By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
Because of the length of a few of the agendas, this post covers only committee activities scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Monday and Tuesday's activities are covered here.
As usual, all committee agendas, floor calendars, and event schedules are subject to change without notice. Call ahead to confirm plans before travelling to the Capitol based on an agenda, calendar, or schedule cited here.
If an agenda is summarized with "looks harmless so far" that only means that nothing on the agenda set off "bat-shit crazy" alarm bells; if the committee in question covers an area of interest to you, check out the full agenda yourself. And if I missed something significant, please leave a comment letting me know.
A hearing room designation of "SHR" means it is a hearing room in the Senate building; "HHR" means that the hearing room is in the House building.
Lastly, this summary is not, nor is it intended to be, comprehensive. Many bills have been covered, but not all of them. Again, if a committee covers an area of interest to you, check out the full agenda yourself.
Senate side of the Capitol –
Natural Resources and Rural Affairs, Wednesday, 8:45 a.m., SHR109. Looks harmless so far.
Commerce, Energy, and Military, Wednesday, 9 a.m., SHR1. On the agenda: SB1380, giving workers' compensation coverage to members of sheriffs' volunteer posses. Apparently, Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu (and some of the other county sheriffs in AZ) are afraid that their personal henchmen may get hurt on their unpaid jobs. And think that real workers and real employers should pick up the tab.
Public Safety, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR109. On the agenda: a striker to SB1408 that would allow a valid fingerprint clearance card to serve in lieu of a criminal background check of prospective adoptive parents; a striker to SB1075 that has some awkward and confusing language in it. I think this is a bad bill designed to benefit those who impound and/or tow motor vehicles for fun and profit, but am not sure.
Health and Human Services, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR1. On the agenda: SB1376, imposing a layer of reporting requirements on "Assisted Reproductive Technology Facilities" (fertility clinics and any facility that deals with embryos). It's a measure pushed/supported by the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy. 'Nuff said about that one…; SB1438, "Establishes procedures for pharmacists to follow when substituting a prescribed biological product (biologic) for a biosimilar product (biosimilar) before dispensing" (from the lege staff's summary of the bill); SB1442, transferring the section of state law that bans possession or use of medical marijuana in a childcare facility into the section of law that applies to medical marijuana. Because medical marijuana is voter-protected, this will take a 3/4 vote if it reaches a floor vote; and SB1115 and SCR1002, relating to direct prices for health care procedures. The related measures are from Rep. Nancy Barto (R-healthcare industry lobbyist with the title of an elected official) and look as if they are designed to undermine the impact of federal health care reform in Arizona.
Finance, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR3. On the agenda: SB1383, imposing limits on local district property taxes (a Cap'n Al Melvin special); SB1435, granting a sales tax exemption for "modular data centers"; SB1439, a move to make gold and silver bullion and coins legal tender; and a striker to SB1470, allowing incorporated municipalities to enact a property tax levy to pay for police, fire, and emergency services, under specific conditions and with very specific requirements.
Education, Thursday, 8:30 a.m., SHR1. On the agenda: SB1293 and SB1444, creating "outcome-based" and "performance based" school funding formulas (serious alarm bells going off with these bills); SB1377, requiring "public and private postsecondary education institutions to annually publish certain information regarding graduation rates, salary ranges and student to staff ratios" (from the lege summary of the bill); SCR1017, a proposal to amend state law affecting Clean Elections that would place an arbitrary limit on funding for the Clean Elections Commission that seeks to provide PR cover for the move by siphoning "excess" funds into state education. A "two birds, one stone" measure – limits on Clean Elections, which the Rs hate, and ties funding for public ed to an inconsistent source, and the Rs hate education, too.
Judiciary, Thursday, upon the adjournment of the floor session, SHR1. Looks harmless so far.
Government and Environment, Thursday, upon the adjournment of the floor session, SHR3. On the agenda: SB1380 (see Commerce, Energy, and Military, above); a striker to SCM1001, urging the President and Congress to gut the Clean Air Act; SB1142, another anti-union measure that goes after payment of union dues through paycheck deductions. This one goes so far as declaring the situation so dire that it constitutes an emergency. Really.; a striker to SB1372, making "[k]nowingly entering, traversing or remaining on any private noncommercial real property that is within one hundred miles of the international border with Mexico without written permission from the owner of the property or any other person having lawful control over the property" criminal trespass in the third degree (a class 3 misdemeanor). I almost want to see this one pass, just for the entertainment value of the "legal" arguments that will be spewed to defend a measure that mandates a different set of laws for a part of the state, based solely on the geographical location of that part; a striker to SB1032, stating that "[a] city or town may not transfer monies from a municipal court to any other department after the adoption of the final budget unless the governing body of the city or town approves the transfer". It's from Sen. Judy "Birther" Burges. 'Nuff said…
House side of the Capitol –
Commerce, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., HHR5. On the agenda: a striker to HB2264, creating tax breaks for certain businesses; and a striker to HB2269, barring law enforcement agencies from using aerial drones. Except when they want to (aka – get a warrant).
Public Safety, Military, and Regulatory Affairs, Wednesday, 9 a.m., HHR3. On the agenda: HB2234, making the legal definition of "firearm" highly specific. Seems to be a way to create loopholes in any new firearms laws; HB2433, removing the age limit, currently set at 45 years old, for eligibility for service in the Arizona Vigilante Gang State Guard; HB2554, imposing a statewide regulation of firearms that is less about restricting firearms possession than it is about impeding public safety; HB2600, taking steps to politicize the selection of judges in Arizona; and HB2574, banning the use of aerial drones by municipal, county, or state agencies, or by private persons, without a search warrant for law enforcement agencies or for "lawful purposes".
Health, Wednesday, 9 a.m., HHR4. Seems harmless so far.
Appropriations, Wednesday, 2 p.m., HHR1. On the agenda: My favorite bill of the week (and there are some serious contenders for the title this week): HB2121, appropriating $250K to put a fence/security barriers around the state capitol. Write your own punchlines.
Judiciary, Wednesday, 8 a.m., HHR4. Long agenda, a lot of bad bills. One example: a striker to HB2593, raising or completely removing most campaign finance contribution limits. Another: HB2350, requiring that early ballot/PEVL requests be notarized.
Technology and Infrastructure, Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR5. Looks harmless so far.
Reform and Human Services, Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR1. On the agenda: a same-subject striker to HB2205, barring the use of TANF debits cards at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals in liquor stores, adult entertainment businesses, or gambling establishments. My favorite part is how they specifically try to tell reservations how to run their businesses.
Ways and Means, Thursday, 2:10 p.m., HHR1. Special meeting, many items on the agenda. Seems mostly bad. One example: a striker to HB2446, greatly expanding the exemption from property taxes accorded to religious organizations.