As usual, all information culled from the websites of the relevant body/agency, and is subject to change without notice.
...For the first time in three weeks, the U.S. Congress will be in session.
- In Senate news, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will be in Phoenix to hold a hearing on the wave of violence breaking across Mexico and occasionally (thus far) into the U.S.. The hearing will be held in the chambers of the Phoenix City Council, 200 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix at 9:00 a.m. The public is invited to attend on a first-come, first-served basis, but will not be allowed to ask questions or comment.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has chosen to skip the hearing in favor of an appearance on The Colbert Report.
Hey, I love The Colbert Report as much as the next wiseass with more than three working braincells, but I've got to wonder where Arpaio's head is - not only is the hearing right up his professional alley, if he went, he'd get to bash immigrants on national T.V.
- Over in the House, while it will be in session, it still looks to be a quiet week. Most of its planned agenda is filled with post office namings and housekeeping measures and the like. The most controversial bill looks to be H.R. 1145, the National Water Research and Development Initiative Act of 2009. Anything that involves scientific research will be opposed by many Republicans for that fact alone, and anything that involves money will be opposed by the rest. The bill will be the subject of a House Rules Committee hearing on Wednesday; expect to see Jeff Flake to offer up one of his anti-earmark amendments.
...In the AZ lege, there are signs that the budget battle, heretofore mostly conducted behind closed doors, is going public.
- Most of the Senate's committee agendas are still filled with presentations and executive appointments (when the committees are meeting at all). However, the agenda for Thursday's meeting of Senate Appropriations (9:30 a.m., SHR109) has a number of items on it - 10 bills with possible strikers to serve as the main budget bill as well as the budget reconciliation bills (BRBs exist because the lege cannot change laws in the actual budget bill, so any statute changes needed in order to make a budget work are put into a BRB.)
It's still early, so don't expect these moves to be the end of the budget battle, or even the beginning of the end, but they may be the beginning of the beginning, signalling that the lege is finally going to get down to some real work.
On the other hand, Senate Approps is chaired by Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance) and he is behind all of the budget strikers, so this week could just be an exercise in posturing for the wingers. If it happens at all - the text of the strikers has yet to be posted anywhere on the lege's website (as of this writing, anyway) and the underlying vehicle bills have yet to be referred to Appropriations by the Senate President.
- Over in the AZ House, most committees other than Rules are not meeting, and those that do are just meeting to hear presentations, not bills. None of the bills on the Rules agenda (so far) looks controversial.
In House floor action (actually COW, or Committee of the Whole), the most controversial bill on the agenda is HB2357. The sponsor, would-be State Superintendent of Public Instruction Rich Crandall (R-Mesa) title the measure "The Students' Religious Liberties Act" but it would be more aptly named "The Sponsor Wants To Appease The Religious Right Wing Before Running A Statewide Campaign Act."
The bill would place all sorts of restrictions on schools on their ability to deal with students who use religious dogma to complete academic assignments as well as those who wear clothing with anti-gay (or anti-whatever group they're getting their hate on for that week) messages to harass other students.
...As yet, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has no meetings scheduled for this week. However, given the amount of litigation that the supes are involved with, the emphasis is definitely on the "as yet." :)
...The Arizona Corporation Commission has a number of utilities hearings scheduled for the week, but no meetings of the Commission itself. The hearing matter that could affect the most people is for docket number E-01345A-08-0172, a rate hike request by APS. Tuesday, 10:00 a.m., Phoenix.
...The Board of Directors of the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) will be meeting on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at Maricopa Medical Center, Auditoriums 1 and 2, Administration Building, 2601 E. Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. The highlight of that agenda seems to be item 7 (Financial Report).
It looks bad, in that according to the income statement, the system experienced an operating loss of over $3.3 million in March. However, because of the nature of the Maricopa Medical Center, an operating loss was budgeted-for, a loss of over $2.8 million. Total income for March, including non-operating revenues, was $1.76 million.
...The Central Arizona Project has a couple of committee meetings scheduled, but none for the whole governing board.
...The Governing Board of the Maricopa County Community College District isn't scheduled to meet this week.
...The Scottsdale City Council will hold a regular meeting on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in the City Hall Kiva. The agenda looks pretty mundane at this point, though fireworks could start bursting out in unexpected places. The most likely candidate for that is Mayor Lane's proposal to establish a Citizen Charter Review Task Force. The wording of the proposal would have that each member of the City Council appoint one member of the task force, with the mayor appointing the task force's chair.
...The Tempe City Council will be meeting on Thursday in the Harry E. Mitchell Government Center. That agenda includes a request to give Redflex $3 million more to administer Tempe's photo enforcement program. Apparently the money has already been budgeted and this matter is just a formality, but given the (lack of) popular support for photo radar, it wouldn't be shocking for some members of the public to argue against this one.