Dear Conservation Friends,
"Please give me some good advice in your next letter. I promise not to follow it." – Edna St. Vincent Millay
credit: J. Brew
Each week Arizona Legislators are in session, they find more ways to thumb their noses at environmental protection. This week was bad letter week as Republicans and Democrats alike signed on to two anti-environmental letters. You would think they would be satisfied with the havoc they wreak with our state environmental laws and destroying those programs -- not so much.
The first letter went out to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and asked for more hearings -- EPA was already planning on five -- and opposed the clean up of Navajo Generating Station in the proposed rule. Read the letter here. Rather than working for clean energy such as solar, legislators are asking the EPA to back off on enforcing the Clean Air Act requirements regarding one of the state's biggest polluters. To read more about the impacts of Navajo Generating Station, click on Heavy Toll. Please consider contacting legislators who signed on to the letter. Encourage them to send a comment letter that supports clean up and a transition plan from coal to clean renewable energy.
Another letter being circulated at Legislature expresses support for a proposed land exchange to allow a foreign mining company to destroy Oak Flat and dewater Devil's Canyon, east of Superior. These areas are significant environmentally and culturally, plus are important recreation areas as well. Resolution Copper has been trying to bypass environmental protection laws via a land swap in Congress for the last eight years. You can read more about the bad land exchange and also take action by going to Oak Flat Land Exchange. The final letter from legislators has not yet been posted.
This coming Monday at 10:00am, the House Appropriations Committee will hear the health and welfare budget reconciliation bill and a strike-everything amendment on abortion. That is unlikely to expedite the end of the session. Stay tuned. They may yet go until July 1st.
The conference committee on HB2305 was finally held. (Note, it was not worth the wait.) The committee hearing lasted about three minutes. They called the meeting to order, moved an
amendment that they never explained, and voted. The "Christmas tree" has
been decorated with all kinds of harmful baubles, including the provisions to deter early voting and some of the anti-citizen
HB2305 initiatives; filings: circulators (Farnsworth) requires that petitions filed for an initiative be organized by county,
circulator, and notary. Because it also requires "strict compliance" it would mean these signatures could be disqualified merely because they were out of order. The bill also makes 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. It seeks to deter people from delivering early ballots as well.
Please ask your Legislators to vote no on HB2305.
credit: Scott Jones
HB2551 NOW: off-highway vehicles; use; authority; enforcement (Gowan) has still not been transmitted to the Governor. Still, we are sending her messages to please veto it when it does reach her desk.
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 ask Governor Brewer to Veto HB2551.
credit: City of Phoenix
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 they could just be waiting until they have a budget.
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.
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 for sticking with this throughout the session 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 HB2305.
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.
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.
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. It does not appear that this is going to go anywhere.
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.