AZ Legislative Alert 3/21/2021

Legislature Overview:

Budget – Currently being negotiated in secret, as usual.  Expectations are that it will contain a $1 Billion tax cut and a move to a 2.5% flat income tax – both efforts that will clearly exacerbate already underfunded government services.

Democracy – The anti-protest bill has passed the House – making it a felony to protest with 7 or more protestors.

Education – Six, 6, bad bills are alive and four have passed the Senate – including SB1452 which will expand the voucher program to virtually all Arizona public school students.

Environment – Seven, 7, bills a major concern – one would tax electric cars and the rest are aimed at reducing the authority of the Corporation Commission

Guns – Five, 5, bills have all passed their originating chambers – all are intended to increase protections of gun owners at the expense of public safety.

Health – There are 8 bills aimed at restricting a woman’s access to reproductive rights.

Taxes – Nine, 9, bills have passed their respective chambers – most negatively impact education and essential services

Voting – Eighteen, 18, voter suppression bills have already passed their respective houses!!

Request to Speak (RTS) will no longer be available after March 26 as that is the deadline for any committee to be reviewing select bills – EXCEPT for Appropriation Committees.  

CALL REPRESENTATIVES DIRECTLY ON THESE BILLS!!

Not Available for RTS and these are Critical!

SB1485 (PEVL Purge): Passed Senate and House Committee, waiting for a full vote in the House.

SB1593 (ballots must be postmarked by Thurs before election): Passed full Senate and House Committee, waiting for a full vote in the House.

USE RTS ON THESE BILLS (Call/Email Legislators as well)

PUBLIC SAFETY

SB1486 – SUPPORT – Monday Committee – Would legalize test strips to detect fentanyl in drugs.  This would help save lives!!

SB1127 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Would relax laws surrounding speeding.  Under the proposal driving up to 75 mph in a 65 mph zone would be a maximum fine of $15.  This proposal will encourage speeding and make the roads more dangerous.

SB1377 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Would exempt businesses from COVID-related liability except in cases with clear and convincing evidence of gross negligence or willful misconduct.  This strips protections from workers and the public!!

HB2366 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Would increase the criminal speeding threshold from 85 to 90. This is the threshold at which serious penalties are imposed on speeders.

HB2840 – OPPOSEThursday Committee – Would allow parents to bypass gun-free zones at public schools and keep loaded and unlocked weapons within reach in their cars while dropping off and picking up children!!

CLEAN ELECTIONS

HB2014 – OPPOSE – Monday Committee – Would allow anyone to ask the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) to make Clean Elections stop an action based upon nothing more than the person’s belief that it exceeds the agency’s authority.  The crux of the issue is the fight over disclosure of dark money – Clean Elections is requiring disclosure from some groups and GRRC is demanding they stop.

GOVERNANCE

HB2308 – OPPOSE – Monday Committee – Would make it vastly more difficult to circulate recall petitions, mirroring “strict compliance” restrictions already in place for initiatives and referendums.

HB2570 – OPPOSEMonday Committee – Would ban state agencies, cities and counties from revoking the license of a business that violated an executive order unless they can prove the business was an actual cause of transmission.

HB2717 – OPPOSE – Monday Committee – STRIKER – Would give the legislature the power to IGNORE a court judgement that results in them owing money!!!  (NOTE THAT YOU OPPOSE THE STRIKER IN YOUR COMMENTS IN RTS)

HCR2001 – OPPOSE – Monday Committee – Would eliminate any type of comprehensive problem solving via initiatives and place unreasonable restrictions on initiatives by requiring initiatives to be limited to a single topic.

HCR2016 – OPPOSE – Monday Committee – Would ask voters to change the constitution to require that any ballot measure get 55% or more of the vote to pass.  Makes it harder for citizen initiatives and other efforts to succeed. 

SCR1011 – OPPOSE – Tuesday Committee – STRIKER – Urges the Federal Government to complete the southern border wall.  (NOTE THAT YOU OPPOSE THE STRIKER IN YOUR COMMENTS IN RTS)

SB1084 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would automatically end any state or emergency after 21 days unless extended by the legislature.  Clearly an attempt to limit the governor’s power to control the pandemic.

SB1105 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would increase the summary printed atop ballot measures such as citizen initiatives from 100 to 200 words.  At best adding 100 words will make the petitions more crowded, leaving less room for signatures.  At worst, it bolsters the efforts of groups like the Goldwater Institute to steer politics in Arizona with their seemingly unlimited funds.

SB1119 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – STRIKER – Would allow any member of the Arizona legislature to demand that the Attorney General review a presidential executive order to possibly declare it constitutional.  Giving any state legislator free rein to throw a legal tantrum is a waste of taxpayer resources!  (PUT IN COMMENTS THAT YOU OPPOSE THE STRIKER VERSION)

SB1382 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – WENDY ROGERS – Would redefine firearms and ammunition stores as “essential businesses”, preventing the governor from closing them during a state of emergency.

SB1408 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would change the law retroactively to allow lawmakers to get their hands on confidential ballots by banning them from being considered privileged or confidential.  

SB1459 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would subject the Corporation Commission to the administrative review process.  Another attempt to prevent the Corporation Commission from requiring state-regulated utilities from getting their power from 100% carbon-free sources by 2050

SB1498 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would force county boards of supervisors to increase based on population.  This is likely the result of the Legislature’s failed push to hold Maricopa County BOS in contempt for refusing to hand over private ballots.  The result would be to expand BOS’s so that they could be packed with conservative representatives.

SB1531 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would require petition circulators to read the descriptions on initiatives and referendum petitions aloud to signers.

SB1613 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would require all election results to remain in the US and for all election equipment, including computers, paper, and other supplies to be made only in the USA.  An unnecessary conspiracy-theory-driven bill.

SB1714 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would require the “paid for by” disclosures you see on campaign ads to disclose what percentage of contributions came from out of state.  Would take up a full 10% of the campaign sign’s height to comply.  

SCR1003 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would ask voters to allow the governor to declare a state of emergency for 14 days.  After that, both chambers of the legislature would need to reauthorize it or go into special session.

SCR1034 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would ask voters to let the legislature amend voter-approved measures with a simple majority if courts find something illegal or unconstitutional in them.  This bill does not limit such amending to those areas found illegal or unconstitutional but would encompass the entire voter-approved measure.

HB2005 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – STRIKER – Would block large companies like Google and Apple from restricting the purchase and download of apps to only their proprietary stores.  This would force the entire Apple App Store offline, breaking the security safeguards that make Apple software so hard to hack.  This is a FTC or antitrust issue and not something the states should legislate. (PUT IN COMMENTS THAT YOU OPPOSE THE STRIKER VERSION)

HB2462 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Would force people to take extensive training (80 hours +) before serving on civilian review boards.  Arizona Police Association helped craft this bill.  Significant impact on adequate review of police misconduct.

SB1409 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Would require an “impact statement” as a condition of approval which serves as a tool to oppose proposed multi-family housing projects – specifically designed to deal with affordable housing efforts.  This would add delays, waste taxpayer dollars and would add to the bureaucracy of the zoning process for affordable housing developments.

HB2310OPPOSE – Thursday Committeestriker Would allow Legislative Council (a group of lawyers responsible for drafting bills for lawmakers) and the Arizona Attorney General to review presidential executive orders for “legality,” then file suit in federal district court against those orders. (NOTE IN COMMENTS THAT YOU OPPOSE THE STRIKER VERSION)

HCR2023 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Non-binding resolution opposing federal action to regulate state elections (such as HR 1).

PUBLIC HEALTH

HB2770 – OPPOSE – Monday Committee – Exempts businesses from enforcing mask mandates.  

EDUCATION

SB1433 – SUPPORT – Tuesday Committee – An emergency measure that would address the $266 million COVID-related funding gap in public schools this year by temporarily funding distance learning students at the same level as in-person students.

SB1685 – OPPOSETuesday Committee – Specifically bans attendance boundaries for district schools, further eroding the value of the neighborhood schools that serve as anchors for local communities.  This bill simply fast tracks segregation and white flight.

SCR1020 – SUPPORT – Tuesday Committee – Would ask voters to repeal the restrictive mandate that students be taught only in English.  This would benefit some 80,000 students.

SCR1046 – SUPPORT – Tuesday Committee – STRIKER – Would ask voters to make “dreamers” eligible for in-state college tuition. (NOTE THAT YOU SUPPORT THE STRIKER IN YOUR COMMENTS IN RTS)

HB2123 – SUPPORT – Tuesday Committee – STRIKER – Would allow our state’s youngest students (grades PreK – 4) to be suspended or expelled ONLY if they’re engaged in extremely dangerous conduct on school grounds.  Suspension and expulsions disproportionately affect children of color. (NOTE THAT YOU SUPPORT THE STRIKER IN YOUR COMMENTS IN RTS)

SB1273 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would expand the use of School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credit vouchers to a laundry list of new expenses: extracurricular activities, band uniforms, lab materials, even out-of-state school trips.  While STO vouchers have been purported to help poor children, the vast majority of the families using these programs are ones who can already afford to send their kids to private school.

SB1280 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – STRIKER – Gives parents who send their kids to “choice” schools $80 per month in “transportation support grants”.  (PUT IN COMMENTS THAT YOU OPPOSE THE STRIKER VERSION)

SB1456 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would ban sex-ed and AIDS instruction before the 5th grade; makes classes opt-in with written permission (rather than opt-out); and bans discussing gender identity and gender expression without parental consent.  

SB1783 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would create a new “small business taxpayer” category with pre-Prop 208 tax rates.  The bill would be retroactive to 2020, effectively nullifying the tax increase voters just passed in November.

NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS

HB2099 – SUPPORT – Tuesday Committee – Would extend the committee created in 2019 to study murders of indigenous women and girls, expand the work of the committee to all indigenous peoples, and identify targeted solutions to the problem.

HB2098 – SUPPORT – Thursday Committee – Requires law enforcement to submit missing child reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  An important step in implementing the recommendations from Rep. Jermaine’s Missing and Murdered Women and Girls study committee.

VOTING RIGHTS

SB1010 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would allow anyone to request a recount of an election through tabulation machines or by hand, regardless of the margin of victory, as long as they post a bond to cover the cost.  Allowing rich people to demand a recount simply because they can afford it will never restore confidence in our elections -it will just slow things down and cause unnecessary chaos and complexity.

SB1068 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would require the secretary of state’s elections rules to be signed off on by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, a partisan body of gubernatorial appointees, and Legislative Council.  Intended to give the Governor and Legislature more influence.

SB1106 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would make registering someone to vote in Arizona who has no “intent to remain” in the state a class 6 felony.  Obviously designed to discourage college students from registering in Arizona.

SB1241 – OPPOSE – Wednesday Committee – Would require in-person (non-early) voters to get a paper receipt stating if their ballot was accepted or rejected, and if rejected, why.  

SB1713 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would require voters to send their early ballots back with proof of their eligibility to vote: an early ballot affidavit with their date of birth and a copy of their ID!  Clearly designed to make it harder to vote.

HB2792 – OPPOSEThursday Committee – Would make it a class 5 felony to send you a ballot if you didn’t explicitly request one.

SB1793 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Requires, rather than permits, the secretary of state to purge deceased voters from the statewide voter registration database.  This already happens on a regular basis, mandating it could create issues where eligible voters end up being removed in error.

SCR1024 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Asks voters t amend the Arizona Constitution to require any citizen’s initiative that raises taxes or even reduces tax credits to pass with 2/3 vote!  This is a direct attack on voting rights!!

HB2569 – OPPOSEThursday Committee – Would prohibit cities, counties and school districts from receiving private funds to prepare for or conduct an election, including registering voters.  

GENERAL FUND

SB1392 – OPPOSEWednesday Committee – Would provide a tax cut to wealthy business owners, allowing them to use business losses in previous years to reduce their taxes in profitable years.  There is no estimate of the cost to the general fund for this bill.

SB1135 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – Would increase the allowable dollar-for-dollar 529 tax deduction, currently a total of $2,000 single/$4,000 couple to $2,000/$4,000 per 529 beneficiary.  The change would be retroactive to 2020.  Huge impact on general fund tax revenue!

WOMEN’S RIGHTS

SB1457 – OPPOSE – Thursday Committee – This is a multi-pronged attack on the rights and the agency of women.  It gives “unborn children at every stage of development” the same rights as an actual person, and makes abortion due to any genetic abnormality, including one incompatible with life, a felony.

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