"Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you."
~ Langston Hughes
March 11, 2014
Dear Conservation Friends,
credit: Mark Coryell
Last week was a light week for committees at the Legislature, but there was a lot of action on the House and Senate Floors where they moved along a very long list of legislation, much of it unnecessary and potentially harmful. It is always interesting to see how many bills a "conservative" legislature produces.
You have seen several references to "strike everything amendments" in these updates and some bills listed where the bill short title says "NOW." Strike everything amendments are confusing to most people, so here is a quick explanation. Strike everything amendments can be offered in any standing committee to eliminate all of the original bill language and replace it with brand new language, often times on a totally different topic. This results in a bill with the same number and different topic or at a minimum different language. Once the strike everything amendment is adopted in Committee of the Whole, the new bill title starts with the word "NOW." If you ever have questions about this or other matters relating to the Arizona Legislature, please do not hesitate to contact me.
In the good news column this week, SB1227 municipalities; counties; energy efficient codes (Crandell) appears to be stalled in the Senate as they do not have the necessary 16 votes to pass it. This outrageous bill, which is supported by the Homebuilders of Central Arizona, prohibits cities, towns, and counties from adopting any mandatory energy efficiency, energy conservation, or green building codes -- all or in part. This bill would hinder local efforts to reduce electricity and water use and save taxpayers' dollars. Please keep up the pressure on this bill as it could sneak through if we do not keep it on their radar.
Please ask your senator to oppose SB1227 and any other efforts to weaken energy efficiency codes.
In the bad news column, the Arizona Senate passed three bad wolf bills, all of which passed out of the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee, so they are headed to the floor of the House.
SB1211 Mexican wolf; taking; reporting (Griffin, Burges, D. Farnsworth, et al.) permits an employee of the Arizona Department of Agriculture to kill any wolf that has killed or is killing livestock, if there is an agreement between the agency and US Fish and Wildlife to that effect. It also authorizes the livestock industry to kill wolves under additional conditions.
credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service
SB1212 appropriation; wolf recovery; litigation costs (Griffin, Burges, Crandell, et al.) appropriates $250,000 for state litigation to impede federal efforts to recover Mexican wolves. It passed 16-14 and would have failed had Senator Worsley not switched his vote from nay to aye.
SCR1006 Mexican wolf; population rule (Griffin) is a resolution – a message – that contains inaccurate information and inflammatory language on wolves. It states that the legislature opposes additional introductions in Arizona and New Mexico, unless it is determined the wolves cannot be introduced in northern Mexico, and it says the legislature supports killing wolves that have harassed or killed livestock, pets, or people. Including people on the list with livestock and pets is a bit over the top. Wolves are not harassing, harming, or killing people.
Please ask Representatives to oppose all three anti-wolf bills.
credit: Sandy Bahr
SB1478 water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk (Griffin) prohibits the Arizona Water Protection Fund from being used to plant mesquite, tamarisk, or other non-native high water use trees and also promotes the removal of those same trees. It goes on to establish a “watershed improvement program.” The bill still has major issues. First of all, mesquite are native and mesquite bosque provide important habitat for wildlife. Second, the focus should be on the restoration of areas, not on the removal of vegetation. We would like to see this bill limit removal of vegetation to non-native invasive plants such as buffelgrass or trees such as tamarisk.
This bill passed out of the House Agriculture and Water Committee on Tuesday. Please contact your representatives and ask them to oppose it.
As you representatives to Vote NO on SB1478 ad to instead protect our waters and watersheds.
credit: Sandy Bahr
HCR2018 funding ballot measures; reauthorization (Boyer, Thorpe: Allen, et al.) passed out of the House along party lines 35-23-2. It refers to the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that requires all ballot measures that have any 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 really a blatant attempt to weaken our rights to citizen initiatives as it would be very difficult to raise enough money and develop a campaign around the same issue every eight years.
There is a similar bill moving through the Senate, SCR1003. They could amend SCR1003 to match HCR2018 and then merely substitute the bills. It does appear that they are determined to place this on the ballot for the General Election. Please contact senators and ask them to vote no on both or either of these bills.
Please ask your senator to oppose weakening citizen initiatives in the constitution and vote no on HCR2018 and SCR1003.
Remember, if you want to use the "Request to Speak" system this session to sign in on bills, you will need to set up a new account. Please contact me if you are interested in doing that. If you do so, you can register your support or opposition to a bill from your home computer. You need not actually speak on the bill. You can only register your support our opposition through this system when the bills are in committee.
There is also another way to register your support or opposition to bills going through the legislative process. It is www.azvoices.gov. You can submit ideas for legislators to consider and also let them know how you feel about various bills. Anyone may open an account, but only registered Arizona voters can register opinions on bills. You will need either your driver's license or voter registration card to set up your account. Check it out and let us know what you think of it.
Thank you for all you do to make Arizona a better place and for looking out for the air, land, water, and wildlife!
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
Coming Up This Week at the Legislature
Wednesday, March 12th
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs at 9:00 A.M. in Senate Hearing Room 109
Senate Committee on Finance at 2:00 P.M. in Senate Hearing Room 3
- Presentation - U of A Cooperative Extension
- HB2303 permits; transfer; veterans (Pratt, Cardenas, Gowan, et al.) allows for the transfer of big game tags and permits to veterans. MONITOR
- HB2127 has a
proposed game and fish; operations; maintenance
strike-everything amendment to
divert important habitat dollars that help to protect some of our states most imperiled species
Thursday, March 13th
- HB2285 NOW: TPT; refined coal transfer; exemption (Lesko) exempts, from state, county, city, town, and special district Transaction Privilege Tax, the transfer of title or possession of coal, back and forth, between a coal refinery and power plant. Do we really need yet another subsidy for dirty coal?
There are only a few agendas posted for Thursday and no environmental bills are scheduled for that day. There will likely be floor action and could be agendas posted later.