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  "If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere."
~ Vincent van Gogh 
 

April 11, 2014

Dear Conservation Friends,

Rainbow in Tucson desert (Photo by Michael Smith)
           credit: Michael Smith

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.

The 2014 Legislative Session is likely to end next week, which, unfortunately means, all of the bills listed below are still in play and that there will be some more attempts to sneak in bad ideas. The good news, however, is there is still time to take action and to ask your legislators to VOTE NO! If your legislators have told you they are opposing the bills you can also use these forms to thank them. Note there is one new alert on a terrible unconstitutional bill. See below.

HB2541 federal land; emergency access(Townsend, Allen, Borrelli, et al.) is both unconstitutional and unwise. If passed, HB2541 will result in more lawsuits and do nothing to solve any problems. The bill says that state and local government can access federal land in an “emergency” with whatever equipment they deem necessary. This is a thinly veiled attempt to get heavy equipment into wilderness and other sensitive lands under the guise of an "emergency."

Take Action!
Ask your Senator to vote NO on HB2541!
 


Phoenix sprawl (Photo by Scott Sprague)
  credit: Scott Sprague

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.

Take Action!
Ask your representatives to oppose more irresponsible development!



The Appropriations strike-everything amendment 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.

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

 

Mexican gray wolf (Courtesy of the USFWS)
     courtesy US Fish and Wildlife
 There are only 83 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. It is one of the most endangered mammals in North America, yet Arizona's Legislature is pushing four bills attacking wolf recovery -- SB1211, SB1212, HB2699, and SCR1006.

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.   

Take Action!

Ask Representatives to oppose 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.

 

San Pedro Riparian Natl Conservation Area (Photo by Scott Jones)
     credit:  Scott Jones

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.

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



 

We the people
  

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.

Take Action!
Ask Senators to oppose this attack on citizen initiatives in HB2014.



Take Action!
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.

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


There is still a slight chance that SB1326 sustainable state parks and roads; fund; subaccount (Shooter, Dalessandro, Hobbs, et al.) may advance. It now consists of a state parks check-off space on the individual income tax return forms, so will not generate nearly as much as the donation with a vehicle registration. 



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.

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. 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!

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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