Sunday, January 20, 2013

The coming week...

The first full week of the 2013 session of the Arizona legislature will be a lot like the abbreviated first week - many committees won't be meeting or will have brief agendas.

However, the ones that do have agendas will have at least a few bills under consideration.

As usual all schedules and agendas are subject to change at any time and without notice.

"HHR" refers to a House Hearing Room"; "SHR" refers to a Senate Hearing Room".

Also note:  I look for bills and other activity that falls into the category of "batshit crazy" or otherwise bad, in general, for Arizona.  When I summarize an agenda's items with "looks harmless, so far", it means that nothing on it twigged my Tea or guano detector, and nothing more.  If you are interested in measures that apply to one or another specific area, I strongly recommend conducting some in-depth research on your own.  Oh, and let me know if you find anything - that's how I learn. 

No floor calendars for either chamber have been posted as of this writing.

Committee activity on the House side:

- Joint Appropriations, Tuesday, HHR1, 9:30 a.m.  The Appropriations committees from both the House and the Senate will meet together to receive a presentation on the governor's proposed FY2014 budget.

- Insurance and Retirement, Tuesday, HHR3, 2 p.m.  On the agenda are HB2057, HB2058, and HB2059.  All have to do with making changes to the state's pension system and I don't pretend to have the knowledge required for an in-depth analysis of these, but HB2057 looks to be the bad one here, limiting survivor benefits and benefits to new employees.

- Government, Tuesday, HHR4, 2 p.m.  Agenda items include HB2005, HB2033, HB2082 and HB2086.  The most interesting of these is HB2082, which is from Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills).  If enacted as written, it would deem the names of people who win prizes from the state lottery to be confidential information, not subject to disclosure without the permission of the prizewinner.  Not saying that the items are related, but the Arizona co-winner of the recent record jackpot in the Powerball game is from Fountain Hills.  Kavanagh's move to reduce transparency here brings back a memory of a situation in Massachusetts in the early 1990s where an infamous mobster claimed to have won a large lottery prize under suspicious circumstances.  The furor over that never would have happened if the names of lottery winners were kept secret.  HB2086 is a proposal from Rep. Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) to require municipalities that operate parking meters to keep them in good working order or the people that receive parking tickets based on a meter violation isn't responsible for the ticket(s).

- Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility, Tuesday, HHR1, 2 p.m.  The one item on the agenda so far is HB2007, Rep. Michelle "Right Hand" Ugenti's measure that would require that the official publicity documents for ballot measures notifying voters that any measure that they pass cannot be changed except under limited circumstances.

- Public Safety, Military, and Regulatory Affairs, Wednesday, HHR3, 9 a.m.  Looks harmless, so far.

- Higher Education and Workforce Development, Wednesday, HHR1, 10 a.m.  Presentations only, so far.

- Health, Wednesday, HHR4, 10 a.m.  Looks harmless so far, though HB2066 worries me a little.  It purports to simply change "archaic language" in the law, but I don't trust this bunch (geez, is that breaking news for anyone reading this? LOL).  Every so often, they try to get sneaky.  I don't think that this is one of those times, but...

- Commerce, Wednesday, HHR5, 10 a.m.  On the agenda: Current state law bars school districts from spending money to be part of an organization that attempts to influence any election.  Rep. John Kavanagh's HB2068 would carve out an exemption to that law to allow school districts to spend money to join chambers of commerce.  In other words, if this becomes law, it will be OK for school districts to spend money on an organization that almost always supports Republican candidates and causes.

- Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources, Wednesday, offsite, 2 p.m. or upon adjournment of the House floor session.  They are scheduled to tour the offices of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

- Transportation, Thursday, HHR3, 9 a.m.  Looks harmless so far.

- Technology and Infrastructure, Thursday, HHR5, 9 a.m.  So far, there's only a presentation on the agenda.

- Reform and Human Services, Thursday, HHR1, 9 a.m.  Looks harmless so far.

- Judiciary, Thursday, HHR4, 10 a.m.  So far, only an organizational meeting.

- Ways and Means, Thursday, HHR1, 2 p.m. or upon adjournment of the House floor session.  On the agenda: HB2111, making a change in how AZ invests public monies.  I think it is a cosmetic change, but someone who understands the nuances of investments and finance should take a look at this.

On the Senate side:

- Appropriations, Tuesday, SHR109, 2 p.m.  After the Joint Appropriations meeting in the morning to receive a presentation on the governor's budget proposal, Senate Appropriations will be holding a regular meeting in the afternoon.  The two bills on the agenda, SB1037 and SB1057, look harmless enough, but they are utterly unrelated to appropriations.  Not sure what is going on here; under normal circumstances, the Appropriations committees won't start hearing bills that really fall under the purview of other committees until late March or early April.  The other committees have a deadline to finish their work, while Appropriations can continue hearing bills until the end of the legislative session.

- Natural Resources and Rural Affairs, Wednesday, SHR109, 9 a.m.  Presentations and confirmation hearings for executive branch appointments only, so far.  Appointments under consideration: Edward Madden, Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Priscilla Storm, Urban Land Planning Oversight Committee.

- Commerce, Energy, and Military, Wednesday, SHR1, 9 a.m.  Organizational items, presentations, confirmation hearing (Carlyle Begay, Greater Arizona Development Authority), and one bill, SB1039.  SB1039 makes some changes to Arizona law relating to the Uniform Commercial Code.  The changes are rather nuanced and I don't know enough about the UCC or Arizona law in this area to fairly evaluate the impact of this measure.

- Health and Human Services, Wednesday, SHR1, 2 p.m.  Looks harmless so far.

- Finance, Wednesday, SHR3, 2 p.m.  Organizational items, presentation, confirmation hearings (Jeffrey Tyne, Arizona State Retirement System Board; Amy Fellner and Derrick Doba, State Board of Tax Appeals) and two bills - SB1028 and SB1047.  Along with the Appropriations committees, this committee will see the most truly bad legislation (not just the headline-grabbing batshit crazy stuff).  SB1028 is an example of that - it would exempt from municipal sales tax (known as a transaction privilege tax, or TPT) leases and other transactions between two related LLCs (limited liability corporations).

- Education, Thursday, SHR1, 9 a.m.  Presentations on Common Core and its implementation in AZ.  Otherwise, looks harmless so far.

- Judiciary, Thursday, SHR1, upon adjournment of the Senate floor session.  Two bills that look harmless, but they're from Sen. Judy "Birther" Burges.  Take "harmless" with a grain of salt.

- Government and Environment, Thursday, SHR3, upon adjournment of the Senate floor session.  Organizational items and presentations.

Other events -

On Tuesday, anti-choice groups will be at the Capitol commemorating the 40th anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the US, Roe vs. Wade.

Thursday, someone is holding a "Medical Marijuana Update - Press Conference" on the lawn outside the House of Representatives building.  The listing doesn't indicate who booked the time, but given that it's a morning reservation (10 a.m.), it seems likely that it is a member of the House.  And Rep. John Kavanagh is leading the way in the Republicans' fight to overturn the will of the voters.

The legislature's full weekly calendar of Capitol events is here.
The Arizona Department of Administration's list of (non-legislative) public meeting notices is here.

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