As the session progresses, it becomes more obvious that the leadership at the legislature wants to avoid considering controversial issues, especially those dealing with elections. Most of the bills that have advanced, did so by unanimous votes, meaning that they did not have significant opposition. Still, there are some bills that experienced some controversy. Here are a few that saw action this week.
HB2084 – international boundary wall; building permits PETERSEN – Prohibits a city, town or county from requiring a nonprofit corporation or property owner to obtain a building or construction permit for construction of an international boundary wall, if certain conditions are met. Usual and customary permits are OK, but this bill prohibits capricious requirements and undue delays. Votes have been along party lines, full house 31-29 and senate government 4-3. If one were to ask these democrats if they lock their doors at night, most likely they would answer YES, and if pressed as to why, they would likely respond that it is to keep out criminals and undesirables. Yet, they keep voting against any and all measures designed to increase border security.
SB1020 – ballot measures; proposition 105; disclosure UGENTI-RITA – Requires that ballot initiatives and referenda include notice that once enacted, these measures are virtually impossible to reverse, per Prop 105 (1998). Hard to understand why Democrats are opposed to disclosing this information to voters, but they did. Full senate 17-13, house elections 5-3.
SB1032 – early voting; signature required; notice UGENTI-RITA – Allows an early voter to add their signature to an early ballot returned without a signature on the return envelope no later than 7:00 p.m. on election day. This bill is totally unnecessary. If a voter neglects to sign envelope, vote should not be counted without further effort. Even so, the vote in the full senate was 17-13 and in the house elections committee it was 6-3. Again, democrats in unison against this bill.
HCR2032 – initiatives; single subject; title KERN – Constitutional amendment to require single issue and truth in advertising on initiatives. Good idea. It should also apply to referenda, not just initiatives. This bill is needed because every year we have at least one initiative that has a misleading title. This year the top prize goes to the initiative entitled “Smart and Safe Arizona Act”. Who could possibly be opposed to being smart and safe? As it turns out, this initiative is aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana. The vote in the full house was 31-28 and 4-3 in the senate judiciary committee. Again, party line votes. Obviously democrats do not want the title of ballot initiatives to reflect the real purpose of the initiative.
SB1556 – civil asset forfeiture; conviction; procedures FARNSWORTH, E – Requires a person to be convicted, with exceptions, before property that is seized and subject to forfeiture may be forfeited and makes corresponding changes to judicial proceedings. Modifies permissible use of Anti-Racketeering Revolving Fund monies. Reinforces the principle that property should not be confiscated without due process. SB1556 passed unanimously, 30-0 in the senate.
The following bills are some of the more interesting ones that will see action next week. For more details, including more bills, dates, times, and locations, check out the March 15 edition of our Call to Action, which may be found by going to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AZRRT/
SB1059 – TPT; use tax; education ALLEN, S – Establishes new revenue distributions for education and the Classroom Site Fund (CSF). Conditions the enactment of this legislation on the outcome of the vote of the people of S.C.R. 1002 at the next general election. SCR1002, if approved by voters will increase the AZ “sales” tax rate from 5.6% to 6.6%, which is a 17.86% increase. This huge sales tax increase, introduced by Brophy-McGee, thankfully appears to be stuck in the senate. Unless SCR1002 is approved by the legislature and enacted by the voters, SB1059 is irrelevant.
SB1357 – schools; access; instructional materials; review ALLEN, S – Important parental rights bill. Enables parents to know all the instructional materials that are used in schools. This bill cleared the full senate 16-10, with 1 republican and 3 democrats choosing not to vote.
HB2120 – schools; graduation ceremonies; cultural regalia COOK – A school district governing board or a charter school may not prohibit a pupil from wearing cultural regalia while participating in a graduation ceremony. Why is it so important that students flaunt cultural differences? Are we not a melting pot anymore? The 58-2 house vote shows that political correctness is rampant in the AZ legislature. Only two representatives had the courage and common sense to oppose HB2120. They were Kern and Payne.
HB2654 – patriotic youth groups; school access. THORPE – Permits certain patriotic youth groups, like the Boys Scouts of America, to address students. As introduced, approved groups were the 5 groups listed under 36 U. S. Code, Subsection II, Part B. While some of these groups may not be as squeaky clean as we would like, they could be considered acceptable. But as amended, the definition of patriotic groups is unacceptable, because it is any organization that the school board and principal want. From the beginning, this bill was suspect, because some of the groups listed have questionable reputations. But the amendment to widen eligibility makes this bill totally unacceptable. All democrats voted in favor and were joined by a handful of republicans, for a full house vote of 44-15.
We now have a companion video outlet to compliment this Week in Review report, entitled AZ Bill Watch 2020. In this program we report and comment on legislative activity in much greater detail, using a panel discussion:
For information on all the bills we are tracking, check out our weekly Calls to Action and legislative report, found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AZRRT/
Folks who do not use Facebook can receive those alerts via e-mail by subscribing to our distribution list at email@example.com
For general information on the workings of our state legislature, go to our website at https://azpeopleslobbyist.com/
As usual, all the information found herein may be fact checked and verified by going to the legislature website, at https://www.azleg.gov/