Friday, January 29, 2016

Republican lawmakers hate regulations - but not the ones they make

Here's one example. Last year, the Idioture passed a law meant to prevent local ordinances regulating plastic bags. Guv Doozey signed off on it. The problem was that the law was unconstitutional because it also prohibited local mandates for energy consumption reporting by building owners. In Arizona, laws must be about a single subject. This year's Idiotors figured out a response - just running two bills. There are good reasons to believe that that ploy won't work but the Idioture will likely pass these bills anyway.

Following snippets are from the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required, but reprinted in the Daily Star).

With last year’s law under legal challenge, state lawmakers launched a new bid Wednesday to prevent cities and counties from regulating or banning plastic bags.

The new version of the law HB 2131, is identical to what Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law last year.

But last year’s law also included a separate prohibition against local governments forcing building owners to conduct “energy audits” and report on their power use. That allowed foes to charge that the statute violates constitutional requirements that all laws concern only a single subject.

With that change, the measure cleared the House Commerce Committee on a 4-2 party line vote. So did HB 2130, the energy audit ban, now as a separate measure.

The opposition to such attempts by the State to interfere with local regulations is grounded in the state's constitution and its provision for charter cities.

But the tactic by Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, may not end the lawsuit filed by a Tempe city council member.
Lauren Kuby points out that her city, along with 17 others, has adopted its own charter. And the Arizona Constitution gives those communities the right to enact laws of local concern no matter what is in state law.

So Kuby, through attorney Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, wants Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach to rule that what was approved last year — and, by extension, any change approved this year — is unenforceable in Tempe and the other charter cities.

Hogan, in challenging the law, said the Arizona Constitution “gives charter cities certain rights and privileges in local matters to legislate free from interference by the Legislature.” And he said the question of recycling fits the bill.
“Waste has always been a local issue, with cities operating trash management, the landfills,” he said.

And that, said Hogan, means the wishes of local voters and their elected representatives trump the mandates of the Legislature. He said lawmakers can override local ordinances only on matters of statewide concern.

You would think that lawmakers have better things to do with their time other than pass unconstitutional legislation. Or maybe not.

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