Issue 8 - March 1, 2013 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Overview

Today marks the 47th day of the First Regular Session of the 51st Legislature. This week saw light committee agendas as the focus of both chambers turned to floor action in order to move bills into the opposite chamber for further consideration. Because of last week's deadline, the League has been able to reduce the amount of legislation we are monitoring. Today 160 bills are being actively tracked the League's Legislative Division.

Changes to Transaction Privilege Taxes

HB 2657 (transaction privilege tax changes) is currently available to be heard in the House Appropriations Committee, but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. Outside of the legislative process, communication between stakeholders has increased. The League takes these discussions as a positive development and indicative of a willingness by all parties to discuss alternative solutions. It is very likely that news and updates may come very quickly during the coming weeks, so it is important to be attentive to communications from the League regarding this issue.

Election Changes

On Thursday, February 28, HB 2527 (elections; revisions) passed out of COW with the Government Committee amendment formally adopted and subsequently passed out of the House by a vote of 52-3. 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 amendment provides 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 financial penalties. The League strongly supports the bill as these key changes will ensure the smoothest transition to a consolidated election schedule. The League thanks Rep. Ugenti for her sponsorship and support.

Regulatory Reform

On Monday, February 25, the House passed HB 2443 (cities; counties; regulatory review) by a vote of 60-0. 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 League thanks Rep. Olson for his support as well as the efforts of the Arizona Rock Products Association, Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona and the County Supervisors Association for their willingness to work on this legislation.

Ineligible Employees

HB 2562 (public retirement systems; ineligible employees) places employees ineligible for the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) and the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (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 an agreement that all parties can support. The bill passed out of House COW on Thursday, February 28 with an amendment to clarify that the changes in the bill do not impact the PSPRS eligibility for people eligible for the Correctional Officer Retirement Plan. 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 for employees that are at risk of losing their current pension eligibility.

State Parks

HB 2621 (fund; state parks; roads; fee) passed the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday by a vote of 8-1. Sponsored by Rep. Juan Carlos Escamilla (D - San Luis) the measure would place a voluntary fee onto vehicle registrations for the purpose of funding state parks. Although there are still some details to iron out, the League supports this bill as it is in keeping with one of this year's Resolutions. HB2621 now proceeds to House Rules.

Dedicated Property Tax

The Senate Committee of the Whole approved SB 1470 (bond contracts; technical correction) with the strike-everything amendment. The bill 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. There are still some outstanding issues that need to be addressed to ensure proper implementation, but overall the League supports the bill.

Revenue Allocation Districts

HB 2456 (revenue allocation districts) passed the House of Representatives on Thursday by a 39-17 vote. The bill, sponsored by Representative Phil Lovas (R-Peoria), authorizes communities to finance development for a specific area according to a citizen approved development plan. Specifically, it allows communities to capture incremental local property tax revenues and local sales tax revenues to fund development projects within the boundaries of the municipalities in which they are located. The League has a resolution supporting this issue.

Residential Building Codes

SB 1321 (residential energy efficiency; building codes), sponsored by Senator Gail Griffin (R-Sierra Vista), passed the Senate 18-10 on Monday. This bill declares energy efficiency residential building codes a matter of statewide concern and prohibits political subdivisions from further regulating energy consumption and efficiency in homes. An amendment was adopted last week in an effort to account for the state's diverse climate zones, but the bill directs the counties to define the climate zones. This provision is particularly problematic for jurisdictions that overlap different counties since part of their city could be under one standard and another part under a different standard. Despite the proponents' efforts to improve the bill it creates new problems and falls short of addressing the primary concern of maintaining authority over what has traditionally been exclusively a local matter.

Municipal Policies

On Monday, February 25, the Senate failed to pass 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 was opposed and thanks the senators who voted against the measure.

Other Bills of Note

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

Bill Number - Short Title - Subject(s)
HB 2113: municipal annexation; size; exception - general government

HB 2608: EORP; closure; defined contribution - pension

SB 1103: charter schools; zoning procedures - regulations

Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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Issue 8 - March 1, 2013
Issue 8 - March 1, 2013
Issue 8 - March 1, 2013
Issue 8 - March 1, 2013
Issue 8 - March 1, 2013