Sunday, March 10, 2013

Arizona Legislature: The coming 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, please check out the full agenda yourself.

Floor activity:
Monday's House COW (Committee of the Whole) calendars are here and here; Monday's Senate COW calendar is here.

Committee activity:

House side of the Capitol -

Health, Monday, 11 a.m., offsite.  Tours of the state Office of Vital Records and State Laboratory.

Government, Monday, 11 a.m., HHR4.  On the agenda: SB1365, barring the planning and zoning entities of municipalities and counties from requiring that developers create planned communities in their new developments; SB1278, barring HOAs formed in 2015 or later from regulating a government owner or held roadway.

Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., HHR4.  Long agenda, but that isn't what is most significant; the agenda is made up of bills that originated in the House.  Later this week or early next, these bills will start reaching the floor for consideration for true final passage (as in, if a bill passes the House floor session, it will go to the governor's desk for her signature or veto).

Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources, Monday, 2 p.m., HHR4 (busy room on Monday; the Zamboni operator will probably be on overtime :) ).  On the agenda: SB1465, exempting solid waste facilities from certain regulatory provisions under certain circumstances; SCR1012, a resolution whereby the lege tells the EPA to buzz off in its efforts to reduce haze (a certain type of air pollution) in AZ.

Insurance and Retirement, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR3.  On the agenda: a striker to SB1178 that would make changes to the administration of the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR1.  One item on the agenda:  SCR1016, a neo-secessionist amendment to the AZ Constitution by adding a section that tells the federal government "You're not the boss of me!"  Seriously, while I've attempted to summarize it in a single, wiseass, sentence, it really isn't much more than that. 

Welcome to Arizona, where the punch lines write themselves.

Agriculture and Water, Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR5.  On the agenda: SB1288, barring the use of monies from the Arizona Water Protection Fund for projects controlled by the feds (no partnering with them to protect Arizona's water supply) and drastically changing the membership of the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission to give the legislative leadership more direct control over the Commission; SB1322, extending an exemption from assured water supply requirements for certain residential subdivisions; SCR1013, supporting the efforts of Congress (OK, the Republicans in Congress) to water down "update" the federal Endangered Species Act.

Public Safety, Military, and Regulatory Affairs, Wednesday, 10 a.m., HHR3.  Looks harmless so far.

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

Commerce, Wednesday, 10 a.m., HHR5.  Looks harmless so far, but in honor of Defense Industry Lobbyists Running Wild at the Capitol "Aerospace and Defense" Day, there will be a number of presentations to the committee.

Transportation, Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR3.  On the agenda: SB1075, Sen. Don "Tequila" Shooter's love letter to the vehicle towing industry, restricting the ability of people to get their impounded/towed vehicles out of the hands of the impounders, and removing the caps on the fees that the impounders can charge vehicle owners.

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

Judiciary, Thursday, 10 a.m., HHR4.  The worst agenda of the week.  Items include: SB1261, making it more difficult for voters to be on the Permananent Early Voters List (PEVL) and easier for the voters to be purged from the PEVL; and SCR1009, Sen. Al Melvin's annual resolution praising slave inmate labor.

Senate side of the Capitol -

Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., Senate Caucus Room 1.  Short agenda, all Senate-originated bills.  Features a couple of very bad bills, including a neo-secessionist special that is probably unconstitutional.  They'll all pass this committee anyway.

Judiciary, Monday, upon adjournment of the floor session, SHR1.  On the agenda: HB2240, raising the dollar value limits of civil actions that can be heard as small claims cases in Justice Courts from $2500 to $5000.  It's a slightly watered-down version of something that former state senator Frank Antenori tried to push through for a friend of his during the last session of the legislature.  Last year's version was opposed by the courts and vetoed by the governor; it is opposed by the courts now and it remains to be seen how the governor will handle this year's version; HB2516, allowing peace officers to carry guns in courts (current law leaves it up to the court and the judge presiding over it); HB2600, attempting to insert more politics into the selection of judges in AZ.

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

Transportation, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR3.  Looks relatively harmless, but HB2372, affecting motor vehicle dealers, is a long bill with many changes.  Looks OK, but it may be worthy of a close look.

Elections, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR1.  Lots of bad here:  HB2156, prohibiting the state and all of its political subdivisions (counties, municipalities, school districts, etc.) from using public funds to "influence" elections (I think this one is aimed a school district bond and budget override elections); HB2306, doubling the limit on contributions that political committees can give to candidates for elected office; HB2593, massively increasing the amount of money (more than 10X) that individuals may give to an individual candidate, removing the limit on the total amount of money that individuals can give to all candidates, and removing the limit on the total amount that candidates can accept from political committees; and HB2536, loosening the already weak restrictions on independent expenditure committees.

Appropriations, Tuesday, 2 p.m., SHR109.  On the agenda:  HCM2005, a resolution from the Arizona legislature to the US Congress, admonishing them for their fiscally irresponsible ways and making some suggestions on how the feds should handle their finances (perhaps the AZ lege would like it if the US Congress followed AZ's lead by mortgaging "selling" off the Capitol).

Commerce, Energy, and Military, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., SHR1.  Long agenda and looks mostly harmless...however, not completely harmless.  Not by a long shot.  Example: HB2147, moving the burden of proof in unemployment insurance claims from employers having to prove that a claimant is ineligible for UI to the claimant having to prove he is eligible.

Natural Resources and Rural Affairs, Wednesday, 9 a.m., SHR109.  Looks harmless so far.

Public Safety, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR109.  On the agenda: HB2481, making the use of certain fireworks in violation of a county or municipal regulation a petty offense (maximum penalty: $500).  Do something that may result in half of a county burning down (a major concern in most of Arizona), pay $500 (maximum), and go on your merry way.

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

Finance, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR3.  Long agenda, complicated bills, and most assuredly, NOT harmless.  One example: HB2565, allowing insurers to forego providing written policies to their customers in lieu simply posting them on a website, unless otherwise requested by the customer.

Education, Thursday, 9:30 a.m., SHR1.  Looks harmless so far.

Capitol events:

The lege's calendar of events for the week is here.  The big event is shaping up to be the AFL-CIO's Day of Action on Monday.

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