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Grand Canyon Chapter Arizona Bill Tracker

 "Every day is Earth Day."   

April 24, 2014

Dear Conservation Friends,

world in hands 

The Legislature wrapped up its session this morning at 1:46 a.m. We got some welcome news from the Governor's office in this last week. She vetoed the two big bad wolf bills that reached her desk and also vetoed a bill to allow unfettered access to public lands in an "emergency." The forest bill passed out cleanly and while it does not focus on restoration, it is not really bad either. 

HB2541 federal land; emergency access (Townsend, Allen, Borrelli, et al.) was vetoed by Governor Brewer. The bill was both unconstitutional and unwise and a thinly veiled attempt to get heavy equipment into wilderness and other sensitive lands under the guise of an "emergency."

Take Action!
Please thank Governor Brewer for vetoing HB2541!

You can also contact Governor Brewer by calling her at (602) 542-4331 or toll free at 1-(800) 253-0883.

HB2700 federal acquisition; state lands; monitoring (Thorpe) was defeated in the Senate 14-15-1. It would have required the State Land Department to identify which state trust lands have been transferred to the federal government since statehood and then to require compensation from the federal government. It was yet another unconstitutional measure and attempted land grab. Please thank legislators who opposed this bill.

HB2343 Now: forest health management
did not contain the immunity provisions. Unfortunately, legislators also did not adopt the forest restoration language, so the bill will likely have limited positive impact as it still focuses on removal of vegetation and "forest management" rather than restoration.

SB1326 state parks; donations; fund; transportation (Shooter, Dalessandro, Hobbs, et al.) passed the Senate 28-1-1 and the House 57-3 and was signed by the Governor. It provides for a state parks check-off space on the individual income tax return forms, so will generate a little revenue for parks. Unfortunately, the dollars are limited to infrastructure rather than protecting resources. Still, it will help parks a bit and they could use all the help they can get.

Mexican gray wolf (Courtesy of the USFWS)
  credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

 SCR1006 Mexican wolf; population rule (Griffin) passed the legislature, but it merely sends a bad message to Congress. The Legislature passed two other bills aimed at hindering recovery of this highly endangered animal -- SB1211 Mexican wolf; taking; reporting (Griffin, Burges, D. Farnsworth, et al.) and HB2699 endangered species programs; rescission; reimbursement (Thorpe, Stevens: Gowan, et al.), but luckily Governor Brewer vetoed both of them. 

Take Action!

Please thank Governor Brewer for vetoing the anti-wolf bills.


San Pedro Riparian Natl Conservation Area (Photo by Scott Jones)
     credit:  Scott Jones

You can also contact Governor Brewer by calling her at (602) 542-4331 or toll free at 1-(800) 253-0883.

There was more bad news for the Arizona Water Protection Fund and for our mesquite bosques. SB1478 water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk
(Griffin) passed the Senate 18-11-1 and the House 47-13 and was signed by the Governor. It contains an unrelated amendment on long-term storage credits for water, which made this bill much harder to stop as it was being promoted by the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Salt River Project, and the usual water buffaloes. The portion of the bill that concerns us the most, however, is the portion that prohibits the Arizona Water Protection Fund from being used to plant mesquite and also promotes the removal of those same trees. Mesquite are native to Arizona and mesquite bosque provide important habitat for wildlife, especially a diversity of birds. The focus should be on the restoration of riparian areas, not on the removal of vegetation.

Phoenix sprawl (Photo by Scott Sprague)
  credit: Scott Sprague

Legislators passed and Governor Brewer signed a bill to allow more unregulated and irresponsible development, about the last thing Arizona needs. SB1215 Now: unsubdivided land; definition(Griffin) will open up even more areas of our state to unsustainable development and additional wildcat subdivisions, plus stress water resources in places such as Cochise County and further harm the San Pedro River. Our land use regulations are already weak; we don't need is another loophole or exception. SB1215 passed the Senate 25-2-3 and the House 36-21-3.

SB1293 publicity pamphlets; disclosure
(Griffin) was cleaned up and the provision removed that required that any campaign literature and the publicity pamphlet contain inaccurate and misleading language about ballot measures, including that a ballot measure can "never be changed in the future except." The language is intended to discourage citizen initiatives and will not better inform voters. It will instead confuse voters and erect additional impediments citizen initiatives. The bad language was removed in conference committee.

petition boxes by Sandy Bahr
  credit: Sandy Bahr

HCR2018 funding ballot measures; reauthorization (Boyer, Thorpe: Allen, et al.) did not advance in the Senate. HCR2018 refers to the ballot proposed constitutional amendment that require certain ballot measures that have an expenditure of state monies associated with them to be referred back to the ballot every eight years.

The Arizona Legislature can refer individual measures to the ballot any time it can get the necessary votes, so this measure is unnecessary. If legislators think a measure should go back to the ballot, they merely need 31 votes in the House and 16 votes in the Senate to send it there.This is a blatant attempt to weaken our rights to citizen initiatives.

In other bad news, legislators added an amendment on to HB2523 projects; water supply development
(Barton, Thorpe, Tobin, et al.) that allows the state, counties, and cities to accept out-of-state "special waste." This passed both houses and was signed by the Governor. This means your local landfill can accept petroleum contaminated soils, shredded waste from plastics and metals, and more from surrounding states. Apparently, this bill was being promoted by La Paz County, because it wants to accept waste from California. What kind of liability is this for the county taxpayers and does it further risk water resources? There was no committee hearing on this provision, no discussion, and no case made for why it is needed. It was inserted in a sneaky last minute floor amendment. Why? What are the counties afraid of discussing regarding "special waste"?

There was no last minute amendment to prohibit energy efficiency building codes. Hooray!

Look for a more complete wrap-up soon.



Thank you again for caring and for taking action to protect Arizona's environment!

Warm regards,
Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633

Name Bill Issue Status Our Position
Mexican wolf; taking; reporting SB1211 Wildlife 04/23/2014 - SB1211 was vetoed and HB2699 were both vetoed. oppose
  action needed on SB1211: Please thank Governor Brewer for vetoing HB2699 and SB1211. Use the link or phone number below. Find out more.
endangered species programs; rescission; reimbursement HB2699 Wildlife 04/23/2014 - Governor Brewer vetoed it! oppose
  action needed on HB2699: Please thank Governor Brewer for vetoing HB2699 and another anti-wolf bill, SB1211. See link below for sending a message. Find out more.
funding ballot measures; reauthorization HCR2018 Ballot Measures 04/18/14 - It awaits action by the Senate Rules Committee. oppose
  action needed on HCR2018: Please ask your senator to vote no on HCR2018 by clicking on the link below under detailed action. Find out more.
federal land; emergency access HB2541 Public Lands 04/18/2014 - Governor Brewer vetoed it! oppose
  action needed on HB2541: Please thank Governor Brewer for vetoing HB2541. You can use the link below or call her. Find out more.
water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk SB1478 Water--Stream Flow 04/23/2014 - It was signed by the Governor. oppose
  action needed on SB1478: No action is required at this time. The bill has unfortunately been signed into law. Find out more.
ballot measures; proposition 105 disclosure HB2014&SB1293 Ballot Measures 04/18/2014 - SB1293 is going to conference committee and HB2014 awaits action in rules oppose
  action needed on HB2014&SB1293: Please ask your senator to vote no on HB2014 and SB1293! You can use the links below to send a message. Find out more.
Now: forest health management HB2343 Forests 04/23/2014 - It was signed by the Governor. no position
  action needed on HB2343: With the removal of the immunity language, we are neutral on the bill, so no action is needed. Find out more.
federal acquisition; state lands; monitoring HB2700 State Trust Lands 04/18/2014 - It failed in the Senate. oppose
  action needed on HB2700: Please thank senators who opposed HB2700. Find out more.
Now: unsubdivided land; definition SB1215 Land Use 04/23/2014 - It was signed by the Governor. oppose
  action needed on SB1215: No action is needed as the bill has been signed. Find out more.
aquifer protection permits; post closure procedure SB1274 Water--Aquifer Protection 04/18/2014 - It is on the Governor's desk. oppose
  action needed on SB1274: No action is requested at this time. The bill still concerns us, however. Find out more.
municipalities; counties; energy efficient codes SB1227 Energy 03/21/2014 - It was never Third Read in the Senate, so this version of the bill is dead. oppose
  action needed on SB1227: No action is needed currently as the bill is dead. Find out more.
municipalities; counties; wildland-urban interface regulation HB2578 Forests 04/23/2014 - It passed out of the House and was never heard in the Senate. support
  action needed on HB2578: The bill is dead, so no action is needed. Find out more.
election law amendments; repeal SB1270 Elections 03/03/14 - The Senate substituted HB2196 and voted it out along party lines. The Governor signed it. oppose
  action needed on SB1270: No action is needed currently as the Governor signed the repeal. Find out more.

Other Sessions

If you are not sure who your legislators are, please click on Legislative Districts or call the House or Senate information desks.  To email legislators click here.  If you're outside the Phoenix area, you can call your legislators’ offices toll free at 1-800-352-8404.  In the Phoenix area call (602) 926-3559 (Senate) or (602) 926-4221 (House).  Correspondence goes to 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ85007-2890.  For more information on legislation go to Arizona Legislature 

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