Sunday, April 10, 2011

Arizona legislature: Week in review and preview of the coming week

In a development this past week that is both "review" and "preview," Senate President Russell Pearce threatened/promised to bring back some of his anti-immigrant measures that failed to pass earlier in the session.

From a Howard Fischer-written story, courtesy the East Valley Tribune -
Unwilling to accept defeat, Senate President Russell Pearce is going to make one last bid to convince Republican colleagues to approve new state laws aimed at illegal immigrants.


But Pearce said there are "enforcement provisions" in his SB 1611, one of the defeated bills, that he believes can get sufficient support for approval.
One section, for example, would require public housing authorities to evict any family where even just one member is an illegal immigrant. Other provisions would make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to drive a vehicle in Arizona and restrict the ability of those not here legally to register a vehicle.

There also is another bid to deny illegal immigrants admission into any state university or community college.
That will probably pop up later in the week, as most of Monday's agendas have already been posted:

- On Monday's House's "Final Read" calendar, signing off on changes to previously approved House bills that the Senate added before forwarding the measures to the Governor -

HB2103, exempting "baked and confectionary goods from the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) rules relating to food safety, if the product is made in a private home for commercial purposes, is not potentially hazardous and is properly labeled.  Requires DHS to establish an online registry of persons who are authorized to prepare the exempt product." (Quoting the legislative summary for this measure)

HB2191, a retroactive "emergency" measure (meaning that it will go into effect immediately upon the signature of the Governor, if passed by a 2/3 vote), barring the award of punitive damages to undocumented immigrants.  This is essentially a "private" bill to help out a rancher who held a number of immigrants at gunpoint and lost a lawsuit over the incident.  However, it's a private bill with long-term public effects.

- On the House's Third Read (final passage) calendar for Monday -

SB1166, exempting from sales taxes commercial leases between two entities of the same corporation

SB1171, allowing Marana to take over a wastewater treatment facility run by Pima County.  Dueling op-eds on the issue here and here

SB1326, barring HOAs from restricting the display of the "Gadsden" flag (the one that says "Don't tread on me") that has been commandeered by tea party types

- The House COW (Committee of the Whole) calendars for Monday are here, here, here, here, and here.

- The House Rules Committee agenda for Monday (1 p.m. in HHR4) is here.

Both of the above categories can serve as a preview of House action later in the week.

- Over in the Senate, they haven't posted a Third Read calendar as yet, but their Monday COW calendar is here.

- Monday's agenda for the Senate Rules Committee (10:30 a.m., Caucus Room 1) is here.

- Four Senate committees are scheduled to meet on Monday to consider executive nominations - Natural Resources and Transportation (SHR109), Education (SHR3), Judiciary (SHR1), Commerce and Energy (SHR109, after Natural Resources and Transportation) - and one, Water, Land Use, and Rural Development, is scheduled to meet on Wednesday in SHR109 at 11 a.m. or upon adjournment of the floor session, also to consider an executive nomination.

The legislature's Capitol Events calendar for the week is here (highlight: on Monday, they're going to travel to the Ben Avery Shooting Range and play with their guns); the Arizona Capitol Times' Capitol Calendar is here.

Last week was relatively quiet on the bill passage front..."relatively" being the key word here - lots of bad bills passed, one already being signed into law by Jan Brewer:

SB1288, allowing "professionals" a free pass on unprofessional conduct that is based on their religious beliefs.  Passed the House on a mostly party line vote (1 R crossed over, 1 D absent)

SB1403, barring any state agency or political subdivision (counties, municipalities, school districts, etc.) from conditioning the award of public works contracts on the use of union labor, passed the House on a party line vote on Monday and signed into law by the Governor on Wednesday

SB1165, prohibiting "municipalities from contracting with or employing auditors on a contingent fee basis for the purpose of auditing any transaction privilege tax (TPT) or affiliated taxes levied and from contracting with a third party for the collection, administration or processing of those taxes, with exceptions" (quoting the legislative summary), passed the House on a somewhat party line vote (8 of 20 Ds supported, 3 of 40 Rs opposed, 1 D absent)

SB1412, revisions to early voting rules, passed the House on a party line vote Tuesday and the Senate concurred with House amendments on Wednesday in a mixed vote (2 Ds and 1 R opposed, 2 Ds absent).  The key provision makes it a Class 5 felony to offer or provide, or receive or agree to receive, a "consideration" in exchange for an early ballot, be it voted or unvoted.  "Consideration" is not defined.  This bill was and is targeted at Democratic efforts to elevate voter turnout by accepting voted early ballots and delivering them to polling places/county elections.  I'm not sure, but offering to help someone save time or gas or anything else needed to turn in a ballot could now be a felony

HB2064, prohibiting the application of a foreign laws by Arizona's courts, agencies, or political subdivisions, but specifically exempting businesses and business associations from the prohibition, passed the Senate on a mostly party line vote (1 D supporting, 2 Ds absent) on Tuesday with the House concurring with Senate amendments by a party line vote on Thursday

HB2384, banning public monies from being used for providing training in the performance of abortions, passed the Senate on a party line vote.  Could result in the decertification of Maricopa Medical Center as a teaching hospital, resulting in the loss of its federal funding, a significant chunk of its annual revenue

HB2581, greatly expanding the school tuition tax credit for businesses, passed the Senate on a party line vote.  Should be called the "Steve Yarbrough Needs More Revenue" act

SB1553, school vouchers, now euphemistically called "Arizona Empowerment Accounts," passed the House on a party line vote Tuesday and House amendments to the measure were appoved by the Senate Thursday on a party line vote

HB2002, barring school districts from spending money on membership in organizations that attempt to "influence the outcome of an election", passed the Senate on a party line vote and now returns to the House for approval of Senate amendments to the bill

HB2301, allowing school districts to redirect funding for "soft capital" (books, desks, and other classroom needs) and using those monies to pay for operations and maintenance expenses, funding for which has been severely cut by the legislature , passed the Senate on a mostly party line vote (1 D supporting, 2 Ds absent) and now returns to the House for approval of Senate amendments ot the bill