Monday, May 18, 2009

Is the bill logjam in the Senate loosening up?

All session, per the dictates of Senate President Bob Burns, the AZ Senate hasn't considered non-budget related bills.

This had led to weeks of committee agendas loaded with presentations and executive appointments, but light on actual substance (other than by the standards of those presentations and executive appointees, anyway :) ).

There have been a couple of exceptions, the most notable of which was the infamous "guns in parking lots" bill, but for the most part, the senators have been bored of their @$$es.

That seems to be changing this week. The Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee has posted a revised agenda for its meeting this week (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., SHR3). On that agenda is consideration of the appointment of Neal Young as Director of DES and of two bills -

SB1049____fingerprint clearance cards(Gray L)

**/***/****SB1155____trust lands; conservation; technical correction(Pierce S, Nelson)

All the asterisks mean for SB1155 is that consideration of the bill is pending a suspension of Senate Rules, the assigment of the bill to the committee, and the offering of a strike everything amendment.

The striker is listed as relating to "elections; hospital districts". The text of the striker isn't available online as yet, but the House has already passed HB2155 relating to the same topic. That bill would allow "for an election for a hospital district with less than ten thousand people to reauthorize an existing secondary property tax that supports the operations of a hospital." That bill carries a deadline for such an election of June 30, 2009 and requires a minimum of 30 days' notice.

Assuming that the proposed striker has the same language as the already-passed House bill, that would explain the rush on the bill.

Both bills on the committee agenda have "emergency" clauses attached to them so that they become law immediately upon the signature of the governor. For the emergency clause to be effective, the bills must pass the respective chambers by a 2/3 vote.

Looking at the bills, or one of the bill and the possible language of a striker on the other, they are measures that require immediate passage and cannot wait for the budget to pass before they are enacted.

In other words, no real loosening of the logjam yet, just work on bills that should have taken place months ago.

More later...

1 comment:

Tempe Democrat said...

The Senate floodgates may be opened by the end of this week.