Sunday, April 21, 2013

Arizona Legislature: The coming week

This coming week at the lege is shaping up to be another exercise in "hurry up and wait".  According to sources who may not have much more specific information than me, word is that the budget is basically done, with minor differences remaining to be bridged, and that the delay is due to ongoing wrangling over Medicaid expansion.

It's gotten so slow at the Capitol that even the usual horde of lobbyists isn't blanketing the complex anymore...except for a dozen or so healthcare lobbyists, who are still asking for, and getting, meetings with electeds (another indication that Medicaid is the primary focus behind closed doors).

One source speculated that we may end up seeing a "bad" Medicaid bill passed, just to make Governor Jan Brewer prove that she is willing to use her veto power.

No matter how it goes down, however, expectations are that it is going to take at least another month or longer to wrap up the legislative session.  Guesstimates for the sine die date range from late May to mid June.

My personal guesstimate is more in line with the earlier date.  Lawmakers, particularly the non-Maricopa County group, are rapidly going to reach the point where they just want to get the hell out of Dodge*.

* - In this context, "Dodge" means Phoenix when the daytime high temps reach and stay above 100.

As the temperature rises, so will the pressure to pass something that the Governor will sign; it almost certainly won't be a *great* bill, but it might actually be palatable.

Of course, this could all change Monday morning... :))

On to the schedule part of the post, where the disclaimer section of the post is almost longer than the "meat" of the post...

As usual, all committee agendas, floor calendars, and event schedules are subject to change without notice. Call ahead to confirm plans before traveling 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 Third Read calendar is here, and its COW (Committee of the Whole) calendar is here.

Monday's Senate calendars: Final Read (Senate bills that were amended in the House whose changes need to be approved by the Senate before going on to the Governor's desk), Third Read, COW.

Committee activity:

House Rules, Monday, 1 p.m., HHR4.

Senate Commerce, Energy, and Military, Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., SHR1.
Senate Natural Resource and Rural Affairs, Wednesday, 10 a.m., SHR109.
Senate Public Safety, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR109.
Senate Health and Human Services, Wednesday, 2 p.m., SHR1.

The above meetings are mostly about hearings on executive branch nominees.

Senate Education, Thursday, 9 a.m., SHR1.  Hearing a presentation on "Advancing Technology in the Classroom".  The presentation will be given by one Jodie Butler, a lobbyist for Promethian, Inc., a company that creates and markets technology-based education products.  Of the many words that may ultimately be used to describe the sales pitch "presentation", I'm guessing that "unbiased" won't be among them.

Interestingly, the organization that provides the Butler bio (she's on the board of directors) linked to her name, the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), lists as one of its prominent members Arizona State Senator Kimberly Yee.

And Yee is the chair of the Senate Education CommitteeProbably not a coincidence.

NFWL appears to be a corporate front group in the mold of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, with the major differences being that it is smaller, and that most of their "resolutions" and policy statements have the word "women" in them.  Like ALEC, the organization's list of officers and directors is dominated by corporate lobbyists.  

Capitol and area activity:

The lege's Capitol Events calendar is here.  Probable highlight:  Saturday's scheduled 2nd Amendment "rally" (aka - gathering of the "Black Helicopters" crowd) at the Capitol.

The Arizona Department of Administration's list of public meetings of various state-level boards and commissions is here.

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