April 11, 2014
The Arizona Legislature passed another budget that gives short shrift to environmental protection and takes us farther down the path to shifting costs and problems to future generations. Legislators missed an opportunity to restore the State Parks Heritage Fund, a voter-approved measure for protecting natural areas, trails, and historic preservation, or to do much of anything for our parks, wildlife, air, or water.
SB1215 Now: unsubdivided land; definition(Griffin) will open up even more areas of our state to unsustainable
development and additional wildcat subdivisions, plus stress water resources in places such as Cochise County and further harm the San Pedro River. Our land use regulations are already weak -- the last thing we need is another loophole or exception.
Please let your legislators know that you support protecting and recovering wolves and other endangered wildlife. Ask them to oppose all of the bills to hinder protection and recovery of these endangered animals.
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) contains an unrelated amendment on long-term storage credits for water, which has made this bill harder to stop. The portion of the bill that concerns us the most, however, is the portion that prohibits the Arizona Water Protection Fund from being used to plant mesquite 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 is inaccurate and misleading. HB2014 will not better inform voters and is clearly intended to confuse voters, erect additional impediments citizen initiatives, 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. There will likely be a few conference committees next week, but they are usually posted at the last minute.
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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. Check it out and let us know what you think of it.
Thank you for caring and 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.|