Issue 9 - March 7, 2014 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Overview

As predicted last week, legislators were focused on floor action, particularly in the House where Monday saw six Committee of the Whole (COW) calendars and Thursday saw eight COW calendars. A number of bills were also Third Read in both chambers, with Senate President Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) cautioning senators to prepare for a similar level of activity next week. The urgency may be justified as, by rule, the Legislature only has two more weeks to get bills out of committee and there has been no indication of an extension of the deadline.

This week saw movement on two policy matters of high importance for the League. First, SB 1413, which is the electricity tax-exemption for manufacturers that the Governor highlighted in her state of the state address, moved rapidly through the Senate, and included an amendment to address concerns raised by the League. Secondly, HB 2692, which essentially provides full funding to the Highway User Revenue Fund for the next fiscal years, overcame a major hurdle by passing out of the House and moving onto the Senate for further consideration. The League is pleased with the developments on both matters and is thankful for the efforts on these bills. More details about each measure can be found below.

Utility Tax Exemptions

This week, SB 1413 (taxes; manufacturers' electricity sales; exemption) saw significant movement. The bill passed out of the Senate Rules Committee, was caucused, amended in COW and passed out of the Senate by a vote of 25-0. Sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough (R-Chandler), SB 1413, as amended, exempts electricity used in manufacturing and smelting operations from state transaction privilege taxes and stipulates that if a city or town wishes to provide a similar exemption it must be provided to all manufacturers and must have the same definitions as the state. Additionally, the definitions in the bill are more fleshed out and narrowed to reflect existing practices within the Department of Revenue. With these changes, the League dropped its opposition to the bill. The League is thankful for the support of the Governor, her staff, and the numerous others that all played a role in listening to our concerns and working with cities and towns to draft a compromise that preserves local authority while further improving the business climate in Arizona.

HURF Restoration

The House voted 49-9 on Thursday to pass HB 2692 (DPS; operating expenses; appropriation; intent). 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 strongly supports the measure and thanks Speaker Tobin for his leadership and support on the issue.


HB 2571 (criminal damage; economic costs) passed House Third Read by a vote of 58-0 on Wednesday. Sponsored by Representative Juan Carlos Escamilla (D-San Luis), HB 2571 allows victims of economic damage, especially graffiti, to recover their abatement costs. The bill was amended in the Judiciary Committee to stipulate that those costs should be reasonable, and capped at $2500 for offenses committed by juveniles. The bill now proceeds to the Senate.

Energy Efficiency Building Codes

SB 1227 (municipalities; counties; energy efficient codes) passed the Senate Committee of the Whole with an amendment to clarify that the bill does not impact "dark sky" codes. The bill, sponsored by Senator Chester Crandell (R-Heber), prohibits municipalities from adopting any new energy efficiency building codes. Although the amendment addresses an unintended consequence, the League still opposes the bill's intended goal on the grounds of its infringement on what is a matter of local concern.

Economic Development

On Wednesday, the House passed HB 2220 (improvement districts; municipal services) by a vote of 41-17. 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 designated 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, which now moves to the Senate.

Other Bills of Note

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

Bill Number - Short Title - Subject(s)
Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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Issue 9 - March 7, 2014
Issue 9 - March 7, 2014
Issue 9 - March 7, 2014
Issue 9 - March 7, 2014
Issue 9 - March 7, 2014