Monday, February 01, 2010

The Coming Week - Legislative Edition

Cross-posted from Blog for Arizona...

Except where indicated, all info gathered from the website of the Arizona legislature, and subject to change without notice.

There is a strong rumor that there will be a special session called this week to address (again!) the budget deficit for the current fiscal year. If that happens (and that is a big "if"), look for something resembling some actual bipartisanship.

Not because the R leadership has gotten reasonable in its dotage. However, with the resignations of state Sens. Gorman and Waring, the Rs are down 2 votes in the Senate. They'll need D votes to get any budget package past Ron Gould, who is voting against anything that doesn't cause the shutdown of state government.

On the Senate's committee docket this week...

- The Rules Committee will meet on Monday in Caucus Room 1 after adjournment of the Senate floor session. There are 35 bills on the agenda, but that committee isn't much more than a rubberstamp/gatekeeper for Senate President Bob Burns. They'll average one bill per minute.

- Natural Resources, Infrastructure, and Public Debt will meet on Monday at 1:30 p.m. in SHR109. Highlights of this agenda include consideration of SB1036, the now-resigned Jim Waring's scheme to bar municipalities from doing anything to regulate private waste haulers, and consideration of the reappointment of Maria Baier as State Land Commissioner. Generally, these things are mere formalities, but Baier is known as one of that rapidly vanishing breed, the "moderate" Republican. The Rs on the committee (Sylvia Allen, Melvin, Nelson, Steve Pierce) may choose give her a hard time, though that would be a little surprising.

- Judiciary will meet on Monday at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. This one has a couple of Russell Pearce's bills to help turn AZ into an armed encampment.

- Commerce and Economic Development will meet on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. The agenda looks pretty inoffensive thus far.

- Appropriations will meet on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in SHR109.

This one is possibly the lowlight of the week.

It's got a striker to SCR1015 that would send to the ballot TABOR-like restrictions on government appropriations (from Russell Pearce, of course). It also has Pearce's SCR1033, a plan to completely repeal the Voter Protection Act and open up all voter-approved measures to legislative meddling and/or repeal.

- Public Safety and Human Services will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR3. The agenda is a long one, but the worst bill may be SB1011, the R plan to arm faculty members at the state's schools.

- Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR1. Looks quiet so far.

- Education Accountability and Reform will meet on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. Contains a number of bills relating to charter schools and STOs. Bad, but not as putrid as the Pearce stuff on the agendas of some of the other committees.

- Government Institutions will meet on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in SHR1. The agenda has a couple of interesting bills up for consideration - SB1262, which repeals a ban on former legislators lobbying the lege within a year of leaving the lege, but then reinstitutes the ban in a later clause, and SCR1038, a measure, that if approved by the voters, would reduce legislative salaries by 20% for two years.

Over on the House side...

- Ways and Means will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in HHR1. This agenda includes nuggets like HB2510, which bars a municipality from imposing a sales tax on real property leases between a parent company and one of its subsidiaries; HB2512, barring municipalities from contracting with third parties for the collection of Transaction Privilege Taxes (note: more than 84% of the state's incorporated municipalities contract with the state's Department of Revenue to do just that. I'm not sure how this bill would affect that situation.); and HB2502, lowering (I think) the taxes on property used to generate solar power.

- Natural Resources and Rural Affairs will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in HHR4. Seems quiet so far.

- Education will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in HHR3. This agenda includes HB2386, making changes in the way school districts can conduct override elections.

- Banking and Insurance will meet on Monday at 2 p.m in HHR5. Quiet.

- Public Employees, Retirement, and Entitlement Reform will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in HHR3. Quiet.

- Government will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in HHR4. The agenda is full of measures that mess with municipalities' revenues and abilities to govern their communities but the worst may be HB2596, severely limiting the ability of municipalities to apply zoning regulations to religious institutions.

- Environment will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in HHR5. The agenda is short, but ugly. Items on it include HB2248, barring the state from participating in the Western Climate Initiative, and HB2442, barring any state agency from adopting a rule regulating the emission of greenhouse gases without express legislative approval.

- Military Affairs and Public Safety will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in HHR3. The lowlight here is HB2347, drastically loosening the few restrictions on firearms possession in this state.

- Health and Human Services will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in HHR4. There's a slew of bad here - HB2148, basically barring adoption by single people in all but limited circumstances; HB2224, enacting a list of rights of foster parents, which is good, but then including a clause making that list unenforceable, which is bad; HB2443, opting the state out of any federal health care reform, if such a state opt-out is part of the reform package; and HB2495, requiring the state's retailers to ask for the IDs of anyone using electronic benefit cards.

- Commerce will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in HHR5.

- Appropriations will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in HHR1.

- Water and Energy will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR5.

- Transportation and Infrastructure will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR3.

- Judiciary will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR4.

Those last five agendas seem quiet thus far, or maybe I'm just getting tired. :)


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