Sunday, February 06, 2011

The coming week: Legislative Edition. Chapter 2 - Arizona House

As usual, all info gathered from the website of the Arizona Legislature or other internet sources, and subject to change without notice (and given the time of year, expect changes)...
Normally, the committee schedules of both the House and Senate are combined into one post. However, the week, and probably for the next few weeks, committee agendas are incredibly full. In the interests of keeping this manageable, there will be a separate post for each chamber this week and any future weeks where necessary.

In addition, there are *so* many bills up for consideration this week, that I don't have time or space to cover them all. If you've got a particular area of interest, please read the pertinent agenda(s) to ensure you know about all of the bills you care about.

House committee highlights/lowlights this week -

- Rules will meet on Monday in HHR4 at 1 p.m.  The agenda is a long one and mostly OK.  However, bad or good, this committee is a rubber stamp and the meeting will be a short one.

- Ways and Means will meet on Monday in HHR1 at 2 p.m.  On the agenda:  a striker to HB2207, micromanaging the purchasing policies of the Maricopa Integrated Health System; HB2338, placing more stringent limits on county-level secondary tax levies (i.e. - library, jail, health care districts); HB2503, reducing the income tax rate for the poor and downtrodden...corporations ($200 million to $250 million per year); HB2504, phasing out the state's capital gains tax ($369,000,000 worth of state revenue in 2008); HB2557, imposing a 300% sales tax on medical marijuana (sponsored mostly by Democrats, not sure how this one will fare.  If the Rs on the committee vote for the measure, they'll be supporting a higher tax, if they oppose it, they'll be seen as protecting marijuana.  Hmmm.... :) ); HCR2006, drastically raising the tax exemption limit for business personal property.

- Energy and Natural Resources will meet on Monday in HHR4 at 2 p.m.  On the agenda: HB2485,
mandating that if a governmental entity acquires previously privately-owned land, it must sell and equal amount (in terms of value) of land it already owns.

- Education will meet on Monday in HHR3 at 2 p.m. or upon recess of the floor session.  On the agenda:  HB2419, micromanaging schools' employment decisions by mandating that K-8 schools each hire a phonics reading coach that meet certain criteria.  Oh, and all costs for this mandate would be covered by the schools.  There's another, more technical, bill involving JTEDs (Joint Technical Education Districts) on the agenda, HB2237.  Not sure if this is bad, good, or housekeeping.

- Banking and Insurance will meet on Monday in HHR5 at 2 p.m.  Looks quiet so far.

- Government will meet on Monday in HHR4 at 2 p.m.  On the agenda:  HB2077, requiring all federal agencies to register with a county sheriff and pay a fee before conducting any sort of operations in a county;

- Employment and Regulatory Affairs will meet on Tuesday in HHR3 at 2 p.m.  No bills on the agenda thus far.

- Military Affairs and Public Safety will meet on Wednesday in HHR3 at 9 a.m.  On the agenda: HB2366, mandating that communications with public officials be "anonymized" before the contents of the communications are made part of the public record.

- Higher Education, Innovation, and Reform will meet on Wednesday in HHR2 at 9 a.m.  On the agenda:  \HB2565, protecting devoutly religious students at the state's universities and community colleges from reality if reality is in conflict with their deeply-held (or not-so-deeply-held) religious beliefs.

- Health and Human Services will meet on Wednesday in HHR4 at 9 a.m.  On the agenda:  HB2384, an anti-choice measure and HCR2034, "honoring" the faux pregnancy care centers that seek to deceive desperate women looking for accurate and complete information regarding their health care.

- Commerce will meet on Wednesday in HHR5 at 10 a.m.  On the agenda: HB2536, removing the requirement that dog racing facilities actually hold dog races, allowing them to go over to simulcast-only operations.

- Appropriations will meet on Wednesday in HHR1 at 2 p.m.  Highlight (and perhaps one of the few of the week in either chamber):  HB2227, declaring that money given as a gift or bequest to a state agency isn't part of the states's General Fund and cannot be swept and appropriated by the legislature unless such is specifically allowed by the giver.

- Transportation will meet on Thursday in HHR3 at 9 a.m.  On the agenda:  HB2003, barring public agencies from imposing or collecting any emergency service response fees, with certain exceptions, including ambulance services.  Not sure how bad this bill is, but since Rep. John Kavanagh is behind it, it probably targets Mexicans.  I just haven't figured out how.  :)

- Judiciary will meet on Thursday in HHR4 at 9 a.m.  On the agenda:  HB2304, an "elections omnibus" bill.  Some of the provisions include: requiring that non-resident petition circulators register with the secretary of state's office (though the language is so broad that it might be construed as to require that *all* petition circulators register with the SOS, allowing candidates with an "exploratory" committee to collect signatures and contributions (call this the "Huppenthal Provision"), allow candidates to transfer excess campaign funds to their officeholder expense accounts (not sure how this provision would affect Clean Elections money, of which surplus is supposed to be returned to Clean Elections).

- Agriculture and Water will meet on Thursday in HHR5 at 9 a.m.  On the agenda:  HB2339, reducing commercial and agricultural property taxes.


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