Saturday, February 12, 2011

The coming week: Legislative Edition, Chapter 1 - Arizona Senate

As usual, all info gathered from the website of the Arizona Legislature and other online sources and subject to change without notice.

Like last week, the committee schedules for the coming week are so full (and so *bad*) that this will be a split post.  In addition, committee agendas are so full, that I could easily have missed something important.  If a committee covers an area of interest to you, check out the agenda to make certain nothing is slipping through.

The Senate's schedule is up first, with a summary of House activity posted sometime Sunday...

Note: there are a number of "strike-everything" amendments (aka - "strikers") on this week's agendas, but no text is available for many of them as of this writing.  I'll note where one is on the agenda, even if the exact nature of the amendment isn't yet known.

Note2 - an "SHR" designation on a meeting room indicates a "Senate Hearing Room."

In Senate committee activity this week -

- Rules will meet on Monday at 1 p.m. in Caucus Room 1.  Long agenda and lots of bad bills, but this committee is purely a rubber stamp/gate keeper for Senate President Russell Pearce.  No real debate or discussion will take place here.

- Natural Resources and Transportation will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in SHR109.  On the agenda: a striker to SCM1005, urging the U.S. Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget; a striker to SB1270 to turn it into an "ADOT omnibus" bill; a striker to SB1371 to turn it into a "revenue allocation authority" bill; a striker to SB1432, turning it into a bill about "off road vehicles; sales"; SB1538, a very mild ban on texting while driving.

- Judiciary will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in SHR1.  This agenda is long and ugly: SB1526, Sen. Ron Gould's "birther" bill; SB1472, mandating the publication of arguments on the retention of the judges on the ballot; SB1481, expanding the membership of the Arizona Supreme Court to seven justices from five; SB1469, greatly expanding the allowable uses of deadly force; SB1464, mandating that private prison operators are subject to the same public records rules as state prison operators (a good bill; not coincidentally, one proposed by Democrats like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema);  SCR1034, the "we can ignore any federal law or regulation we don't like" (aka - "nullification") bill; SB1405, impeding immigrant health care by turning hospitals into immigration status screening stations; SCR1054, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution mandating that any punitive damages awarded as a result of a lawsuit be redirected into a state fund; SB1355, limiting the amount of punitive damages and the circumstances under which they may be awarded; SCR1055, "instructing" all U.S. Representatives and Senators from AZ to cosponsor and vote for a federal office term limits amendment to the U.S. Constitution; SB1330, reducing voters' ability to cast early ballots by requiring that the signature on the ballot envelope be notarized.

There were others of questionable value, but this paragraph is long enough as it is.

Note: there will be a healthcare providers/community press conference regarding SB1405 at noon on Monday at the legislature.

- Education will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in SHR3.  On the agenda: a striker to SCR1005, expressing the legislative Republicans' dislike of federal rules and regulations that impact private for-profit colleges; SB1209, mandating that each school district in the state publish the salary of each of its employees, including teachers; SB1256, an "education omnibus" bill and SB1258, relating to per pupil funding .  These 2 bills make all sorts of changes to education laws in AZ and should be analyzed by someone who is more knowledgeable in this area.

- Veterans and Military Affairs will meet on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in SHR3.  Looks quiet so far.

- Banking and Insurance will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in SHR3. On the agenda:  a striker to SB1039, relating to "housing finance program" (no text available); SB1590, allowing two or more employers enter into a joint health insurance/risk pool (only it won't be called "insurance"); SB1593, allowing out of state insurers to sell insurance in AZ without regulation by Arizona; SB1594, essentially mandating continued coverage of "biologics or a plasma‑derived prescription drug" by an insurance company if it already does so.  This looks like a lobbyist-driven measure.

- Appropriations will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in SHR109.  Another bad one.  On the agenda: a striker to SB1013, relating to the Capitol Police; SB1216, mandating the imposition of a copay upon a woman who receives obstetric services covered by AHCCCS (minimum: $150); SB1308 and SB1309, the anti-14th Amendment bills that didn't pass the Judiciary Committee last week;  SB1399, eliminating the publication requirements for the formation of corporations and business partnerships, instead the info will only be posted on the website of one or both of the Arizona Corporation Commission or Arizona Secretary of State; SB1491, relating to the privatization of correctional health services; SB1518, would suspend any funding of new school construction and mandate that school districts use charter schools to address any need for additional capacity; SB1561, allowing the legislature to "sweep" and reappropriate as it sees fit any "non-custodial" federal monies (such as block grants); and SCR1051, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would allow the legislature to override the voters' will if we pass a program that requires funding from the state's General Fund.

- Commerce and Energy will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR109.  On the agenda: three executive nominations - Fletcher, Gonzalez, Everett; a striker to SB1041 relating to "invest Arizona" (no text available); a striker to SB1403, relating to "mandatory project labor agreements; prohibitions" (no text available, but this is probably an anti-union measure targeting Davis-Bacon Act wage requirements, but without seeing the actual language, I'm not absolutely certain of that); SB1545, Al Melvin's declaration that nuclear fuel created in Arizona isn't subject to federal regulation or jurisdiction; SB1547, Melvin's scheme to dictate energy transmission line siting criteria to the Arizona Corporation Commission; SB1548, Melvin's scheme to fund public education in Arizona via the establishment of a nuclear fuel recycling facility in Arizona (what?  no provision that any such facility be built *next* to a school?  Melvin needs a refill for his glass of Kool-Aid); SB1569, making it more difficult for a homeowner to file a complaint about their newly-built home; SCM1007, a postcard to the feds asking them to allow more mining in Arizona; SCR1050, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to mandate the election of members of the Arizona Corporation Commission by district.

- Public Safety and Human Services will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR3.  On the agenda: a striker to SB1020 barring the issuance of a private investigator's license to peace officers, including reserves; SB1083, allowing a non-custodial parent to block a move by a custodial parent; SB1189 and SB1190, mandating that developmentally disabled persons in state care be moved from skilled nursing facilities into "intermediate care" facilities (SB1189) and the outsourcing/privatizing that intermediate care (SB1190); a striker to SB1377, relating to "schools; notification; drug use" (no text available); SB1499, "probate omnibus" (long and involved and should be looked at by someone more knowledgeable on the subject); SB1520, a measure related to "Arizona background clearance card" (another long and involved measure); SB1541, mandating a specific overtime policy for deputy county sheriffs (seems to be targeted at one county, but I'm not sure which one or why); SB1560, relating to "dependent children; hearings; notice", contains a clause that mandates that someone who refuses to take a test to determine the parentage of a child relinquishes all parental rights to that child, though that someone may still be required to pay child support.

- Government Reform will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR1.  A bad one.  On the agenda: SB1282, exempting politically active religious groups/organizations from registering as political committees; SB1286, mandating that a municipality must approve/deny a permit within 60 days of receipt of an application for one, or it is considered approved after 60 days; SB1288, exempting (for the most part) religious professionals from the standards of conduct for their professions (i.e. - if a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription for birth control, he can cite his religious beliefs to avoid professional sanctions); SB1325, barring labor unions from using union dues for political activity, with certain exceptions; SB1352 and SB1354, banning local photo radar traffic enforcement (SB1352) and making photo rader-based tickets unenforceable (SB1354); SB1358, adding Arizona residency and sourcing requirements to the state's new medical marijuana law, would require a 3/4 vote to pass, and might not survive a legal challenge at that - it doesn't further the purpose of the voter-protected law; SB1365, restricting payroll deductions for poltical purposes (my guess is that this is targeted toward unionized workers, especially teachers); a striker for SB1374 relating to "municipalities; counties; fire sprinklers; code" (no text available, but earlier this session, there was a bill to bar counties and municipalities from requiring fire suppression sprinklers in new homes); a striker to SB1379 relating to "fireworks" (no text available); SB1410, declaring that a county sheriff is the supreme law enforcement official within his county; SB1411, making each elected county office an independent fiefdom (in counties with a population of more than 350K people); a striker to SB1414, relating to "local flexibility spending" (no text available); SB1501, eliminating the one-year waiting period for former legislators who want to become professional lobbyists; SB1523, restricting sanitary districts from enacting moratoriums on new construction; SB1555, barring withholding/payroll deduction of union dues for government employees (definitely targeted at teachers); SB1598, inhibiting the ability of municipalities and counties to enforce regulations and licensing standards (this is a long one, so summing this up in a single sentence is an activity that is fraught with the likelihood of missed nuances); SB1605, ending the requirement of counties, etc. to publicly advertise requests for proposals (RFPs); SCR1027, a retroactive proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to require regular voter reauthorization of certain voter-enacted measures affecting general fund revenues and expenditures; SCR1029, if approved by the voters (and hence voter-protected), a ban on photo radar; SCR1035, making the strictures of the state's "English as the official language" law even stricter; SCR1052, a proposed amendment to the AZ Constitution to make the state mine inspector an appointed position (it's an elected one right now).  This paragraph is so long, I felt it was appropriate to include one good bill in the list.  :)

- Economic Development and Jobs Creation will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in SHR109.  Only presentations on the agenda so far.

- Water, Land Use, and Rural Development will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in SHR3.  On the agenda:  a striker for SB1157 relating to "sewer and wastewater charges" (no text available); a striker for SB1512, relating to "bond election; disclosure pamphlet' (no text available); SB1319, requiring a governmental entity, upon acquisition of private property, to sell off or otherwise dispose of an equal quantity of property (based on appraised value) that it already owns; SCR1032, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution that seeks to minimize the power of the voters to determine the direction of the state by mandating that any referendum to approve a new or increased tax needs at least 60% support before going into effect.

- Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in SHR1.  On the agenda: SB1176, "medical board omnibus," mostly serves to reduce transparency and information available to the public about bad actors in the medical professions; SB1250, apparently seeking to reduce the number of  "donor conceived" children by burying health care providers and facilities under paperwork; SB1315, "podiatry board omnibus"; SB1357, imposing a "missed appointment" fee on AHCCCS patients; SB1390, reducing access to abortions for women in rural Arizona; SB1591, requiring the disclosure of health insurance claim information by insurance companies and exempting same from liability for disclosing protected info (but criminalizing non-disclosure); SB1597, declaring that patients have a number of rights relating to their medical information.  Seemed like a good bill (an unusual occurrence for the sponsor, Nancy Barto) until I read the clause that declared these "rights" legally unenforceable.  Thanks a lot, Sen. Barto.  Really.

- Finance will meet on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in SHR1.  Most definitely *not* good, but the effects of most of these bills is so subtle it would literally take hours to explain most of these measures.  If you are interested in tax policy, public employee pensions or urban revenue sharing, check out the agenda and the bills on it.

- Border Security, Federalism, and States Sovereignty will meet on Thursday at 8:30 in SHR109.  On the agenda (and it's easy to tell this committee is chaired by Sylvia "6000 years" Allen): SB1391, SB1392, and SB1395, new Confederacy/"interstate compact" bills all; SB1433, creating a commission to oversee the nullification of federal laws by Arizona legislators; SB1495, establishment of a paramilitary (presumably anti-immigrant) force outside of the National Command Authority; and SB1498, the "awww shucks" bill of the week, Russell Pearce's measure to create "Arizona Centennial Medallions."

Capitol Events note: Monday is the celebration of Statehood Day (#99!).  Not sure what events/displays will take place.


no_slappz said...

Yes, this story about a murderer in Brooklyn could have been a lot worse. But whenever psychotic people snap, any weapon will do. Thus, the question is how to spot these people and keep them from arming themselves.

In the case of this Brooklyn murderer, it appears it would have been impossible to keep him from getting his hands on his murder weapon -- a kitchen knife.

no_slappz said...

By the way, in the course of his day-long murder spree, the killer stole several getaway cars. He abandoned one of them in my driveway, which resulted in sn srmy of police dropping by Friday night about 9:30.