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"The ultimate authority . . . resides in the people alone
." - James Madison 

Dear Conservation Friends,

 
We the people

The Arizona Legislature has been in session 124 days and finally it began to move a budget. The Senate debated and passed a budget package, including the Medicaid expansion, the key sticking point. Meanwhile, however, the House still does not have the votes for it, so the end of the session is not in sight. The budget in the Senate contained nothing of note for environmental protection, but at least there was nothing egregiously awful either.

This week the House made sure that we would have another blatantly unconstitutional measure on the ballot in 2014 when it passed SCR1016 rejection of unconstitutional federal actions (Crandell, Burges: Melvin, et al.) It refers to the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that allows the Arizona Legislature or voters to determine if a federal action or law violates the U.S Constitution and then to not spend any dollars or use any state resources implementing it. So, if the Arizona Legislature decides the Clean Air Act is unconstitutional, it could vote not to implement it in Arizona. Apparently, legislators missed the part of civics class that talked about checks and balances and separation of powers. 

Along with the budget package, the Senate also introduced SB1493 elections; omnibus (Biggs, Driggs, McComish, et al.) It combines many of the worst elections bills in one package. It shifts the review standard for initiatives from substantial to strict compliance, meaning that it would be next to impossible to get a measure on the ballot as it could be thrown out for any number of minor reasons. This bill requires that petitions filed for an initiative be organized by county, circulator, and notary. If they are not, the signatures can be thrown out. SB1493 would also make it more difficult for people to be included on the Permanent Early Voting List and more difficult to stay on that list once they are added. Why are they trying to discourage voting? To read about the hearing on this bill, go to GOP Lawmakers weaken the people's power.

Take Action!
Please ask your state Senator to oppose SB1493 and to protect our constitutional rights.


 Damage from off-road vehicle (Photo by Scott Jones)

HB2551 NOW: off-highway vehicles; use; authority; enforcement (Gowan) passed out of the House on Thursday 34-25-1, with all the Democrats and Representative Kate Brophy McGee voting no. Please thank them for doing so. It still needs a Final Read in the Senate, however, so contact your state senator right away on this important issue. HB2551 is an attempt by Arizona Game and Fish to sanction lawlessness by off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on our public lands -- just to make a point and to the detriment of wildlife and wildlife habitat.

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. Unmanaged OHV use significantly harms wildlife, wildlife habitat, and cultural sites.


Take Action!
Please contact your senator right away and ask him/her to vote no on HB2551.



Consider calling your senator too. To find your senator's phone number, click on Arizona Senators.

Phoenix Convention Center with light rail

HB2404 NOW: building codes; energy efficiency (Carter) did not come to the House Floor again this week, which means they do not currently have the votes. Please continue to let legislators know that you oppose this bill. HB2404 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.

Take Action!
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.

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, as always, for caring and for taking action!

Warm regards,
Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633
http://arizona.sierraclub.org


 

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 got added to SB1493.

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 provision was added to SB1493. 

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.

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.
 

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.

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 provisions were added to SB1493.

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. There was an attempt to add it to the budget bills, but that was rejected.

HCR2026 clean elections; education funding (Boyer, Mesnard, Petersen, et al.) refers to the ballot a measure to redirect Clean Elections dollars to education. This is a cynical bill to attempt to divide advocates for campaign finance reform and education. OPPOSE. It was scheduled to go to the Senate Committee of the Whole this week, but did not. Stay tuned for next week.
 

 

 
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.

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