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AzTA ADVOCACY

Weekly Legislative Report
March 14, 2019 


This was a typical mid-session week at the Arizona Legislature, with most committees having full agendas, and both the Senate and House moving bills off their respective floors.  The Legislature is “on-schedule” for a session that will last about 100 days (today is day 60), which would have adjournment sine die in mid-to-late April.  However, a wide variety of scenarios could play out in the next few weeks that could delay the session for an indeterminate amount of time. 
 
A few substantive bills remain that are of direct interest to AzTA. These issues are being tracked in our
on-line legislative tracking service, which you can access here for automatically-updated AzTA bill information, with our comments in red. 
 
SB 1305 (peer-to-peer car rentals), sponsored by Sen. David Livingston, requires peer-to-peer vehicles to comply with many of the laws now in place for traditional rental car companies.  This bill is strongly supported by the existing rental car industry, many local communities, the League of Cities and Towns and major airports, and strongly opposed by the peer-to-peer industry.  The bill passed the full Senate last week on a strong vote of 27-3 and now heads to the House, where it will meet up with supporters of the peer-to-peer industry who prefer a different bill.
 
The opposing bill is HB 2559 (peer-to-peer car sharing), sponsored by Rep. Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert), and it takes a different view, establishing a new statutory category for “peer-to-peer” car rentals.  The proposed law states that the regulation of peer-to-peer vehicles is of “statewide concern” and not subject to further regulation by municipalities, and features parameters for insurance and peer-to-peer contracts.  HB 2559 is generally supported by the peer-to-peer industry and some insurance companies, and opposed by the rental car industry. The bill has was assigned to the House Commerce Committee, which approved the bill on a unanimous vote, but not without more than an hour of contentious debate and a significant amendment.  However, it was amended on the House floor yesterday, and is reportedly now a bill no longer opposed by major airports and cities. It remains to be seen if the proponents of these two bills can reconcile their remaining differences.
 
There are two different “distracted driving/no texting” bills that are still moving.  The bill numbers are SB 1141 and SB 1165.  Each features a different version of the same basic idea of prohibiting the use of a smart phone or other such device for text messaging while driving, but with key differences.  SB 1165 (sponsored by Sen. Kate Brophy McGee) appears to have the strongest support, but SB 1141 (sponsored by Sen. J.D. Mesnard, which more broadly defines “distracted driving”) also was supported.  The full Senate approved SB 1165, and yesterday the bill passed the House Transportation Committee.  SB 1141 passed the full Senate yesterday, and now heads to the House.
 
HB 2109 (county transportation excise tax), sponsored by Rep. T.J. Shope, and the only bill that directly affects transit funding, will allow Pima County to ask voters to approve a ½ cent increase in its transportation excise tax to support the construction, maintenance and repair of streets and highways in the county.  Any other Arizona county could theoretically use the bill for a similar purpose, except for Maricopa County, whose authorizing statute is in another section.  The bill passed the full House last week on a vote of 44-16, and now has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations and Transportation/Public Safety committees.
 
HB 2536 (fuel; electric cars; hybrids; taxes), sponsored by Rep. Noel Campbell, was passed the House Ways and Means Committee, but with an amendment that strips out the gas tax increase provisions altogether.  It would appear that Rep. Campbell’s effort to increase the gas tax is all but dead at this point.  What remains in the bill are provisions to allow more parity among types of vehicles, resulting in small increases to fees charged for electric, hybrid and natural gas vehicles. There is also a provision in the bill requiring ADOT to study the feasibility of converting fees for such electric or hybrid vehicles from flat fee to some other method.  However, this bill has not advanced past the House Rules Committee and now appears “dead” for the session.

These issues are being tracked in our on-line legislative tracking service, which you can access here for automatically-updated AzTA bill information, with our comments in red. 
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Becky Miller
AzTA Executive Director
602.550.3265
bmiller@azta.org

AzTA is a non-profit statewide organization dedicated to improving
public transportation in all Arizona communities.
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