Sierra Club Update: "As If The Legislature Has Not Done Enough Damage Or Introduced Enough Ridiculous, Senseless and Truly Harmful Legislation..."

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The latest dispatch from Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr:

“You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.”
— Lyndon B. Johnson

April 2, 2010

Hi everyone! As if the Legislature has not done enough damage or introduced enough ridiculous, senseless, and truly harmful legislation for one session, it is now taking a second crack at it by pushing a plethora of strike-everything amendments. Remember these are the amendments that completely gut a bill and replace it with something different and many times unrelated. It is a way that dead bills are revived and a way to jam something through at the last minute, so no one reads it too carefully. It seldom results in good legislation.

SB1200 NOW: game and fish commission; recommendation board (Nelson) was just transmitted to Governor Brewer, so please contact her again and ask her to veto it. This bill limits the Governor’s ability to make appointments to Game and Fish by limiting who she can appoint, ensures that the larger public will have no role in wildlife management, and codifies 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 send two to five candidates to the Governor from which she must pick.

You can contact Governor Brewer by calling her at (602) 542-4331 or toll free at 1-(800) 253-0883. You can email her by clicking on Governor Brewer and then filling in the online form. You can also paste this website into your browser http://azgovernor.gov/Contact.asp

Please also contact members of the Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee and ask them to oppose the following bills:

HB2617 mining amendments; water; permits; rules (Jones, Gowan, Mason et al) is a long and extremely troubling piece of legislation that has been written by and for the mining industry. It is a classic fox guarding the henhouse bill that establishes the mining advisory council, an entity that will help the agencies make sure the regulations work for the industry. The council will assist with rule making, review decisions by administrative law judges, and generally allow early and undue influence by the mines on the rulemaking process. This bill will result in less protection for Arizona’s waters. It gives mining companies even more exemptions from specific provisions in the law relative to water quality and water quantity and sacrifices protection of our water for the short-term interests of these companies.

HCR2008 NOW: hunting and fishing; constitutional rights(JP Weiers, Gowan, Crump, et al) refers to the ballot a constitutional amendment that, if passed, will have a significant and negative impact on wildlife and wildlife management in Arizona. Wildlife belongs to all Arizona citizens — hunters and non-hunters, anglers and nonanglers, those who wildlife watch and those who don’t, and this as well as the next generation. It is held in trust by the State of Arizona for their benefit. Establishing a constitutional right to hunt and fish violates that basic trust responsibility and elevates hunting and angling from being a privilege to being a basic right — this proposed constitutional amendment would put hunting and fishing in Article 2 of the Arizona Constitution which is the “Declaration of Rights” in our Constitution. If passed, the “right” to hunt and fish would join: Due process of law, Right of petition and of assembly, Freedom of speech and press, Equal privileges and immunities, Bearing arms, and Liberty of conscience; appropriations for religious purposes prohibited; religious freedom, among many other important rights. The Arizona Constitution should be for proclaiming rights that guarantee fundamental democratic principles, not for protecting privileges or recreation.

Members of the Committee include: Senator John B. Nelson (jnelson@azleg.gov); Senator Steve Pierce (spierce@azleg.gov); Senator Al Melvin (amelvin@azleg.gov); Senator Leah Landrum Taylor (llandrumtaylor@azleg.gov); Senator Albert Hale (ahale@azleg.gov); Senator Amanda Aguirre (aaguirre@azleg.gov); and Senator Sylvia Allen (sallen@azleg.gov ).

Here is what the committees are doing this week. Remember, if you have signed up for the Request to Speak system, you can sign in on any of the bills that are on an agenda and register your opposition or support. Please take the time to do that on key bills. Thanks!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee at 1:30 p.m. in SHR 109
Presentation by Arizona Environmental Strategic Alliance
Executive Nomination — Arizona State Parks Board — Alan Everett

HB2617 mining amendments; water; permits; rules (Jones, Gowan, Mason et al) See above.

HB2661 statewide water augmentation authority; study (Tobin) requires the Arizona Department of Water Resources(ADWR) to appoint a Water Resources Development Commission to identify and quantify the water supplies currently available in each county; identify potential water supplies to meet additional demands and the legal and technical issues associated with using those supplies; identify potential mechanisms for financing the acquisition, treatment and delivery of water supplies; and make recommendations regarding further studies and evaluations. There is no mention of conservation or sustainability in this bill, besides, with the cuts to the ADWR there is no way they will be able to properly staff this committee. OPPOSE.

HB2767 water quality fees (Jones, McGuire, Pratt, et al) establishes a fees advisory council that includes a who’s who of big polluters — it does not even include a token member of the public or environmental advocacy organization. The bill allows the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to assess fees for the pollutant discharge elimination system permit program and to establish them for aquifer protection permits — those are currently capped in session law. We want the agency to be able to assess fees so it can actually implement these programs, but this fee advisory group is a bit much. This is part of the process to make this agency a permit mill. WATCH.
HCR2008 NOW: hunting and fishing; constitutional rights (JP Weiers, Gowan, Crump, et al) see above.

House Ways and Means Committee at 2:00 p.m. in HHR1

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Senate Committee on Appropriations at 1:30 p.m. in SHR109

HB2464 automobile insurance; safety equipment (McLain: Ash, Bradley, et al) will have a strike everything on the lease of state parks. I am sure this is not good and may be the one relating to Lake Havasu.

HCR2039 temporary suspension; voter protected funding (Kavanagh: Antenori, Biggs, et al) refers to the ballot a measure which allows the legislature to appropriate or divert not more than fifty per cent of any fund revenue or fund balance created or allocated to a specific purpose by any measure. This is to nip away at the voter protection act provisions in the Arizona Constitution. If passed by voters — and we do not think they will — it will mean future voter-approved measures are gutted by the Arizona Legislature. OPPOSE.

HCR2041 funding ballot measures; reauthorization (Stevens, Ash, Gowan, et al) refers to the ballot a measure that states that if an initiative or referendum authorizes or requires the expenditure of state monies, that authorization or requirement is valid only for eight fiscal years. At the end of this authorization period, a reauthorization measure has to be referred to the ballot. An automatic referral is unnecessary and unwise as it would mean we would spend all of our time just trying to maintain rather than improve. The Legislature, through a majority vote, can refer any of these measures at any time. OPPOSE.

House Government Committee at 2:00 p.m. in HHR4

SB1042 school bonds; technical correction (Burns) will have a strike everything amendment on cities; building permit fee. It is not yet posted.

SB1398 federal regulations; local coordination (S. Allen, Gould, C. Gray, et al) requires a city, town, county, or district to demand through any lawful means that the federal government coordinate with the city, town, county or district before implementing, enforcing, or extending federal regulations. It appears to be aimed primarily at environmental protections. We support coordination on all levels relative to all laws, but we do not support the provisions of this bill which are more about trying to scuttle moving forward with planning and action relative to environmental protections. OPPOSE.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

House Commerce Committee at 9:00 a.m. in HHR5

SCR1009 publicly financed elections; prohibition (Paton) refers to the ballot a measure to prohibit the use of public dollars for financing elections. If passed by the voters it would eliminate Clean Elections. The last thing Arizona needs is more money in politics. OPPOSE.

SCR1043 NOW: clean elections; funds; transfer (C. Gray) refers to the ballot a measure that transfers the Clean Elections Fund to the Classroom Site Fund. We support fixing the Clean Elections Act, not repealing it or defunding. Clean Elections provides an opportunity for people to run who are not beholden to a particular set of interests. We should work together to make it as effective possible, not throw the baby out with the bathwater. OPPOSE.

Senate Committee on Public Safety and Human Services at 10:00 a.m. in SHR3

HB2641 NOW: regulation; fireworks (Hendrix) allows the sale of various fireworks in Arizona. We have consistently opposed this in solidarity with the Forest Service and fire chiefs due to the increased risk of human caused fires in our forest and desert lands. OPPOSE.

Senate Committee on Finance at 1:30 p.m. in SHR3

HB2464 automobile insurance; safety equipment (McLain: Ash, Bradley, et al) will have a strike everything on the lease of state parks. It is also on the agenda for Appropriations above.

HB2574 renewable energy districts (Mason, Boone, Ch Campbell, et al) will have a strike everything amendment on energy districts. This could be good or bad. We will have to see when it is posted.

HB2586 execution and attachment; exemption (Biggs) will have a strike everything on agency rulemaking; fees. It is not yet posted.

Senate Committee on Education Accountability and Reform at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1

HCR2038 line item veto; limitation (Kavanagh, Antenori, Chabin, et al) will have a strike everything on clean elections. It is not yet posted.

House Appropriations Committee at 2:00 p.m. in HHR1

SB1359 department of water resources fund (S. Pierce, Aguirre, Ash, et al.). It establishes the Water Resources Fund and redirects existing fee monies from the state General Fund to this fund. This will allow the fees to be used for the purposes for which they were assessed. Ensuring that our water laws are followed is critical as there is little that is more important than water for Arizona’s future. SUPPORT.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

House Water and Energy Committee at 9:00 a.m. in HHR5

SB1201 renewable energy tax incentive revisions (Leff) see above.

SCR1046 jurisdiction over intrastate waters (C. Gray, Gould: S. Allen, et al) refers to the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that states that only the State of Arizona can regulate nonnavigable intrastate waters. It also defines navigable waters as only those on which routine, interstate commerce can float on their surface. This is a direct attempt to ensure that many of Arizona’s waters do not have the strong protections of the Clean Water Act. Beginning in 1972, the Clean Water Act protected all the nation’s waters, from small, unnamed streams to the Colorado River. In Arizona, it has protected ephemeral and intermittent streams and the headwater streams as well. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 94% of Arizona’s streams could lose protection under a measure such as SCR1046, merely because they do not flow year round. Similarly, 56% of the streams in Arizona could lose protection because they are head water streams and no other streams flow in to them. Our water supply is already limited here in Arizona, and with an ever growing population, we cannot afford to allow any of it to be polluted and should afford it the strongest protections possible. OPPOSE.

House Judiciary Committee at 9:00 a.m. in HHR4

SCR1009 publicly financed elections; prohibition (Paton) See above.

SCR1013 lieutenant governor; secretary of state (Paton) refers to the ballot a measure to rename the Secretary of State Lieutenant Governor.

SCR1043 NOW: clean elections; funds; transfer (C. Gray) See above.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 9:00 a.m. in HHR3

SB1063 game and fish commission; bison (Nelson) will have a strike everything amendment on public transportation; regional planning. It is not yet posted, but I expect that it cannot be good.

Senate Committee on Government Institutions at 9:30 a.m. in SHR1

HB2260 regulatory rule making (Tobin) makes the default for permits, a general permit, unless certain conditions apply. One of those conditions is not that it be more protective of the environment. General permits require limited if any public notice, are generally much less protective of resources, and are being misused already — note that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued general permits relating to groundwater protection for two proposed uranium mines. 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!

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