Dear Conservation Friends,
"We need to defend the interests of those whom we've never met and never will." - Jeffrey D. Sachs
credit: Green Fire Productions
It was quite a week at the Capitol, capped off by a "hearing" on Agenda 21 yesterday. Senator Judy Burgess invited speakers to talk about opposition to everything from protecting spotted owls to encouraging the use of native plants to the existence of mountain lions, bears, and wolves -- all of which are apparently part of "Agenda 21." Water conservation was also on the hit list and referred to as "evil." The group assembled thinks there is some UN conspiracy to force people to live more sustainably. No action was taken at the meeting and despite the urging of Representative Bob Thorpe for people to shoot their "Colt 45s in the air," no one did.
Speaking of encouraging lawlessness, now the Arizona Legislature and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission are seeking to codify it with a bill they are pushing to make it okay for law enforcement to ignore damage to wildlife habitat from off-road vehicles and to do no enforcement of off-road vehicle laws on federal public lands. HB2551 NOW: off-highway vehicles; use; authority; enforcement (Gowan) was amended on the Senate Floor this week, and it got even worse. Please tell senators that you want law enforcement to protect lands and wildlife from irresponsible off-road vehicle activities.
credit:: Gary Beverly
Please contact your senator and ask him or her to vote no on HB2551.
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. The last thing we need is more money in politics. This passed out of the House 32-23-5 and the Senate 17-13. Please call the Governor at (602)542-4331 or toll free at 1-(800) 253-0883 and ask her to veto this bill.
HB2334 pool pump energy standards; repeal (Montenegro) was voted out of the House Rules Committee and awaits action by the House Committee of the Whole. If it passes out of the House, it will require a special process in the Senate as they are no longer hearing bills in committees. I would not put it past them, however, as this appears to be a bill the Senate President wants. HB2334 repeals the more efficient pool pump standards that significantly reduce energy use and save consumers dollars. Inefficient pool pumps are one of the biggest users of electricity.
Please keep up the pressure and send a message to your Representatives to Vote No on HB2334!
HB2404 S/E building codes; energy efficiency (Carter) did not reappear on a calendar again this week, but it could pop up at any time. I expect it will get posted when they have the votes and at the last minute. The Homebuilders said they are open to an amendment that would retain local control, but it is pretty clear they are not. This bill prohibits local government from adopting more energy efficient building codes, which is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy use and save ratepayers money. Please continue to contact your senator.
Ask Senators to vote NO on HB2404 and help consumers save energy and money!
HB2485 health and safety audit privilege (Carter, Stevens: Barton, et al.) was amended in the Senate Committee of the Whole, but it sill is a bad bill. We expect to see it go to the Floor early next week. HB2485 provides a shield of secrecy to bad actors for violations of health and safety laws and could keep repeat offenders from having to deal with any public scrutiny or fallout from their actions. In addition to all the other problems with this type of secrecy, it also encourages cozy relationships between businesses and the agencies charged with protecting public health and puts at risk public health and safety.
Please ask Senators to protect health and safety and vote NO on HB2485.
SB1469 applying aquatic poisons (Griffin) passed both houses, but it has not been conveyed to the Governor as they are slowing down bills because of budget issues and the proposed Medicaid expansion. The bill 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. The Game and Fish Commission Chair helped push through this bill. On the good news front for wildlife, Mr. Husted resigned from the Commission today.
For more information on some of the bills we are tracking, you can view our Legislative Tracker.
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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
Quick Election Bill Updates
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. It passed out of the Senate 16-12-2 and the House Judiciary Committee 6-2. It awaits action on the House Floor. OPPOSE.
SB1263 paid circulators; statewide measures; recall
(Reagan: Driggs) requires that all paid circulators be registered with
the Secretary of State and was amended to include paid circulators who
circulate candidate petitions for those running statewide, but not for
legislators. It seems like they are just trying to make it next to
impossible to get any measure on the ballot, especially if this is
passed in conjunction with the other measures being considered. There
have been a lot more issues with fraud relative to candidate signatures,
but relatively few with citizen initiative petitions. A comprehensive
approach to improve the initiative, referendum, and recall process is
appropriate. A piecemeal approach to erect impediments is not. It was
amended in the Senate to apply to statewide candidates, not legislative
candidates. It passed the Senate 18-10-2. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee 4-3-1. It awaits House Rules Committee Action. OPPOSE.
SB1264 initiative, referendum and recall
(Reagan) erects additional impediments to the initiative and referendum
process by providing more reasons and more opportunities for signatures
to be thrown out for merely technical reasons. For example, it requires
that every blank on a petition sheet have a line through it or be
marked NA. The courts have generally deferred to the people relative to
getting a measure on the ballot. This seeks to turn that around. It
passed out of the Senate 16-12-2 and out of House Judiciary 4-2-2. It awaits House Rules action. OPPOSE.
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 May 1. 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 the House Judiciary Committee 7-1. It awaits action by the House Rules Committee. OPPOSE.
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. It passed out of the
Senate on Third Read 16-12-2 and the House Judiciary Committee 5-2-1. It awaits action in House Rules. OPPOSE.
HB2007 ballot measures; proposition 105 disclosure (Ugenti) requires that any campaign literature, publicity pamphlet, and the ballot contain the following language: "NOTICE: PURSUANT TO PROPOSITION 105 (1998), THIS MEASURE MAY NOT BE CHANGED IN THE FUTURE IF APPROVED ON THE BALLOT EXCEPT BY A THREE-FOURTHS VOTE OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE CHANGE FURTHERS THE PURPOSE OF THE ORIGINAL BALLOT MEASURE, OR BY REFERRING THE CHANGE TO THE BALLOT."(With Rules Amendment) There are still inaccuracies in this brief statement, even with the Rules amendment, including that the measure can be changed by referring the change to the ballot. Referring a measure to the ballot changes nothing. The measure must be APPROVED BY THE VOTERS. This measure will not better inform voters, but is clearly intended to confuse, erect additional impediments, and to discourage citizen initiatives. It passed out of the Arizona House 36-23-1. It passed out of the Senate Elections Committee 4-3, was amended in the Rules Committee, and awaits action on the Senate Floor. OPPOSE.
HB2305 initiatives; filings: circulators (Farnsworth) requires that petitions filed for an initiative be organized by county, circulator, and notary. While it may not sound that harmful on the face of it, this measure would provide just another reason for disqualifying ballot measures on a technicality and again make it more difficult for any grassroots efforts. It passed out of the House 53-5-2 and the Senate 16-2-2. It is scheduled to go to a conference committee. OPPOSE.
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. Note: The Legislature is finished hearing bills in Committee this session.
Monday, April 15th
Senate Government and Environment Committee upon adjournment of the Floor in Senate Hearing Room 3
- Nomination of Gail Clement to the Water Quality Appeals Board
- Nomination of William Gates to the Governor's Regulatory Review Council