"Speak your mind even if your voice shakes."
~ Maggie Kuhn
April 4, 2014
Dear Conservation Friends,
credit: Sandy Bahr
The Arizona House and Senate have not agreed on a budget, so they will be back next week to see if they can hash out an agreement on the current proposal or if they will need to start from scratch on it. This budget does little to help advance environmental protections and includes the usual cuts to the clean-up program for contaminated sites, allows State Parks to shift a few funds to keep the parks going -- barely, and certainly does not reinstate the State Parks Heritage Fund to provide funding for community parks, trails, natural areas, and historic preservation. We have seen worse budgets, but our state certainly deserves better.
Unfortunately, both the House and Senate decided to advance a few bad bills this week. SB1211, a bill to promote killing more endangered Mexican gray wolves, and a bill to decimate mesquite bosques both advanced in the House, as did a bill to promote lot splits and rural sprawl, SB1215. They all await a Third Read (recorded vote) in the House. The Senate moved the bad forest bill out of rules, so we could see that on the floor next week.
Please take action on all of the alerts listed below, even if you have already. Let's make a final push to stop some of these bills.
SB1215 Now: unsubdivided land; definition
(Griffin) will open up even more areas of our state to unsustainable
development and additional wildcat subdivisions, plus further stress
water resources in places such as Cochise County and further harm the
San Pedro River.
Ask your representatives to oppose more irresponsible development!
The Appropriations strike-everything amendment offered by Senator Shooter on HB2343 Now: forest health management 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.
Please ask your Senator to oppose HB2343 - protect people, forests, and grasslands!
Tell Legislators to Stop the Attack on Endangered Wolves!
As noted above, SB1211 did advance in the House this week. Please let your legislators know that you support protecting and recovering wolves and other endangered wildlife. Ask them to oppose SB1211 and other bills to hinder recovery
credit: Lance Willett
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 four bills attacking wolf recovery -- SB1211, SB1212, HB2699, and SCR1006.
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. Arizona has a trust responsibilities for these animals. Remind the Legislature about that!
Ask your Senator to vote "NO" on yet another bill to hinder recovery of highly endangered Mexican wolves.
Protect Arizona's Watersheds!
credit: David Mowry
SB1478 water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk (Griffin) also advanced in the House. It now contains an unrelated amendment on long-term storage credits. The portion of the bill that concerns us is the portion that 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. Mesquite are native to Arizona and mesquite bosque provide important habitat for wildlife, especially a diversity of birds. 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.
As your Representatives to Vote NO on SB1478 and to instead protect our waters and watersheds.
Stop the Attacks on our Constitutional Rights!
credit: Sandy Bahr
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. This same language is included in SB1293, so please ask House members to oppose that as well.
Ask Senators to oppose this attack on citizen initiatives in HB2014.
Ask your Representatives to oppose another attack on citizen initiatives SB1293
HCR2018 funding ballot measures; reauthorization (Boyer, Thorpe: Allen, et al.) is still alive in the Senate. 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.
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. The committees are finished with hearing bills. There will likely be a few conference committees in the coming weeks, however.
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 taking action to protect Arizona's environment!
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter