ISSUE 9 - March 9, 2012 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Update

Today is the 61st day of the second regular session of Arizona's 50th Legislature. As legislators headed toward the back nine of the session, the pace of activity on the House and Senate floors reached a fevered pitch. With a deadline of Friday, March 16, for committees (excluding Appropriations) to hear bills, legislators rushed measures to their opposite chambers in the hopes of ultimately getting them to the Governor for signature. As of today, the House of Representatives has passed 255 bills, memorials and resolutions. The comparable figure for the Arizona Senate is 265.

Liberty Charter

On Monday, March 5, the Senate Rules Committee considered and rejected SB 1064 (municipalities; local liberty charter). The bill, authored by the Goldwater Institute, purports to authorize municipalities and "unincorporated areas of a county" to adopt the provisions of a "Liberty Charter," the detailed provisions of which are included in the bill. The model charter imposes restrictive limitations on municipal authority with respect to procurement, eminent domain, personnel management, impact fees, land use regulation and a host of other powers.

Photo Radar

On Monday, March 5, the Senate considered and rejected SCR 1029 (photo radar prohibition) by a vote of 13-15. The measure was brought to the Senate floor for reconsideration the next day, and failed a second time by a vote of 14-15.

Consolidated Elections

On Thursday, March 8, the League participated in a stakeholder meeting on HB 2826 (consolidated election dates; political subdivisions). The bill mandates that, with very narrow exceptions, all municipal elections must be held in the fall of even-numbered years. The bill passed the House by a slim margin on March 1.

Regulatory tax credits

Following its passage by the House, HB 2815 (employment; incentives; regulatory tax credit) was dual-assigned in the Senate to both the Finance and Appropriations Committees. The bill, which contains provisions eliminating the state capital gains tax and authorizing job training initiatives, also establishes a state regulatory tax credit. The League strongly opposes this section of the bill.

Administrative procedures

On Tuesday, March 6, the Senate passed SB 1505 (s/e: municipal governments; rulemaking) by a vote of 17-11. The bill would impose upon municipalities a regulatory process similar to that mandated by the Administrative Procedures Act, which is used by the Federal Government for rulemaking. The League opposes the measure due to its complexity and onerous bureaucratic requirements. The measure now proceeds to the House for further consideration.

Data quality

On Monday, March 5, the Senate failed to pass SB 1470 (rules; data quality) by a vote of 14-14. The bill was subsequently reconsidered by the Senate on March 8 and passed by a vote of 18-10. The measure imposes upon municipalities onerous bureaucratic standards for the development and dissemination of data pertaining to licensing decisions. The League is opposed to the measure, which now moves to the House.

Water and wastewater

On Thursday, March 1, HB 2416 (water and wastewater; denial prohibited) failed in the House by a vote of 28-20. On Wednesday, March 7, however, it passed on reconsideration by a vote of 32-26. This bill mandates that cities and towns in Pima County provide water service to areas outside of their corporate boundaries. The bill is now scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Committee on Water, Land Use and Rural Development on Wednesday, March 14. The League strongly opposes the bill because it threatens local autonomy and lacks protections for current customers and assured water supplies.


On Tuesday, March 6, the Senate passed SB 1304 (firearms regulation; political subdivisions) by a vote of 18-11. The bill repeals statutory language permitting a political subdivision to adopt an ordinance or rule restricting the discharge of firearms within one-fourth of a mile of an occupied structure. The Senate adopted an amendment offered by the bill's sponsor, Senator Frank Antenori (R-Tucson), to incorporate Megan's Law, establishing parameters for criminal negligence for the use of a firearm within a municipality. The bill, opposed by the League for reasons of public safety and local control, has been transmitted to the House for possible further consideration.

Homeowners' associations

On Thursday, March 8, the House Judiciary Committee considered and defeated SB 1113 (homeowners' associations, public roadways.) by a vote of 2-6. Sponsored by Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), the legislation would divest homeowners' associations of their authority over roads that are dedicated to a governmental entity. The League opposes the measure because of the burdens it would impose on local law enforcement and financial resources.

Independent Redistricting Commission

SB 1489 (redistricting commission; counties; cities; districts) passed the Senate on March 6 by a vote of 18-11. The legislation substantially expands the authority of the Independent Redistricting Committee (IRC) to determine political boundaries. Under the bill, the IRC would be empowered to draw district lines all political subdivisions in the state, including ward or district boundaries in cities. The League opposes this unwarranted expansion of IRC authority as a direct assault on a fundamental matter of local concern.

Consumer fireworks

On Tuesday, March 6, the House passed HB 2361 (s/e: regulations; consumer fireworks) by a vote of 46-14. Among other things, the legislation: prevents municipalities from adopting ordinances with penalties greater than a petty offense for a person using certain consumer fireworks; permits the imposition of fees on fireworks sellers; addresses certain signage issues; and permits restrictions on the sale and use of consumer fireworks in Coconino and Yavapai Counties.

Pension reform

On Tuesday, March 6, the House unanimously passed HB 2745 (s/e: PSPRS; employer contributions). The bill changes the Alternate Contribution Rate (ACR) requirements of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). The change would preclude an employer from paying the PSPRS ACR on a PSPRS-eligible position if a person hired to fill that position: was hired before the effective date of last year's pension reform bill; previously retired from PSPRS; and is enrolled in another state retirement system. This change will result in cost savings for some of Arizona's small cities and towns. The League supports the bill, which proceeds to the Senate.

Council procedures

The House passed HB 2570 (political subdivisions; proceedings; governing bodies) on Tuesday, March 6, by a vote of 39-18. The effect of the bill was altered substantially by an amendment adopted by the Committee of the Whole. The amendment, offered by the bill's sponsor, Rep. Justin Olson (R-Mesa), provides that a municipal ordinance may not take effect until it has been posted in its final form for at least seven days. The bill also prescribes a process for the adoption of emergency ordinances and exempts certain other ordinances from the bill's enhanced notice requirements. The amendment was drafted with input from municipalities and represents great improvement over the original bill. The sponsor has agreed to continue to work with the League to fine-tune provisions of the bill.

Liquor regulation

On Wednesday, March 7, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Energy considered and passed HB 2606 (s/e: liquor omnibus) by a vote of 5-1. The bill's sponsor, Rep. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler), previously agreed to an amendment, adopted by the House, which permits the State Liquor Board to consider municipal tax delinquencies in liquor license suspension and revocation proceedings. The amendment further permits a city or town to use the average of the last five years of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for fee increases (as opposed to just the previous year's CPI). The bill now moves to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration.

Alarm system installation

This past week, both SB 1306 (alarm system installation; contractors; municipalities) and HB 2748 (cities; alarm licenses; reciprocity) passed their respective houses of origin. SB 1306 outlaws municipal regulation or licensure of alarm system installation. It further provides that municipalities in violation of the law will be penalized through a withholding of state shared revenues. The heart of HB 2748 is a reciprocity provision that entitles a person already licensed as an alarm installer in one Arizona municipality to obtain an alarm installation license from another if the individual complies with certain requirements.

Public works notification

HB 2350 (s/e: cities; counties; regulations) passed the House on Monday, March 5, by a vote of 43-17. The bill requires a municipality to post its capital improvement plan (CIP) on its website. Under the legislation, a utility may also request that it receive copies of the CIP, along with information on any new public works projects that would have appeared in the CIP or projects in the CIP that have an accelerated start date. With changes negotiated with utility proponents, the League is neutral on the bill, which now proceeds to the Senate.

Department of Water Resources Funding

On Monday, March 5, the House passed HB 2493 (department of water resources; funding) by a vote of 58-0. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Russ Jones (R-Yuma), establishes a joint legislative study committee to determine alternative funding mechanisms for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). Furthermore, it repeals the statutory authority of ADWR to impose an assessment on municipalities in two years.

Law enforcement

On Wednesday, March 7, the House Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety passed SB 1212 (law enforcement officers; just cause) by a unanimous vote of 6-0. Sponsored by Senator Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert), the bill mandates that the same "just cause" process required for the termination of law enforcement officers be applied to demotions and suspensions lasting longer than 40 hours. The League opposes the measure because it limits the authority of municipalities to discipline problematic officers. The bill, which previously passed the Senate, proceeds to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

Business incentives

On Wednesday, March 7, the House Committee on Commerce passed SB 1442 (prime contracting; manufacturing facilities; infrastructure) by a unanimous vote of 7-0. The measure allows municipalities and counties to recapture state transaction privilege taxes paid by qualified manufacturing facilities for public infrastructure necessary for those facilities. The League supports the measure as a tool for attracting manufacturing jobs to Arizona.

Legislator Profile - Representative Tom Forese

Representative Tom Forese
Representative Tom Forese first saw his future wife, Casey, at a pizza joint in the tony suburb of Saratoga, California. She was in town training with the National Synchronized Swimming Team. They began dating, and Forese became determined to make her his bride. "I told her that she'd either have to marry me or get a restraining order," he recalls. She proceeded to break up with him - not once, but three times. Eventually, however, she relented. "I'm a persistent guy," he notes.

Such persistence will serve Forese well in the Legislature, where he is serving his freshman term as a Representative of District 21. The East Valley district includes portions of Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

As both a freshman and political neophyte, Forese acknowledges that he has much to learn. But whatever he might lack in experience, he more than makes up for in enthusiasm and energy. Blowing into a neighborhood bistro, he is flush with excitement. "I just found out that three high-tech businesses in my district are combining and going public!" he enthuses. His thrill is palpable. One almost feels he should be handing out cigars.
Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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Issue 9 - March 9, 2012
Issue 9 - March 9, 2012
Issue 9 - March 9, 2012
Issue 9 - March 9, 2012
Issue 9 - March 9, 2012