- Today is the 78th day of the legislative session. The final week of regular committee hearings for the session ended last Friday (notwithstanding Appropriations and Rules). The Senate and House Appropriations Committees will each meet this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively for the final bill hearings of the session (notwithstanding the budget BRBs’). This week’s attached Fire Service Bill Tracking List includes 39 bills which remain after committee hearings concluded Friday. Legislative Scorecard: 1,289 bills posted / 47 bills passed / 1 veto / 36 bills signed by Governor.
- With the resignation last week of Rep. David Stringer (R-1, Prescott) the GOP is temporarily one vote short of holding the majority. The one less GOP vote could pose challenges for House Republicans, already holding only a slim 31-29 vote margin over the DEM minority. Legislation requires 31 votes to pass, and a 30-29 split means the DEM caucus can effectively block any legislation it chooses until a replacement for Rep. Stringer is appointed. That appointment is anticipated to occur at the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors meeting this Wednesday. House leadership is indicating floor action on most bills will be essentially suspended until at least Thursday. Former Senate President Steve Pierce is the appointee apparent for filling the vacant LD-1 seat.
Notable Legislative Measures
Listed below are select bills from the attached tracking list which have direct fire service impact.
- H2276: AMBULANCES; CERTIFICATES; NAME CHANGE (AFDA Position: NEUTRAL) Recent action: 3/26 Senate COW approved. Next: Senate Third Read – TBD. Outlook: this is the Healthcare Innovations measure to require ambulance name changes administratively, without a hearing. Concerns with H2276 have been communicated to the sponsor.
- H2469: FIRE DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION, MERGER (AFDA Position: SUPPORT) Recent action: 3/25 from Senate Rules OK. Next: Senate COW – TBD. Outlook: this is an AFDA measure to address various merger and consolidation process items and JPA fingerprint authorization. There is no opposition.
- S1020: SCHOOL EMPLOYEES; INVESTIGATIONS (S/E: NORTHEAST ARIZONA TRAINING CENTER; APPROPRIATION) (AFDA Position: SUPPORT) Recent action: 3/28 PASSED House Appropriations with amendment #4891. Next: Money bill – awaiting BRB’s.
- S1159: FIRE DISTRICTS; FINANCIAL REPORTS; ALTERNATIVES (AFDA Position: SUPPORT) Recent action: 3/21 PASSED House Government 9-0 with amendment #4830. Next: Rules hearing (Monday, 4/1 at 12:45 PM, House Room 4). Outlook: this is an AFDA measure to address financial reporting specific to merger and consolidation studies. Passed committee and full Senate without opposition. Anticipate an AFDA requested committee amendment to address accounting requirements.
- S1231: PUBLIC SAFETY; RESIDENCY REQUIRMENTS; PROHIBITION (PFFA / AFDA Position: SUPPORT) Recent action: 3/25 from House Rules OK. Next: House COW – TBD Outlook: this is a PFFA measure which prohibits employer mandated residency requirements for firefighters. There is no opposition to S1231 subsequent to the committee amendment and Senate floor amendment. Anticipate a non-substantive floor amendment in House COW to address a definition issue.
- S1348: FIREWORKS; RETAIL SALES; ENFORCEMENT (AFDA / AFCA Position: NEUTRAL) Recent action: 3/19 PASSED House Commerce 5-3-1. Next: Rules hearing (Monday, 4/1 at 12:45 PM, House Room 4). Outlook: this measure is an expansion of the number of allowable days for retail sales and use of consumer fireworks in Maricopa and Pima Counties. S1348 was amended in the Senate to include additional protections for wildland urban interface in both urban and rural areas of state. With the senate floor amendment AFDA and AFCA are now NEUTRAL on the bill. The Senate engrossed version of S1348 can be accessed here: S1348 Fireworks – Senate Engrossed
- S1526: APPROPRIATION; UNIVERSITIES (S/E: FIREFIGHTING FOAM; PROHIBITED USES) (AFDA Position: SUPPORT) Recent action: 3/27 PASSED House Public Safety 8-0. Next: Rules hearing – TBD.
State Budget Watch
- The introduction of the eight budget reconciliation bills (referred to as the “burbs” – BRBs’) will establish the baseline for budget negotiations amongst the legislature and the Governor (the Governor released his proposed budget in January). Legislators are meeting in groups to determine funding priorities and projects to be included in the BRBs’. While introduction of the BRBs’ isn’t anticipated for several weeks, fire service advocacy efforts are focused on having the $10 million dollar increase to the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF) for wildland fire deployment and $1 million dollars for improvements to the Northeast Arizona Training Center (fire and police training facility) be included in the BRBs’. The list below is a breakdown of fire service priorities and the funding provided within the Governor’s budget proposal:
- Increase the budget stabilization fund (BSF) allocation for the wildland fire payment revolving fund (currently capped at a $10M maximum). NOT IN THE BUDGET. Ask is to increase the BSF cap to $20 million dollars (there currently is support in Senate and House leadership for the cap increase)
- Continue funding support for State Fire School at current level. INCLUDED IN BUDGET.
- Appropriation of $1 million dollars for improvements to Northeast Arizona Training Center. NOT IN THE BUDGET.
- Adequate funding and resource support for DFFM / ASFMO. FUNDING IS FLAT. Funding for the agency is equal to previous year.
Arizona Legislative & Political Calendar
- April 1 – Governor’s Pre-Season Wildfire Briefing & Press Conference – Arizona Capitol, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix at 3:00 p.m.
- April 23 – 100th Day of Session
Upcoming at AFDA
- April 4, 2019 – the next AFDA Board Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the at the Avondale Fire and Medical Department’s Headquarters – 1825 N 107th Ave. Avondale, AZ (note: the AFDA Board serves as the association’s Legislative Committee and legislative actions are discussed / vetted / determined at the Board Meeting)
- May 10, 2019 – Mohave County Fire Officers Association are hosting “Developing the Leadership of Tomorrow’s Fire Service” – Riverside Resort, Laughlin, NV. For information click the link: MCFOA
July 8-11, 2019 – AFCA-AFDA Leadership Conference – Glendale, AZ (6 hour mandated statutory training for fire district elected officials and fire chiefs offered)