the veridus weekly

03-08-2019

days of session: 54

Regular sessions shall be adjourned sine die no later than Saturday of the week in which the one hundredth day from the beginning of each regular session falls. The President and Speaker of the House may by declaration authorize the extension of the session for a period of not to exceed seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can be extended only by the Senate and House by a majority vote of the members present in each body. 


in focus

Call it the Ducey Court. 

When Chief Justice Scott Bales retires from the Arizona Supreme Court this summer, Governor Doug Ducey will make his 5th appointment in as many years to the 7-member High Court. That would give him more appointments and a stronger stamp on the Supreme Court than any previous Arizona governor. Among recent governors, Jan Brewer had 3 Supreme Court appointments; Janet Napolitano had 2; Jane Hull had 3 and Fife Symington had 3. 

Governor Ducey is currently in the process of selecting his fourth nominee – to replace Justice John Pelander, who retired from the bench last week. The Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments has sent the Governor five candidates for consideration: 

  • James Beene (R) - Division I Judge

  • Kent Cattani (R) - Division I Judge

  • Maria Elena Cruz (D) - Division I Judge

  • Richard E. Gordon (R) - Pima County Superior Court Judge

  • Andrew Jacobs (D) – Attorney 

Governor Ducey’s pick remains unknown, of course. Maria Elena Cruz would be a historic choice as the first Latina and first Black justice to serve on the court. She also would be the first woman appointed by a male governor, and only the fifth woman to serve on the bench. Governor Ducey already made history with his appointment of Justice John Lopez IV, who became the first Latino member of the Arizona Supreme Court. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL BRNOVICH URGES CONGRESS TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST ROBOCALLS

PHOENIX -- Attorney General Mark Brnovich today urged the U.S. Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing. A coalition of all 50 state attorneys general, plus the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Guam, sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation supporting the TRACED Act. The legislation is sponsored by Sens. John Thune and Ed Markey.

In their letter, the attorneys general state that the TRACED Act enables states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps to combat these illegal calls. The legislation will require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls and creates an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.

More than 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, making them the number one source of consumer complaints to the FTC and the FCC, resulting in millions of dollars in consumer losses. The state attorneys general work to enforce do-not-call laws and protect consumers in their states from being harassed and scammed by robocalls.

[...] A copy of the letter.

Read more HERE.

SENATORS ADVANCE BALLOT QUESTION TO ADOPT ARIZONA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona senators approved a bill to give the state’s voters a chance to shake up the line of succession for the governor’s office.

The ballot referral, which advanced on a bipartisan 23-7 vote, calls for gubernatorial candidates to choose a lieutenant governor to serve as their backup. If approved by the House of Representatives, the question would appear on 2020 ballot, allowing voters a final say on the proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution.

[...] The amendment ensures the next-in-line to the governor is from the same political party as the governor that voters elected.

Mesnard’s proposed constitutional amendment wouldn’t take effect until 2027, ensuring that Hobbs will remain first in line for the governor’s office for at least her first term as secretary of state, and if re-elected in 2022, for her second term, too.

This means starting with the 2026 election, candidates for governor must pick a running mate no later than 60 days before the election starting.

[...] Read more HERE.

WITH STATE TAX LAWS IN LIMBO, ARIZONANS MAY GET MORE TIME TO FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS

Arizona Daily Star

With state tax laws in limbo, the Arizona Senate voted Wednesday to give Arizonans an extra two months to file their income tax returns.

[...] The move came as the Republican lawmakers who control the House and Senate have refused to accede to the demand by Gov. Doug Ducey that they conform Arizona tax law with changes made by Congress in the Internal Revenue Code. And when GOP lawmakers proposed their own solution, the governor vetoed it.

That leaves a stalemate — six weeks before taxes are due.

Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said the additional time SB 1481 would give people to file their taxes would give Republican lawmakers a chance to negotiate a deal with Ducey without taxpayers having to worry that the forms they filed will prove inaccurate. That’s because the forms the Arizona Department of Revenue have so far made available are based on what Ducey said he wants the law to be, not as the law actually reads.

[...] Read more HERE.

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IT IS TIME FOR LEGISLATORS TO EVEN THE FIELD ON SALES TAX

Arizona Capitol Times

I’m a Republican and free-market conservative. I believe in a limited government, individual liberty and free will.

Competition and capitalism are in my DNA. These ideals led me to launch my own small business – Pinnacle Peak Ace Hardware – and for the past 15 years my family and I have put our heart and soul into this store, our 27 employees and the customers we serve.

We’ve been through a lot, including the rise of big-box stores and – more recently – online retailers. I’m not afraid of competition. But, as an Arizona small business, it’s galling that my own home state has a tax code that places me at a distinct disadvantage with out-of-state competitors.

I’m talking about the sales tax that my store and every other retailer with a physical location in Arizona must collect and remit on each product sold. Out-of-state, online retailers are exempt.

As a growing share of consumer dollars migrate online to “tax-free” sites like eBay and others, this poses a dire threat to local stores like mine and our employees. Fortunately, a U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer – South Dakota v. Wayfair – found that states like Arizona have the authority to require that remote, out-of-state sellers collect sales tax on product purchases by Arizona residents. For the first time in the Internet age, we have an opportunity to fix this fundamental inequity.

HB 2702 is our chance. This legislation extends Arizona’s existing sales tax to out-of-state, online retailers and marketplace facilitators anytime a tangible retail product is purchased by an Arizona resident. It’s that simple. Nationally, 82 percent of states with a sales tax (37 out of 45) have already taken steps to level the competitive playing field between local and out-of-state retailers. Arizona is now among only eight states yet to act.

[...] Read more HERE.

BILLS TO TACKLE AZ DOCTOR, NURSE SHORTAGES WIN SENATE APPROVAL

AZ Mirror

Bills to tackle AZ doctor, nurse shortages win Senate approval

Two bills aimed at addressing the state’s shortage of nurses and doctors have passed their first major hurdle.

Currently, Arizona is among the worst in the nation for its ratio of primary care physicians to residents, according to a study by the University of Arizona.

[...] Senate Bill 1354, proposed by Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, would appropriate $50 million from the state general fund to finance several initiatives, including additional funds for GME, to combat what advocates are calling a crisis.

Senate Bill 1524, also proposed by Carter, would have the Arizona Board of Regents create a working group and pilot program to address the state’s nursing shortage.

Both bills have won bipartisan approval in the Senate and await consideration by the House, though it is likely they will only receive consideration by that chamber as part of the state budget and not as stand-alone bills.

“Pursuing a budget item is always challenging,” said Greg Vigdor, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. “I believe funding to address the physician shortage will make it into the budget, because there is growing awareness of the issue at the Capitol.”

Read more HERE.

NAM RELEASES BLUEPRINT FOR REBUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE U.S.

Chamber Business News


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released an “ambitious” initiative focused on revitalizing the country’s failing infrastructure.

Titled “Building to Win,” a proposal that was originally published in 2016, has now been re-released on how to revitalize infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rails, airports, ports, and waterways.

“’Building to Win’ is our proposal to really supercharge investment in infrastructure,” NAM President & CEO Jay Timmons said. “We wanted to move this plan forward because we think now is the time to bring Republicans and Democrats together on something they can actually agree with.”

According to the proposal, over the next ten years, the United States needs to invest $1.09 trillion towards infrastructure needs. Those needs include $713 billion for highways; $123 billion for bridges; $128 billion for airports; $15 billion for ports and inland waterways; $90 billion for public transit; and $29 billion for rails.

NAM reports that this total is due to the decades of underinvestment and years of stop-and-start efforts rather than long-term solutions.

“Every year, America is falling further behind on infrastructure. Today, infrastructure investment is only one-third of what it was in 1960 and without action…we will lose 5.8 million jobs by 2040,” Timmons said.

According to David Seaton, Fluor Corporation Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair, infrastructure is necessary for commerce and manufacturing, and public-private partnerships (PPP) are key in fixing infrastructure.

“PPPs have to be part of the solution,” Seaton said. “Federal government is not going to fund it; state governments can’t afford it. So, there’s got to be a different method and I believe that PPP is that vehicle.”

NAM made the announcement while visiting the South Mountain Freeway project in Chandler, Ariz. during its State of Manufacturing Tour 2019.

Seaton told CBN that making a tour stop at the largest freeway project in Arizona history was important because it was a perfect example of a PPP.

“If you think about the original plan of the 202 South Mountain, we’re three years ahead of that and $100 million cheaper than that,” he said.

Arizona was the last stop on the NAM tour because of Arizona’s pro-business climate and variety of manufacturing jobs. NAM visited multiple Arizona manufacturers including Karsten Manufacturing, Intel, Connect 202, and Four Peaks Brewing Company where they officially finished the tour and celebrated the success of the industry.

“It’s really great to see all types of manufacturing here in this state,” Timmons said. “You’ve got a great work ethic in this state, it’s obviously a beautiful place, and it’s a great environment. But there’s also a very pro-business policy here because the governor focuses on manufacturing…and that’s really what’s important.”

Read more HERE.

ARIZONA LAWMAKERS URGE TRUMP OFFICIAL TO PROTECT MEXICAN TOMATO IMPORTS

KTAR

PHOENIX — Members of Congress from Arizona sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Friday urging him to protect what they consider an important import.

[...] The letter refers to the Trump administration’s plan to pull out of the nation’s 2013 Tomato Suspension Agreement with Mexico on May 7, which was announced last month.

The Arizona delegation said they urge the Department of Commerce to renegotiate a deal that addresses the concerns of U.S. growers, which were cited as a reason the administration pulled out of the 2013 deal.

[...] Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said in a press release that Arizona importers would have to pay a 17.5 percent duty on Mexican tomatoes without the agreement.

“This will force Arizona tomato distributing companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars just to be able to stay in business,” he said in the release.

“Without a Suspension Agreement, produce warehouses in Southern Arizona will face extreme hardship and potential closure.”

The Arizona lawmakers said they are concerned that the lack of an agreement could damage the country’s trade relationship with Mexico.

[...] Read more HERE.

DIAGEO NORTH AMERICA CONTINUES ITS COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION AND PARITY 

The company makes a commitment to Paradigm for Parity® and is recognized by the National Association for Female Executives

NORWALK, Conn., March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In time to celebrate International Women's Day, Diageo North America, a global leader in beverage alcohol, in partnership with the Paradigm for Parity® coalition, announced its commitment to achieving gender parity throughout its corporate leadership structure by 2030.

"At Diageo, we are particularly proud to be leading on change in this space by taking proactive steps in order to curb workplace inequality," said Deirdre Mahlan, President, Diageo North America. "We look forward to working with the coalition and the other companies that have joined the movement to accelerate the pace of achieving gender parity."

Diageo offers a variety of flexible working arrangements including job share, flextime, compressed hours and opportunities to work from home and a newly expanded Parental Leave Policy, which doubled the time off for both parents, making for a more inclusive, more generous child-bonding policy.

[...] In addition, Diageo North America has been named one of the 2019 NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women by the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE). NAFE and Working Mother continue to explore the importance of gender parity in senior leadership roles. The full report on this year's winners is listed here.

[...] Read more HERE.

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