Saturday, February 23, 2013

Arizona Legislature: The coming week

This week, the committees of each chamber of the lege start hearing bills that successfully passed, so their agendas are a little on the light side.  The chambers' respective Rules and Appropriations committees can  and will still hear bills that originate in their own chamber, but the others can only hear bills that started in the other chamber.

For what it's worth, this will be a relatively light week for committee activity - many committees have short agendas, and many others simply aren't meeting this week.

As usual, all committee agendas, floor calendars, and event schedules are subject to change without notice. Call ahead to confirm plans before travelling to the Capitol based on an agenda, calendar, or schedule cited here.


If an agenda is summarized with "looks harmless so far" that only means that nothing on the agenda set off "bat-shit crazy" alarm bells; if the committee in question covers an area of interest to you, check out the full agenda yourself. And if I missed something significant, please leave a comment letting me know.

A hearing room designation of "SHR" means it is a hearing room in the Senate building; "HHR" means that the hearing room is in the House building.

Lastly, this summary is not, nor is it intended to be, comprehensive. Many bills have been covered, but not all of them. Again, if a committee covers an area of interest to you, check out the full agenda yourself.

Floor activity:  The Senate Third Read (final approval) Calendar for Monday is here; Monday's House Third Read and COW (Committee of the Whole) calendars are here and here, respectively.

Committee activity:

Senate side of the Capitol -

Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., Caucus Room 1.  Nearly 70 bills on the agenda; may take all of 10 minutes to rubberstamp them all.

Government and Environment, Monday, upon adjournment of the floor session, SHR3.  Looks harmless so far.

Elections, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR1.  Presentations only at this point in time.

Appropriations, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR109.  Long agenda of Senate-originated bills.  Items on the agenda:  SB1293, creating a pilot program for an "outcome-based" funding model for public education in AZ (basically, rewarding well-funded schools from wealthier districts at the expense of already underfunded schools); SB1444, similar to SB1293; SB1325, Sen. Rich Crandall's (R-of course) plan to arm school teachers and administrators; SCR1017, a proposed change to state law that needs voter approval, taking money from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and redirecting it to education.

Commerce, Energy, and Military, Wednesday, 9 a.m.,SHR1.  On the agenda:  HB2082, Rep. John Kavanagh's (R-Fountain Hills) proposal to make the names of the winners of lottery games confidential.  One of the winners of the recent (December 2012) record Powerball jackpot was from Fountain Hills.  Either I'm being way too cynical, or Kavanagh's bill is targeted at helping his new favorite constituent.

Public Safety, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR109.  Looks harmless so far.

Health and Human Services, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR1.  Looks harmless so far, but HB2164, expanding an exemption to safety rules regarding commercially available food and drink, bears watching.  On the face of it, it doesn't look unreasonable, but coming from this bunch?

Finance, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR3.  On the agenda: HB2324, exempting leases between two related business entities from municipal sales taxes.  The other bills on the agenda look bad, but perhaps only mildly so.

Education, Thursday, 9:30 a.m., SHR1.  On the agenda: HB2458, enacting some changes to the state's school voucher program "empowerment scholarship accounts" in the name of fraud prevention.

House side of the Capitol -

Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., HHR4. 60+ bills to rubberstamp.  Should take at least 5 minutes.

Ways and Means, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR1.  Two bills on the agenda: SB1172, removing the requirement that taxpayers taking a specific charitable organizations tax deduction itemize deductions on their tax returns; and SB1168, making some changes to AZ tax law so that it conforms to federal tax law.

Financial Institutions, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR5.  Looks harmless, but some of this stuff is very technical; I may have missed something here.

Education, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR3.  Seems relatively harmless, so far.

Insurance and Retirement, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR3.  On the agenda: SB1170, making some administrative changes to the state employee pension plan (looks relatively harmless) and SB1178, placing certain limits on long-term disability payments from the state employee pension plan (not so harmless).

Agriculture and Water, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR5.  Looks relatively harmless.

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

Health, Wednesday, 10 a.m., HHR4.  Looks harmless so far.

Appropriations, Wednesday, 2 p.m., HHR1.  Long agenda, filled with bills originating in the House.  On the agenda:  marked for discussion only, HB2275, cutting the tax imposed on insurance premiums.  According to the fiscal note (analysis) from legislative staff, the measure will cost the state nearly $90 million in revenue over three fiscal years (FY2015 thru FY2017) with the state seeing an undetermined and speculative increase in economic activity.  Updated and clarified on 2/24, per a comment from State Rep. John Kavanagh.

Judiciary, Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR4.  No bills on the agenda, so far, but a presentation on "Elections Information" is scheduled.  Bring your popcorn; this one should be entertaining, in a "Republicans looking for justifications for disenfranchising voters who don't support them" sort of way.

The lege's calendar of events at, or related to, the Capitol is here.  Highlight: Tuesday's Cocktail Hour at the Goldwater Institute (5 - 6:30 p.m.).  Booze combined with the gentle wit and profound wisdom of Ayn Rand (and likely, not just a few deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists)?  Be still my beating heart, I just don't know if I can handle this much excitement.  :)

The Arizona Department of Administration's public meeting notices are here.


John said...

You are too cynical on my lottery bill and I agendized the costly insurance tax bill for discussion only. There will be no vote and it does not move out of my committee by my action. You missed the asterisk on the agenda.

State Rep. John Kavanagh

cpmaz said...

Rep. Kavanagh,

My cynicism regarding lottery winners and elected officials has its foundation in an incident in the 1980s in MA where a jackpot was won by a mob- and politico-connected group. Nothing was ever proven, but the group was tied to the Bulgers (Billy - senate president, Whitey - FBI's Ten Most Wanted List). Eyebrows were raised, and stayed that way - people still talk about it, nearly three decades later.

As for the insurance bill, I'll update the post. I tend to ignore asterisks for this type of post because they usually just indicate that the marked item was on a previous agenda or will be considered if the bill is read and assigned. I was trying to write quickly, and assumed something and instead of reading it. My mistake, and I'll fix it.

Having said that, I'll be watching for this bill to pop up again, whether in this form (it can be pushed out of committee without your say-so; a rare occurence, but it happens), or it can appear in a striker, an "omnibus" bill, or even a BRB.