Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Senate Approps meeting

They're meeting in SHR109. It's available via the lege's live streaming function, which is good, because I didn't visit the Capitol today.

The agenda is here.

Meeting begins at approximately 10:15 a.m.

SB1001, general appropriations - Cuts $144 million from K-12 Ed and $155 million from DES. No public speakers have signed up. Pearce amendment to strip 21st Century Fund funding from the bill (correcting a drafting error - they'll be putting it in SB1003).

Aguirre votes no, criticizing the "cuts only" attitude of the Senate.

Gould votes no, no explanation.

Rios criticizes the emphasis on cutting DES and Education, votes no.

Passes 5-4.

SB1002. K-12 budget reconciliation. Hale offers amendment to allow schools receiving federal "impact aid" to cover cuts from that aid. Hale explains the need, Steve Pierce explains that he supports the intent of the amendment, but will be voting against all amendments...except for those that he votes for, like the amendment of the previous bill. Russell Pearce thinks that it is unfair that the schools that receive the impact aid have money that the other schools in the state don't have. Hale points out that the money is given to districts that don't have the benefits of revenue from property taxes. Gould sounds like he might actually support this one, but I'm not sure. Rios points out that the amendment would have no fiscal impact on Arizona. Harper says that he won't be voting against the amendment out of spite or partisanship, but because he pledged to vote the budget package through without amendments. Even though there will be amendments added by Republican members.

Amendment fails via voice vote.

Shocking, ain't it?

Harper, talking about the underlying bill, gripes about "maintenance of effort" in fed stimulus and the restrictions of "citizens initiatives." Pearce admonishes people that the state is "on the verge of insolvency."

Voting -

Aguirre votes yes, because cuts are necessary though painful. Wants to address revenues.

Sylvia Allen wants to "reform" programs, better known as making the neediest members of society pay for any help they receive. Votes yes.

Rios talks about reining in tuition tax credits to cover cuts. Points to Allen's "reform" call, and recommends reforming STOs. Votes nay.

Passes 6-3.

SB1003, general revenues. Includes fee increase authorization and other stuff. Two amendments. Pearce amendment to add 21st Century Fund money, and to force counties to use all available money to transfer to state's general fund. This one is targeted to protecting the excess funds under the control of Joe Arpaio.

Harper gripes about "cash flow" issues, and suspending employer contributions to state employees' pension funds.

Steve Pierce announces he will vote against both amendments. Even though he supported the amendment stripping the funding from SB1001.

Russell Pearce says that law enforcement supports his county-related amendment.

Steve Pierce now announces that he will support the 21st Century Fund fix.

Gould criticizes the whole process for "opaqueness", calls it a "cocktail napkin plan."

Harper doesn't think that Science Foundation Arizona has the money "coming to them"...even though a judge says that they do.

Gould says that they should fight it, like they've fought funding for ELL.

Sylvia Allen - "It's hell if you do, hell if you don't" and then worries that she might have cursed or something.

Division called on amendment vote, by Gould. Amendment passes 6-2, 3 not voting.

Second Pearce amendment, to protect Arpaio.

Rios questions hypocrisy about the Rs opposing the Hale amendment on the previous bill that didn't affect state funds, but supporting this one, which would.

Pearce pontificates on the need to protect law enforcement. Calls his amendment a "fairness doctrine."

I thought the Rs were opposed to "fairness doctrines"??

Aguirre is backing up Rios.

A rep from Maricopa County is speaking in opposition to the amendment.

They're still blathering on about this...

Pearce gets a note from three unnamed members of the MCBOS, assuring him that they will be fair. Pearce withdraws amendment.

Harper, on the underlying bill, criticizes the "abandoned property" time reduction to three years on traveler's checks. Pearce promises that it will be addressed in the next special session.

SB1003 passes 7-2, Gould opposing, calls fees a tax on business.

SB1004, anti-deficiency statutes.

The realtors and bankers support this one; the homebuilders are hesitant about some of the language (spec sales).

Bill passes 9-0. Meeting adjourns.

On to Senate Rules, which I won't be covering. And probably wouldn't even if I was at the Capitol today - they're usually really boring.


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