The "highlight" of the week, if you want to call it that, came this past week when Senate President Russell Pearce announced that he was "holding" all immigration bills until the budget is done. Don't get too excited though - it's only a delay. The bills' passages through the legislative process aren't stopped, only held in abeyance for a week or two.
This probably signals that the behind-closed-door negotiations between the governor the Republican leadership in the lege are nearly complete, and that a budget will be railroaded through in the next couple of weeks.
The Governor is on vacation during the early part of the week, though she has some speaking engagements scheduled for later in the week.
Notes: "Third Read" is legislative-speak for final passage in a given chamber of the legislature; "COW" or Committee Of the Whole, is a session where committee amendments are approved by the whole body, floor amendments are proposed and considered, and actual debate takes place. Also, an "SHR" designation before a room number indicates a Senate Hearing Room, while "HHR" indicates a House Hearing Room.
All floor calendars can be found here, once posted.
All Senate committee agendas can be found here.
All House committee agendas can be found here.
While Monday's Third Read and COW calendars have been posted and mentioned here, check back frequently for updates or for postings for floor sessions taking place later in the week.
Notes2: While I try to cover bills that are obviously controversial, some bills may be subtle enough to escape notice. Readers should be sure to check each agenda of a committee that covers an area of interest for such bills.
On the Senate side of the Capitol -
Rules will meet on Monday at 1 p.m. in Caucus Room 1. Long agenda, rubber stamp. The agenda is worth checking out as a preview of floor activity later in the week.
Natural Resources and Transportation will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in SHR109. Looks pretty quiet thus far - two executive nominations and four bills on the agenda.
Judiciary will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in SHR1. Looks quiet so far.
Education will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in SHR3. Looks quiet, but there will also be a presentation on school district unification/consolidation.
Banking and Insurance will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in SHR3. Looks quiet thus far.
Appropriations will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in SHR109. On the agenda: something that is a rare sighting this session - a good bill. HB2227, barring the legislature from "sweeping" and appropriating funds that were gifted to a state agency or institution, unless specifically authorized by the giver.
Public Safety and Human Services will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR3. Looks quiet so far, though HB2003, basically declaring state control over local emergency service fees, generated a little controversy in the House.
Commerce and Energy will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in SHR109. On the agenda: HB2341, repealing the language in the law that allowed the Registrar of Contractors to assess a fee to maintain a minimum balance in the Contactor's Recovery Fund.
Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in SHR1. Looks quiet so far.
Economic Development and Jobs Creation will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in SHR109. On the agenda: HB2536, reducing the number of races that a dog track needs to run in order to legally simulcast races from other tracks.
Finance will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in SHR1. Looks quiet so far.
Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in SHR109. Right now, the agenda is a placeholder with no bills on it, something that is sure to change once the new week starts. This committee is chaired by Sylvia Allen, who last week blamed the rise of street gangs on colleges. Seriously. Who knows what this week will hold? Blaming male pattern baldness on chili peppers?
This one definitely bears watching.
On Monday's Senate COW calendars (here and here) -
- SB1561, allowing the legislature to sweep and reappropriate, as it sees fit, "noncustodial" federal monies, such as block grants
- SB1577, removes the power of county school superintendents to appoint people to fill vacancies on school boards
- SCR1005, a resolution declaring the legislature's support for private higher education businesses
- SCR1028, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution barring payroll deductions for political purposes. Aimed at unions
- SCR1040, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to re-politicize the judge selection process at all levels (there are a number of really bad provisions in this one)
- SB1089, adding "evaporative salt materials" to Arizona's legal definition of "mineral." Not quite sure what this one does, but they snuck it through Sylvia Allen's BSFSS committee, and not Natural Resources, for a reason.
- SB1256, an education "omnibus" bill, making a number of changes to education-related laws
On the House side -
Rules will meet on Monday at 1 p.m. in HHR4. Long agenda, bad bills, rubber stamp. The agenda includes anti-federal government, anti-judiciary, and anti-public employee pension bills. Look for these bills to pop up on floor calendars later in the week.
Ways and Means will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in HHR1. Looks quiet, but one of the bills on the agenda, SB1313, involves the legislature taking away the authority of county supervisors to establish a public health services district via a unanimous vote. It looks like a "small government" move, but in a "do as we say, not as we do" way - this legislature never reduces its own authority..
Education will meet on Monday at 2 p.m or upon recess or adjournment of the floor session. in HHR3. On the agenda: SB1521, requiring school districts to implement specific policies regarding with concussions and other head industries of students participating in school-sponsored athletic activities (very good bill); SB1554, requiring the Arizona Department of Education to contract with a private provider for liability insurance for teachers. Currently, most teachers obtain liability insurance at a group rate through their union. Looks to be intended to weaken the teachers' union financially (bad bill); and SB1064, adding "philosophy" to the list of academic programs for which schools may receive a grant from the American Competitivness Project Fund. The Fund consists solely of donations. No taxpayer money is involved (good bill).
Banking and Insurance will meet ong Monday at 2 p.m. in HHR5. On the agenda: SB1122, Sen. Nancy Barto's bill to make faith-based "health care sharing ministries" exempt from insurance regulations; SB1214, an "interstate compact"/new Confederacy bill, relating to health care insurance; SB1590, allowing two or more businesses to set up virtually unregulated health insurance pools. If there are any "problems" with such a pool, "the free market" would take care of it, at least according to sponsor Nancy Barto. There are two other "bad" bills on the agenda, but they haven't even passed the Senate yet, much less been assigned to a House committee. More on those once they've been sent to the House.
Government will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in HHR4. On the agenda: SB1160, barring municipalities from imposing or increasing a transaction privilege tax (aka - sales tax) on residential property leases or rentals.
Environment will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m., offsite at the PM-10 air quality monitor on West 43rd Ave in Phoenix. No bills on the agenda, only a presentation.
Employment and Regulatory Affairs will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in HHR3. On the agenda: SB1403, barring Arizona agencies and political subdivisions from conditioning the award of public works contracts on using union labor (yes, it's an anti-union bill.)
Military Affairs and Public Safety will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in HHR3. On the agenda: SB1406, an "interstate compact"/new Confederacy bill, relating to the construction of a border fence;
Higher Education, Innovation, and Reform will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in HHR2. Looks pretty quiet at this point; one bill and a presentation from the Arizona Board of Regents on the agenda.
Health and Human Services will meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in HHR4. On the agenda: SB1592, a measure directing the governor to enter into an "interstate compact" regarding health care.
Commerce will meet on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in HHR5. On the agenda: SB1178, the putative "intrastate commerce act," declaring that goods and services created and sold within Arizona are not subject to the authority of the U.S. Congress, and making it a felony for any employee of the federal government to enforce a federal law or regulation in regard to such a good or service (for state employees, it would be a misdemeanor).
Transportation will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR3. On the agenda: SB1262, creating yet another special license plate, this one commemorating Arizona's centennial next year (not a " bad" bill, per se, but a definite "how did this rate so high on the list of priorities?" bill); SB1270, an ADOT "omnibus" bill.
Technology and Infrastructure will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m in HHR1. Looks to be a placeholder agenda (no bills or presentations right now) that will be amended during the week.
Judiciary will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR4. Looks quiet so far.
Agriculture and Water will meet on Thursday at 9 a.m. in HHR5. Looks quiet so far.
On Monday's House Third Read and COW calendars (here and here) -
- HB2415, an anti-bullying measure, defining requirements for schools when addressing bullying incidents (Third Read)
- HB2565, giving college students a religious "out" on their coursework and protecting them from responsibility for their actions or words (Third Read)
- HB2656, creating a commemorative license plate dedicated to women veterans. Again, not a bad bill per se, but Arizona already offers nearly 50 of these "special" license plates, and we still haven't balanced the budget for this year or the next (COW)
- HB2707, reducing the state's expediture limit (COW)
- HB2718, Speaker Kirk Adams' $5 million gift to
- HB2297, repealing the Arizona escrow recovery fund and sweeping the fund balance into the state's general fund (COW)
- HB2581, expanding the School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credit (COW)
Capitol Events, courtesy the lege's website, here.
The Arizona Capitol Times' "Capitol Calendar" here.