Legislative Alerts ~ Week of February 17, 2020

The Legislature is reeling with nearly 900 bills dropped in the final day to file bills for consideration in this legislative session. Of particular concern this week are voter suppression bills which are set to be heard in committee on Tuesday afternoon. If you can join Progress Now and Arizona Indivisible in Phoenix for that hearing, do so! Otherwise, RTS, email, and call!

LD-6 Legislators (all Republicans)

LD-7 Legislators (all Democrats)

House and Senate Leaders (Republicans):


ENVIRONMENTAL

HCR 2015 – OPPOSE – Directs the Attorney General and State Land Department to oppose any new or additional federal landholdings in Arizona and any change in status of federal, state, or private land to national parks, monuments, conservation areas, wilderness areas, or other uses without legislative approval; to use every means available to reduce the percentage of land in federal ownership; and to use every means available to eliminate wilderness area designations.

S 1666 – OPPOSE – Jeopardize efforts to protect threatened and endangered animals and plants and provide for their recovery. Require information collected by state agencies from a private landowner as part of an endangered species survey, research, or conservation plan to be kept strictly confidential, forbidding its release to any person, including any other government agencies.

SB 1476 – SUPPORT – Would continue the Archaeology Advisory Commission for another three years (currently it is due to be dissolved later this year).  The commission seeks to keep construction projects from damaging tribal remains and antiquities but it is under pressure from ranching interests to be dissolved.

NATIVE AMERICANS

HB 2192 – SUPPORT – appropriates $2 million to the Department of Economic Security to distribute to Indian Tribes for culturally-sensitive domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention.

HB 2195 – SUPPORT – appropriates $200,000 each to the Navajo Nation, San Carlos Apache Tribe, and Hopi Tribe for veterans homes renovation projects.

HB 2120 and HB 2206 – SUPPORT – Both bills would prohibit schools from preventing students from wearing cultural regalia during high school graduation ceremonies. HB 2206 is somewhat more specific, referring to traditional tribal regalia and objects of cultural significance.

HB 2888 – SUPPORT – Requires the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to establish a tribal consultation policy,  providing for consultation before ADEQ adopts policies, issues permits, or makes decisions affecting tribes and their interests.

WOMEN’S HEALTH

SB 1170 – SUPPORT – Would add dental care for pregnant women ages 21 and older to the services covered by Arizona’s Medicaid system.  Also, companion bill HB 2727 – SUPPORT

GOVERNANCE

HCR2016 – OPPOSE – calls for AZ to join other states in proposing a constitutional convention directed to setting term limits for U.S. House and Senate; however, could and probably would become a “runaway” convention where delegates could propose as many amendments to as they want to U.S. constitution.  No entity, including the U.S. Supreme Court, would have any jurisdiction over it. 

SB 1274 – OPPOSE – Would strip professionals from the state boards of technical registration, barbers, cosmetology, accountancy, funeral directors, and massage therapy.  Professionals across the spectrum agree that regulation is needed!!

SB 1461 – SUPPORT – Would increase expense reimbursement of legislators to match the annual per diem for federal employees.  Rural legislators would get $185/day (up from $60) and Maricopa legislators would bet $55 per day (up from $35).  Legislators only receive $24,000 per year in compensation.

SB 1394 – SUPPORT – Would restore the Housing Trust Fund and provide additional funding for housing and homelessness services in Arizona.

HB 2855 – OPPOSE – Would ban the Corporation Commission from regulating electric vehicle charging stations on the grounds that they are not public utilities.  This would preemptively preclude any fee caps, allowing them to charge as they want. 

HCR 2032 – OPPOSE – Would require initiatives in Arizona to conform to a single subject or be invalidated.  This would prevent anything comprehensive from being placed on the ballot.  This requirement has already been rejected by the Arizona Supreme Court. Go figure — waste more taxpayer dollars on litigation expenses.

SB 1369 – OPPOSE – Would ban the Corporation Commission and state agencies from regulating electricity and alt-fuels as motor vehicle fuel, or their fueling infrastructure, without express legislative authority.  This appears to be a bill from the Western States Petroleum Association.  Banning regulation could drive up costs and contribute to an overloaded grid.

SB 1669 – OPPOSE – Would weaken state penalties for high-speed traffic violations and eliminate points on people’s licenses when they get speeding tickets.  Would likely cause insurance companies to raise rates across the board in Arizona to compensate for the cost of bad drivers.

SCR 1048 – OPPOSE – Would ask voters to change the corporation commission from elected representatives to having them appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate.  Seems to be another way to pack the commission with utility company supporters.  See HCR 2041 – House Version and also OPPOSE.

HCR 2039 – OPPOSE – Would ask voters to restrict Arizona’s initiative and referendum process by requiring ballot measures to collect signatures from a percentage of voters in each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts.  10% for initiatives and 15% for a constitutional amendment.  This would effectively give any single legislative district veto powers over the rest.  It would almost certainly end citizen initiatives in Arizona.

HCR 2046 – OPPOSE – Would ask voters to amend the Constitution to require initiatives and referenda to receive “reauthorization” votes every 10 years in order to remain law.  This is a direct attack on democracy.

HB 2699 – SUPPORT – Would waive fees for state ID’s for homeless people, including those living at homeless shelters.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

SB 1333 – OPPOSE – Would grant additional protections to Arizona law enforcement officers who are accused of misconduct.  Contains protections the general public do not have.

HB 2760 – SUPPORT – Would appropriate $4.8 million for body cameras  for DPS and 20 full time employees to run the video management.  Almost all Americans (89%) support requiring police officers to wear them. 

HB 2140 – OPPOSE – Would require current and former inmates who sue Arizona in civil court to pay off their medical costs before they can receive any monetary awards.  The bill explicitly includes costs for injuries incurred by inmates who work for corrections or in labor programs such as at Hickman’s Egg Farms.  Arizona Department of Corrections contracts out inmate labor to companies like Hickman’s, which has a history of inmates reporting serious injuries while working there.

EDUCATION

SB 1357 – OPPOSE – Would require all books, instructional aides, mandatory and optional reading materials to be preapproved the year before school starts, before teachers even meet their students.  This would eliminate teachers’ ability to discuss current events or tailor lessons to assist struggling students!!

SB 1444 – SUPPORT – Would clarify that student absences from school can be excused for mental or behavioral health reasons.  Currently an absence is excused only for illness, doctor’s appointment, bereavement, etc.

SB 1445 – SUPPORT – Would expand last sessions bill requiring suicide prevention training for college students.  The expansion would be to cover those studying to be a counselor or school social worker.

HB 2128 – OPPOSE – Would require all public schools and universities in the state, except for year round schools, to standardize their calendars to offer 1-week-long spring and fall breaks at the same time!!

HB 2238 – OPPOSE – Would force universities to create public policy departments to host events with speakers that hold views “not otherwise widely represented on campus.”  Universities would be required to fund this, including honoraria and travel and lodging expense for speakers (the bill contains no appropriation).  This mandate would force universities to spread propaganda by giving full credence to “both sides” even when one side doesn’t have any evidence – a dangerous phenomenon known as “false equivalence”.

HB 2367 – OPPOSE – Would require parents to provide proof of legal custody when enrolling their children in school.  This bill runs directly afoul of Federal Law.

SB 1284 – SUPPORT – Would appropriate $5 million per year until 2027 for grants for tuition and fees for career and technical education for those with incomes under $60,000.  Grants would last 2 years and require recipients to work 30 hours of volunteer service per year.

SB 1587 – SUPPORT – Would have Arizona join 11 other states in banning “lunch shaming” at schools.

HB 2762 – SUPPORT – Would allocate $42.6 million per year over 3 years to D- and F-rated schools, as well as C-rated schools with high percentages of low-income students.  This is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed but it, at least, recognizes that students experiencing poverty need more support. 

HB 2806 – SUPPORT – Would create a fund for the Department of Education to distribute preschool development grants.  More than 2,000 low-income families in Arizona across 70 school districts have relied on Federal grants for preschool programs, but that federal funding disappeared last year.  This is a bi-partisan proposal to allocate a total of $30 million, stepped upwards over 3 years.

SB 1224 – OPPOSE – Would allow the use of ESA funding to support private/religious schools outside the state of Arizona.  The House version of this is HB 2898 which we should also OPPOSE.

TAXES

SB 1489 – OPPOSE – Would establish a “growth limit” for Arizona taxes, pegging stat income tax rates to population growth  and consumer price index, and lowering those tax rates permanently.  The proposal would reduce state revenues for the future.  It only takes a simple majority to lower taxes and 2/3 of the legislature to raise taxes.  This would ensure there would be insufficient funds for repairing state infrastructure for the foreseeable future.  See House Version HB 2752 and also OPPOSE.

HB 2771 – OPPOSE – Would give Microsoft a sales tax break on electricity for a data center.  Successful corporations already don’t pay much (or often anything) in taxes, and rake in billions in profits. 

HB 2778 – OPPOSE – Would permanently cut taxes by nearly $162 Million this coming budget year and an undetermined amount years down the road, and would also repeal the Highway Safety Fee beginning in 2021.  If Arizona is to provide the essential services Arizona needs to succeed, it must stop digging the hole deeper.

HB 2779 – OPPOSE – Would reduce property taxes by $100 Million for 2020.  How will the state afford all the tax cuts lawmakers want to pass when our state infrastructure is crumbling in every area??

SB 1671 – OPPOSE – Would give utilities a tax credit for building water and sewer systems.  The cost of the tax credit is not known.  We must fully restore the tax cuts made during the Great Recession before further cutting revenues.

RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERSHIP

SB 1664 – OPPOSE – Would make any government entity that establishes a gun-free zone liable for damages “if a reasonable person would believe that possession of a firearm could have helped the person defend against criminal conduct.”

PUBLIC SAFETY

SB 1667 – OPPOSE – Would allow the sale of “multiple tube aerial device” fireworks in Maricopa and Pima counties.  The devices shoot 9 to 15 exploding rockets 100 feet into the air.  The sponsor of this bill works for TNT Fireworks.

SCR 1020 – OPPOSE – Would ask voters to amend the Arizona Constitution to allow lawmakers to amend public health and safety measures passed by the voters after 1 year with a simple majority rather than the current three-quarters supermajority.  This appears to be an attempt to reverse any voter approved measures to legalize marijuana.

HB 2380 – OPPOSE – Would place additional limits on product liability.  The last thing we need is a law that allows for more irresponsible behavior by big business.

HB 2830 – OPPOSE – Would ban the use of unmarked police cars for traffic enforcement.  This would weaken police ability to enforce traffic law and could become a traffic safety issue.

HB 2892 – SUPPORT – Would require police to accept missing persons reports without delay if they fall within the requirements for reasonable suspicion, and to notify the missing person’s family of support services.  Currently, living victims and families of deceased victims can’t get State Victim’s Compensation because they don’t have police report numbers, which they don’t have because the police aren’t required to take missing persons reports for adults.

SCR 1020 – OPPOSE – Would ask voters to amend the Arizona Constitution to allow lawmakers to amend public health and safety measures passed by the voters after 1 year with a simple majority rather than the current three-quarters supermajority.  This appears to be an attempt to reverse any voter approved measures to legalize marijuana.

HB 2285 – OPPOSE – Would allow motorcycles to pass between lanes at under 15 MPH on a 45MPH street, a practice that is only legal in California.  Clearly unsafe.

LOCAL CONTROL/RACISM

SCR 1007 – OPPOSE – Would ask voters to amend the Arizona Constitution to ban cities and counties from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law.  This bill closely mirrors language from the infamous SB 1070.  Also OPPOSE – HCR 2036 (House version). These bills made the NYTimes on Friday, embarrassing the state again.

HB 2598 – OPPOSE – Would make “sanctuary cities” financially liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.  This would compel police and the state Attorney General to target communities of color.

VOTING RIGHTS

HB 2343 – OPPOSE – requires voter check-in and ID for dropping off early ballots.

HB 2268 – OPPOSE – Would allow any person who believes an election irregularity or unlawful act has occurred to submit a complaint to the Attorney General for investigation.  Election procedures and oversight are already rigorous.  This unnecessary aspect would add substantial cost to the election process with little to no benefit.

HB 2827 – OPPOSE – Would mandate a slew of procedures if the number of ballots cast in any precinct exceeded the number of registered voters in the precinct.  The county recorder would be forced to count all ballots in that precinct by hand and review the tabulation equipment.  No appropriation is attached to this bill.  No evidence of voter fraud in Arizona exists.

HB 2304 – OPPOSE – Now subject to a “striker” that requires county recorders and the secretary of state to track those disqualified from jury service for lack of citizenship.  The end goal is to limit voting.

PRIVACY

HB 2729 – SUPPORT – Would strengthen data privacy protections for Arizona citizens, help us control how corporate data collected on us is used, and help hole those who collect it accountable. 

PERSONAL EXPENSES

SB 1521 – OPPOSE – Would mandate that ticket issuers offer all buyers a transferable option that allows tickets to be given away or resold.  Requiring a transfer option simply opens the door to scalping.  Also OPPOSE HB 2743 – the House version.

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