The Arizona legislature's activity, week of February 14. 2011, in review -
- The big news this week was the passage of a massive corporate tax cut bill in a special session. The bill, HB2001, is "massive," both in terms of its impact on the state's fiscal situation (blowing a $538 million hole in the annual state budget by fiscal year 2018) and in sheer size (it's 214 pages long).
Legislative summary of the package here; fiscal note, prepared by the state's Joint Legislative Budget is here. House Democratic caucus press release on the bill here; Jan Brewer's press release praising her signing of the bill into law is here.
- Failed to pass committee: SB1526, a "birther" bill from Sen. Ron Gould. Three Republicans, Adam Driggs, John McComish, and Rick Murphy, joined the two Democrats on the Senate's Judiciary Committee, Kyrsten Sinema and Steve Gallardo, in defeating the measure. Their main objection was that the bill as written would create a stricter standard of citizenship for presidential candidates than is in the U.S. Constitution (Arizona: candidates must be born of two American citizens; U.S. Constitution: candidates must be a 'natural born" citizen, with no mention made of parentage)
This one isn't completely dead yet - a House version this could still move forward, or it could be reintroduced as a "strike everything" amendment to another bill proposal.
-A lot of very bad bills gained committee approval this week. A very brief list:
SB1467 (barring educational institutions from enacting or enforcing a policy that bars possession of concealed weapons on campus);
SB1216 (imposing a copayment on obstetric services for AHCCCS patients; illegal under federal law, and the committee knows that, but seven Republicans voted for it anyway);
SCR1032 (a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to require 60% of the voters in an election to support a tax hike for said hike to pass);
SB1390 (placing geographic restrictions on abortion services - a doctor performing an abortion must have clinical privileges at a hospital that offers ob/gyn services and is within 30 miles of the location of the abortion services. Would all but eliminate the availability of abortions in rural Arizona);
SB1548 (tying school funding in Arizona to the establishment of a nuclear waste dump here)
SB1433 (creating a "nullification" commission to oversee state legislative nullification of federal laws and regulations that state legislators don't like)
HB2077 (mandating the federal agencies report to a county's sheriff and pay a fee before engaging in activities in that county; also ordering that all money collected as a result of fines, fees, or penalties collected by the federal agency be transferred to the state's General Fund)
HB2675 (as introduced, would have defined "unlawful use of food stamps" as use of a food stamp care after the unlawful transfer of a food stamp card and would have mandated that the cards be bright orange and state in large black print "Government Food Stamp Card." The version that passed committee didn't contain the part about the design of the cards.)
HB2313 (saying that the state can seize federal property under eminent domain)
Too many bad bills passed committee this week to list them all here. Suffice to say, any anti-union (worker), anti-Union (federal government) anti-abortion, and anti-fiscal responsibility/good governance measures are still alive.
Most committees are winding down work on their own chambers' bills, and now the focus will be on the floor passage of bills so they can be transferred to the other chamber for consideration.
Among the measures receiving final passage in one chamber and now ready to the other this week were:
SB1187 (lengthening the waiting period before a divorce becomes final)
HB2230 (exempting a corporation's commercial leases with itself from sales tax requirements)
In other legislature-related news:
Republican former state senator Chuck Gray of East Mesa announced his candidacy for Congress in 2012. Note: While he states that he will be running for the 6th District seat currently held by Republican Jeff Flake (who has announced that he is running for the U.S. Senate next year), because of redistricting and the addition of a ninth Arizona Congressional district next year, the actual district he runs for may be very different than the current 6th District.
Non-incumbent campaign committees opened for legislative seats (while all list a district, that district's designation and layout will change after redistricting):
Republican Bob Blendu, LD12 State Representative
Republican Tom Murray, LD12 State Representative
Coming next week at the legislature: Senate Appropriations is scheduled to hear two anti-birthright citizenship bills (SB1308 and SB1309), a bill to turn hospitals into immigration checkpoints (SB1405), and a bill to end AHCCCS (SB1519) (that schedule is subject to change at any time).
Otherwise, most of the focus now turns to floor action on bills that have already been through committee consideration. However, floor calendars (agendas) haven't yet been posted for next week.