Dear Conservation Friends,
"But love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need -- if only we had the eyes to see." - Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
credit: Thom Hulen
The Arizona Legislature has been in session 110 days and the end is nowhere in sight. Legislators again took a long weekend, meaning they are out of the Capitol and no damage can be done until Tuesday. They can't leave until they get a budget and the only thing happening with it is the proliferation of rumors. No one seems to have a clue on how to move beyond the impasse over the Medicaid expansion. There will be several more weeks of updates, I fear.
HB2551 NOW: off-highway vehicles; use; authority; enforcement (Gowan) went to conference committee this week and no improvements were made to it. The bill must now go back to both houses for final passage. Thank you to Representative Steele and Senator Jackson for asking good questions and speaking up against the bill. HB2551 is an attempt by Arizona Game and Fish to sanction the lack of enforcement relative to off-highway vehicles (OHVs) as they reverse themselves on commitments they made previously regarding law enforcement and education.
HB2551 says that law enforcement can ignore damage to wildlife habitat from OHVs and do no enforcement on federal public lands that have been closed to off-road vehicles. So if officers see someone trashing a wilderness area, they turn their heads. Yahoos driving through a cultural site? Never mind. Destruction of a spring with endangered frogs? They will just have to go the other way if it is in an area closed to off-highway vehicles. Unmanaged OHV use significantly harms wildlife, wildlife habitat, and cultural sites. Please tell your legislators that you want law enforcement to protect lands, wildlife habitat, wildlife, and cultural sites from irresponsible OHV activities.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to vote no on HB2551.
Consider calling your legislators (senator and house members) and asking them to vote no on this bill as well. It will be hard to stop as they love to poke the federal agencies in the eye, but let them know that this bill will have real and damaging impacts. To find your legislators' phone numbers, click on Arizona Legislators.
HB2404 NOW: building codes; energy efficiency (Carter) was put on to a Senate Third Read calendar at the last minute this week and passed 16-2-2. Representative Carter concurred on the Senate amendments (the striker and floor amendment), so the bill could be on the House Final Read Calendar as early as Tuesday. 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 make a phone call to your representatives as well as sending an email via the take action link below. To find your representatives' phone numbers, go to Arizona Representatives. If you are not sure who your representatives are, just use the take action link below and it will give it to you automatically.
Contact your representatives right away and ask them to vote NO on HB2404!
For more information on some of the bills we are tracking, look below or you can view our Legislative Tracker. The Legislative Tracker has a technical glitch right now and I cannot get it to update. I hope to have it resolved shortly.
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.
Thank you! Your efforts do make a difference!
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
Quick Bill Updates
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. This may get added to HB2305 in Conference Committee.
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. This may get added to HB2305 in Conference Committee.
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.
This may get added to HB2305 in Conference Committee.
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.
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. OPPOSE. It awaits action in the House Rules Committee.
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.
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. This may get added to HB2305 in 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, but the provisions could still be added to another a bill, so we are keeping it on our monitor list.
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, although the committee was canceled for the fourth time this week, so it is unclear what is up. It looks like it will either become a Christmas tree bill with all kinds of things added or it will get a technical amendment. Stay tuned.
HB2485 health and safety audit privilege (Carter, Stevens: Barton, et al.) was signed by Governor Brewer this week. It provides a "privilege" (aka secrecy) for violations of health and safety laws and harm that has resulted from them. This was not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless. As we have noted previously, apparently APS has a lot it wants to hide as it was primary driver of this legislation. OPPOSE. It was signed and will become law 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.
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.