Issue 8 - February 28, 2014 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Overview

This week saw the end of bills being heard in committees in the chamber of origin. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee worked their way through substantial agendas, with the Wednesday House Appropriations hearing lasting well into the night. Although some additional committees did meet to consider bills from the opposite chamber, the focus of legislative efforts this week was on pushing bills through caucus and Committee of the Whole (COW) in order to transmit them out of the chamber of origin. Case in point, the House of Representatives posted 10 COW calendars for consideration on Thursday. Floor action will remain high as both chambers seek to complete action on their bills; the House has already posted six COW calendars for consideration on Monday.

Now that the House and Senate Appropriations committees have completed hearing their respective bills, the picture of the universe of viable legislation becomes clearer. At the bill introduction deadline, the League was tracking 281 pieces of legislation. That list has now been pared down to 172; 51 of which are being tracked solely for inclusion in the League's annual New Laws Report.

HURF Restoration

The House Appropriations Committee approved HB 2692 (DPS; operating expenses; appropriation; intent) with a 7-3 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 Speaker Tobin's support on the issue.

Firearm Definition

On Tuesday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a strike everything amendment to SB 1366 (S/E: firearms; definition). Sponsored by Senator Rick Murphy (R-Peoria), the amendment redefines firearm in statute to exclude air guns. There are other measures still in the legislative process that redefine firearm as well, so the League is evaluating all such proposals for conflicting language. The League was neutral on this particular bill. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 6-3, and now proceeds to the Rules Committee.

Political Subdivision Entities

On Thursday, the House considered HB 2069 (ASRS; political subdivision entities) in Committee of the Whole. The bill precludes future employees of political subdivision entities (PSEs) from joining the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS). The bill was amended on the floor to allow new employees of PSEs to remain in ASRS if they have been an active ASRS member in the last 30 days. The League opposes the bill because PSEs (which includes groups like the League, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association and various regional councils of governments) are created by government to serve government and perform essential functions and preventing future employees from participating in ASRS will have negative consequences in the future.

Public Records

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a strike-everything amendment on HB 2419 (S/E: public records; labor costs). The amendment authorizes governmental entities to charge for the labor costs for fulfilling public records requests after the first eight hours of work. The League signed in support of the measure as it represents an opportunity to more closely examine 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.

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 8 - February 28, 2014
Issue 8 - February 28, 2014
Issue 8 - February 28, 2014
Issue 8 - February 28, 2014
Issue 8 - February 28, 2014
Issue 8 - February 28, 2014