By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
This is going to be the first of the long weeks at the lege; most committees are meeting, and most of them have bills to consider.
We are also going to see a rise in the number of “bay at the moon” bills once the Super Bowl (and its attendant media spotlight) leaves Arizona.
All committees meetings and agendas are subject to change without notice, and frequently do. If you plan to travel to the Capitol to observe or weigh in on the consideration of a particular measure, check with the lege ahead of time to confirm that the meeting that you are interesting in is still on schedule and your item(s) of interest is still on the agenda for that meeting.
Meeting rooms designated “HHR” are in the House of Representatives building.
Meeting rooms designated “SHR” are in the Senate building.
Some agendas are summarized as “looks harmless”, but if they cover an area of interest to you, examine the agenda and the bills on it. If I missed something significant, please leave a comment letting me know.
All House committee agendas can be found here.
All Senate committee agendas can be found here.
On the Senate side of the Capitol –
State Debt and Budget Reform, Monday, 9 a.m, SHR3. Presentation on “tax benefit fraud”, aka – “propaganda blaming poor people for the state’s budget deficit”.
Natural Resources, Monday, 9 a.m., SHR109. Looks harmless so far.
Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., Caucus Room 1. Long agenda, rubber stamp.
Water and Energy, Monday, 2 p.m., SHR3. On the agenda: SB1134, changing AZ law to define nuclear power as “renewable energy”; and SCM1013, a love letter from the lege regarding a proposed rule from the federal EPA that would require power plants to reduce carbon emissions. The lege (OK, the Republicans in the lege) want Congress to hobble the EPA (to block implementation of the rule) and they want Arizona’s governor and attorney general to sue (if the rule is actually implemented).
Commerce and Workforce Development, Monday, 2 p.m., SHR1. On the agenda: SB1098, quadrupling the maximum size of public service corporations (water companies, energy providers, etc.) that can apply for a rate increase without a public hearing.
Rural Affairs and Environment, Tuesday, 9 a.m., SHR109. On the agenda: a striker to SB1061, adjusting the compensation procedures for people who are paid for their labor by the piece or commission; SB1169, barring municipalities, counties, and the state’s fire safety committee from requiring the use of a fire watch (legal definition, from the bill – “a person who is stationed in a building or in a place relative to a building to observe building openings when the fire protection system for the building is temporarily nonoperational or absent”); a striker to SCM1003, demanding that the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service stop the reintroduction of Mexican grey wolves into Arizona; and SCM1006, urging Congress to support the Keystone XL pipeline.
Federalism, Mandates, and Fiscal Responsibility, Tuesday, 9 a.m., SHR3. Short agenda, but don’t let that fool you – it’s all bad. At least it is only a series of love letters to Congress: SCM1009, urging Congress to exempt military bases and training facilities from the Endangered Species Act; SCM1010, urging Congress to extend (and expand?) specific programs that send money to counties with federal land in them; and SCM1012, urging Congress to water down the Endangered Species Act.
Transportation, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR1. On the agenda: SB1106, mandating that ADOT establish a standard design for “special” license plates (the ones established for the pet causes of legislators; there’s close to 60 of them, so a standard design might be a good thing); SB1146, allowing people with “special” classic car license plates to personalize them; SB1197, exempting the spouses and dependents of fallen police officers, firefighters, and first responders from vehicle license taxes and automobile registration fees (for one vehicle).
Public Safety, Military, and Technology, Wednesday, 9 a.m., SHR1. On the agenda: SB1167, banning any use of photo radar in the enforcement of traffic laws. This bill has the best example of legislative “fingers crossed” chutzpah exhibited this session (so far).
From the “legislative intent” section of the bill:
2. Protect the citizens of this state from the abuses that accompany the outsourcing of law enforcement to private, for-profit entities.
Also: SB1180, raising the minimum threshold of property damage caused by a motor vehicle accident where a written report (by a police officer or other investigator) is required from $1K to $5K.
Finance, Wednesday, 9 a.m., SHR3. Looks harmless so far.
Health and Human Services, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR1. The items on the agenda seem to be mostly technical changes and nothing that stands out as particularly harmful, but someone with a familiarity with the subject area may want to examine the bills.
Government, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR3. Long agenda. Highlights (so to speak): SB1102, banning texting while driving (OK, this is a good idea…which is why it won’t pass the lege); SB1182, allowing candidates to collect all of their nominating signatures and Clean Elections qualifying contributions online (the current limit is 50% of the necessary number); SB1184, micromanaging local elections regarding bond, sales tax, and property tax questions (in another example of the lege crossing its fingers, part of their rather hypocritical stated rationale for this one is to bolster government “transparency”); and SCR1009, Sen. John Kavanagh’s proposed amendment to the state constitution to make legislative terms of office four years long (instead of the current two years).
Financial Institutions, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR109. On the agenda: SB1189, allowing out-of-state insurance providers to sell health insurance policies in Arizona; and SCM1011, a love letter to Congress urging it to weaken home mortgage qualification standards.
Education, Thursday, 9 a.m., SHR1. Highlights: SB1173, micromanaging school district bond and budget override elections; SB1191, enacting a moratorium on requirements that a student must pass a standardized test in order to graduate high school in AZ; SB1286, expanding the list of entities that may start a charter school to include private colleges and universities.
Judiciary, Thursday, 10 a.m., SHR109. On the agenda: SB1196, Sen. John Kavanagh’s proposal to create a “do not call” list that would bar political “robo-calls” to people on the list. Note: this bill is also on the agenda of the Senate Government committee on Thursday.
On the House side of the Capitol –
Elections, Monday, 10 a.m., HHR4. On the agenda: HB2072, Rep. Michelle Ugenti’s proposal to scare voters into never voting “yes” on a ballot question by publicizing Prop 105 (Voter Protection Act) restrictions that essentially bar changes to voter-approved questions, unless the voters themselves make the changes; HB2543, adjusting the way that “majority of votes” is calculated in municipal elections.
Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., HHR4. Long agenda, rubberstamp.
Ways and Means, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR3. On the agenda: A number of bills that reduce state revenues. At least two of them fall into the category of “Enhancing Steve Yarbrough’s revenue” – HB2152 and HB2153 are proposals to expand tax credits for contributions to school tuition organizations.
Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR1. On the agenda: HB2412, reducing the total amount of tax credits available for producers of renewable energy, and allowing users of the tax credit to take an unused tax credit amount as a cash payment (in the form of a refund). With most of the tax credits available to AZ taxpayers, that’s not an option. Once tax liability goes to zero, the credit ends.
County and Municipal Affairs, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR4. Some very specific technical changes to state law where I don’t understand the “real world” impact. They look harmless, but readers with a knowledge of the subject area may want to examine the bills for themselves.
Transportation and Infrastructure, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR1. On the agenda: HB2221, barring the suspension of a driver’s license for failure to appear in court over a ticket generated by a photo radar device; and HB2259, increasing the civil penalties for pipeline safety violations (given the recent spate of pipeline issues nationally, adding some criminal penalties might seem advisable. But not in AZ, of course…).
Health, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR4. Looks harmless so far.
Federalism and States’ Rights, Wednesday, 9 a.m., HHR5. The bay at the moon caucus will be in full throat here. On the agenda: HB2173, a “gold as legal tender” special; and HCR2003, a neo-secessionist special calling for a new constitutional convention to hobble the federal government.
Commerce, Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., HHR1. Looks harmless so far.
Education, Wednesday, 2 p.m., HHR4. One bill, HB2181. Looks harmless, but it is an “omnibus” bill, meaning that there are a lot of changes encompassed by it. Omnibus bills are not supposed to be used for significant changes, but that’s only an “unwritten” rule. In other words, a closer examination of the bill may be warranted.
Appropriations, Wednesday, 2 p.m., HHR1. Looks harmless so far.
Agriculture, Water, and Lands, Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR3. On the agenda: HB2366, pertaining to reimbursement claims related to wildland fire suppression (it looks like it proposes to use the state’s “rainy day fund” to pay for claims that the federal government doesn’t cover, but I think that there are nuances to this one).
Government and Higher Education, Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR1. Looks harmless so far.
Military Affairs and Public Safety, Thursday, 10 a.m., HHR5. On the agenda: HB2320, creating a legal protection for carrying a firearm at any public place or event unless that place or event provides for security screening of attendees and a place for firearms possessors to store their weapons.
The House has posted a Third Read (final approval) calendar for Monday. The bills on it look to be non-controversial. When others are posted, they will be available here.
The Capitol Events calendar is here.
Public meeting notices from the Arizona Department of Administration here.