Weekly Legislative Report
April 25, 2019
Budget negotiations continued at the Arizona Legislature this week, meaning that action on remaining non-budget bills (about 250 remain) was quite slow, with normally no more than a relative handful of bills being heard on either floor on any given day. Negotiations continue between the Legislature and Governor Ducey, with reportedly little progress being made on key issues, including how much the State should put into its “rainy day fund.” It’s possible the House and Senate may decide to pass and send a budget to the Governor without these key issues being agreed upon, then leave it to Governor Ducey to decide whether to sign or veto, though it’s unclear at this point how likely it is for that scenario to play out.
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.
The most newsworthy item of the week for AzTA was the signing by Governor Ducey of HB 2318 (driving; wireless communication device; prohibition). Led by Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, this bill is the “no texting while driving” bill, and is now law as a result of an “emergency clause” that allows it to go into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. HB 2318 prohibits nearly all forms of communication with a hand-held device while driving, and makes violations of this sort a primary, rather than secondary, offense. HB 2318 contains the language that was most widely supported by many proponents, including Governor Ducey, and is the culmination of many years of efforts to pass such a bill, including several by former State Senator Steve Farley (D-Tucson). Law enforcement can pull drivers over for these offenses beginning immediately, but will only issue warnings until January 1, 2021, after which citations will be issued.
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 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. 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. Sen. Gray’s initial stakeholder meeting this week seemed to produce little results, with both sides still far apart when it comes to peer-to-peer companies and/or owners having to pay the various sales taxes and surcharges that apply to traditional rental cars, including those taxes that help pay for spring training and other sports facilities.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
AzTA Executive Director