Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunset provisions and the lege - Intersession silly season

During yesterday's post regarding political events scheduled for the coming week, I mentioned a couple of hearings that will be taking place at the lege this week.

There will be "committees of reference" holding sunset review hearings on various state agencies. (Agendas here and here)

This was something of a strange (but not totally unheard-of) concept to me, so a little further research was called for.

Turns out that during some previous legislatures, ARS Title 41, sections 2951 through 3102 (aka Chapter 27 of Title 41) were passed into law, creating the sunset process for all state agencies, departments, boards, commissions, institutions and programs. It also establishes a sunset review process of legislative hearings for each agency, etc.

In essence, it's a system of killing off agencies and programs that the current legislature doesn't approve of for ideological reasons.

For instance, during this week's meetings, agencies like the Arizona Neighborhood Preservation and Investment Commission, Legislative Council; Ombudsman for Private Property Rights, Office of Ombudsman-Citizens Aide, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records; Board of Library Examiners, and State Board on Geographic and Historic Names and the Board of Athletic Training will have to justify their continued existence.

With the likely exception of the Ombudsman for Private Property Rights (that one falls completely within the ideology of the wingers in the lege), all of those agencies will be raked over the coals and (probably) be ended. Regardless of much value they provide to the people of Arizona (I mean, who needs neighborhoods in a place whose economy is based on the massive cookie-cutter residential subdivision?)

If the committees of reference recommend for the continuation of a particular agency, they must get a bill through the lege that changes the sunset date, something that is far from guaranteed even if the committee of reference supports it.

In addition to this week's hearings (and those next week, which will include a sunset review of JLBC), the following agencies, etc. will face a legislative star chamber in the near future:

Department of Water Resources

Department of Juvenile Corrections

Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

Department of Insurance

Department of Health Services

Motor Vehicle Division

Anybody want to start a pool to bet on which ones the lege's Republicans kick to the curb?


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