Saturday, February 11, 2012

The coming week: the lege's power grab continues

Trying a format change on this post in an attempt to make it more readable.  Comments (be they compliments or constructive criticism) always welcome.

All agendas and calendars are subject to change without notice.
The theme of this week's legislative activity seems to be the ongoing one - an attempt by the members of the current Republican supermajority in the lege to gather as much power unto the lege and their pet governor before they likely lose that supermajority in November's elections.

Oh, and the war on reproductive choice is going full blast this week, too.

Nice way to celebrate Arizona's centennial.

Thursday looks to be the big day for Jan Brewer and the lege's attack on the civil service/merit protections for state employees.

The House Committee on Employment and Regulatory Affairs is holding a special meeting at 2 p.m. in HHR3.  On the agenda is one item, a striker with a subject of "state personnel system".  The text isn't available online as yet, but it is likely to be Brewer's scheme turned into legislative language. 

Note: this committee's regular meeting will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in HHR3.

Also on Thursday, the Senate's Banking and Insurance Committee will hold a special meeting in SHR3 upon adjournment of the Senate floor session (roughly 2 p.m.)  The only item on the agenda relates to auto glass industry practices and doesn't really merit a special meeting.  Expect the agenda to be amended to include something on the state personnel system.

Note: this committee's regular meeting will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in SHR3.

Not that government workers should feel like they are the only target that is in the sights of the legislature.

HB2789 would require the Arizona Corporation Commission to submit any and all of its rules for legislative approval, and bar enforcement of any rules that don't gain legislative approval (House Government, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR4)

HB2729 would both expand the ability of firearms owners to carry a weapon (or many weapons) in public facilities except under some very specific conditions and severely restrict or ban the ability of anyone but the lege to say "boo" about it (House Military Affairs and Publiic Safety, Wednesday, 9 a.m., HHR3)

HB2181 would turn state higher education funding into a voucher system that would funnel public monies into private schools and away from public schools (House Higher Education, Innovation and Reform, Wednesday, 10 a.m., HHR1, and it's probably not a coincidence that a number of corporate education lobbyists are presenting to the committee on Wednesday)

Other power amassing or reproductive rights reducing items up for consideration this week include -

...SB1304, taking away the authority of municipalities and counties to enact ordinances regulating the discharge of firearms within a quarter-mile of occupied structures (Senate Judiciary, Monday, 3:15 p.m., SHR1)

...A striker to SB1009 that would mandate that schools present adoption and childbirth as preferable to elective abortion, and barring the use of any educational materials that do not present such (Senate Education, Monday, 2:00 p.m., SHR3)

...SB1358, creating a joint legislative committee to "neutralize" any federal laws, orders, rules, or policies that the Rs don't like (Senate Appropriations, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR109)

...SB1488, the lege's annual move to seize the authority to appropriate "noncustodial federal monies" (block grants, etc.) from the governor.  Passed by leges since time immemorial, and vetoed by governors for just as long.  This one was passed by last year's lege, and vetoed by Jan Brewer, so they added a sweetener - a clause delaying enactment until after Brewer is out of office. (Senate Appropriations - a very bad agenda overall)

...A striker to SB1083, creating an "Arizona Special Missions Unit" as part of the Arizona State Guard.  The "Special Missions Unit" would be focused on anti-Mexican/immigrant activities and would be authorized to cross on to federal lands or into other states in pursuit of their prey (Senate Appropriatons again.  Told ya this one was bad.  Take the time to check out the rest of the agenda.)

...HB2774, expanding the religious exemption to property taxes (in AZ, those provide revenue for schools, municipalities, counties and certain other lower level political subdivisions, but not the state) by exempting all property owned by a self-proclaimed religious organizations, not just churches. (House Ways and Means, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR1)

...A striker to HB2416 that would bar cities and towns in Maricopa and Pima counties from refusing to provide water and wastewater services to users outside their municipal boundaries if those users meet certain conditions, essentially forcing those cities and towns to expand their municipal water utilities to cover people who built up property without ensuring a guaranteed water supply for that property. (House Government, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR4)

...The agenda for this week's meeting of the Senate Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform (Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR1) has a number of bills targeting abortion and non-coital (for lack of a better term) methods of conception.

...The agenda for this week's meeting of the Senate Committee on Government Reform (Wednesday, 8 a.m., SHR1) has some interesting strikers on it.  The text isn't available yet, but the subjects are "taxation", "prohibition; teachers; partisan doctrine", "curriculum transparency", and "schools; parental options".

...The agenda for this week's meeting of the House Judiciary Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., HHR4) is entirely devoted to measures that would reduce an individual's ability to win and collect judgements in civil cases

And this list doesn't even cover half of the bad bills up for consideration this week.  I think they are planning to get out of town early this year ("adjourn sine die", to put it into lege-speak) and have crammed the committee agendas with all sorts of ugly early on in an effort pass as many of the bills as possible before heading out to campaign for re-election/election to new offices.

The complete list of House committee agendas is here.

The complete list of Senate committee agendas is here.

The list of floor calendars is here

The lege's calendar of events at or near the Capitol is here.

The Arizona Capitol Times' Calendar of Events is here.

The calendar of AZ centennial-related events is here.

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