Grand Canyon Chapter
2006 Legislative Session
Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people.
August 5, 2006
Hello Conservation Friends! The 2006 Legislative Session ended in June and on July 11, we released our annual Environmental Report Card for the Arizona Legislature and the Governor. It officially marks the end of the session. Unless the Legislature goes into Special Session, there will probably not be any postings to this page until December. We will all be busy trying to elect a more environmentally friendly legislature -- and congress too. Below, is the news release for our Report Card. Please see our main web page to view the complete Report Card or just click on http://www.arizona.sierraclub.org/political_action/pa_2006/report/2006EnvironmentalReportCard.pdf.
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2006
Contacts: Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter, (602) 253-8633Kate Whalen, Arizona League of Conservation Voters (602) 279-8431
2006 Legislative Session Mean and not so green
Legislature does nothing to address important water, air quality and land-use issues
Small steps to promote solar energy and pesticide notification, limit wildlife feeding
PHOENIX A lengthy and generally nasty legislative session produced little in real conservation according to a score card and a report card released today by the Arizona League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter.
Most Arizonans agree that we have serious water and land-use issues in our state, yet the Arizona Legislature continues to ignore them, said Sandy Bahr, Conservation Outreach Director for the Sierra Clubs Grand Canyon Chapter. While we are pleased that there was some limited progress on supporting solar energy and protecting children from pesticides, the big issues are not being tackled.
Air quality is a major issue for many Arizonans, said Kate Whalen, Government Relations Liaison with the Arizona League of Conservation Voters. "Rather than addressing this serious public health matter and improving air quality protections, the Legislature instead passed a measure to make it easier for companies to continue to emit large amounts of hazardous air pollutants. Fortunately, the Governor used her veto authority to deep-six that bad idea.
The Sierra Club Environmental Report Card gave 15 Senators and 21 House members a failing grade, including Representatives Colette Rosati, Eddie Farnsworth and Senator Linda Gray, who were recommended for a trip Back to the Minors for being at the bottom of the list. Representatives Rosati and Farnsworth also made it to the bottom of the Leagues Scorecard, along with Senators Ron Gould, Jack Harper and Karen Johnson.
Also, 14 lawmakers scored a 100 percent on the Leagues Scorecard and the Sierra Club recognized four Lawmakers as Session All Stars for getting a perfect score and therefore an A-plus on the Report Card. They include Senator Paula Aboud, Senator Jorge Garcia, Representative Meg Burton Cahill and Representative Martha Garcia.
The major hits for the session included the passage of a pesticide notification measure that will require child care facilities to notify parents and guardians about when they are spraying pesticides and what they are using. This will help them to make informed decisions about protecting their children.
Another hit was the passage of the measure to limit the feeding of wildlife. While it was narrowed to apply to only Maricopa and Pima counties, it is a good start. It will help with efforts to educate people about the problems associated with feeding wildlife and will provide an additional tool for sanctioning those who do not understand that their actions are harming wildlife and potentially harming people.
Legislators finally passed some additional incentives for solar energy.
With as much sunshine as Arizona has, you would think that investing in solar energy would be a no-brainer, said Bahr. Instead, even with the Republican Party Chairman lobbying for solar energy, it was an enormous struggle to even get a modest measure through this Legislature.
From our perspective, we were especially disappointed with the state trust land reform measure that the Legislature passed this session, said Whalen. The sole purpose of the measure is to undermine the far more comprehensive citizens initiative, Conserving Arizonas Future, by confusing voters at the ballot. This isnt the kind of activity the peoples representatives should be engaging in.
The League recognized Representatives Tom OHalleran, Lucy Mason, Kyrsten Sinema, Pete Hershberger and Leah Landrum Taylor, as well as Senator Toni Hellon as Conservation Heroes for the 2006 legislative session.
The Sierra Club also recognized Senator Toni Hellon as a Most Valuable Player for her successful effort to pass a bill to limit the feeding of wildlife. Representative Kyrsten Sinema was also recognized for her strong efforts to promote clean air and adequate water for all Arizonans and citizen participation in government. Senator Bill Brotherton was recognized as an Environmental Hall of Famer for his eight years of support for environmental protection.
Both organizations were pleased that regulatory takings legislation was again defeated, although it looks like an initiative may put this ill-conceived legislation before voters this fall.
The Arizona League of Conservation Voters is a membership based, non-profit, non-partisan conservation advocacy organization. The League is committed to mobilizing voters to elect pro-conservation candidates, influencing legislation and policy, and holding elected officials accountable to their constituents. For more information on the Scorecard, please log on to www.azlcv.org.
The Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter is a grassroots environmental organization with more than 13,000 members in Arizona. At the end of each legislative session it develops the report card in order to inform Arizonans about how their legislators are voting on environmental issues. This year's grades are based on 15 House votes and 15 Senate votes on issues ranging from solar energy to limitations on wildlife feeding. The governor was also graded on ten bills. The Sierra Club report card is available at www.arizona.sierraclub.org.
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