Issue 5 - February 8, 2013 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Overview

This past Monday at 5 p.m. marked the deadline to introduce measures in the Senate. All told 481 bills, two concurrent memorials, 19 concurrent resolutions and three resolutions have been introduced, a significant reduction compared to last session. Last year saw a total of 533 bills, 12 concurrent memorials, 44 concurrent resolutions, one memorial and eight resolutions introduced.

On Wednesday February 6, Governor Brewer signed HB 2503 providing the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) with a $500,000 supplemental appropriation. The IRC originally submitted a request for $2.7 million. This will make HB 2503 the second chaptered bill of the 51st Legislature.

This coming Monday, February 11, is the deadline for the introduction of new measures in the House of Representative. After 5 p.m. on that day, the general "universe" of legislation will be known.

This deadline is perhaps most pressing for the League because the Governor's legislation on changes to the transaction privilege tax is likely to be introduced prior to the Monday 5 o'clock deadline. The League has been following the issue closely and will provide analysis and information as it becomes available.

Bonding Limitations

HB 2331 (bonding; taxation; expenditures; district limitations) passed the House Committee on Reform and Human Services on Thursday of this week. The bill restricts the activities of special taxing districts and subjects them to the constitutional expenditure and levy limits imposed on the political subdivision in which they are located. Under this bill, a special taxing district cannot be formed if any part of it is located within the jurisdiction of another political subdivision or within multiple political subdivisions if the sum of the expenditures of all the political subdivisions exceeds constitutional debt limits.

Additionally, special taxing districts would be prohibited from levying new or increased ad valorem tax if the sum of the ad valorem taxes levied by all political subdivisions located within that special taxing district exceeds constitutional debt limits. Cities and towns oppose the bill because it will hurt our ability to finance critical infrastructure and will stymie economic development.

Regulatory Reform

On Tuesday, the House Government Committee heard HB 2443 (cities; counties; regulatory review). The measure, sponsored by Rep. Olson (R- Mesa), contains numerous changes to the statutes governing the issuance of licenses and permits for cities, towns, counties and flood control districts. The language represents cooperation between both business and government to provide meaningful changes while maintaining proper protections for the regulated community.

The League supports the bill as a great collaborative effort to bring greater clarity to the regulatory scheme created by Laws 2010, Chapter 312 (SB 1598). This issue is also a League Resolution for 2013. The bill passed out of the House Government Committee on a 7-1 vote. The committee additionally adopted an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ugenti, which contains numerous drafting corrections.

Taxes on Commercial Leases

In each of the last two weeks, the bulletin highlighted two separate bills related to commercial lease sales tax. The goal of each of these bills is to expand upon legislation passed in recent years to exempt lease transactions between entities that share at least 80% common ownership from commercial lease tax. Specifically, the sponsors want to ensure that all entities that have common ownership, instead of just those explicitly listed in statute, are exempt. The League has been working closely with Senator Reagan and Representative Farnsworth on amendments to address their issue and ensure that future conflicts with state tax code and practice are not created. SB 1028 (municipal TPT exemption; leases; LLC) passed out of the Senate Committee on Finance with a comprehensive amendment that the League feels accomplishes the stated goals. The League thanks Senator Reagan for her cooperation on this measure.

Municipal Policies

On Monday, the Senate Government and Environment Committee considered SB 1210 (municipalities; municipal policies; shared revenues). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Judy Burges (R- Sun City West), requires the Ombudsman-Citizen's Aide or an independent auditor to investigate complaints of a municipality violating its personnel or purchasing policies. Violations result in at least 10% of a municipality's state shared revenue being withheld until the entity is deemed to be in compliance with their policies. The League testified in opposition to bill. The measure ignores existing administrative and legal pathways for issue resolution and instead creates additional bureaucracy for the state and local governments. Additionally, the withholding of state shared revenues bears no logical connection with the issue at hand, and would punish all taxpayers for an unsubstantiated violation by an individual. Unfortunately, the bill passed out of committee on a 4-3 vote.

Alarm Regulations

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee failed SB 1190 (alarm contractor regulation) by a vote of 2-5. The bill removes the regulatory authority of alarm businesses and agents from the Board of Technical Registration and allows an alarm company to submit a sworn affidavit that the applicant conducts criminal background checks for each employee in order to obtain a contractor's license. It also states that the applicant is required to file the affidavit only once and is not required to file subsequent affidavits. The League opposed the bill because it would have lessened public safety and further infringed on local control.

Other Bills of Note

(All bills being actively monitored by the League can be found here.)

Bill Number - Short Title - Subject(s)
HB 2005: political subdivision entities; public access - transparency

HB 2113: municipal annexation; size; exception - general government

HB 2138: municipalities; right-of-way; transfer - general government

HB 2280: employee benefits; state preemption - personnel

SB 1231: public buildings; construction; indemnity - general government

SB 1321: residential energy efficiency; building codes - regulations

Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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Issue 5 - February 8, 2013
Issue 5 - February 8, 2013
Issue 5 - February 8, 2013
Issue 5 - February 8, 2013
Issue 5 - February 8, 2013