB1211, SB1212, and SCR1006 -- and one anti-wolf bill in the Senate -- HB2699.
These attacks on wolves and this renewed effort to eliminate them from the wildlands of Arizona and New Mexico make it clear why we need a strong and well-enforced Endangered Species Act. Without it, we would not have wolves, black-footed ferrets, California condors, and many of our native fish species.
SB1478 water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk (Griffin) prohibits the Arizona Water Protection Fund from being used to plant mesquite, tamarisk, or other non-native high water use trees and also promotes the removal of those same trees. The bill has major issues. First of all, mesquite are native and mesquite bosque provide important habitat for wildlife, especially a diversity of birds. Second, the focus should be on the restoration of riparian areas, not on the removal of vegetation. We would like to see this bill limit removal of vegetation to non-native invasive plants such as buffelgrass or trees such as tamarisk.
HB2014 ballot measures; proposition 105 disclosure (Ugenti) requires that any campaign literature and the publicity pamphlet (they removed the requirement that the ballot include it) contain language that says the measure can "never be changed in the future" except via a three-fourths vote of the legislature that furthers the purpose or by referral to the ballot. There are several inaccuracies in this brief statement, including that the measure can be changed by referring the change to the ballot. Referring a measure to the ballot changes nothing. The change must be APPROVED BY THE VOTERS. Using the word "never" is also misleading as a measure can clearly be changed under the conditions mentioned. HB2014 will not better inform voters, but is clearly intended to confuse, erect additional impediments, and to discourage citizen initiatives.
HCR2018 funding ballot measures; reauthorization (Boyer, Thorpe: Allen, et al.) is still alive in the Senate. Will they try passing this again? Quite possibly, so we need to keep up the pressure. HCR2018 refers to the ballot proposed constitutional amendment that require certain ballot measures that have an expenditure of state monies associated with them to be referred back to the ballot every eight years.
To find out more about the bills we are tracking, click on Legislative Tracker. Most committees are finished with hearing bills. There are only a couple of committee meetings with a few executive nominations on the agendas.
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There is also another way to register your support or opposition to bills going through the legislative process. It is www.azvoices.gov. You can submit ideas for legislators to consider and also let them know how you feel about various bills. Anyone may open an account, but only registered Arizona voters can register opinions on bills. You will need either your driver's license or voter registration card to set up your account. Check it out and let us know what you think of it.
Thank you for all you do to make Arizona a better place and for looking out for the air, land, water, and wildlife!
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
|To call your legislators, click on Member Roster and find their phone numbers. If you're outside the Phoenix area, you can call your legislators’ offices toll free at 1-800-352-8404. In the Phoenix area call (602) 926-3559 (Senate) or (602) 926-4221 (House) and ask to connect with your legislators.|