"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least ." - Johann von Goethe
Dear Conservation Friends,
This week the Arizona Legislature continued to advance nearly all of the anti-initiative and referendum bills and appears to be determined to erect impediments to this important constitutional right. Without citizen initiatives there would be no Heritage Fund and no opportunity to better fund parks or conserve state trust lands. This is nothing more than a power grab by the Arizona Legislature.
The House passed HB2485 health and safety audit privilege (Carter,
Stevens: Barton, et al.) 39-17-4. It is unfortunate that more legislators do not recognize the folly in letting companies keep health and safety violations secret. When has secrecy promoted compliance or more responsible behavior? The bill allows companies to keep health and safety violations secret in an auditand prohibits use of the audit to impose fines, penalties, or to take other legal action. These types of bills encourage cozy relationships between businesses and agencies charged with protecting public health and put at risk public health and safety. We will be working to defeat it in the Senate.
In addition to setting our own monetary policies, the Arizona Legislature thinks we should be able to just reject any federal action that we think is unconstitutional. Apparently they are unfamiliar with the federal courts and the whole federal checks and balances as well as the U.S. Constitution and the Supremacy Clause. The House Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee will be hearing SCR1016 rejection of unconstitutional federal actions (Crandell, Burges: Melvin, et al.) on Tuesday. It refers to the ballot a constitutional amendment that allows Arizona to determine if a federal action violates the U.S Constitution and to then reject it by passing an initiative or referendum, passing a bill, or using a legal remedy.
Please ask representatives on the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee to Vote NO on this unconstitutional measure.
Note: If you have an account, please also sign in on the Request to Speak system for this bill.
Senator Burges' wacky anti-U.N., anti-sustainability, anti-energy conservation bill is stalled, but could appear on an agenda any day. SB1403 United National Rio Declaration; prohibition
(Burges, Crandell, Griffin, et al.) 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. Senator Burges said she was going to talk to the Arizona Chamber and Phoenix Chamber to amend the bill, but you cannot amend crazy.
Ask Senators to Oppose SB1403!
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 come join me at the Capitol and thank you for taking action and for caring about Arizona's environment.
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
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, March 11th
Senate Committee on Government & Environment Upon adjournment of the Floor in Senate Hearing Room 3
- Nomination to Governor's Regulatory Review Council - Jason E. Isaak
- HB2443 cities; counties; regulatory review (Olson) modifies regulatory reform provisions relative to cities, towns, and flood control districts. It is a sand and gravel bill designed to make it harder for the flood control districts to regulate them.
House Committee on Energy, Environment & Natural Resources at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 4.
- SB1464 mining advisory council; membership (Griffin,
Burges, Gowan, et al. ) adds members to the committee, which is charged with reviewing mining policy and reviewing, advising and making recommendations to state agencies on proposed rules and budget allocations that affect mining operations. The mines are exempt from many laws and there is very little accountability under state law already, so it is hard to see how this committee could make things
worse, but we never underestimate their ability to find another
exemption they "need." NO POSITION.
- SB1465 solid waste facilities: general permit (Griffin,
Burges, Gowan, et al.) is another exemption bill for the mines. It exempts facilities that obtain and maintain coverage under an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) general permit from the rules associated with individual permits, requirements to submit a solid waste plan, and from compliance with certain federal regulations. This means there will be no public notice or comment opportunity, no financial assurance associated with it, and no closure and post closure requirements. The irony of this bill is that the general permit rules have not even been completed, so it is impossible to discern whether or not they will be protective of the environment. Considering that the mining industry is helping ADEQ write them, I would say, probably not. OPPOSE.
SCR1012 EPA Actions; Haze
(Griffin, Burges, Murphy, et al.) is one of two dirty air resolutions this session. It supports ADEQ's weak regional haze plan and litigation and opposes the stronger Environmental Protection Agency plan, which actually follows the provisions in the Clean Air Act. OPPOSE.
Tuesday, March 12th
Senate Committee on Elections at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 1
- HB2156 elections; public resources prohibited (Kavanagh) says the state and its political subdivisions cannot use public resources to influence the outcome of an election. That generally is the case now, but apparently they want to state it more explicitly. MONITOR.
- HB2306 campaign finance; aggregate committee limits (Farnsworth)
doubles the amount a candidate can receive overall from Political
Action Committees per election cycle for both legislative and statewide
- HB2593 NOW: campaign finance; contribution limits (Mesnard) significantly increases the amount of money individuals and political committees may
contribute to a candidate and removes the aggregate contribution limit for
individuals and political committees. OPPOSE.
House Committee on Agriculture & Water at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 5
- 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. OPPOSE.
- 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, one of the only things that stands between many species and extinction. OPPOSE.
Senate Committee on Transportation at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 3
Wednesday, March 13th
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs at 9:00am in Senate Hearing Room 109
House Committee on Judiciary at 10:00am in House Hearing Room 4
- Nomination for Urban Land Planning Oversight Committee - David G. Gulino
House Committee on Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 1
- SB1261 permanent early voting lists; amendments (Reagan, Driggs: Worsley) allows the county recorder to notice and remove people who are on the list who did not vote early in the last two elections and if they do not respond in writing and ask to stay on the list. It requires a prescribed statement, rather than allowing you to just check the box indicating you want an early ballot. This along with other bills seems to be intended to deter higher voter turnout. OPPOSE.
- SB1371 municipal elections; ballot; disclosure (Griffin, Stevens: Gowan) 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. NO POSITION.