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"Environmental Issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens . . . ." – Principle 10, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 

Dear Conservation Friends,
Environmental Day (Photo by Tye R. Farrell)
Get out the tinfoil hats, the Arizona Legislature is at it again. On Monday, a Senate Committee passed the bill aimed at prohibiting programs or policies that promote sustainability and that might be tied, even indirectly, to the Rio Declaration -- the declaration includes principles to promote conservation and protect human rights. Senators took issue with light rail, bike paths, and countries that excel at soccer. To read about it in more detail, check out Laurie Robert's great column Protecting Arizona, one conspiracy at a time.

This week was the last week for committees to hear bills that originated in their house, meaning that House bills had to be heard in House committees and Senate bills in Senate committees. Bills that did not get a hearing and did not pass out of the main committee are dead -- at least until someone resurrects them through a strike everything amendment, also known as the zombie amendment as it frequently resurrects dead bills.

And now for some good news . . . .

Two bills advanced to help Arizona State Parks, one reinstates the Heritage Fund to fund parks, trails, historic preservation, and protection of natural areas, and another to provide for an optional fee when you register your car. The dollars from the fee would go to fund State Parks.
HB2338 regional water augmentation authorities (Tobin, Barton) was held in the House Agriculture and Water Committee, so appears to be dead. There was an odd coalition of environmental, agricultural, and rural interests that opposed the bill. We oppose it because it does not include any provisions for conservation and could facilitate destructive projects such as the Big Chino pipeline, aiding in killing the Upper Verde River.   
HCM2003 copper mining; support (Shope, Coleman, Gowan, et al.). a message to Congress asking that the Congress pass the land swap for Resolution Copper aka Rio Tinto, was also held, so will not advance this session. Apparently Resolution did not want to again draw attention to what a bad deal this land swap is for the American people.

And the bad news . . . .

Early next week, probably on Monday, the Senate will be voting on several bad pieces of legislation. Please take action on the following bills,

Ask you Senator to vote no on SB1321 residential energy efficiency; building codes (Griffin, Burges, Farley, et al). While it was amended to make it slightly less horrible, it still limits energy efficient building codes at the local level and codifies a less efficient standard in state law. This is a terrible idea. The cities and counties are the only ones doing much on efficient building codes right now.

Take Action!

Please urge Senators to Oppose SB1321!

As noted above, the anti-UN, anti-sustainability bill, passed out of Committee this past week right along party lines. Thank you Senators Farley, Hobbs and Jackson for opposing it.

Take Action!

Tell Senators to Oppose SB1403 and to protect sustainability programs!

SCR1012 EPA Actions; Haze
, which supports the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's weak regional haze plan and opposes the stronger Environmental Protection Agency plan, will likely be voted on Monday. Here is our statement in support of cleaning up dirty coal-fired power plants.

Take Action!
Ask Senators to Support Clean Air and to Oppose SCR1012!

Unfortunately, the Legislature is going after both voting rights and the initiative and referendum process this session. SCR1019 initiative; referendum; signature allocation (Reagan) requires signatures for a ballot measure to be collected from at least five counties and says that a minimum of 40 percent must be collected from other than Maricopa and Pima counties. This would make it nearly impossible to put measures on the ballot.

Take Action!

Please ask your Senator to oppose SCR1019 and other bills to undermine constitutional rights.

There is also some bad news for Arizona State Parks, one of the people nominated for the State Parks Board, Mark Brnovich, is an individual that headed up the Commission on Privatization and Efficiency that, you guessed it, recommended privatizing State Parks. Stay tuned on this, but generally it is pretty difficult to stop a confirmation in our State Senate, unless the person is really qualified for the position. :)

For more information on some of the bills we are tracking, you can view our Legislative Tracker.

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.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the Legislature or other environmental issues and I welcome you to join me at the Capitol. Thank you for taking action and for caring about Arizona's environment.

Warm regards,
Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633


Coming Up This Week at the Legislature
You can use the "Request to Speak" system to register your opposition or support for bills in Committee. If you would like to use the system and have not signed up, contact me and I will help you get an account set up.

Monday, February 25th

Senate Committee on Government & Environment upon adjournment of the Floor (around 2:00 p.m.) in Senate Hearing Room 3

  •  Executive Nominations
    - Brian McNeil, Department of Administration
    - Clifford A. Neal, Arizona Water Banking Authority
  • Presentation by Arizona Municipal Water Users Association
  • HB2393 state agencies; licensure; time frames (Pierce, Forese, Gray, et al. ) allows business to petition for shorter time frames. The agencies are already becoming nothing more than permit mills. Having shorter time frames can mean fewer protections for public health and the environment.

Tuesday, February 26th

Senate Committee on Elections at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 1

  • Presentations on Citizens United by Marge Ray, AZ Legislative Council and Online Voting, by Dan Nolan, SOE Software.

Senate Committee on Appropriations at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 109

  • SB1080 technical correction; budget estimates (Shooter) will have a strike everything amendment on highway construction projects; JCCR review. It requires projects that cost more than $15 million to be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Capital Review. This seems okay. Additional review is likely a good thing. MONITOR.
  •  SB1326 disclosures; campaign finance; lobbying; enforcement (Reagan, Landrum Taylor, Meza, et al.) renames the Clean Elections Commission the Public Accountability Commission and gives it additional authority to enforce the Clean Elections laws. This seems like a step in the right direction, but I am not sure why it needed to be renamed.
  • SCR1017 school programs; clean elections monies (Crandall) refers to the ballot a measure to shift Clean Elections funds to education. OPPOSE.

 House Committee on Agriculture & Water at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 5

  • Presentation by Holly Richter from The Nature Conservancy  
  • SB1143 golf course pesticide license; fee (Pierce, Griffin, Pancrazi, et al.) transfers golf course pesticide application to the Department of Agriculture from the Office of Pest Management. They swear it will not weaken requirements, but I have my doubts.

Wednesday, February 27th

House Committee on Appropriations at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 1

  • HB2621 fund; state parks; roads; fee (Escamilla, Cardenas, Contreras, et al.) establishes an optional fee when you register your vehicle. The fee would help fund the state parks system, although would not provide a sustainable fund for parks. We need a dedicated funding source to really help our park system. SUPPORT.

Thursday, February 28th
House Committee on Judiciary at 10:00am in House Hearing Room 4

  • Elections Information (Yes, that was all the chair put on the agenda. I guess it leaves it wide open.)

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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requires the ballot to include an estimate of the annual levy of property taxes sufficient to pay the debt on the bonds for any bond election and the tax increase for any sales tax levy.requires the ballot to include an estimate of the annual levy of property taxes sufficient to pay the debt on the bonds for any bond election and the tax increase for any sales tax levy.