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Below is AFP-Arizona’s February 23 legislative update, featuring some good news, some bad news, and some action items for our hardworking grassroots citizen activists.
Some of the action items are general action pages that anyone can use at any time, and some are Request to Speak (RTS) items for our activists who have RTS accounts through the Legislature’s website. AFP-Arizona now has over 300 “Spartan” activists signed up for RTS, which allows you to weigh in remotely on bills as they go to committees. Reach out to Tom Jenney at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want us to sign you up for RTS. For bills related to criminal justice reform, please reach out to Chalon Hutson with Generation Opportunity – AZ at email@example.com
1) MIXED NEWS. The House version of Truth in Spending (HB 2099) passed the House 34-25 this week and now goes to the Senate. The biggest obstacle in the Senate is Senate President Steve Yarbrough of Chandler/LD17. Steve is a great guy and has often been a champion of fiscal conservatism (indeed, he has voted for tougher versions of Truth in Spending in the past), but he single-handedly killed the reform last year. We have tried to schedule meetings with him, but he has refused to meet with us. We have heard second-hand that he is concerned that Truth in Spending would “shame” the Legislature. Our answer is that the Legislature needs more budget transparency and accountability! To learn more about Truth in Spending, and to TAKE ACTION, go to our TRUTH IN SPENDING ACTION PAGE. Thanks to Rep. Vince Leach (Oro Valley) and Sen. John Kavanagh (Scottsdale) for sponsoring Truth in Spending!
2) BAD NEWS. One area where we do not appear to be winning right now is with regard to Transportation Tax Hikes. House Bill 2166 (Sponsor: Rep. Noel Campbell, Prescott) is a transportation tax bill that delegates taxing power to an unelected bureaucrat, in violation of the letter and spirit of Prop 108; unfortunately, HB 2166 passed the House 35-24 this week and is now heading to the Senate. Meanwhile, the Senate version of HB 2166 (SB 1146 — Sen. Bob Worsley) appears to be close to passing in the Senate. In other bad news, a bill authorizing more excise tax authority for county (SB 1147) this week passed the Senate 24-6 and is headed to the House. We will send RTS links soon for all of these bills. For now, please go to this action page to tell your Legislators to vote against gas tax hikes and transportation tax increases:
For more information about why Arizona does not need gas tax hikes or other transportation tax increases, go HERE
3) PROMISING NEWS. House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (Chandler) is looking at introducing a reform that would reduce Arizona’s income tax rates so that state revenues are not increased when Arizona automatically conforms its tax code to the federal code. You can take action now by going to www.aztaxreform.com
4) GOOD NEWS and URGENT ACTION! Senate Bill 1399 (Sponsor: Sen. Steve Smith, Pinal County) passed the Senate 21-8 and is going to the House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee on Monday, February 26, at 2:00 pm. SB 1399 would allows barbers and hairstylists to do apprenticeships, instead of being licensed through cosmetology schools. Once you log into RTS, you can use this SB 1399 LINK to weigh in on the bill.
5) GOOD NEWS. Senate Bill 1377 (Sponsor: Sen. Nancy Barto, NE Phoenix) passed the Senate this week 22-8 and now heads to the House. By allowing for the creation of a new profession, dental therapy, the bill would increase occupational freedom and help low-income and rural residents obtain greater access to affordable dental care. We will send RTS links soon.
6) UNCLEAR NEWS. House Bill 2011 is a common-sense bill from Rep. Michelle Ugenti and the Goldwater Institute that would allow persons to offer blow-drying services without having to obtain a cosmetology license. In Arizona right now, blow-drying someone’s hair without a cosmetology or barbering license is a CRIME punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine — and earning a license can cost up to $18,000 and require a minimum of 1,000 hours of training. Unfortunately, HB 2011 has not yet gotten a floor vote. Here is an easy-to-use action page to send emails to the Legislators in your district at any time on the blow-dry bill:
7) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2062, the Goldwater Institute’s “Permit Freedom Act” (Sponsor: Rep. T.J. Shope, Pinal County) passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate. Among other things, the bill would require government agencies that issue permits and occupational licenses to use proper rules of procedure and evidence, rather than holding the kind of “kangaroo courts” that have become notorious in American administrative law. RTS link coming soon.
8) UNCLEAR NEWS. House Bill 2126 (Sponsor: Rep. Vince Leach, Oro Valley) has not yet made it to a floor vote in the House. We will send an RTS link if it passes and moves to the Senate. HB 2126 would make it harder for cities to use slum and blight designations as excuses to hand out crony corporate-welfare exemptions from property taxes.
9) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2153, sponsored by Rep. Vince Leach (Oro Valley), passed the House 33-25 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. HB 2153 would protect the free speech and privacy of citizens, by keeping their personal donation information out of invasive government databases, and out of the hands of left-wing activists. RTS link coming soon.
10) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2238 (Sponsor: Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, Gilbert) would require courts in regulatory cases to actually decide questions of law (!) and not defer automatically to the decisions of administrative agencies. HB 2238 passed the House on Feb 14 and will go next to the Senate Judiciary Committee. RTS link coming soon.
11) UNCLEAR NEWS. House Bill 2280, sponsored by Rep. Vince Leach (Oro Valley), would prevent government universities from engaging in corporate-welfare lease-back schemes that grant tax-free status to university-favored businesses. HB 2280 passed House Rules Feb 19, but has not gotten a floor vote yet. We will send an RTS link if it passes and goes to the Senate.
12) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2333, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, and quarterbacked by our friends at the AZ Free Enterprise Club, would block cities from imposing unreasonable regulations (including permits and licensing) on home-based businesses. HB 2333 passed the House yesterday 36-20 and now heads to the Senate. RTS link coming soon.
13) BAD NEWS. House Bill 2341 — This bill appears to be dead, having been held in the House Education Committee. The bill would have allowed homeschool children to ride school district buses to commute to technical education schools — increasing school choice and making fuller use of school district resources. Learn more by checking out the Channel 3 news story about this issue.
14) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2357, sponsored by Rep. David Livingston, is a pension reform that would make the Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan (EORP) more actuarially sound — i.e., less bankrupt. HB 2357 passed the House 45-15 and now goes to the Senate. RTS link coming soon.
15) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2371 (Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Payne, NW Valley) passed the House 45-11 and now goes to the Senate. Hb 2371 would limit the number of restrictions cities and counties can put on mobile food vendors. RTS link coming soon.
16) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2434 (Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Weninger, Chandler) passed the House 34-22 yesterday and now goes to the Senate. HB 2434 would allow for financial service firms to do “sandbox” testing of new products without a license.
17) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2460 (Sponsor: Rep. Vince Leach, Oro Valley) passed the House 34-23 on Feb 15 and now heads to the Senate Education Committee. The bill would prevent school districts from discriminating against charter and private schools when selling vacant buildings and used equipment. RTS link coming soon.
18) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2461 (Sponsor: Rep. Vince Leach, Oro Valley) passed the House 34-23 on Feb 15 and now heads to the Senate Education Committee. HB 2461 would prevent cities and counties from discriminating against private schools in land-use policy. RTS link coming soon.
19) UNCLEAR NEWS. House Bill 2490 (Sponsor: Rep. Tony Rivero, Peoria) has not yet made it to a floor vote in the House. We will send an RTS link if it passes and moves to the Senate. HB 2490 would allow parties involved in internet commerce to agree to waive licensure and other regulations if public health and safety are not at risk.
20) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2532 (Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Payne, NW Valley) passed the House 34-22 yesterday. The reform would limit the kinds of occupational fees and license imposed by cities and counties. RTS link coming soon.
21) GOOD NEWS. House Bill 2563 (Sponsor: Rep. Paul Boyer, NW Valley) passed the House 34-22 yesterday. It now goes to the Senate. HB 2563, the Goldwater Institute’s Campus Free Speech bill, would protect freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas on the campuses of Arizona’s universities and community colleges. RTS link coming soon.
22) UNCLEAR NEWS. House Bill 2604 (Sponsor: House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, Chandler) has not yet made it to a floor vote in the House. HB 2604 would help to ensure that cities hold elections in even-numbered years on days when voter turnout is high. Currently, cities often bury elections on dates when turnout is low, favoring policy outcomes promoted by government employee unions.
23) GOOD NEWS. House Concurrent Resolution 2029 (Sponsor: House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, Chandler) passed the House 35-25 and now goes to the Senate. HCR 2029 would allow voters to raise the exemption on one of AZ’s most destructive taxes: the property tax on business plant and equipment. RTS link coming soon.
24) GOOD NEWS. Senate Bill 1247, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto (NE Phoenix), would prohibit counties and municipalities from requiring employers to provide health insurance to employees. (In other words, prevents local governments from enacting ObamaCare-style employer mandates.) SB 1247 passed the Senate 17-13 and now goes to the House Local and International Affairs Committee. RTS link coming soon.
25) UNCLEAR NEWS. Senate Bill 1378, AFP-Arizona’s Education Spending Transparency bill (Sponsor: Sen. Sylvia Allen, Northeast Counties), passed the Senate Appropriations and Rules Committees this week. SB 1378 is a common-sense measure: when asking taxpayers for more money for budget overrides and bonds, school districts should have to tell voters how much they already spend per pupil per year. But the education spending lobby is very afraid to let taxpayers know how much they already spend per child — and many legislators are afraid to stand up to the spending lobby. This bill is going to be tough to pass. Assuming it gets to the Senate floor, we will really need the votes of Senators Kate Brophy-McGee, Frank Pratt, and Bob Worsley, who voted against this reform last year. (And on the House side, Education chairman Rep. Paul Boyer refused to allow the bill to be heard.)
26) UNCLEAR NEWS. Senate Bill 1273 (Sponsor: Sen. Warren Petersen, Gilbert) passed the Rules Committee on Feb 13, but has not gone yet to a floor vote. SB 1273 would push the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council to strike down useless regulations.
27) UNCLEAR NEWS. Senate Bill 1404 (Sponsor: Sen. Steve Smith, Pinal County) passed the Senate Rules Committee on Feb 19, but has not gotten a floor vote yet. This reform would limit the kinds of occupational fees and license imposed by cities and counties.
28) UNCLEAR NEWS. SCR 1016 (Sponsor: Sen. Sylvia Allen, Northeastern Counties) passed the Senate Commerce Committee on Feb 13, but it has not gotten a floor vote yet. SCR 1016 would allow voters in 2018 to repeal the destructive $12-per-hour minimum wage legislation foisted on AZ by union activists in 2016.
29) UNCLEAR NEWS. SCR 1037 (Sponsor: Sen. Steve Smith, Pinal County) passed the Senate Commerce Committee on Feb 13, but it has not gotten a floor vote yet. This referendum would allow voters to limit state occupational licensing regulations to those necessary for public health and safety.
Be sure to join our sister organization, AFP Foundation, as it holds some Grassroots Leadership Academy trainings in Phoenix! “The Case for a Free Society” will give you the tools to make a difference. In these trainings, GLA will providing a policy vision for Arizona and outline a model we will use to build a movement of thousands here.
Each program will run from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. and includes free dinner. Click on a link below to RSVP! And please do invite a friend to attend!
2/27 (Phoenix Field Office) – Central Phoenix
Feb 27 EventBrite link
3/2 (Mountain View Lutheran Church) – Ahwatukee
Mar 2 EventBrite link