One would have thought that with the slow down of activity resulting from restrictive edicts by the governor, the state legislature also would have taken it easy for a change. Not so. As of the writing of this piece, the total count of introduced bills was up to a near-record 1,748. The house did its fair share, with 873 droppings. For those not familiar with azleg jargon, bills are said to have been dropped when they are introduced, hence the term 873 droppings. But there is another definition of droppings, which in this case is entirely accurate. The senate, not to be outdone, had its proper share of droppings at 875. There may be only half as many senators, but they are twice as determined to claim their fair share of the frenzy.
This activity may be somewhat tempered by the fact that many of these bills are simple housekeeping endeavors. Some are also duplicates, meaning that the same bills are dropped in both the house and the senate. The idea here is to see which chamber is more favorably to the idea, so that efforts may be concentrated there, eventually abandoning the bill in the other chamber. But these numbers are miniscule compared to the total number of bills dropped. Furthermore, there should be some consolation in the fact that the bill dropping season is about to end.
This week, elections and education took center stage, again, but there were other issues as well. Here are some examples:
UGENTI-RITA – Removes “emergency” restrictions to otherwise lawful electioneering. This bill is important because election officials should not be allowed to limit activity in areas where such limitations favor one side or the other. It passed the Senate Government Committee 5-3.
MESNARD – For ballot measures, it Increases the limit of words in the description from 100 to 200. This makes it easier to provide as much information as possible so that voters may be in a better position to make an intelligent decision. It passed the Senate Government Committee 6-3
TELLER – Prohibits a school district governing board, a charter school governing body or any public school from establishing a dress code policy which prohibits students from wearing traditional tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance at a graduation ceremony. This is a racist bill. It is designed to give a single ethnic group privileges not available to others. Most people do not care whether someone wants to wear a feather, a rabbit’s foot, or any other amulet, but this bill creates and solves a problem that did not previously exist. Because of political correctness it passed the House Education Committee 10-0.
UDALL – This bill is an insult to taxpayers. It calls for expenditures exceeding the constitutional limit at a time when students are receiving substantially less education under the guise of protection against COVID. It is also an enigma in that it appears to be a simple resolution without any force behind it, but most bills of this nature entail an amendment to the state constitution. We could not find any such language in this bill. It passed the House Education Committee 8-1.
KAVANAGH – Requires all political subdivisions of the state to account for the money they got in connection with COVID. Whether accurate or not, there is a perception among observers of the system that there has been a lot of mischief in how COVID expenditures have been handled. This bill was held in the House Government and Elections Committee. It was not immediately apparent whether it has been or will be rescheduled.
GOWAN – Discourages defunding of police. Aimed at specifically prohibiting defunding for political reasons. Does not affect defunding as a result of changing economic conditions. This bill is an obvious attempt to head off attempts at police defunding by BLM and other organizations of their ilk. It was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee, but has been rescheduled for next week.
KERR – Prohibits corporation commission from regulating the TYPES of electricity producing resources used in AZ. Aimed at preventing the imposition of, for example, solar or wind. This bill is one of two that are clearly aimed at establishing some sort of checks and balance regarding the corporation commission. Republicans may also be nervous about one of the Republicans recently elected. This previous Ducey appointee wasted no time in joining Democrats for personal gain. SB1175 narrowly passed the Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee 5-4.
PARKER – Establishes a checks and balance on the corporation commission. Provides a path to hold the ACC accountable if they exceed their authority. This is the second of two bills aimed at some sort of check and balance with the ACC. This one was held in the Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee, but has been rescheduled for next week.
Next week promises to be even more exciting than this because of the crazy bills that are scheduled for committee hearings. Among the craziest are a measure to force government vehicles to be only electric, and another measure to increase the number of legislators from 90 to 120, as if we did not already have enough politicians.
Those readers who wish to view complete reports on what activity has taken place, or will be taking place next week, with the bills we are tracking, may do so by going to: https://www.facebook.com/AZRRT or https://mewe.com/i/joseborrajero
Both sites provide opportunities for readers to make comments, including suggestions for bills to add to our tracking list.