State Senate second readings

The Arizona State Senate conducted a second reading of several bills on January 12 for the fiftieth legislative session. A bill is required to be read three times before being considered for passage. The brief descriptions given here are from reading the legislation and the authors of the legislation have not been contacted for clarification.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1007 introduced by Senator Gallardo would allow Arizona voters to amend Article IV, Part 2, Section 6 of the Arizona Constitution relating to the arrest of members of the legislature. It would amend that section to read, “Members of the legislature shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session.” This strikes the privilege from arrest which Senator Scott Bundgaard evoked amidst charges of domestic disturbance some months ago. He resigned shortly before he was to testify before the ethics committee.

SCR 1008 would declare, “…an emergency within the borders of the State of Arizona and, in order to protect the health, welfare and safety of Arizona’s citizens, notifies all federal agencies with implied de facto authority that due to lack of congressional oversight and the violations of trust with their disregard for strict compliance with the acts of Congress, the State of Arizona will be exercising its right of sovereignty over soil within its boundaries.” The measure is an intent to declare State sovereignty due to the ineptness shown by federal government agencies. They cite the Bear Wallow Fire as an example of the problem. Residents of Williams still recall the frightening events surrounding the Twin Fires of a few years ago when portions of the City had to be evacuated.

In addition, SB 1081 would allow county board of supervisors to take actions to clear the forest of fuel wood and thin trees upon consultation with the State Forester. The job of the State Forester is further empowered by changes that would be enacted if SB 1075 passes.

SB 1071 would add Article 10 to Title 41, chapter 9 to prohibit racial profiling. The article reads that, “A peace officer shall not engage in racial profiling” and “A peace officer shall not detain an individual based solely on any noncriminal factor or combination of noncriminal factors.” It would require that the Arizona peace officer standards and training board shall require each peace officer to complete annual training in the matter.

SB 1077 Section 37-501 to include a Subsection B that specifies that the lawful possession or firing of firearms while hunting, target shooting or in self-defense or in defense of another is not considered trespass on State land. The rest of the Title deals with various damage to State trust lands. The intent seems to be to protect hunter who fire at a target and hit a tree or cause other damage to the forested areas or cactus. The provision concerning target shooting could be misconstrued to indicate that cactus, such as the Saguaro can be used for target practice. It might be better written to include the accidental damage by firearms.

Senate Bill 1083 would establish the Arizona State Guard authorized by legislation last year. $1.9 million is authorized from the gang and immigration intelligence team enforcement mission border security and law enforcement subaccount and state general fund in fiscal year 2011-2012. Donations are allowed from private and public entities. The bill would allow the Guard to acquire surplus equipment for its mission:

1. To support this state in securing the border with Mexico and supplement the efforts of law enforcement and state agencies.
2. Augment the national guard.
3. Support county and municipal leaders in combating international criminal activity.
4. Respond to natural and manmade disasters.
5. Search and rescue efforts.
6. Support community activities.
7. Other missions directed by the governor.

SB 1087 would make technical corrections to the State preemption over political subdivisions regarding firearms laws.

After consulting with a gun dealer, it appears that these changes simply allow political subdivisions to create regulations which comply with Titles 18 U.S.C. 922(x) and 18 U.S.C. 924(a)(6) as described in the YOUTH HANDGUN SAFETY ACT NOTICE (PDF).

The full list of bills for this session may be found here.