Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Coming Week: Legislative Edition

As usual, all info gathered from the website of the Arizona legislature and subject to change without notice.

Note: I will list the agendas posted for Monday, February 15, but if a reader is interested in attending a hearing in person, call ahead. Monday is a legal holiday and most government offices, including schools and the post office, are closed. Given that, I am not absolutely sure that the lege will be in session Monday.

Anyway, on to the meat of the post...

Abortion reporting, divorce waiting periods, gun and fireworks laws, and assertions of Arizona's supremacy over the federal government highlight the week that will be in the Arizona legislature.

On the Senate side of the quad -

On Monday -

- The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet upon adjournment of the Senate floor session in Caucus Room 1.

- Natural Resources, Infrastructure, and Public Debt will meet at 1:30 p.m. in SHR109. Highlights of the agenda (and there *are* highlights, surprisingly enough):

A striker to SB1223 involving rights-of-way over public lands (I do *not* understand the nuances of this one, but since it is from Sylvia Allen, it probably isn't good public policy);
SB1334 (banning texting while driving...YES!);
SCR1046 (an amendment to AZ's constitution asserting Arizona's absolute dominion over any "non-navigable" waterways within the borders of the state. Something that various tribal governments and the U.S. government might take issue with...);
SCR1050 (asserting that only the Arizona Legislature can regulate greenhouse gases and that any attempt to enforce any federal laws in this regard will be unlawful. The want to call this the "Freedom to Breathe Act" but I call it the "We Want To Secede Over Environmental Laws And Regulations Act.");

- Judiciary will meet at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. Highlights:

A striker to SB1054 and a striker to SCR1012 that together would compel the Governor to journey to the lege every two weeks to answer questions from legislators (call it the "Jonathan Paton Wishes He Was Running For Parliament Instead Of Congress Act");
SB1168 (legislatively pre-empting any regulation of firearms by municipalities, counties, or other political subdivisions);
SB1363 and SB1366 (relating to eminent domain, in a "making it both more difficult and expensive to use" sort of way);
SCR1043 (defunding Clean Elections by moving its monies into the "classroom site fund.").

On Tuesday -

- Commerce and Economic Development will meet at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. Agenda highlights:

SB1126 (telling the feds that they can't regulate any nuclear fuel created and used exclusively in Arizona);
SB1242 (restricting union and labor protest activities).

- Appropriations will meet at 1:30 in SHR109. Highlights:

A striker to SB1104 (imposing a formula-based hard cap on state spending);
SB1213 (posting the Ten Commandments in the Old State Capitol Building);
SB1311 (imposing a zero-based budgeting process for state agencies and forcing those agencies to rank programs by priority, giving the lege political cover for their cuts ["Hey, they said that health care outreach to the homeless was less important than neonatal care for moms-to-be on AHCCCS!"]);
SB1391 (creating specific criteria for what kind of company can be hired to conduct employee/provider criminal records checks for state agencies...criteria that is so specific as to lead a cynical person to believe that the author, Russell Pearce, has one company in mind for the contract);
SCM1005 (a postcard to Congress demanding that they reimburse Arizona for costs related to illegal immigration);
SCR1032 (imposing a formula for K-12 public school spending and various reporting requirements).

On Wednesday -

- Public Safety and Human Services will meet at 9 a.m. in SHR3. Highlights:

SB1199 (the Senate version of the Center For Arizona Policy's bill to lengthen the waiting period for divorces. The bill doesn't actually do anything to encourage healthy marriages, only longer bad marriages);
SB1304 (the Senate version of the Center For Arizona Policy's bill to limit the availability of legal abortion services by imposing overly-onerous paperwork requirements on providers);
SB1305 (barring the use of public money to pay for the premiums of insurance plans that cover abortion services);
SB1306 (discouraging the donation of human eggs for in vitro fertilization and other purposes. The authors say that the intent of the bill is to "protect" human egg donors, but the effect will be as stated in the first sentence);
SB1307 (imposing all sort of restrictions on the treatment and handling of human embryos. I think that someone at the Center for Arizona Policy recently read the Island of Doctor Moreau. Really. This one is more bizarre than the usual output of the Arizona Chapter of the Flat Earth Society);
SB1309 (the "parents bill of rights" bill. Should be called "the lazy parents who don't want to put in the effort to pay attention to what is going on with their kids' schools" bill. It imposes all sorts of unfunded mandates and restrictions on schools.);
SB1330 (overriding local regulation of a list of permissable "consumer fireworks");
SCR1044 (a proposed amendment to the AZ constitution banning human cloning in the state)

- Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform will meet at 9 a.m. in SHR1. Highlight:

SCR1045 (a proposed amendment to the AZ constitution imposing limits on jury awards in health care-related lawsuits)

- Finance will meet at 1:30 p.m. in SHR3. Highlights:

- There are a number of tax and tax deduction-related bills on the agenda, and I'm not going to try to translate the legalese. Suffice it to say that most look like they are designed to lower taxes rates for businesses.

- SCM1003 (a postcard to Congress asking them to send more money from the federal fuel tax to Arizona);

- SCR1008 (ending the state's income tax);

- SB1222 (exempting medical marijuana from the state's sales tax, conditional on the voters passage of the medical marijuana initiative in November);

- SB1372 (broadening the state's sales tax base; proposed by a Democrat [Jorge Luis Garcia], this is a good idea that doesn't have a snowball's chance of passing the full Senate).

Education Accountability and Reform will meet at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. Highlights:

- SB1281 (requiring public schools to allow charter school students to participate in public school athletic activities);

- There are also a number of bills that are technical in nature. Not unimportant, but someone else with more grounding in the nuances of education management should do the analysis.

Government will meet on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in SHR1. Looks quiet so far, though SB1357 (easing the passage of zoning changes, allowing them to go through over the objections of neighboring property owners) looks potentially worrisome.

Over on the House side of the quad...

On Monday...

Rules is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. in HHR4.

Ways and Means will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR1. Highlights:

- HB2496 (changing the contribution date for STO contributions to allow tax credits in the previous tax year for donationsmade in the current calendar year; JLBC fiscal note here);

- HB2660 (tripling the allowable tax credit for STO contributions; fiscal note here);

- HCR2057 (phasing out the business personal property tax);

- a number of other tax-related bills, mostly reducing taxes on business.

Natural Resources and Military Affairs will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR4. Quiet so far, but only because they've removed all but two items from the agenda.

Education will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR3. Highlights:

- A striker to HB2040 (reducing the amount of info that community colleges must report)

- HB2281 (barring the teaching of classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government" or "promote toward a race or class of people." I'm not sure, but in light of recent and not-so-recent Supreme Court rulings, this could actually bar any class that discusses the misdeeds of various corporations in the U.S.);

- HB2283 (the same language regarding school expenditures as SCR1032 above).

Banking and Insurance will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR5. Quiet thus far.

On Tuesday...

Government will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR4. Highlight:

- HB2276 (making the names of people who are enrolled in AHCCCS "public information" and giving legislators free access to a database of the names).

Environment will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR5. Quiet so far.

On Wednesday...

Commerce will meet at 8 a.m. in HHR5. Highlights of the long agenda:

- HB2474 (superseding local regulation of a list of permissable consumer fireworks; same as above);

- HB2639 and HCR2043 (reducing the minimum wage for workers who are 21 years old or younger to 75% of the current minumum wage).

Military Affairs and Public Safety will meet in HHR3 at 2 p.m. or upon adjournment of the House floor session. Highlight:

- HB2543 (overriding any local ordinances regarding firearms);

- HB2683 (allowing corrections officers to moonlight in other prisons [including private?] or as adjunct faculty).

Health and Human Services will meet at 9 a.m. in HHR4. Highlights:

- HB2651 and HB2652 (relating to human egg providers and human embryos, respectively. The same as SB1306 and SB1307 above.)

Appropriations will meet at 2 p.m. in HHR1. Highlights:

- HB2500 (declaring that the lege can and will sweep and reappropriate "non-custodial" federal monies sent to AZ such as community block grants);

- HB2538 (demanding that the federal government certify any federal mandates are constitutional before the lege will enact any laws relating to such federal mandates).

On Thursday...

Water and Energy will meet at 9 a.m. in HHR5. Quiet thus far.

Transportation and Infrastructure will meet at 9 a.m. in HHR3. Quiet thus far.

Judiciary will meet at 9 a.m. in HHR4. Highlight:

- HB2490 (exempting religious entities from having to register a political committee if they don't spend a "substantial" amount of time or assets on influencing federal, state, or local legislation, initiatives, etc.)

Yes, this was a long post. Expect another 5 - 6 weeks of agendas like these before things start simmering down a little, toward the end of March.

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