" Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature." - Principle 1, UN Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
Dear Conservation Friends,
It was a tough week at the Arizona Legislature as many of the bills we were trying to stop advanced in the process. That being said, legislators did not vote out the bill to prohibit sustainability programs -- yet. The Senate will likely address it on Monday in Committee of the Whole (COW). The House did not bring the expansion of Polluter Protection to the House Floor either. Please take action on both of these below.
Not too many bills have moved from one house to the other, so it will again be a light week in committees next week. Watch for some heavy agendas the following week, however.
Senator Burges continues to push the wacky anti-U.N., anti-sustainability, anti-energy conservation bill. She mentioned that the Kentucky Senate passed its "black helicopter bill" as a word of encouragement to senators to pass the Arizona bill. Apparently passing nutty bills is a badge of honor.
Please again ask Senators to oppose SB1403 United National Rio Declaration; prohibition (Burges, Crandell, Griffin, et al.) It says that no government entity in Arizona can adopt or implement any of the tenets or principles relating to the U.N. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of Principles for Sustainable Development. It could actually hinder efforts to improve energy efficiency, water conservation, and other important measures.
Ask Senators to Oppose SB1403!
Protect Public Health Safety! Ask Representatives to oppose HB2485 health and safety audit privilege (Carter, Stevens: Barton, et al.) It allows companies and even government to keep secret violations of health or safety laws and regulations in an audit and prohibits use of the audit to impose fines, penalties, or to take other legal action. This gives companies and government a way to keep the public from knowing about major violations of law. These types of bills encourage cozy relationships between businesses and the so-called regulators and put at risk public health and safety.
Urge Representatives to vote no on HB2485!
Unfortunately, the Legislature continues its attack on initiative and referendum rights. 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 25 percent must be collected from other than Maricopa and Pima counties. This would make it nearly impossible to put measures on the ballot.
Please ask your Senator to oppose SCR1019 and other bills to undermine constitutional rights.
Quick Bill Updates:
SCR1006 initiative petitions; filing date (Reagan) refers to the ballot a measure to move the filing date for petition signatures back from four months before the election to May1. This gives people two fewer months to collect signatures and the Legislature more time to mess with citizen initiatives. It has been rejected by the voters twice before. It passed out of the Senate 18-12 and this week passed out of the House Judiciary Committee 7-1.
SCR1012 EPA Actions; Haze (Griffin, Burges, Murphy, et al.) supports the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's weak regional haze plan and litigation and opposes the stronger Environmental Protection Agency plan. It passed out of the Senate 17-11-2.
SCR1013 endangered species act (Griffin, Burges, Shooter, et al.) says the Legislature supports efforts in Congress to "update" the Endangered Species Act to relieve "Arizona from burdensome regulatory measures that have been harmful to this State . . . ." This is a not-so-thinly-veiled attack on the Endangered Species Act. It passed out of the Senate 17-13.
SB1288 Arizona water protection fund; projects (Griffin, Burges, Gowan, et al.) prohibits federal agencies from receiving funding through the Arizona Water Protection Fund, which would limit projects on federal public lands and tribal lands. It also modified the board that allocates these dollars and gives total control to agricultural interests. It passed out of the Senate 17-11-2.
SB1290 office of pest management (Griffin, McGuire, Pancrazi, et al.) makes numerous changes to the statutes dealing with structural pest control. It prohibits cities, towns, and counties from having any requirements that are more stringent than state law. It keeps the outdated definition of Integrated Pest Management and it also exempts a number of facilities from regulation under this section -- golf courses are regulated like agriculture. Overall, it weakens protections in the program. It passed in the Senate 12-7-2.
SB1321 residential energy efficiency; building codes (Griffin, Burges, Farley, et al) limits energy efficient building codes at the local level and codifies a less efficient standard in state law. This passed out of the Senate 18-10-2.
SB1469 applying aquatic poisons (Griffin) requires Arizona Game and Fish to jump through some hoops to do native fish recovery, which includes eliminating non-native fishes with the use of rotenone and antimycin A. This bill is not intended to protect public health. If it was, it would apply to pesticides and herbicides that have known public health impacts. Instead, it is intended to stop or significantly hinder native fish recovery. It passed out of the Senate 17-11-2.
Mark Brnovich was confirmed to the State Parks Board. He headed up the Commission on Privatization and Efficiency that, you guessed it, recommended privatizing State Parks. This is bad news for State Parks.
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. It passed out of the House Appropriations Committee, so is likely headed to the Floor.
For more information on some of the bills we are tracking, you can view our Legislative Tracker.
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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.
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
Coming Up This Week at the Legislature
Senate Committee on Government & Environment has a light and non-environmental agenda
Tuesday, March 5th
Senate Committee on Elections at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 1
House Committee on Agriculture & Water is not meeting.
|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.|