Dear Conservation Friends,
"When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty." – John Muir
credit: Arizona Tourism Center
This week, the Arizona Legislature did very little. After 131 days, they still have not passed a budget out of both houses. Last week, the Senate passed a budget, but that deal did not get consideration in the House, where they spent a few moments pledging and praying and arguing over what constitutes prayer and whether it was okay to talk about appreciating life and each other rather than praying.
While the actions were limited this past week, the Senate did find time to do harm to public lands, wildlife, wildlife habitat, and cultural resources. Senators passed HB2551 NOW: off-highway vehicles; use; authority; enforcement (Gowan) by a vote of 19-10-1. Unfortunately, with both Senator McGuire and Senator Pancrazi supporting the bill, it was impossible to get the 15 votes needed to stop it. HB2551 has not yet been transmitted to the Governor, so we will hold off on the veto request until next week.
HB2551 is an attempt by Arizona Game and Fish to sanction lawlessness by off-highway vehicles (OHVs). It says law enforcement can ignore damage to wildlife habitat from OHVs and do no OHV enforcement on federal public lands that have been closed to OHVs. Unmanaged OHV use significantly harms wildlife, wildlife habitat, and cultural sites. This bill is just plain irresponsible.
Please thank legislators who voted no on HB2551.
It is still unclear what the Senate is going to do with SB1493
elections; omnibus (Biggs, Driggs, McComish, et al.) It passed out of Appropriations with the budget package, but has not been considered in the Rules Committee. SB1493 combines many of the worst elections bills. 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 technicalities. 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?
Please ask your state Senator to oppose SB1493 and to protect our constitutional rights.
HB2404 NOW: building codes; energy efficiency (Carter) has not appeared on a Final Read Calendar in the House. That means they probably do not have the votes for it, although this week, as I noted above, the House did not take action on many bills and spent very little time on the floor.
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. This bill is being pushed by the Homebuilders of Central Arizona and supported by Arizona Public Service (APS) as it apparently wants its ratepayers to continue to use more electricity than they need. We expected this from the Homebuilders, but it is disappointing to see APS do this about-face on energy efficiency.
Keep reminding your representatives 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.
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Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Be safe, and thank you, as always, for caring and for taking action!
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 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 include a disclaimer about amending the measure. There are inaccuracies in this brief statement. HB2007 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.
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 has been scheduled to go to a conference committee five times. The provisions were also 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 awaits action in the Senate Committee of the Whole.