Issue 7 - February 21, 2014 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Overview

On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court released their opinion in the Fields lawsuit. The Court upheld the trial decision, finding that the state could not enact changes to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) formulas as they affect current retirees. As a result of the decision, the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), which manages the Elected Officials Retirement Plan and the Correctional Officers Retirement Plan in addition to PSPRS, will have to make $40 million in back payments to retirees as well as transfer over $300 million from the trust to the Reserve Account to make future COLA payments. The League was deeply involved in the negotiations on SB 1609 that enacted the provisions overturned by the Fields decision and is eager to resume talks in order to ensure the viability of PSPRS for generations to come.

Today at 5:00 pm marks the deadline for bills to be heard by committees in the chamber of origin. As a result, committee agendas were robust and some committees deliberated well into the evening throughout the week. The League was kept busy weighing in on 36 bills that were scheduled for consideration this week, excluding bills that staff is closely monitoring. As a standard exception to the deadline noted above, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are afforded an additional week to hear bills. From this point on, legislators have one month (March 21) to have their bills heard by any necessary committees in the complementary chamber.

A number of bills that the League opposed were scheduled for a hearing, but failed to advance out of committees this week. They include:

HB 2422: S/E: municipal policy; authority
HB 2386: special districts; elections; financing; limits
HB 2594: public construction; business losses; compensation
SB 1405: public employee misconduct; civil action
SB 1475: contractor licensing exemptions; property owners

HURF Restoration

The House Transportation Committee approved HB 2692 (DPS; operating expenses; appropriation; intent) with a 5-0 vote. Sponsored by Speaker of the House Andy Tobin (R-Paulden), the bill appropriates $119 million in each of the next two years from the state general fund to the Department of Public Safety for operational expenses. This will effectively restore Highway User Revenue Fund money to the proper distribution formula. Cities and towns specifically rely on HURF revenue to maintain local roads. The League testified in support and entered a number of locally-passed resolutions into the official record. We are grateful for the House Transportation Committee's unanimous support on this issue and looks forward to continued support as this bill moves through the legislative process.


On Thursday the House Judiciary Committee passed HB 2571 (criminal damages; economic costs) by a unanimous vote. HB 2571, sponsored by Representative Juan Carlos Escamilla (R-San Luis), allows victims of graffiti to recover costs related to abatement. The bill was amended in committee to put monetary caps on cases involving juveniles. The bill is the result of a League Resolution. It now proceeds to the Rules Committee.

State Parks

SB 1326 (state parks; donations; fund; transportation), passed the Senate Transportation and Appropriations Committees this week. Sponsored by Senator Don Shooter (R-Yuma), the measure states that there will be a voluntary donation option available on vehicle registrations for the purpose of funding State Parks. Of the amount donated 85% will go to support State Parks and 15% goes to the Department of Transportation for administration. The actual dollar amount will be determined by the State Parks Board. The bill now proceeds to the Rules Committee.

Fire Districts and Municipal Planning Areas

HB 2152 (fire district boundary changes) passed the House Government Committee Tuesday by a unanimous vote. Sponsored by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R-Gilbert), the bill places requirements on certain special taxing districts, including fire districts, when they seek to annex within a municipal planning area. The League supported the measure; it is the subject of a League Resolution. The bill requires these taxing districts to obtain the permission of the municipality before they annex. The measure now goes to the Rules Committee.

Transaction Privilege Taxes

The House Ways and Means Committee passed a strike everything amendment to HB 2389 (S/E: transaction privilege tax changes) with a 5-0-0-3 vote. The strike everything amendment, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria), makes a number of changes to transaction privilege tax (TPT) statutes to address the implementation of last year's HB 2111. The most notable provisions include synchronizing municipal and state licensing renewal processes, electronic filing mandates for businesses with more than one location, and requiring non-program cities to administer and collect TPT associated with residential rental. The League recognizes that many of these changes are necessary and are supportive of those provisions, but the League cannot support segregating residential rental administration and collection from the rest of the TPT categories since it directly undermines the goal of uniformity. The League is neutral on the bill with the expectation that the Department of Revenue work with cities on transitioning TPT administration -- including residential rental -- to the state program.

Municipal Election Changes

SB 1415 (municipal elections; majority vote calculation) passed the Senate Elections Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 6-0. Sponsored by Sen. Steve Yarbrough (R-Chandler), the bill reformulates the procedure for determining whether a municipal candidate wins an election outright in a primary election, or must proceed to a general election. This measure was necessary for many cities and towns affected by the changes to municipal election schedules; the League supports the bill. SB 1415 now proceeds to the Rules Committee.

Economic Development

On Tuesday, the House Government Committee unanimously passed HB 2220 (improvement districts; municipal services). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Karen Fann (R-Prescott), removes the requirement that enhanced municipal services districts be formed only in areas of a municipality that are designate as slum or blighted. The League supports the bill because with this change cities and towns, particularly in rural areas, will be able to utilize these districts to support local businesses and thanks Rep. Fann for sponsoring the legislation.

Guns in Public Buildings

On February 20, HB 2339 (firearms; permit holders; public places) passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 5-3. Sponsored by Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson), the bill would require public entities to install and use electronic screening equipment and have security personnel in order to deny an armed person who possesses a concealed weapon entrance to the public buildings. The League opposed as a matter of local control and fiscal impact. The bill proceeds to the Rules Committee.


HB 2546 (alarm businesses; alarm agents; regulation) passed the House Commerce Committee this Wednesday by a vote of 7-1. Sponsored by Rep. David Gowan (R - Sierra Vista), the bill as amended eliminates the ability for cities to tax alarm monitoring after December of 2014 and says that people convicted of crimes involving "moral turpitude" cannot be licensed as installers. The League opposed the bill. In previous years there were multiple stakeholder meetings on the issue and this year there was no opportunity for such input. Additionally, the ability to tax the monitoring systems is a financial hit to some cities. The bill proceeds to the Rules Committee.

Public Records

The House Technology and Infrastructure (TI) Committee took public testimony regarding potential striker language on HB 2419. The legislation could not be considered and voted on because the bill was not assigned the committee. The amendment would have authorized governmental entities to charge for the labor costs for fulfilling public records requests after the first four hours of work. The League testified in support of the idea of more closely examining our public records laws, but is cautious about ideas that have the potential to harm those filing proper, legitimate requests. The League thanks Rep. David Stevens (R-Sierra Vista) for providing an opportunity to have the discussion and is looking forward to additional conversations on the matter. The League would also like to thank Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) for his comments on this issue as well as on all municipal matters considered by the TI Committee on Thursday.

Other Bills of Note

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

Bill Number - Short Title - Subject(s)
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Issue 7 - February 21, 2014
Issue 7 - February 21, 2014
Issue 7 - February 21, 2014
Issue 7 - February 21, 2014
Issue 7 - February 21, 2014
Issue 7 - February 21, 2014