April 4, 2014
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.
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.
Tell Legislators to Stop the Attack on Endangered 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 four bills attacking wolf recovery -- SB1211, SB1212, HB2699, and SCR1006.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
|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.|