City News

The Arizona State Legislature and city governments don’t always see eye to eye — and this year is no exception.

During the Feb. 14, Sedona City Council meeting, City Attorney Robert Pickels gave an update on some of the bills before state legislators that may impact Sedona. To date, more than 1,050 bills have been introduced.

One of the items was House Bill 2116, which was introduced by Rep. Bob Thorpe [R-District 6] and co-sponsored by Rep. Brenda Barton [R-District 6]. It came at the request of the city of Sedona to clarify the zoning area within which property owners adjacent to an area subject to a rezoning application may protest. An amendment will be offered in the Senate which will include the subject property in the definition of a zoning area.

This issue came up during the CVS project in Sedona in which a rarely-used super majority vote came into play in regard to the rezoning of the property.

This passed in the House by an overwhelming vote of 54-5-1 and has been transferred to the Senate.

“The feedback I’ve received from the city attorneys’ group is that some of them were a little uncomfortable with having too much specificity in the language because they want to have some latitude to interpret the provisions as appropriate for them,” Pickels said.

Some of the others items discussed by Pickels included:

State Budget
No public budget discussions have occurred. Significant points in the Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget include:

  • Continued sweeps of approximately $96 million in Highway User Revenue Funds without the one-time offset that occurred last year.
  • Continued funding of the Department of Revenue by cities and counties, for $21,345.
  • Use of state transaction privilege tax paid by state universities to fund university capital and operating expenses thereby reducing shared TPT to cities.
  • An income tax reduction that would result in a corresponding reduction of state shared revenues by approximately $3 million.

Motor Vehicle Fuel Taxes
Resolution would place a question on the November 2018 ballot to consider a 10 cent per gallon increase to the motor vehicle fuel tax and specifies that the proceeds must be spent on construction or maintenance of transportation infrastructure.

Status: Passed House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee 7-1. Awaiting Committee of the Whole.

HB 2257: State Law; Local Violations
This bill was introduced by Thorpe to modify the mandatory language of SB 1487, replacing “shall” with “may” in regard to the Attorney General’s responsibility to initiate an investigation or to make findings which could lead to a withholding of state shared revenue.
It gives the Arizona Supreme Court discretion to hear a special action following an Attorney General decision.
Status: Assigned to House Government Committee. Held.

SB 1210: State Law; Violations; Political Subdivisions
Introduced by Sen. Steve Smith [R-District 11], it seeks to expand application of SB 1487 to any agency, board, commission or political subdivision of this state that has a governing body composed of elected members, appointed members or members who serve on the governing body by virtue of holding a particular office.

Status: Assigned to Senate Government Committee. Held.

“This is a really bad bill [1210],” Pickels said. “The League of Cities and Towns has also identified it as that.”

SB 1243: Firearms in Public Places
There would be an estimated cost of $130,000 “per door” for metal detectors and staffing. A similar bill was passed but vetoed by Ducey last year.
Status: Passed on a party-line vote [4-3] out of committee. Awaiting Committee of the Whole calendar in Senate.
“Talk about an unfunded mandate,” Pickels said. “This is something that would be imposed on us without any alternative means of supporting it with resources. We will certainly oppose this again like we have in the past.”

HB 2336: End of Life Decisions; Terminally Ill
Referred to as the “death with dignity act,” this bill would allow terminally ill individuals to make informed decisions regarding prescriptions for medication for self-administration that will terminate the life of a qualified patient in a painless, humane and dignified manner.

Status: Assigned to House Health Committee. Held.


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