Dear Conservation Friends,
"Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal." - John Muir
Celebrate Earth Day!
The Arizona Legislature has been in session 96 days and it still has not presented a budget, the one thing it must do each session. This week, legislators clearly had too much time on their hands as they advanced several more bad bills, notably the bill to allow companies to keep health and safety information from the public, workers, and those who enforce our health and safety laws.
In the Senate, all Republicans except Senator Crandall, who was absent, and Democratic senators Meza and Pancrazi voted for the bill. In the House, all Republicans except Representative Townsend, who was absent, voted for the bill, plus Democratic representatives Cardenas, Contreras, Escamilla, Hernandez, and Miranda. Representative Miranda read an email from Arizona Public Service (APS) to explain why she switched her vote to a yes. The talking points from APS do not change the fact that this bill and the one last year will mean we all have less information about violations of our health, safety, and environmental laws, and workers and the public will be less protected from the bad actors who will seek to use this law as a shield.
HB2485 health and safety audit privilege (Carter,
Stevens: Barton, et al.) provides a "privilege" (aka secrecy) for
violations of health and safety laws and harm that has resulted from them and will allow 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 regulators.
Please thank senators and house members who opposed HB2485.
Please also send a note of disappointment to those who voted yes on this bill.
credit: Sandy Bahr
HB2404 S/E building codes; energy efficiency
(Carter) appeared on the Committee of the Whole calendar twice this week, but was retained both times. 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 keep up the pressure on your senator.
Ask your senator to vote NO on HB2404 and help consumers save energy and money!
credit:: Gary Beverly
HB2551 NOW: off-highway vehicles; use; authority; enforcement (Gowan) says that law enforcement can ignore damage
to wildlife habitat from off-road vehicles and do no enforcement of
off-road vehicle laws on federal public lands. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that unmanaged off-road vehicle use significantly harms habitat for wildlife. Please tell senators that you want law enforcement to protect lands and wildlife from irresponsible off-road vehicle activities.
Please contact your senator and ask him or her to vote no on HB2551.
For more information on some of the bills we are tracking, look below or 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 again for taking action and for caring about Arizona's environment. Your efforts make a difference!
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
Quick Bill Updates
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. It was signed by the Governor.
SB1261 permanent early voting lists; amendments (Reagan, Driggs: Worsley) allows the county recorder to notice and remove people who are on the Permanent Early Voting 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. This along with other bills seems to be intended to deter higher voter turnout. OPPOSE. It awaits action in House Committee of the Whole.
SB1263 paid circulators; statewide measures; recall
(Reagan: Driggs) requires that all paid circulators be registered with
the Secretary of State for statewide measures and candidates -- not legislative candidates, however. This is part of a concerted effort to make it next to
impossible to get any measure on the ballot, especially if this bill
passed in conjunction with the other measures being considered. OPPOSE. It awaits action in House Committee of the Whole.
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. OPPOSE. It awaits action in House Committee of the Whole.
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. OPPOSE. It awaits a Third Read in the House.
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. OPPOSE. It was signed by the Governor.
SB1469 applying aquatic poisons (Griffin) erects a barrier for native fish recovery, making it difficult to
eliminate 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. OPPOSE. This bill has been signed by the Governor.
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. OPPOSE. It awaits action in the House caucuses.
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. OPPOSE. It passed out of the Senate 17-11-2 and the House 38-22 and has been transmitted back to the Senate.
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. OPPOSE. It passed out of the
Senate 17-13 and the House 38-20-2 and has been transmitted back to the Senate.
SCR1016 rejection of unconstitutional federal
actions (Crandell, Burges: Melvin, et al.) 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.
OPPOSE. It awaits review in the House caucuses.
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. OPPOSE. It awaits action in the House Rules Committee.
SCM1001 NOW: clean air act (Griffin) asks the
Congress to give the states, not the Environmental Protection Agency, authority
under the Clean Air Act. The reason we have a Clean Air Act is that individual
states were not taking action and the pollution from one affects another. This
is another bad message. OPPOSE. It passed out of the Senate 16-12-2 and the House 34-24-2 and was transmitted to the Senate.
HB2007 ballot measures; proposition 105 disclosure (Ugenti) requires that any campaign literature, publicity pamphlet, and the ballot include language that says ". . .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. OPPOSE. It awaits action in the Senate Committee of the Whole.
HB2322 rule making; restrictions (Farnsworth)
restricts agencies from rulemaking unless it purely ministerial and that is
consistent with the statutory delegation. This would have tied the agencies' hands relative to implementation of laws. OPPOSE. It was vetoed by the Governor.
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. OPPOSE. It is still scheduled to go to a conference committee.
HB2334 pool pump energy standards; repeal (Montenegro)
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. OPPOSE. It 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 it is no longer hearing
bills in committees.
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. OPPOSE. This was signed by the Governor and will likely be challenged in court.
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, but this is a good start. SUPPORT. It awaits action in the Senate Committee of the Whole.
Coming Up This Week
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 22nd
The Arizona Legislature will likely not celebrate Earth Day as it is busy doing everything it can to weaken protections for people and the planet. Legislators will be meeting in conference committees and on the floor. The only committees are those that are doing executive nominations.