Call to Action week of 2/27/17
Via AZ LD27:
This update opens with a reality check. At this point in the legislative session, many bills have passed through committee, meaning we can no longer comment on them using RTS. This is the point where we have to get more vocal. Call your senators and representatives. Send them emails (always with the bill number and your position in the subject line). Write letters to the editors of various publications. Talk to your friends about what’s going on. Show up and speak at committee meetings for the bills for which you are most passionate. And consider making appointments with your senator and representatives to share your views with them personally. Advocating loudly in a variety of ways makes us visible, and visible citizens are more powerful. This is no time to be complacent!
Good news: HB2287, which would have gutted Shannon’s Law by allowing the discharge of firearms 1/4 mile from an occupied structure (the bullet that killed Shannon Smith came from 1/2 mile away), has been amended. The distance language has been dropped from the bill, leaving the 1-mile range as is. Now only a few words are changing: “criminal negligence” to “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly.” THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and heads to Senate Government Committee Wednesday. The removal of criminal negligence as a standard is still concerning so I still suggest you OPPOSE this bill.
Tentative good news: The ESA (voucher) bills have still not advanced to the floor. Perhaps this means our voices are being heard and the bills don’t have the votes to pass? We must pay attention and stay vigilant. Continue to contact your representatives and senator with your opposition.
Bad news: Constitutional rights on fire! Our Legislature seems to be gunning for citizens’ voting and health rights. On Thursday night, the House passed a package of bills that would make sweeping changes to the Arizona Constitution’s initiative process, and not to the benefit of voters. The Senate passed another bill packaged as “anti-abortion” but written so broadly that it would cause a great deal of pain to bereaved families, as well as danger to doctors for doing their jobs ethically.
You may be asking: WHAT CAN I DO?
Top priority: the three Urgent Alerts below. Contact the House Speaker and Senate President to demand they stop the worst bills, contact your reps and senator now with your opposition, and attend committee meetings if you can to speak in person.
If you have 30-45 minutes: Scan the RTS listings and use the system to support or oppose bills in committee.
If you have 60+ minutes: Call your reps and senator (as applicable) on all the bills headed to the floor for a vote.
URGENT ALERT #1: Protect our Right to Peaceful Assembly
SB1142: Once again, Arizona is making international news. This bill opens those who participate in or help organize a protest-turned-riot up to criminal racketeering charges, including significant jail time and seizure of assets. Even if no violence occurs, law enforcement can prosecute under racketeering laws if they think a riot might occur. Planners can be charged with racketeering even if they had nothing to do with the act of violence. The bill also expands the definition of “riot” to include disturbing the peace or destruction of property. This bill is justifiably receiving a lot of press attention: AZ Capitol Times article, AZ Republic article and columns, and international news.
THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE and is now headed to the House. The next step is for the Speaker to assign it to a committee. We should try to stop it there. Contact Speaker JD Mesnard (R-17) TODAY (602-926-4481 / email@example.com) to urge him to refuse to assign this bill to committee. If he does this, the bill will die. How wonderful would it be if he arrived to his office on Monday morning to find his voice mail full? We can make that happen.
URGENT ALERT #2: OPPOSE the Gutting of Voters’ Rights
On Thursday night, the House passed a package of bills that would make sweeping changes to the Arizona Constitution’s initiative process, and not to the benefit of voters. Arizona Republic article here. HCR2029 is in Rules for Monday (see the RTS section below) and will almost certainly move to the floor this week. The other four bills are not yet on committee agendas:
HCR2002: Asks voters to repeal Proposition 105, a citizen-initiated measure that voters approved in 1998 and is commonly known as the Voter Protection Act.
HCR2007: Would exempt citizen referenda from the Voter Protection Act. That means if voters decided to overturn a law passed by the Legislature, lawmakers could go back and pass the same law, something the Voter Protection Act currently prohibits.
HB2320: Require a notice on the ballot, fundraising material and advertising related to initiatives that they can only be changed in the future by a three-quarters vote in the Legislature and if the change furthers the purpose of the original ballot measure.
HB2404: Throws up potentially insurmountable barriers to signature-gathering by requiring petition circulators to post a bond of up to $50,000, requiring background checks on signature gatherers, and making them take classes and certify they understand state law on initiatives.
We should try to stop these bills before they get assigned to committee. Contact Senate President Steve Yarbrough (R-17) TODAY (602-926-5863 / firstname.lastname@example.org) and urge him NOT to assign any of these bills to a committee. If he does this, the bills will die. How wonderful would it be if he arrived to his office on Monday morning to find his voice mail full? We can make that happen.
URGENT ALERT #3: Stand up for Health & Reproductive Rights
SB1367: Requires documentation by physicians and all staff present that an aborted fetus was not delivered alive, regardless of gestational age. Would require doctors to take unnecessary medical steps for a wanted child born too early to live or with a fatal defect that assures its death. Arizona Republic article here. Sponsored by Center for Arizona Policy, an extreme right-wing dark money group. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE and is headed to the House. Contact House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) (602-926-4481 / email@example.com) to urge him to NOT schedule this bill for a committee hearing.
SB1439: Would let health care providers continue trying to keep a person alive even if the person wants no more medical services. Sponsored by Center for Arizona Policy, an extreme right-wing dark money group. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE and is headed to the House. Contact House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) (602-926-4481 / firstname.lastname@example.org) to urge him to NOT schedule this bill for a committee hearing.
Headed to the floor for a vote! Contact your legislators.
SB1122: Prohibit local government from requiring anyone to search a national database in order to transfer personal property. Passed through committee, held in consent (object). Contact your senator to OPPOSE.
SB1198: Would greatly weaken ability to enforce the ADA in Arizona and restricts civil rights of the disabled. Businesses and public places have had over 30 years to comply with the ADA and do not need any further leeway. Strongly opposed by the disability community. Headed to Senate COW. Contact your senator to OPPOSE.
SB1243: Requires operators of public establishments (including businesses, but excluding universities, courtrooms, high schools) to permit all persons with gun permits to carry their firearms inside unless the facility has security guards and metal detectors. Scheduled for Senate COW on Monday. Call your senator to OPPOSE.
SB1253: Allows police to review video of a use-of-force incident before making a statement, in violation of recommended best practices of many civil rights groups. Passed Senate COW, headed to the floor. Contact your senator to OPPOSE.
SB1315: Gives preference in custody to the parent who agrees to 50% time sharing. It harms battered women and those protecting abused children. If they are not willing to give 50% time, they may lose custody to the abuser. This bill passed out of committee and is headed to the Senate floor. Contact your senator to OPPOSE.
HCM2006: Urges repeal of the federal clean energy program with a coal program. PASSED Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee 2/14, Rules 2/20. Headed to the floor. Contact your representatives to OPPOSE.
HB2444: Allows for privileged communication (similar to doctor-patient confidentiality) between an assault victim and a victim advocate. PASSED House Judiciary & Public Safety Committee and Rules unanimously. Headed to the floor for a vote. Contact your reps to SUPPORT.
HB2482: Amends rules on worker’s compensation pools to require an employee using the pool to use a specific medical provider. Passed committee 2/20, held in consent calendar (object). Contact your reps to OPPOSE.
SCM1008: Urges Congress to raise the ozone concentration standard. Passed Natural Resources Committee. This bill has passed out of committee and is headed to the floor. Call your senator to OPPOSE.
SCM1009: Urges the removal of the gray wolf from Endangered Species listings. Passed Natural Resources Committee. This bill has passed out of committee and is headed to the floor. Call your senator to OPPOSE.
SCM1011: Asks Congress to repeal/amend the Antiquities Act to remove large swaths of Arizona land from national monument designation. Passed Natural Resources Committee. This bill has passed out of committee and is headed to the floor. Call your senator to OPPOSE.
RTS: Crossover Edition
We are starting to see many bills passing their originating house. For these bills, the committee hearings (and RTS) now start all over again in the other house. Because of this, I am now listing bills by day of the week instead of by house.
Please note that for RTS, the comment follows the committee, not the bill. If you have entered RTS positions for these bills before, you will have to do them again for the new committee.
HB2210: Establishes state funding for a college readiness examination for 11th graders. The test must already be administered nationwide and must be already used by colleges for admissions purposes. Supported by public education advocates. Passed Education and Appropriations, now heads to Rules. SUPPORT.
HCR2029: Requires signature collectors to get 10% of their signatures from each of the 30 legislative districts, 15% for a constitutional amendment. Effectively gives one legislative district veto powers over the rest. Clearly designed to make the initiative process impossibly difficult. AZ Republic covered it here. Passed House Appropriations, scheduled for Rules Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1317: Would allow any certified teacher to provide special education services, theoretically to give the IEP team the flexibility to decide who would be the best provider. Opposed by teachers on the grounds that not just anyone can teach special ed and that certification means something. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE and is scheduled for House Education on Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1479: Requires behavioral health providers to accompany police on a mental health transportation order. It is unnecessary and the behavioral health system is already woefully overburdened. "Tagging along" will only pull workers from other needed areas (such as crisis prevention). Passed Senate Health and Human Services, scheduled for Rules Monday. OPPOSE.
SCM1001: Urges the President and Congress repeal the definition of critical habitat as including areas in which a species' presence is difficult to establish through surveys. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE and is scheduled for House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Tuesday. OPPOSE.
SB1239: Makes it a violation to park in the hatch area of a disabled spot. From a disability advocate: “(This bill) is not coming as an ask from those who use (disabled spots). In fact, to swing the car door wide enough for entry and exit, we often have to pull a bit into the hatch mark zone.” THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE and is scheduled for House Transportation & Infrastructure Wednesday. OPPOSE.
HB2022: Legalizes shooting rats and snakes with your .22 (yes, really). THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and is scheduled for Senate Government Wednesday. OPPOSE.
HB2017: Requires school bond publicity pamphlets to include the estimated total cost of a bond at the maximum interest rate and the estimated interest rate based on current market conditions. ASBA opposes. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and is scheduled for Senate Finance Committee. OPPOSE.
HB2216: Would prohibit local government from requiring the search of a national database before the sale of guns between private owners. (This bill is being fast-tracked; see companion bill SB1122.) THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and is scheduled for Senate Government for Wednesday. OPPOSE.
HB2226: Calls for Congress to request an Article V convention to balance the budget. This would not go to the public for a vote or allow any input from citizens on budget priorities. Most progressives and some conservatives are adamantly opposed to Article V conventions as there is no control of them once they have been convened. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and is scheduled for Senate Government Committee. OPPOSE.
HB2287: Would have gutted Shannon’s Law by allowing the discharge of firearms 1/4 mile from an occupied structure. (The bullet that killed Shannon Smith came from 1/2 mile away.) This language has been dropped from the bill. Now replaces “criminal negligence” with the words “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly.” The removal of criminal negligence as a standard is still concerning. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and heads to Senate Government Committee Wednesday. OPPOSE.
HB2086: Prohibits local government from issuing a municipal ID. People who are not official residents of Arizona need these ID cards for all kinds of things – library card, cashing a check, using a credit card, etc. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and is assigned to Senate Government Committee for Thursday. OPPOSE.
HB2238: Would remove the non-dangerous convictions of victims of sexual trafficking, many of whom are minors (for example, prostitution). THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE and is assigned to Senate Judiciary. SUPPORT.