Sunday, November 15, 2009

The coming week...

As usual, all info gathered from the websites of the relevent political bodies/agencies (except where noted) and subject to change without notice.

This is shaping up to be a busy week as most political entities try to clear as much work as possible off of their dockets before the holiday season hits full force.

...The U.S. House of Representatives is back in session this week, starting Monday afternoon. The official agenda doesn't list "health care reform politicking", but that activity is certain to grab most of the media's attention this week and every week until a final bill is passed by both chambers.

The House does have some regular work to do this week, and while none of the items at hand shape up to be as interesting or contentious as health care reform, this will still be a busy week for politics-watchers.

Of interest to Arizonans -

H.R. 1834, the Native American Business Development Enhancement Act of 2009, sponsored by AZ1's Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. The purpose of the bill is to "..amend the Small Business Act to expand and improve the assistance provided to Indian tribe members, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians..." CRS summary here. Heard under suspension of the rules, so a 2/3 majority is required for passage.

H.R. 3791, the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2009. The bill is sponsored by AZ5's Rep. Harry Mitchell. CRS summary is here. CBO analysis here (cost estimate: $2.7 billion thru 2014, $2.1 billion thereafter, assuming funds are appropriated. This is only an authorization bill). This bill will be the subject of a House Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday at 3 p.m. (EST).

- Of more general interest, but certain to generate some serious controvery -

H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009. CRS summary here. CBO estimates here (expected to increase federal spending by $210 billion over 10 years).

Possible consideration of the conference report on H.R. 2847, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010. CRS summary here. This one has some "interesting" provisions, like prohibiting the use of funds "to implement, administer, or enforce any EEOC guidelines covering harassment based on religion."

Who wrote this stuff? Bush appointees?

...Over in the U. S. Senate, expect some serious arm-twisting over health care reform. The Senate's committee schedule is here.

...Back here in Arizona, the Arizona Legislature may or may not be holding a special session this week. And whether or not they do, in fact, hold a session this week, few Capitol watchers expect any significant progress toward a real fix for the budget mess until after the new year.

However, special session or no, the makework schedule continues unabated.

- The Ad Hoc Committee on Energy and Water Development will meet on Monday at 8:30 a.m. in SHR1.

- The Ad Hoc Committee on Mining Regulations will meet on Monday at 1 p.m. in HHR1. The meeting will be chaired by the mining industry's personal representative to the State Senate, Sylvia Allen. She will be asking mining industry lobbyists and executives what kind of government regulations they want for their business.

Look at the agenda (linked above). I'm not exaggerating.

- The Ad Hoc Committee on Agriculture Regulations will meet on Monday at 3 p.m. in HHR1. Agribusiness' personal rep in the State Senate, Steve Pierce, will be in the same place doing the same thing for his keepers that Sylvia Allen was doing for hers two hours earlier.

- The Ad Hoc Committee on Private School Tuition Tax Credit Review will meet on Monday at 1 p.m. in HHR5. It's already apparent that Speaker Adams' hand-picked committee to look into STOs and the tax credit program is less an "inquiry" and more a "pep rally."

One of the scheduled presenters at the hearing is Dr. Charles M. North, an economics professor from Baylor University.

I thought that Waco, Texas (home of Baylor U) was a *little* far to go in search of an economics expert who could discuss the economic impacts of STOs and tuition tax credits on Arizona. U of A, ASU, and NAU have economics faculty who are competent. Even renowned.

And UA, ASU, and NAU are a LOT closer.

Hmmm...I wonder who's paying for Dr. North's trip to AZ? I would love to get a look at the expense records of the lege and a couple of STOs to find out.

Anyway, a little quick research on Dr. North found he has authored publications like "Going to College, Getting a Job: What Happens when Mom and Dad Take Their Kids to Church," "Must the poor always be with us? What do we do?" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger? The Role of Vouchers in Regulating Private Schools."

And that was just stuff from his official bio at Baylor, linked above.

Instead of handing out copies of the agenda before this meeting, why don't they just hand out copies of the script, so everyone can follow along???

- The House Government and Senate Government Institutions Committee of Reference will meet on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in HHR5. The meeting is for the sunset reviews of the Arizona Legislative Council, the Office of the Auditor General, and the Arizona State Library, Archive and Public Records.

- The Ad Hoc Legislative Committee on Agency Information Technology will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR5.

...Anyway, I've got something else to do this afternoon, so I will complete this post later today...

Edit later on 11/15 to complete this post with info from county, local, and other state political bodies/agencies...

...The Arizona Corporation Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday. The agenda is a long one. Many of the items will impact readers all over the state (rate hikes and related items) but the one that could have the most direct impact on readers in my vicinity (LD17 and environs) is this one -

26. Arizona-American Water Company (W-01303A-08-0227 and SW-01303A-080227) – Application for a Determination of the Current Fair Value of its Utility
Plant and Property and for Increases in its Rates and Charges Based Thereon For Utility Service by its Agua Fria Water District, Havasu Water District, Mohave Water District, Paradise Valley Water District, Sun City West Water District and Tubac Water District; Application for a Determination of the Current Fair Value of its Utility Plant and Property and for Increases in its Rates and Charges Based
Thereon For Utility Service by its Mohave Wastewater District.
The ACC's full hearing schedule is here.

...The Citizens Clean Election Commission is scheduled to meet on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. No agenda posted online as of this writing.

...The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has its normal schedule of meetings for the week - an "informal" meeting with an executive session component on Monday and a "formal" meeting scheduled for Wednesday. Both agendas look to be pretty mundane, but there is a *lot* of stuff here as they try to clear the decks in preparation for the holiday season.

...The Board of Directors of the Maricopa Integrated Health System has a special session on tap for Monday. It will primarily be an executive session discussing the contract of Betsey Bayless, the CEO of MIHS. On Wednesday, the Board has a "retreat" scheduled - discussion of objectives, best practices, and the like.

...The Board of Directors of the Central Arizona Project doesn't have a full board meeting scheduled this week, but it will still be active.

- On Wednesday, CAP's Systems Operations Advisory Group will meet at 9 a.m.

- On Thursday, their Public Policy Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m.

- On Thursday, the Board (or such members as show up) will hold a work/study session on Recovery Planning/Projects.

...The Tempe City Council will meet Thursday. The agenda looks pretty boring except for initial consideration of a resolution expressing support for a consolidation plan from the City Manager for Tempe city government.

The Council's Calendar is here.

...The Scottsdale City Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, and the agenda looks to be an interesting one.

- Item 10, on the consent agenda, covers the referral to a special election of charter amendments. Assuming approval, the election would be held on March 9, 2010.

- Items 13 and 14, also on the consent agenda, are related to lawsuits against the City. 13 is funding for the settlement of one suit, 14 is for paying an attorney to fight another one.

An AZ Republic article on the lawsuit behind #14 here.

- Item 23 relates to discussion and possible initiation of a Zoning Ordinance text amendment to update current regulations of live entertainment. This one was requested by Council member Lisa Borowsky.

- Item 24 concerns the appointment of an Acting City Manager (candidates David Ellison, David Richert, and Brent Stockwell, all current City employees) and the establishment of a process for finding a permanent City Manager (includes the creation of a Mayor-appointed "City Manager Recruitment Ad Hoc Committee). This one has a possible executive session component associated with it.

- Item 25 (no hyperlink available) is "requested" by Council member Borowsky but it looks like it is straight out of Mayor Jim Lane's "outsource everything" playbook.

Request: At the request of Vice Mayor Borowsky, discussion and possible action or direction to staff on reorganizing the Government Relations Department, including budgetary matters, possible initiation of the RFP process to use outside contractors to provide government relations services, and location of the Government Relations Department within the city organizational structure.
The City's Charter Review Task Force is scheduled to meet on Monday. Agenda here.

The City's Community Meetings notice is here.

Not scheduled to meet this week: Governing Board of the Maricopa County Community College District. The Arizona Board of Regents has *something* going on, but I'm not sure what.

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