This week was full of activity as members sought to have their bills passed out of committee before
the deadline. Amidst the business, both the House and Senate independently introduced their respective
budgets for consideration. The Senate passed their suite of nine bills out of the Appropriations
Committee on Tuesday and out of the full Senate on Thursday; the House is scheduled to consider their
bills in their Appropriations Committee on Monday. Without going through the entirety of the House
and Senate budgets, the League would like to highlight that both address Highway User Revenue Fund
(HURF) dollars in the same fashion. Both proposed budgets restore $30 million in HURF funding to
cities, towns and counties in fiscal years (FY) 2015 and 2016 and then restore a total of $60 million
in fiscal year 2017. Although we are encouraged that the Legislature is restoring some HURF money,
which is an improvement over the Executive Budget, the proposed increase is only one-quarter of the
amount that has been swept in the past and by not providing any additional money to the State Highway
Fund, communities in rural Arizona that depend on state highways will be adversely impacted.
Additionally, legislators cannot "bind the hands" of future Legislatures, which means that there is no
guarantee that the money earmarked in FY 16 and FY 17 will ever reach local governments. For these
reasons, the League continues to strongly support HB 2692 (DPS; operating expenses; appropriation;
intent) and all efforts to end the diversion of HURF dollars.
Utility Tax Exemptions
SB 1413 (taxes; manufacturers' electricity sales; exemption)
passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 7-0. Sponsored by Senator Steve
Yarbrough (R-Chandler), SB 1413, 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. The League signed in neutral to the bill, which was amended to make technical changes.
HB 2571 (criminal damages; economic costs)
passed the Senate Public Safety Committee on Wednesday by a vote of 5-0. Sponsored by Representative
Juan Carlos Escamilla (D-San Luis) the bill provides for full restitution for criminal damages,
including reasonable repair costs such as labor, equipment and materials. The measure came out of a
League Resolution and is particularly focused on graffiti abatement costs. It now moves onto Senate
State Parks Funding
SB 1326 (state parks; donations; fund; transportation)
passed the House Government Committee by a unanimous vote on Thursday. The bill would allow for a
voluntary contribution to help fund state parks. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Don Shooter (R-Yuma) told
the committee that the bill will be amended on the floor to change the state agency receiving the
donation from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Revenue. The donation will be made
on a person's state income tax return. The measure now goes on to the House Rules Committee. The
League supported the bill as preserving the financial viability of state parks is a League Resolution.
Three bills related to firearms passed out of committees this week.
HB 2339 (firearms; permit holders; public places)
cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 5-3. As amended on the House floor a week ago, the
bill requires public establishments to use electronic screening devices and security personnel in
order to deny access to such structures for those who are carrying firearms yet possess concealed
weapon permits. Public K-12 education, community colleges and public universities are exempt from the
measure. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson). The bill now goes on to the Senate
Rules Committee. The League opposes HB 2339.
HB 2517 (firearms; state preemption; penalties)
also passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 5-3 vote. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Smith
(R-Maricopa), the bill sets up a variety of penalties for political subdivisions in violation of the
state preemption on firearms, including civil penalties, making mayors and council members personally
liable for their legislative actions and termination of employment. The measure also states that
taking an act on good faith or upon the advice of an attorney are not grounds for a defense.
Additionally, HB 2517 grants standing in court for persons or a membership association aggrieved by
such an ordinance, and allows for the rewarding of attorney fees, and actual damages up to $100,000.
This bill also goes on to the Senate Rules Committee. The League opposes HB2517.
Lastly, SB 1063 (misconduct involving weapons; firearm storage)
passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 4-2 vote. Sponsored by Sen. Rick Murphy (R-Peoria) the
measure states that a person is not guilty of misconduct involving weapons if a public establishment
is not in "full compliance" with the current requirement to have gun locker storage for those
buildings that deny access for people carrying firearms. SB 1063 will proceed to the House Rules
Committee. The League was neutral on SB 1063, as it does not know of any municipalities that are not
in compliance currently.
Transaction Privilege Taxes
The Senate Finance Committee passed
HB 2389 (NOW: transaction privilege tax changes)
with a 6-0 vote. The bill, 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 and
electronic filing mandates for businesses with more than one location. The League recognizes that many
of these changes are necessary and are supportive of those provisions, but signed in officially neutral
on the bill due to an outstanding licensing issue.
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.
Forward your comments or suggestions to email@example.com.