Issue 2 - January 20, 2017 PRINT VERSION

Legislative Overview

Today marks the 9th day of the 2017 legislative session. Committees are in full swing and we have already passed some legislative deadlines. The 7-bill limit for House members became effective on January 12th; today is the last day for Senate bill requests to Legislative Council; and Monday is the last day for House bill requests to Legislative Council.

There have been 513 bills introduced, down from last year's pace with 698, and 31 Memorials and Resolutions, also down from last year's number of 62.

SB 1487 (2016 Session)

Last session, the Legislature enacted SB 1487, state law; local violations; penalties, which allows a single legislator to file a complaint against a city or town and requires the Attorney General to investigate. If the Attorney General finds that that the city or town is violating the law or may be violating the law, the municipality's shared revenue is jeopardized.

In October 2016, Rep. Finchem filed a complaint against Tucson alleging a violation relating to the City's destruction of firearms. The Attorney General investigated and issued a report that found that the City may be violating the law and provided the City with time to repeal the ordinance. On December 6, 2016, the Tucson City Council voted unanimously to defend the City and challenge the constitutionality of SB1487 and that same day the Attorney General filed a special action petition in the Arizona Supreme Court seeking an order declaring that Tucson's ordinance violates state law and to withhold the City's shared revenue if the ordinance is not repealed.

The City of Tucson filed a response to the petition arguing that the city charter supersedes the state law in this matter and challenging the constitutionality of SB 1487. The League filed an amicus brief supporting the City on December 28, 2016. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to accept jurisdiction of the case but has scheduled oral arguments on February 28, 2017. The Court has also ordered the City and the Attorney General to file supplemental briefs by February 15 addressing the constitutionality of SB 1487 in addition to the underlying complaint involving the issue between the Tucson City Charter and state's firearm laws.

Additionally, the City of Tucson filed a complaint against the State of Arizona in Pima County Superior Court on December 12, 2016 seeking to declare SB1487 unconstitutional. The League has filed a motion to intervene in this case. The parties agreed to stay the superior court proceedings until the Supreme Court determined whether it would accept jurisdiction in the petition filed by the Attorney General.

HB 2017

HB 2017 was heard on Wednesday of this week in House Ways and Means Committee. This bill requires that the maximum tax rate, instead of the anticipated tax rate, be used to estimate the tax impact of debt service for a bond issue and the estimated total cost of a bond issue, and that this information is to be included in the bond publicity pamphlet. It also requires a county or municipal bond election ballot to include a disclosure that a "yes" vote may increase the primary tax rate to pay for the maintenance and operation of projects funded by the bond. The League testified in committee that an identical bill had been offered last year by the same sponsor and that an agreement had been reached to use both the maximum AND anticipated tax rates for the calculation of debt service and total cost of the bonds. The sponsor agreed to honor the language from last year and the bill will be amended on the House floor. The bill was passed by a 7-2 vote.

HB 2088

HB 2088, incorporation; urbanized areas, was heard Wednesday morning in the House Local and International Affairs Committee.

Current statute requires any area attempting to incorporate to seek the permission of any existing, neighboring municipality if any of the boundaries for the area seeking incorporation fall within 6 miles of their municipal boundary (3 miles if the existing community has a population of less than 5,000). HB 2088 would allow an area with at least 15,000 people to incorporate without seeking the consent of those affected communities if the area that is incorporating has a larger population than the community protesting the incorporation. Under HB 2088 an area seeking incorporation could place their proposed borders right up to the border of every surrounding community and those communities would have no recourse.

The League testified in opposition to the bill and also raised concerns about residents of existing communities that have property or businesses in the "urbanized area" (within 6-miles) that would not get a say in whether their business or property would be included in the new incorporation, as only voters that live in that area can vote on incorporation. By including these properties and businesses the newly incorporated area can begin to tax and regulate them without the owners having had a say in whether they wanted to be incorporated.

The bill passed out of committee by a 4-3 vote. A mirror bill was also recently introduced in the Senate that could be used to "fast-track" the legislation.

Legislative Bill Monitoring

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

HB2011: bonds; levy; net of cash

HB2017: bonds; disclosure; notice

HB2088: incorporation; urbanized areas

Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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