Sierra Club: Tell Lawmakers To Save The State Parks!

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The latest bulletin from Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr:

Hi everyone! Don’t forget Environmental Day - Rally for Parks at the Capitol on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We will have a brief program on the House Lawn. Speakers will focus on parks and environmental programs and let us know how we can help turn the tide. Please bring a brown bag lunch to enjoy while listening to the speakers. We will provide tables and chairs, drinks, and cookies for dessert.

This week, please contact your legislators and tell them you support State Parks! Ask them to:

Discontinue the transfer of monies from the Heritage Fund to the State Forester.

Eliminate all of the Fund Reductions and Transfers and Excess Balance Transfers from December 2009 — totaling about $8.6 million.

Allow Parks to keep all enhancement dollars (park fees) for operations, including those being collected currently.

Reject proposals for Fiscal Year 2011 that would divert all of the Heritage Fund dollars to the General Fund or any proposals to permanently divert all of the lottery revenues to the General Fund. This affects Game and Fish habitat and endangered species programs too.

Support a program that would allow Arizona residents with an Arizona license plate to visit all Arizona parks without paying an entrance fee. This can be accommodated by

implementation of a $9 fee on Arizona vehicle licenses that will generate about $39 million, which will allow parks to maintain and operate the system.

Stop all Fund Reductions and Transfers and Excess Balance Transfers — keep fee funds for their intended purposes.

Expand partnerships with local governments and volunteer entities to keep parks operating and maintained.

Recognize parks and open space as integral to our quality of life, our economy, and to the future of our state and generations yet to come.

To email your legislators or find their direct phone numbers, click on Legislators or paste http://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp into your browser. 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) and ask them to connect you with your legislators.

Here is what is coming up at the Legislature this week.

Monday, February 1, 2010
Environmental Day - Rally for Parks and Conservation 10:30am- 1:00pm

Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee at 1:30 p.m., SHR 109
Confirmation of Maria Baier, State Land Commissioner

SB1036 solid waste; private enterprise (Waring) prohibits a municipality, regardless of size, from restraining private commercial or industrial recycling or solid waste management services. Does this mean it limits local regulations of these entities? I have some concerns about the impacts of this and its pre-emption of local government — again.

SB1141 CAGRD revenue bonding; sustainability policies (Nelson, Aguirre, Burns, et al) includes bonding provisions for the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District. We are not fans of the CAGRD as it is a sprawl machine — it promotes development of undeveloped desert lands. This bill makes it no worse, however. NEUTRAL.

SB1171 aggregate mining reclamation reports (S. Allen, Burges, Hendrix) requires the owner or operator of an aggregate mining facility to submit an annual status report for each approved reclamation plan. The requirements are minimal, but this is probably a slight improvement.

SB1194 Arizona power authority; bonding (S. Pierce, Nelson) modifies the Arizona Power Authority’s requirements for the issuance of bonds. WATCH.

SB1196 illegal dumping; penalties (S. Allen, Aguirre, Miranda, et al) establishes requirements and penalties relating to the removal of trash and other debris from private or public property. This includes an $1800 fine. SUPPORT.

SB1198 line extensions; utility infrastructure; charges (S. Allen, Aguirre, Miranda, et al) prohibits a public service corporation from charging a customer for the first one thousand feet of a line to extend electric service from a public service corporation's existing permanent facility to the point of delivery. This applies if the cost of the line or service lateral is ten thousand dollars or less. If the cost is more than ten thousand dollars, the public service corporation can conduct a cost analysis, at its own expense, to determine the cost, and require payment on any costs above ten thousand dollars. There are many problems with this bill. First of all, it is unconstitutional as it infringes on the constitutional rate-making authority of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Next, the bill would shift the costs of sprawl developments from the developers back to the ratepayers. The reason the Arizona Corporation Commission discontinued this policy of free extensions was the Commission determined it was unfair to burden ratepayers with these costs. Growth and development should pay for itself. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 4
HB2144 wildlife guides; wasted meat (Konopnicki) clarifies definition of guide and makes wasting of wildlife meat a revocable offense. SUPPORT.

House Committee on Ways and Means at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 1
HB2502 taxation of solar energy property (Murphy) provides a property tax break for solar energy property of at least 20 acres or more and that generates 100 megawatt hours or more of electricity per acre per year. This may be a good idea, but I need to find out more about it and its implications.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Senate Commerce & Economic Development Committee Meeting at 1:30 p.m. in SHR 1

SB1201 renewable energy tax incentive revisions (Leff) fixes many of the problems with last year’s manufacturing tax credits bill. SUPPORT.

Senate Appropriations Committees Meeting at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 109

SCR1015 will have a strike everything amendment on appropriation limit; reduction (R. Pearce) which is not yet posted.

SCR1033 repeal 1998 proposition 105 (R. Pearce) refers to the ballot a measure to repeal the voter protection act provisions in the Arizona Constitution. The Voter Protection Act keeps the legislature from repealing and totally undercutting voter-approved measures. OPPOSE.

House Environment Committee at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 5

HB2165 vehicle emissions testing; onboard diagnostics (Nichols) allows vehicles that receives an onboard diagnostic check that results in a finding that the vehicle is not ready for testing or that results in a diagnostic trouble code, to return immediately to the emissions testing line, pay a second emissions testing fee and take a tailpipe emissions test. If the vehicle passes the tailpipe emissions test, the vehicle is required to take and pass an onboard diagnostic check within one year after the tailpipe emissions test. It weakens the vehicle emissions program. OPPOSE.

HB2248 western climate initiative; prohibition (Biggs) prohibits a state officer or employee from participating in the Western Climate Initiative that is organized and operated by an affiliation of state governors and one or more provinces of Canada. This is a way to block the state from doing anything on climate change. OPPOSE.

HB2442 greenhouse gas emissions; regulations (Burges, Antenori, Barnes, et al) prohibits state agencies from adopting or enforcing a state or regional program to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases without express legislative authorization. Like that will ever happen. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Government at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 4

HB2249 municipal development fees; refunds (Biggs) requires development fees to be refunded if a facility for which they were charged is not constructed within seven years. This would only make sense if the city could reassess them when the facility was built. OPPOSE.

HB2259 development fees; proportional share (Biggs) includes additional provisions for charging the proportionate costs relative to impact fees — the cost has to be based on services provided to current homes. This appears to be another way to tie the hands of the cities relative to recovering the costs of growth. WATCH.

HB2451 line extensions; utility infrastructure, chares (Antenori; Crump, Gowan et al) is identical to

SB1198. We strongly oppose this unconstitutional measure.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

House Committee on Commerce at 9:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5

HB2130 lead acid batteries; sale; fee (Reagan) increases the fee that can be charged on lead acid batteries from $5 to $15. This fee supports the recycling of the batteries and is refunded when the old battery is returned. SUPPORT.

HB2211 political subdivisions; volunteers; noxious weeds (Reagan, Cajero Bedford, Nelson, et al) provides a narrow exemption for volunteers working with political subdivisions and under supervision of a licensed applicator. They must have been trained and there are limits on the amounts and types of herbicides. Limiting the use of herbicides to the greatest degree possible is critical, but it is one of the tools in battling buffel grass and other invasives. This bill is being promoted by Pima County, which has been very aggressive in going after buffel grass in order to protect the Sonoran Desert vegetation and limit unnatural fires in these desert landscapes. SUPPORT.

HB23337 Arizona manufactured incandescent lightbulbs; regulation (Antenori, Biggs, Gowan, et al) says that incandescent lightbulbs that are manufactured and sold in Arizona are not subject to federal law. This is an anti-energy efficiency bill that is probably unconstitutional and is reminiscent of the bill passed by the legislature that made it okay to manufacture and chlorofluorocarbons despite federal law and international treaties. Federal law requires that more efficient lightbulbs be manufactured over time.
OPPOSE.

House Appropriations Committees Meeting at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 1

· Presentation by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee on Potential Proposition 105 Reform Options and Potential State Lottery Reform Options

Thursday, February 4, 2010

House Water and Energy Committee at 9:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5

HB2573 cities; water softeners; salts (Mason) allows cities to regulate water softeners. This is an issue as we increase the salinity of our water via wastewater discharges. SUPPORT.

HB2576 heat and power tax credit (Mason, Nelson, Antenori, et al) provides for tax credits for combined heat and power (CHP) with an annual cap of $1 million. This is the most efficient way to use natural gas and these measures can help us transition to clean renewable energy sources. We continue to support this bill, but do think the legislature must look carefully at all tax credit provisions. SUPPORT.

To email your legislators or find their direct phone numbers, click on Legislators or paste http://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp into your browser. If you are not sure who your legislators are, please go to here or call the House or Senate information desks. 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) and ask them to connect you with your legislators. For more information on bills we are tracking, go here. Thank you!

Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter
202 E. McDowell Rd, Suite 277
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone (602) 253-8633
Fax (602) 258-6533
sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org
arizona.sierraclub.org

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