The number of bills being tracked is 254 plus 3 Strike All amended bills.
Here is what happened in the past week with bills that are part of the evaluation:
SB1316, which creates state regulation of house appraisers, passed the Senate in a final vote and was signed by the governor. This bill, which we oppose, adds economic regulation that does not protect consumers – it’s stated purpose. The added regulation creates barriers to entry to the home appraisal business which benefits appraisers since limited competition will allow them to charge more and hurts those financing house purchases who will bear the full cost of this government interference in the free market. This is another victory for industry lobbyists at the legislature, and a costly defeat for those home buyers who need a mortgage in order to buy a house.
SB1439, which allowed silver and gold to be used as legal tender in Arizona, passed a final read in the Senate, but it was vetoed by the governor. We support this bill which would have allowed Arizonans to protect themselves from inflation caused by the federal government printing more money.
HB2347, which allows the state and county treasurers more options on investing tax receipts to be used to pay off bonds in the future, passed the House. We oppose this bill because the investment options under current law are adequate and provide better protection for the taxpayers against loss. Even though the objective of the bill is to get more interest on financial reserves with modest risk, we feel it exposes taxpayers to more risk of loss due to fraud with relatively little financial gain. Generally, adding options and flexibility is great in the private sector, but it creates too many risks for mischief in the public sector. The legislators have more confidence in the good judgment and capabilities of current and future state and county treasurers than we do.
SB1369, which provides better protection for employers against illegitimate unemployment insurance claims, passed the House and will be going to the governor. We support this bill because it is fairer for employers and generally creates a better business climate which is good for the people of the state.
SB1470, which gives additional taxing authority to municipalities, passed the House and is going back to the Senate for a vote on the amended version. It is worth noting that NO votes were cast only by Republicans. This is a bill we oppose and we congratulate those Republicans who stood up for taxpayers by voting NO. Those who voted YES should reflect on why the Democrats were solidly behind this bill.
HB2303, which gives the same overtime pay benefits received by police officers to those assisting police officers, passed the House and is on the way to the governor. We oppose this bill because it increases the costs of overtime for government employees working with the police who are not actually police officers. It is bad for taxpayers.
HB2341, which allows certain routine home renovations to be done without government approval, passed the House and was signed by the governor. We supported this bill because it actually eliminated some government regulation.
SB2178, which allows more flexibility in administering fines for flood control violations, passed the House. We support this because it improves options for citizens who are accused of violating flood control rules.
SB1445, which requires public schools to provide information about school performance to parents before their children enroll in the school, passed the House. We support this bill since it gives parents more information to make school enrollment decisions for their children by forcing public schools to be accountable for their performance.
We have added a new feature to the ratings. There is now a section showing scoring exceptions for a legislator voting NO on a bill in order to make a motion to reconsider it. This is explained in the score section in more detail. The basic idea is that, in this special case, a NO vote is counted as a YES vote in the evaluation because the legislator is actually advancing the bill by using the NO vote as a parliamentary tactic to be permitted to give the bill another chance to be voted on.
As we near the end of the session, we remind legislators as well as the voters to beware of omnibus bills and last minute amendments that can contain legislative language that might be glossed to sneak it by legislators. This is often done by overwhelming legislators with too many pages of legislation to read before voting or by making last minute changes that are difficult to properly evaluate before a vote. Legislators should understand that any bill containing legislative language from a bill that we gave a negative weight may get the negative weight of that negatively weighted bill regardless of how many good things are also in the revised bill currently being voted on. Since it will be impossible for the contents of omnibus bills or bills with last minute amendments to be known early enough for an announcement about how the bill weights will be reset for the evaluation, everyone needs to be aware that they will be evaluated on the final version of the bills they vote on after the votes take place. With the Governor digging in to pressure the legislature to expand Medicaid, we will be watching for that in late breaking bills as well as appropriation omnibus bills. We will also be looking for Common Core funding in omnibus bills. We strongly oppose both and will weight bills that include them accordingly.
These are NOT final scores for the session until our final report after the session ends! We encourage conservative activists to use these weekly evaluations as a way to work with legislators to achieve more conservative results in the legislative session.
The legislation causing the most lowering of scores is HB2047 combined with HB2045 which switches Arizona from the AIMS standard to the Common Core standard. Our concern is that Common Core surrenders state autonomy on education to the federal government and promotes nationalization of education well beyond the proper scope of the federal government. In addition, the curriculum associated with Common Core relies on an international perspective instead of traditional study of American and World history. HB2425 was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor.
Other bills having a significant negative impact on scores remove significant limitations on school district spending, allow executive agencies to set fees in order to bypass limitations on the legislature raising taxes or fees, or increase government regulation of businesses.
Many Republican legislators have argued that good business regulations that “make people do the right thing” are good. This, unfortunately, is almost a perfect definition of fascism which Republicans traditionally oppose. There are always situations where we might wish others would deal with us on terms of our choosing when they are not willing to do so. Using government to force people to deal with us on our terms rather than mutually agreed upon terms is tyranny even if it is dressed up as consumer protection or professional responsibility or trying to improve market efficiency. Of course, in a free economy, people can decide for themselves what is good and make decisions on that basis as both consumers and businesses. Also, government regulations usually have unintended consequences that are usually bad. These consequences are then used to justify still more regulation when less regulation is the best solution.
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