Weekly Legislative Report
April 11, 2019
Action was somewhat limited at the Arizona Legislature this week, consisting almost entirely of floor action to move bills through the process in each chamber. Most floor calendars were small, and the vast majority of bills moving this week were non-controversial and passed with ease. This action is likely to continue for at least the next week, as budget negotiations continue between legislative leadership and the Governor’s Office. Small-group meetings among House Republicans are beginning today and tomorrow, which is a sign leadership is ready to begin talking with rank-and-file members about specifics of various budget proposals. The biggest issue (though certainly not the only one) seems to be the disagreement between the Governor and GOP leaders about how much general fund revenues should be placed in the Budget Stabilization Fund (the “rainy day fund”).
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.
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. Governor Ducey signed the bill into law (Chapter 50, Laws 2019) this week, a significant victory for the transportation, transit and business communities within Pima County
HB 2688 (NOW: peer-to-peer car rentals) 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 generally opposed by the peer-to-peer industry. Next stop for the bill is the Senate Rules Committee.
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 passed the full House on a vote of 44-16. It was then assigned to the Senate Finance Committee, which approved the bill on a 5-3 vote. Next stop for this bill is also the Senate Rules Committee.
Both peer-to-peer bills are still being negotiated among the various stakeholders, Senate President Karen Fann, and Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray to see if a compromise can be reached prior to either bill being heard on the Senate floor.
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 House Transportation Committee approved SB 1165 with an amendment added in the committee. SB 1141 passed the full Senate, and was also approved two weeks ago by the House Transportation Committee on a 4-3 vote. Both bills were approved this week by the House Rules Committee, and now must survive votes on the House floor.
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.
AzTA Executive Director