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  "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."
~ Vincent van Gogh 
 

March 28, 2014

Dear Conservation Friends,

North Kaibab Ponderosa Pines by Sandy Bahr
           credit: Sandy Bahr

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.

A strike-everything amendment was added to HB2343 Now: forest health management in the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. (A strike-everything amendment means that the bill is replaced with an entirely new bill in an amendment.) This strike-everything amendment is particularly offensive as it grants blanket immunity to the State Land Department and any of its employees for any action related to anything in the statute. That is inappropriate and could result in protecting irresponsible and negligent individuals and behavior. We must set the highest standards for people at the State Land Department as they act on behalf of the trust, its beneficiaries, and the people of Arizona. The bill also focuses on removing vegetation and fire suppression rather than on restoring forests and grasslands. You can read more about this bill here.

Take Action!
Please ask your Senator to oppose HB2343 - protect people, forests, and grasslands!

 

 

Help Stop the Legislature's Attack on Wolves!

Mexican gray wolf (By Erin and Lance Willett)
        credit: Lance Willett
Now that the budget has passed out of the House, it is likely that terrible bills such as these bills to hinder recovery of the endangered Mexican gray wolves, will begin to move again. Please let your legislators know that you support protecting and recovering wolves and other endangered wildlife.  

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.

Take Action!

Ask Representatives to oppose the three anti-wolf bills and to instead support recovery of endangered wolves.
 

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.

Take Action!
Ask your Senator to vote "NO" on yet another bill to hinder recovery of highly endangered Mexican wolves.


 Protect Arizona's Watersheds!

San Pedro in the Fall (Photo by David Mowry)
     credit:  David Mowry

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.

Take Action!
As your Representatives to Vote NO on SB1478 and to instead protect our waters and watersheds.



Stop the Attacks on our Constitutional Rights
!
 

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.

Take Action!
Ask Senators to oppose this attack on citizen initiatives.

petition boxes by Sandy Bahr
        credit: Sandy Bahr

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.

The Arizona Legislature can refer individual measures to the ballot any time it can get the necessary votes, so this measure is unnecessary. If legislators think a measure should go back to the ballot, they merely need 31 votes in the House and 16 votes in the Senate to send it there.

This is a blatant attempt to weaken our rights to citizen initiatives as it would be very difficult to raise enough money and develop a campaign around the same issue every eight years.

 


Take Action!
Please ask your Senator to oppose weakening citizen initiatives in the constitution and vote no on HCR2018.

 



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.

If you no longer want to receive these updates, just zap me an email or unsubscribe by clicking on "Manage Preferences" at the bottom of the message.

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!

Warm regards,
Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633
http://arizona.sierraclub.org

 
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.

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