Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
It’s so stressful when the Arizona Legislature is in session. It’s like living with an abusive parents because you never know when or where they will strike next– so, we live under a veil of paranoia, waiting for the old grizzled old farts to leave Phoenix and go back to their bunkers.
My head is spinning from all of the crazy bills they considering this spring. One thing predictable is that they are sticking with their long-time playbook: Guns, Gays, God, and Greed. Reading the list below makes me wonder what they have against children, wolves, and the unemployed. Brace yourself.
Thanks to the Pima Dems for compiling this list of bills that are in play. (I have highlighted a few key words to make this easier to sort through.)
In the Senate–
SB 1100: would requiring that school districts lease or sell unused/underutilized buildings to charter schools or private schools. Had its first floor reading Monday.
SB 1227: inspired by the conspiracy theory that the United Nations will order the U.S. government to raze housing developments that don’t meet U.N. environmental standards, this bill would prohibit counties and municipalities statewide from implementing “green” building codes. Had a first reading on the Senate Floor last week, no second reading scheduled yet.
SB 1281: Sponsored by LD-3 Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford and LD-10 Sen. David Bradley, this bill would provide a back-to-work program for unemployed people needing a career change, including internships while still getting unemployment checks. Passed by a 22-6 vote Tuesday in the Senate and transmitted to the House.
SB 1351: would allow residents of Pima County who do not live within the Tucson city limits to serve on the Rio Nuevo Board. Also removes the requirement for construction of a hotel at the Tucson Convention Center. Approved by the Senate Monday by a 25-0 vote.
SB 1355: would forbid public employee unions from collecting dues via payroll deduction. Had a first reading Tuesday on the Senate floor. A related bill, SB 1354, that requires biannual re-authorization of dues payments passed the Rules Committee last week but, at last check, had not been scheduled for further action.
SB 1479: essentially a law against “breathing while brown.” This bill makes being in the state illegally criminal trespass in the third degree. Passed the Rules Committee last week but has not yet been scheduled for further action.
SCR 1003: a proposal to change Arizona’s Constitution to require voters’ re-approval every eight years for any ballot measure that spends or collects public dollars. Failed to pass during a third floor reading Tuesday but a motion to reconsider succeeded.
HB 2115: the “strike-everything” amendment to this bill would allow employers to avoid their responsibility to pay Unemployment Insurance benefits to employees not fired for cause.Already approved by the House, it passed Tuesday by a 4-1 vote in the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee.
HB 2150: another anti-public education bill. This one would make the families of military members eligible for school “Empowerment Scholarships.” Passed last week in the House, it is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee Thursday morning.
HB 2219: would triple Arizona’s corporate tax credit. Passed last week by the House, it has had two floor readings already and been assigned to two Senate Committees: Finance and Government and Environment.
HB 2284: the brainchild of the right-wing Center for Arizona Policy, this bill permits unannounced inspections of health clinics that provide abortion services. Promised legal action over the questionable constitutionality of ts measure will cost the state an estimated at $500,000. Passed the House Tuesday on a 34-22 vote.
HB 2367: imposes work and other requirements on AHCCCS enrollees. Passed last week by the House, it already has had two floor reading in the Senate and been assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.
HB 2543: sponsored by LD-9 Rep. Victoria Steele, this measure appropriates $250,000 to help cover the expenses of educators who take youth mental health first aid training. PassedMonday by a 40-17 vote in the House, it already has had two floor readings in the Senate and been assigned to two committees: Education and Finance.
HB 2560: would permit insurance companies to audit their own compliance with applicable state rules and regulations and report the results to the appropriate regulatory agencies, and keep those reports secret. Passed in the House last week by a 34-23 vote. It is assigned to the Senate Finance Committee.
HB 2587: would separate the crime of livestock cruelty from other types of animal cruelty and eliminates the option of felony charges. Pits a strange coalition of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Arizona Humane Society, the ACLU and free-speech advocates against the farmers and cattle ranchers statewide. Passed the House 33-24 Monday. Now assigned to the Senate Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee.
HB 2603: would prohibit anyone convicted of a drug offense from receiving aide from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Passed 35-23 in the House last week and has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
HB 2667: Sponsored by LD-10 Rep. Stefanie Mach with co-sponsors including LD-3 Rep.Sally Ann Gonzalez and LD-2 Rep. Demion Clinco, this bill changes the wording in all state law by replacing the pejorative term “handicapped” with the phrase “person with a disability.” Passed 57-0 last week in the House, it is now assigned to two Senate committees: Health and Human Services and Government and Environment.
HB 2699: seeks to exempt Arizona from having to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act. Passed 34-24 by the House last week, it is now assigned to the Senate Government and Environment Committee.
HCR 2018: a twin to SCR 1003 (see above.) It passed last week in the House and is currently assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In the House–
HB 2291: the House version of SB 1237. This bill, authored by the Goldwater Institute, the bill would expand the use of “Empowerment Scholarships” to three out of four k-12 students in Arizona. Had a third floor reading Monday and was retained on the calendar.
HB 2339: approved on a 34-22 vote and sent to the Senate, this bill allows anyone holding a concealed weapon permit to carry a firearm into many public buildings. Counties and municipalities may still enforce “weapons-free zones” but must provide metal detectors, armed guards and gun lockers at all public entrances.
HB 2490: also sponsored by Rep. Steele, this measure would approve $250,000 in state funding to train people to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness as well as eating and substance abuse disorders in youth. Passed Monday by a 41-16 vote and sent to the Senate.
SB 1096: another “tinfoil hat” bill. This seeks to partially nullify the power of the Federal Reserve by allowing certain gold and silver coins to be accepted a legal tender in specific transactions. Passed 6-2 Tuesday in the House Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee.
SB 1158: reduces the ability of counties and cities to regulate the sale and use of certain consumer fireworks. Passed by the Senate last week and had its second reading on the House floor Monday.
SB 1237: seeks to greatly expand the availability of school vouchers or “Empowerment Scholarships” in Arizona. If approved it would divert millions of dollars from public schools to unaccountable private schools. A House Education Committee hearing scheduled forMonday was canceled.
SB 1211: one of three measures intent on hampering the reintroduction of Mexican grey wolves in Arizona, this measure would allow the state Department of Agriculture and “livestock operators” to kill the predators under certain circumstances. Passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee Monday.
SB 1212: appropriates $250,000 for the AZ Attorney General’s office to bring litigation against the wolf reintroduction program. Also passed the House EENR Committee Monday.
SCR 1006: a resolution explaining Republican lawmakers’ objection to the wolves return to Arizona. Also passed the House EENR Committee Monday.