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  "I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues."
~ Dr. Suess, The Lorax

February 14, 2014

Dear Conservation Friends,

Arizona State Flag 

Happy Statehood Day! 102 years ago today, Arizona became an official part of the United State of America. Of course, some in the Legislature seem to have missed that bit of history, considering all of the bills that are blatant violations of federal laws. Legislators also have decided that trees are responsible for the drought and that if we only let them cut the last few big trees, there would be no fire issues. Seriously, it has not been a reasonable discussion.

HB2014 ballot measures; proposition 105 disclosure (Ugenti) passed out of the House along party lines. It requires that any campaign literature, publicity pamphlet, and the ballot contain incorrect language that says the measure can "never be changed in the future" except via a three-fourths vote of the legislature that furthers the purpose or by referral to the ballot. HB2014 will not better inform voters, but is clearly intended to confuse, erect additional impediments, and to discourage citizen initiatives. It is electioneering on the ballot itself, which is totally inappropriate. This now goes to the Senate.

A measure to undercut energy efficient and green building codes passed out of the Senate Government Committee this past week. SB1227 municipalities; counties; energy efficient codes (Crandell) prohibits cities, towns, and counties from adopting any mandatory energy efficiency, energy conservation, or green building codes -- all or in part. This is a terrible bill that would hinder local efforts to reduce electricity and water use and save taxpayers' dollars.

Take Action!
Please ask your senator to oppose SB1227 and any other efforts to weaken energy efficiency codes.

SB1270 election law amendments; repeal
(Biggs, Crandell, Driggs, et al.) would repeal the provisions in HB2305. Its companion, HB2196, already passed in the House on Thursday. HB2305 passed in the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session and that included a “Christmas tree” of bad ideas to hinder voters and citizen initiatives.  To stop the measure, more than 146,000 Arizonans from around the state signed petitions, a referendum. The measure is on hold until we vote on it the General Election this fall. Engaging in a successful referendum is no easy task. It takes a lot of work, funds, and a focused effort in a very short period of time. Now, some legislators are proposing a repeal to remove from the ballot HB2305 but, unfortunately, this repeal would also allow the Legislature to re-enact all or part of the original measure. This re-enactment would bypass the voters and would be disrespectful Arizona’s citizens and of our democratic process.

Take Action!
Please ask your senator to respect the voters and to vote no on SB1270!

Wolf pup (Photo courtesy of USFWS)
  credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Speak up for Wolves! Senator Gail Griffin's three bills to impede Mexican gray wolf recovery may be on the Floor this coming week, so please take action, even if you have already.

  • SB1211 Mexican wolf; taking; reporting (Griffin, Burges, D. Farnsworth, et al.) allows an employee of the Arizona Department of Agriculture to kill any wolf that has killed or is killing livestock. It states that the employee will not be subject to a penalty under federal law. It goes on to say that the livestock industry cannot be held liable for killing endangered wolves.
  • SB1212 appropriation; wolf recovery; litigation costs (Griffin, Burges, Crandell, et al.) appropriates $250,000 for state litigation to impede federal efforts to recover Mexican wolves.
  • SCR1006 Mexican wolf; population rule (Griffin) is a resolution -- a message -- that contains inaccurate information and inflammatory language on wolves. It states that the legislature opposes additional introductions in Arizona and New Mexico, unless it is determined they cannot be introduced in northern Mexico, and it says the legislature supports killing wolves that have harassed or killed livestock, pets, or people. Including people on the list with livestock and pets is a bit over the top. Wolves are not harassing, harming, or killing people.

Take Action!
Please ask your Senator to oppose all three anti-wolf bills.


Don't forget Environmental Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 18th! We will meet in the Capitol Museum, old senate chambers at 8:30 a.m. To R.S.V.P., just click on RSVP Environmental Day and fill in your information. It is important that you RSVP.

To find our more about the bills we are tracking, click on Legislative Tracker. Below are the committee agendas for this week.

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.

Remember, if you want to use the "Request to Speak" system this session to sign in on bills, you will need to set up a new account. Please contact me if you are interested in doing that. If you do so, you can register your support or opposition to a bill from your home computer. You need not actually speak on the bill.

Thank you for taking action and for caring about Arizona's environment!

Warm regards,
Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633


Coming Up This Week at the Legislature 

Monday, February 17th

Senate Committee on Government and Environment at 2:00 P.M. or when Floor adjourns in Senate Hearing Room 3

  • SB1356 government land purchases; recording notification (Griffin) requires county recorders to notify the State Land Department if a county, city or town purchases any private real property. This is odd, but is likely part of Senator Griffin's agenda to oppose land conservation. MONITOR.
  • SB1333 air quality studies; counties; associations (Shooter)adds in language about entities that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality can cooperate with relative to air quality studies. It is already pretty broad as it says "private agencies of any kind," so I am not sure why this is needed and it seems to do almost nothing. Perhaps they are preparing an amendment for it. MONITOR.
  • SB1478 water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk (Griffin) prohibits the Arizona Water Protection Fund from being used to plant mesquite, tamarisk, or high water use trees. The tamarisk part makes sense, but the rest does not. If you were doing riparian restoration as was intended for this fund, you might plant cottonwoods and willows which do use a fair amount of water. This is part of the "blame the trees for everything" mentality. OPPOSE.
  • SB1214 technical correction; real estate regulation (Griffin) has a strike everything amendment on natural resource conservation district; expertise says the state recognizes the special expertise of these districts relative land, water, and soil management. MONITOR.
  • SB1215 fee consultant; indemnity agreement (Griffin: Gowan) has a strike everything amendment on unsubdivded land; definition adds an additional exemption from subdivision regulation .
  • SB1106 virtual border fence; appropriation (Worsley, Pierce: Driggs, et al.) changes the current language from allowing construction of a border fence to allowing construction of a virtual fence. MONITOR.

House Committee on Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources at 2:00 P.M. in House Hearing Room 4

  • HB2117 technical correction; dry wells; regulation (Fann) has a strike everything amendment on performance standards; water softeners establishes minimum standards for water softeners to improve efficiency and reduce salinity issues. It does not limit local government in establishing higher standards. We should be limiting the use of these softeners, but this is a step in the right direction. SUPPORT.
  • HB2578 municipalities; counties; wildland-urban interface regulation (Pratt, Shope)authorizes cities, towns, and counties to establish ordinances for properties in the wildland-urban interface areas to require the removal of vegetation and other materials that constitute a fire hazard. SUPPORT.
  • HB2580 alternative fuel vehicles; registration; inspection (Pratt: Fann, Shope et al.) requires alternative fuel vehicles to undergo an emissions test in the sixth registration year, rather than the fourth registration year, among other things. It removes the requirement that fleet vehicles be inspected every year and allows the director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to adopt rules for the testing of fleet vehicles. MONITOR.
  • HB2600 vehicle emissions testing; older vehicles (Orr: Fann, Livingston, et al.) exempts vehicles that are 40 years old or older from the vehicle emissions program. We have never really liked this section of exemptions and this will broaden it. MONITOR.
  • HB2623 electrical generating units; carbon standards (Pratt, Orr, Shope, et al.) authorizes the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to establish carbon dioxide performance standards for both coal and natural gas fired power plants. It encourages the agency to consider adopting less stringent standards than the Environmental Protection Agency based on any energy price increases, the expected useful life of the unit, etc. It appears to be a proposal to provide an alternative and weaker regulatory mechanism for carbon pollution. OPPOSE.
  • HCR2029 Wupatki; wilderness area; opposition (Peshlakai, Borrelli, Cardenas, et al) is a resolution to oppose the creation of wilderness throughout the Wupatki National Monument. It asks for congressional support to help the Peshlakai family retain their residence and grazing rights throughout the Wupatki National Monument. We would have liked to have seen a different message, versus a flat out opposition to wilderness any place in the monument. Wilderness designation is highly unlikely under this congress anyway -- there is no proposal in Congress. Also, grazing is allowed in wilderness and it is also possible to write in a special exception. This resolution is premature, at best. OPPOSE.

Tuesday, February 18th

Environmental Day at the Capitol!

House Committee on Appropriations at 2:00 P.M. in House Hearing Room 1

Senate Committee on Elections at 2:00 P.M. in Senate Hearing Room 1

  • SB1344 contribution limits; clean elections authority (Pierce: Biggs) limits the Clean Elections Commission's authority to take an enforcement action against someone who is running under the big money system. This means almost no enforcement as the attorney general (who, by the way has been charged with violations of the campaign finance laws) does not act on much of anything. OPPOSE.
  • SB1403 campaign finance; independent expenditures; disclosure (Reagan, Farley, Gallardo, et al.) states that is it is a violation of the independent expenditure disclosure provisions for an officer of a corporation or labor organization to transfer money in a series of a transfers in order to avoid disclosure. This provision is positive, but it also includes limits on the Citizens Clean Elections Commission authority to enforce, so we must oppose it until that is addressed.
  • SCR1003 initiatives; referendum measures; periodic reauthorization (Crandell, Ward, Kwasman, et al.) requires that any ballot measure that affects the state general fund must be reauthorized on the ballot after seven full fiscal years. It is retroactive to 1998 and affects all statutory and constitutional measures. OPPOSE.

Senate Committee on Transportation at 2:00 P.M. in Senate Hearing Room 3

  •  SB1255 county transportation excise tax (Shooter) allows an intergovernmental agency to implement a transportation excise tax approved by voters. MONITOR.
  • SB1326 state parks; donations; fund; transportation (Shooter, Dalessandro, Hobbs, et al.) allows for an optional donation to parks when you register a vehicle. It will not address the sustainable funding issue, but it is one additional source of funding for parks, which are terribly underfunded. SUPPORT.

House Committee on Government at 2:00 PM in House Hearing Room 4

Wednesday, February 19th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs at 9:00 A.M. in Senate Hearing Room 109
  • SB1458 conservation land; purpose; ownership (Griffin) directs county assessors to identify and establish a code for conservation lands. I am not sure what the purpose is, but it is likely because Senator Griffin believes there is "too much conservation land." MONITOR.
House Committee on Public Safety, Military, and Regulatory Affairs at 9:00 A.M. in House Hearing Room 3
  •  SB1402 renewable energy; definition (Melvin) defines renewable energy to include nuclear power and specifically sources fueled by uranium fuel rods that include eighty percent or more recycled nuclear fuel and "natural thorium reactor resources under development." OPPOSE.
Senate Committee on Finance at 2:00 P.M. in Senate Hearing Room 3
House Committee on Appropriations at 2:00 P.M. in House Hearing Room 1
Thursday, February 20th
House Committee on Transportation at 9:00 A.M. in House Hearing Room 3
  •  HB2118 community colleges; benefits; technical correction (Fann) will have a strike everything amendment on utilities; right of way. There is no amendment posted currently, however. A strike-everything amendment is an amendment that removes the original bill with the exception of the bill number and replaces it with a new bill. Yes, it is very confusing. 

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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