Today marks the 26th day of the 2016 session. This week the Legislature was extremely busy, with full committee agendas and lengthy floor
calendars. There are two more weeks for bills to be heard in their chamber of origin.
To date there have been 1169 bills introduced, with 100 memorials and resolutions. This is an increase of almost 174 bills since last week, and 17
more memorials and resolutions. February 1st was the deadline for Senate Bill introductions, and February 8th is the deadline for the House.
A package of bills to reform the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) passed unanimously out of the Senate Finance Committee on
Wednesday. The League was part of the stakeholder group that negotiated the legislation and testified in support. The three bills are
SB1428 (PSPRS modifications),
SB1429 (public retirement systems; special election) and
SCR1019 (public retirement system benefits). All three are
sponsored by Senator Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria).
A key provision includes the creation of a new Tier 3 for all new public safety employees hired after July 1, 2017. The new tier will have a 50-50
contribution rate rather than the current system in which the employee contribution rate is capped at 11.65% and all costs above that level are
borne by the employer. The new tier also allows new hired to choose between a defined benefit or defined contribution plan and slightly increases
the retirement age to receive benefits to 55. It allows employees that are not covered by Social Security to participate in a second defined
contribution plan, funded at the 50-50 level. It caps the pensionable salary rate at $110,000 annually.
One of the bills, SCR1019 is a proposed Constitutional amendment to change the Permanent Benefit Increase (PBI) provision for current Tier 1 and
Tier 2 PSPRS members to a CPI-based COLA, capped at 2%. If approved by the House and Senate, this provision will be on the May 17th Special
The bills were fast-tracked in the Senate and went through Committee of the Whole and Third Read (28-0) on Thursday and now advance to the House.
The House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved
HB 2483 (municipal population estimates; use) by
Representative Justin Olson (R-Mesa) this week. This bill resolves a long-standing issue by allowing cities and towns to update their population
figures annually using the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate instead of having to conduct a costly mid-decade census or wait for their decennial census
numbers. If enacted, HB 2483 will place all municipalities on a level playing field by ensuring everyone has the most up-to-date population
figures for purposes of the distribution of shared revenues. The League was in support of the bill, which now proceeds to the House Rules
Pensions and Political Subdivision Entities
Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) has again introduced
HB 2157 (ASRS; political subdivision entities). This bill
would prohibit future employees of "political subdivision entities" (organizations such as the League and MAG, PAG and other Councils of
Governments) from participating in the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS). It passed out of the House Government & Higher Education
Committee this week on a 5-4 vote. Some of these types of organizations have been members of ASRS since the 1960s. However, an attorney general's
opinion in the early 2000s said they were not permitted to be part of the system. Legislation was enacted in 2004 that clarified these entities
could either remain members or could join as new members. The League joined ASRS shortly after the law was clarified. Many of the employees of
these organizations have come from other government positions that were part of ASRS and the portability of this benefit has been a key factor in
attracting talent. The League and other associations will continue to oppose this legislation. The bill moves on to the Rules Committee.
Two bills related to firearms passed Senate Committees this week.
SB1266 (firearms; state preemption; penalties),
sponsored by Senator Steve Smith (R-Maricopa), passed the Senate Public Safety and Military Technology Committee by a vote of 5-0-1, with one not
voting (Contreras). It also passed the Senate Government Committee by a vote of 4-3. The bill sets up penalties for political subdivisions that
violate the state preemption on firearms, including fines and termination from office. The League opposed due to the onerous penalties. It will
now proceed to Senate Rules.
Senator John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) is the sponsor of
SB1257 (misconduct involving weapons; public places)
that would require governmental buildings to allow concealed carry weapon permit holders to carry their weapons into the building, unless the
governmental entity put up metal detectors and had security guards. The League was opposed and cited the tremendous costs associated with said
requirements. The measure passed by a vote of 4-3 and now proceeds to the Senate Rules Committee.
SB1378 (prohibited money transfers' immigrations; violations),
sponsored by Senator Steve Smith (R-Maricopa), would penalize cities and towns by withholding shared revenue for not following federal law on
public benefits and law enforcement cooperation related to people who are in the state unlawfully. It is cited as the "Sanctuary Cities
Prohibition Act." The League declared that there are no sanctuary cities in Arizona, and was therefore neutral. The bill passed the Senate Public
Safety and Military Technology Committee by a vote of 4-1.
Senator Steve Smith is the sponsor of
SCR1010 (photo radar prohibition), which
would place on the ballot in the fall of 2016 the question of allowing the retention of photo traffic enforcement. Senator Smith, after hearing
much testimony, indicated that he might amend the bill to not have a statewide election; rather he would seek to force cities and towns to have
their own elections with the question of keeping or removing photo enforcement. In its original form the bill passed 3-2. The bill now goes on to
the Senate Rules Committee.
SB1282 (public records; unduly burdensome requests),
sponsored by Senator John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) is a League Resolution. The bill would allow governmental units to deny public record
requests if the requests were not particular in nature, and that unduly burdensome and harassing requests can also be denied, and give a defense
to the government in those cases. The bill passed 4-3, and now proceeds to the Senate Rules Committee.
Licensing and the Waiver of Rights
Currently under ARS 9-834, cities cannot make a licensing decision that is not specifically authorized by state law, administrative rule,
ordinance or code. Statute also says a city cannot "...request or initiate discussions with a person about waiving that person's rights."
HB2478 (licensing; waiver of rights; prohibition) adds a
prohibition against requiring a person to waive a right granted by the Constitution or laws of this State as a condition of approving a license.
This seems to be closing a perceived loophole that would allow cities to require a waiver of rights as long as they did not discuss it with the
applicant. This section also includes provision for a person file a civil suit if there is a violation; city employees who knowingly violate this
provision are subject to discipline; and the bill contains a requirement that the City must prominently list all prohibited acts on the license
application. The bill passed the House Commerce Committee by a vote of 4-3 and now goes on to the House Rules Committee.
Legislative Bill Monitoring
(All bills being actively monitored by the League
can be found here.)
HB2365: study committee; Arizona's 911 system
HB2483: municipal population estimates; use
HB2402: bonds; disclosure; notice
SB1323: vexatious litigants; workers' compensation
HB2478: licensing; waiver of rights; prohibition
HB2081: personal property transfer; limitations prohibited
SB1266: firearms; state preemption; penalties
SB1378: prohibited money transfers' immigrations; violations
SCR1010: photo radar prohibition
SB1257: misconduct involving weapons; public places
SB1282: public records; unduly burdensome requests
HB2157: ASRS; political subdivision entities
SB1428: PSPRS modifications
SB1429: public retirement system; special election
SCR1019: public retirement system benefits
Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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