by Jim Nintzel
The latest dispatch from Sandy Bahr, legislative lobbyist for the Sierra Club:
Hi everyone! You would think that after all of the havoc they wreaked last week, the Legislature might give us a small break, but no. They moved forward a long list of bad ideas — from providing more exemptions for large mining conglomerates, weakening groundwater protection, allowing more illegal lot splits, stealing all the Clean Elections dollars, and setting up a good ol’ boy network for Game and Fish. Needless-to-say, they did nothing for Parks and still refuse to hear HCR2040 sustainable state parks fund (Jones, Brown, Ch. Campbell, et al). They are proposing a voluntary fee instead, as well an unconstitutional raid on voter-protected funds.
SB1200 NOW: game and fish commission; recommendation board (Nelson) passed out of the State Senate 16-7-7. (It failed on the first vote but was brought back for reconsideration.) Please thank the following senators for voting no and for supporting public involvement in good wildlife
management: Meg Burton Cahill firstname.lastname@example.org; Jorge Luis Garcia email@example.com; Leah Landrum Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org; Linda Lopez email@example.com; Debbie McCune Davis firstname.lastname@example.org; Richard Miranda email@example.com; and Rebecca Rios firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also please contact Representatives and ask them to “Vote NO” on SB1200. It may come to the floor of the House as early as Monday. This bill ensures that the larger public will have no role in wildlife management and codify in law the good ol’ boy system. It sets up the Arizona Game and Fish Commission appointment recommendation board, which is made up of narrowly defined hunting organizations, one member of the public, and one rancher. The purpose of this board is to interview Game and Fish Commission candidates and make recommendations to the Governor — she/he has to pick a commissioner from among those recommendations.
These measures are being pushed by a group that represents a small percentage of Arizona’s hunters and anglers and that does not represent the broader interests of the public or of wildlife. They are trying to ram this bill through in order to ensure complete control of the Game and Fish Commission and to block the appointment of anyone that does not pass their litmus test.
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 the committees are doing this week.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee at 1:30 p.m. in SHR 109
HB2146 trust lands; loss of lease (Konopnicki) creates another and significant obstacle to any competition relative to State Trust Land grazing leases. It requires that anyone, with the exception of the existing lessee, who wants to apply for a grazing lease get a list and an appraisal of all nonremovable “improvements” on the lands. This includes fences, water tanks, and such. Applicants must already pay for the improvements if they are awarded the lease, but this requires significant expenditure of dollars before even applying. This bill is intended to bar any competition for grazing leases and continue to keep them in the hands of existing lessees. OPPOSE.
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.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Senate Committee on Commerce and Economic Development at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1
HB2082 residential utility consumer office; continuation (Mason, Boone, Chabin, et al) continues this agency through July 1, 2020.
House Environment Committee at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 5
SB1277 maximum daily load program; continuation (Nelson, Aguirre, McGuire, et al) continues the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program for ten years through July 1, 2020. This is a program mandated by the Clean Water Act to provide for clean-up of impaired waters. We support having a TMDL program, but we are not so sure we support continuing it at ADEQ if the agency is not going to be funded to implement it.
SB1408 agricultural best management; dust; districts (Melvin, S. Allen, Pierce, et al) expands the activities that are subject to the Best Management Practices (BMP) general permit to include irrigation districts, but only irrigation districts in nonattainment areas formed after 2009 — this is targeted at Pinal County. Irrigation districts cover quite a lot of land in Pinal County. These BMPs are weak and generally not enforced, so having them apply to more entities will not get us cleaner air, but only will serve to weaken the counties’ ability to implement measures to protect public health. OPPOSE.
House Government Committee at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 4
SB1357 rezoning; majority vote (S. Pierce) will have a strike everything amendment on Majority vote; rezoning, which is not yet posted, but will have something to do with limiting zoning protests — currently those who live near a project can trigger a three-fourths vote. The underlying bill eliminates that. OPPOSE.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Senate Committee on Finance at 1:30 p.m. in SHR3
HB2502 taxation of solar energy property (Murphy) provides for the valuation for utility-scale solar plants in the same manner as agricultural property. The property has to be at least 20 acres or more and generate 100 megawatt hours or more of electricity per acre per year.
House Appropriations Committee at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 1
HB2599 state treasurer’s operating fund (Kavanagh) will have a strike everything amendment on state parks fund; voluntary contributions. Apparently, this is their answer to saving parks — the equivalent to putting out a pan and hoping someone throws a few coins into it. Maybe we should fund freeways or their salaries that way.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Senate Committee on Government Institutions at 9:00 a.m. in SHR1
HCR2045 legislative council; continuation (Montenegro) continues the Legislative Council until January 1, 2021, but also includes the following language, “Notwithstanding any other law, reasonable access to private property shall not be denied by this state or any political subdivision of this state.” I don’t know exactly what the larger implications of this are, but believe it will not be good for public lands. Does it mean Rusty Bowers can require the county to let him put a road through Usery Mountain Regional Park? It does not belong in this bill as it is not germane to the Legislative Council continuation and would likely result in more roads through parks. OPPOSE.
If you are not sure who your legislators are, please go to http://azredistricting.org/mapping/default2.asp?tname=Interim.2009.Legislative.Map&service=ircmaps&Layer4=on&Layer1=on&action=zoomin&ActiveLayer=16 or call the House or Senate information desks. For more information on bills we are tracking, go to http://arizona.sierraclub.org/political_action/tracker/ Thank you!