Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Arizona Legislature Week In Review

- The big news at the legislature this week didn't concern pending legislation, it concerned possible pending charges against Sen. Scott Bundgaard stemming from a February domestic violence incident.

From an Arizona Republic story by William Hermann and Mary K. Reinhart -
Phoenix police say state Sen. Scott Bundgaard likely had been drinking, twice refused a sobriety test and cited legislative privilege to avoid arrest in their full report on his February altercation with his then-girlfriend along a Valley freeway.

The final report, released Thursday, recommends filing a domestic-violence assault charge against Bundgaard. It largely contradicts a series of public statements the senator has made since the incident.
Legislation-related stuff:

They're starting to get sneaky with the strikers, springing strikers to previous strikers, running proposals on short notice and more, as this past week was the last full week of committee meetings.  Many bills died for lack of consideration, but a few died because of votes.  Many also stayed alive because they received committee consideration before the deadline.

- Bill passed by both chambers and moving to the governor's desk:

HB2443, banning the seemingly nonexistent practice of abortions for race and/or gender selection, passed the Senate on a party line vote.  The governor is expected to sign the measure.

- Bills failing in one chamber or the other -

SB1411, limiting the ability of county supervisors to oversee the expenditure of county resources by compelling them to appropriate annual budgets to the other county electeds in a lump sum, meaning people like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wouldn't have to explain their budget requests to anyone (not that he does now), failed on reconsideration by a 12 - 17 margin, 1 not voting.  All Democrats in the Senate were joined by 8 Republicans in defeating the measure for a second time.  This particular bill is now dead, though the language could come back as a strike-everything amendment to a bill that is still alive.

SB1554, mandating that the Arizona Department of Education contract with a private insurance provider to offer liability insurance to teachers (currently, most teachers have liability insurance through their school districts or union), failed in the House Education Committee.  Already returning as a striker to HB2362, scheduled for next Tuesday's meeting of Senate Appropriations.  Being pushed hard by State Sen. Rick Murphy (R-LD9)

A striker to SB1354 banning all use of photo radar in Arizona failed in the House Transportation Committee

- Bills passing one chamber or the other.  Most are probably dead since they haven't been heard in committee in the other chamber, but the rules are rather flexible in that regard when it comes to bills favored by legislative leadership.  Look for some interesting items on Appropriations agendas for the next few weeks -

SB1409, expanding the application of Arizona's "English only" law, passed the Senate on a party line vote

SCR1045, a proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution to remove professional evaluations from the appointment process to the commissions to select judges, passed the Senate 20 - 6, 4 not voting.  One R crossed over to oppose this measure

SB1548, tying Arizona school funding to the construction of nuclear waste facilities here, passed the Senate on a party line vote

Actually, that was it as far as significant bills moving from one chamber to the other - the House had a quiet week as far a final passage sessions go.

A number of measures to watch (aka - "bad bills") stayed alive by passing committee before the deadline for committee consideration.  A number of these bills will need to return to the originating chamber because they were amended to be reapproved, which may or may not happen -

SB1166, exempting self-dealing corporations from paying municipal sales taxes on leases with itself (House Ways and Means)

SB1553, school vouchers under the name "Arizona empowerment accounts" (House Ways and Means)

SCR1024, a postcard to D.C. proclaiming AZ has supreme authority over Arizona-located waters (House Energy and Natural Resources)

SCR1033, a resolution supporting coal-fueled power plants in Arizona (House Energy and Natural Resources)

SB1453, a measure to let parents cite "religious belief" to excuse their children from particular assignments and activities in school (House Education)

SB1593, allowing out-of-state insurers to sell health insurance coverage in Arizona mostly free of Arizona regulation and oversight (House Banking and Insurance)

SB1591, giving employers access to employees' medical private medical information through insurers (House Banking and Insurance)

SB1157, now a birther bill (amended by House Government, so some work will need to be done by the Senate if this one passes the full House)

HB2177, now a birther bill (amended by Senate Government reform, so some work will need to be done by the House if this one passes the full Senate)

Look for a move to "substitute" one of these measures for the other on the floor of one of the chambers

SB1188, giving a preference in adoptions to married couples.  Softened from the original language, but still, single people will have to jump through some serious hoops and same-sex couples need not apply (House Government)

SB1286, imposing a 60 day time limit on municipalities and counties to approve/disapprove a permit/license request; after 60 days, the request is automatically approved (House Government)

SB1322, mandating that Tucson and Phoenix put out their municipal services to private bidders (House Government)

SB1379, removing most of the ability of municipalities to regulate consumer fireworks (House Government)

SB1525, restricting municipalites' ability to impose and collect development fees (amended by House Government, so the Senate will need to do some work if this one passes the full House)

SB1598, restricting the ability of municipalties and counties to regulate business and development activities within their jurisdictions (extensively amended by House Government, so the Senate will need to do some work if this one passes the full House)

SB1282, exempting religiious entities that engage in political activities from having to register as a political committee (House Government)

SB1610, solving one of the state's most pressing problems by naming a "state firearm" (House Judiciary)

SCR1028, a proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution barring the use of payroll deductions for political purposes.  Aimed at unions, but as passed by the Senate, its provisions also applied to corporations. (House Government)

SB1169, as amended by House Employment and Regulatory Affairs, barring the State Board of Nursing from having any authority to regulate scope of practice regarding abortion.  If passed by the entire House, the Senate will have some work to do before it can be sent to the governor

SB1495, establishing a "state guard" force that the governor can utilize for any reason he/she desires, and funded with monies siphoned from the Arizona National Guard (House Military Affairs and Public Safety)

SB1365, barring payroll deductions for political purposes without an annual authorization, exempts public safety personnel (police, fire, corrections) (House Commerce)

SB1222, removing adherence to federal standards in Arizona's ID requirements for public assistance and mandating the eviction from public housing all residents of a public housing unit if one of those residents allows an undocumented immigrant to reside there (House Commerce)

SB1561, allowing the legislature to sweep and reappropriate non-custodial federal monies as it sees fit (House Appropriations)

SB1200, as amended by House Transportation, changing the state's statutes regarding ignition interlock devices (will need some work by the Senate if it passes the whole House)

SB1589, mandating that ADOT/MVD privatize many of its functions (amended by House Transportation, so the Senate will need to do some work if this one passes the whole House)

SB1095, as amended by House Judiciary, essentially banning abortions in rural Arizona (criminalizing the performance of an abortion by a doctor who doesn't have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles), will need work by the Senate if it passes the whole House

SB1201, easing all sorts of firearms laws (amended by House Judiciary, so the Senate will need to do some work if this one passes the whole House)

SB1167, as amended by House Judiciary, imposing a severe time limit on filing legal challenges to referenda referred to the ballot by the legislature

SB1363, protecting employers from the horror of labor actions (yes, "horror" is sarcastic :) ) (House Judiciary)

SB1466, turning justices of the peace into quasi-prosecutors by giving them veto power over prosecutors' decisions to defer prosecution (House Judiciary, on reconsideration)

SB1467, barring educational institutions from adopting or enforcing rules that prohibit the lawful possession of a firearm in a public right-of-way (House Judiciary)

SCR1001, a proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution, as amended by House Judiciary, that would increase political influence over the state's highest courts (too many ways to summarize in one sentence; if you are interested, read the measure at the link)

SCR1002, a proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution, as amended by House Judiciary, that would increase political influence over the state's superior courts (county)

Both of the above will have to go back to the Senate if they pass the whole House

SCR1020, a proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution immunizing crime victims from civil liability for "causing death or injury to a person" involved in a felony; aimed at cases where would-be vigilantes have been found liable for damages when they've violated the rights of undocumented immigrants (House Judiciary)

HB2023, as amended by Senate Finance, would change current law to require that ASU East and ASU West be considered as part of the same budget unit as ASU Main in the general appropriations act of the budget.  No sure why this is being done, but since the Democrats on the committee supported it and Sens. Ron Gould and Scott Bundgaard opposed it.  I don't understand the purpose of the measure, but with this combo, I'm pretty sure it isn't all bad.  If passed the whole Senate, must return to the House for work

HB2619, as amended by Senate Finance, would require employers to pay a special assessment to pay down loans to the Unemployment Insurance Program.  Also must return to the House if passed by the Senate

HB2636, lowering taxes on the wealthiest 12% of Arizonans while increasing taxes on the poorest 88% under the guise of establishing a "flat income tax."  Fiscal note from JLBC here.  Amended by Senate Finance, so if passed by the whole Senate it will need to return to the House

HB2002, barring school districts from expending money to join an organization that attempts to influence the outcome of elections.  Amended by Senate Government Reform, so if passed by the whole Senate, it will need to return to the House

HB2644, barring municipalities and counties from accepting federal funds for a project if those funds are conditioned on giving any preference to the use of union labor (Senate Government Reform)

HB2718, a $5 million dollar gift of taxpayer money to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu for "border security,"  One problem:  Pinal County doesn't share a border with Mexico.  Guess it beats appropriating money for transplants...or not (Senate Appropriations)

HB2707, establishing a lower revenue expenditure limit for the state (think: TABOR).  Amended by Senate Appropriations so it will need to return to the House, if passed by the whole Senate

HB2301, amended by Senate Appropriations, relating to allowing school districts to use "soft capital" money (books, desks, etc.) for other expenses.  If passed by the whole Senate, will need to return to the House

HB2706, amended by Senate Education, requiring "SBE [State Board of Education] to implement guidelines for supplementary training in reading instruction for teachers in an underperforming school who teach grades one, two, three or kindergarten as part of an improvement plan."  If passed by the whole Senate, will need to return to the House

HB2604, amended by Senate Judiciary, barring "the enforcement of foreign law if doing so would violate a federal or state constitutional right or conflict with U.S. or Arizona law," exempting businesses from its provisions.  If passed by the Senate, will need to return to the House
HB2102, requiring that proof of "authorized presence" be presented before a license to operate a business or perform a service, or a fingerprint clearance card, can be issued (Senate Judiciary)
HB2484, taking the authority to make appointments to fill legislative vacancies away from county boards of supervisors and giving it to the precinctcommitteemen of the same legislative district and party of the vacating member of the lege (Senate Judiciary)

1 comment:

Rene said...

Down with SB1322! We didn't ask for this and we don't want it!