Today marks the deadline established by rule for legislation to be heard in committee in the house of origin. Given this significant
deadline, legislative committee agendas were loaded with bills for consideration. Many committees went late into the evening hours and
a number of committees held special meetings so that they could hear more bills within the allotted timeframe.
As a result, the League registered its position as well as testified on a number of bills this week. This increased activity is
reflected in the length of this week's Legislative Bulletin, which can be expected to diminish in content as the session
The next notable deadline will not occur for another month. March 22 will mark the last day to hear legislation in standing committees,
excluding the Rules and Appropriations Committees.
Changes to Transaction Privilege Taxes
HB 2657 (transaction privilege tax changes) was heard on Monday
afternoon in the House Ways and Means Committee. After four hours of testimony from opponents and proponents of the bill, the committee
passed out the bill unanimously on an 8-0 vote. It is important to note however, that the three Democrat representatives on the
committee, Rep. Gallego, Rep. Cardenas and Rep. Wheeler explained that if the bill remained in its current form, they would vote against
it if it reaches the House Floor for a vote. HB 2657 was also assigned to the House Appropriations Committee and has yet to be scheduled
for a hearing. We want to thank Mayor Schoaf of Litchfield Park, Mayor Price of Maricopa and Mayor Wolcott of Surprise for ably
testifying to the great concerns cities and towns have with the measure.
Taxes on Commercial Leases
Both SB 1028 (municipal TPT exemption; leases; ownership) and
HB 2324 (municipal tax code; leases) passed out of their house
of origin and are awaiting action in the opposite chamber. The goal of both bills is to expand upon legislation passed in recent years
to exempt lease transactions between entities that share at least 80 percent common ownership from commercial lease tax. SB 1028
currently contains language that is more complete and we are working with the sponsor of HB 2324 to adopt the same language.
HB 2594 (local transportation assistance fund; restoration)
re-establishes the County Assistance Fund, the Local Transportation Assistance Fund (LTAF), the Local Transportation Assistance Fund for
Mass Transit, and the Arizona State Parks Board Heritage Fund. Sponsored by Rep. Ethan Orr (R - Tucson), the measure also prescribes the
allotment of funds to municipalities on a population based revenue sharing system and that cities and towns may use 10% of their funds
for certain non-transit services. On February 18th the bill passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee by a
unanimous vote, and now goes on to the House Appropriations Committee.
On Tuesday, February 19, the House Government Committee passed
HB 2527 (elections; revisions) on an 8-0 vote. Among other
changes, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R- Scottsdale) authorizes municipalities to lengthen or shorten their terms in
order to transition to candidate elections in the fall of even years. The bill also modifies municipal incorporation statutes
accordingly. The committee adopted an amendment to provide municipalities with their "home rule" authorization expiring in the spring
of 2014 the opportunity to move those elections to the fall of 2014 without suffering harmful consequences. The League testified in
favor of the bill and the amendment, supporting these key changes to ensure the smoothest transition to a consolidated election
schedule. The League thanks Rep. Ugenti for sponsoring HB 2527 and the amendment.
Guns in Public Buildings
HB 2554 (firearm regulation; state preemption) passed out of
the House Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee by a vote of 5-2. The measure stipulates statewide gun locker storage
and signage requirements, as well as penalties for entering public establishments that ban firearms. The League is opposed to HB 2554,
which now goes on to the House Rules Committee.
HB 2562 (public retirement systems; ineligible employees)
places employees ineligible for ASRS and PSPRS into a defined contribution plan under ASRS and expands the definition of member under
PSPRS. The League is neutral on the bill because the definitions need further development, but we support the efforts of the sponsor and
look forward to reaching a bill the League can support. The bill passed the House Insurance and Retirement Committee on a 6-2 vote on
Tuesday, February 19. The League thanks the sponsor, Rep. Bob Robson (R-Chandler) for his leadership on this issue and willingness to
bring stakeholders together to craft a solution to employees that may currently be enrolled incorrectly into a state pension system.
The House Committee on Transportation heard two bills related to the photo enforcement of traffic laws on Thursday.
HB 2579 (photo radar prohibition) sought to ban all photo
enforcement programs in the state. The bill, which is opposed by the League, failed to pass the committee on a 2-4 vote. However,
HB 2292 (photo radar citations; service times) passed out of
committee. This bill proposes to limit the service times for photo radar citations to between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. The sponsor of the
bill, Rep. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa), agreed to work on some amendments as the bill moves forward.
UN Rio Declaration
On Monday, the Senate Government and Environment Committee passed
SB 1403 (United Nations Rio declaration; prohibition) by a
vote of 4-3. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Judy Burges (R-Sun City West) prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from adopting
or implementing "the creed, doctrine, principles or any tenet" of the 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and
Development. The bill also specifically identifies a number of organizations with which Arizona political entities are prohibited from
affiliating. The League opposes the legislation, based on its ambiguous language, potential for unintended negative consequences and
prospective impacts on municipal initiatives.
Dedicated Property Tax
On Wednesday, February 20, the Senate Finance Committee adopted a strike-everything amendment on
SB 1470 (bond contracts; technical correction). The
strike-everything amendment allows towns to seek permission from the voters to levy a property tax to pay the costs of providing police,
fire and emergency medical services. The League supports the amendment as provides towns with another method for paying for public
safety and emergency services. The amended bill passed on a 7-0 vote.
Other Bills of Note
(All bills being actively monitored by the League can be found here.)
Bill Number - Short Title - Subject(s)
HB 2138: municipalities; right-of-way; transfer - annexation
HB 2347: tax levy; bond costs - finance
HB 2443: cities; counties; regulatory review - regulations
HB 2608: EORP; closure; defined contribution - pension
SB 1103: charter schools; zoning procedures - regulations
SB 1210: municipalities; municipal policies; shared revenues - general government
SB 1231: public buildings; construction; indemnity - general government
SB 1278: homeowners' associations; public roadways- HOA
SB 1321: residential energy efficiency; building codes - regulations
SB 1454: campaign finance; in-kind contributions; disclosures - elections
Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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