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Thread: Bill targets local governments that violate state law

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    Bill targets local governments that violate state law

    The Arizona Senate's most powerful member introduced legislation to strip local governments of state-shared revenue if they pass regulations that violate state law or its Constitution.

    Senate Bill 1487, introduced by Senate President Andy Biggs, would allow any lawmaker to direct the attorney general to investigate an alleged violation. If the attorney general found the community in violation and it was not addressed, the state treasurer could then withhold state shared monies until the problem was resolved.

    The legislation, which was criticized as "overkill" by one lobbyist on behalf of the cities, would give the money withheld from offending local governments to other counties, cities and towns in proportion to their population.

    The bill follows the spirit of Gov. Doug Ducey's call during his January State of the State address to withhold tax revenue from cities and towns that enact their own wage and employment laws.

    The governor called on local jurisdictions "to put the brakes on ill-advised plans to create a patchwork of different wage and employment laws." He vowed to "use every constitutional power of the executive branch and leverage every legislative relationship to protect small businesses and the working men and women they employ – up to and including changing the distribution of state-shared revenue."

    "We're spending an awful lot of time at the state government chasing cities for I'm not sure what kind of problem," League of Arizona Cities and Towns Executive Director Ken Strobeck said. "We certainly do not like having shared revenue thrown around as a punishment."

    Arizona shares with local governments 15 percent of collected taxes on income, sales and transportation. The money funds significant portions of the local governments' budgets.

    Biggs said he doesn't believe his bill goes beyond Ducey's vision. The governor mentioned employment law as one example of a broader problem, and there have been other issues, Biggs said. The "most glaring" example is cities skirting a state law preventing them from banning plastic grocery bags, he said.

    At least one member of the Tempe City Council wants to overturn a state law that prohibits cities from banning plastic bags.

    "I talked to the League (of Arizona Cities and Towns) a year ago and told them if they can't convince the cities and towns to abide by state law, something dramatic will happen that nobody will like," Biggs said.

    Biggs noted that cities and counties are subdivisions of the state and so must obey state laws. He said he included a notification requirement to help cities that may unintentionally violate a law come into compliance before penalties kick in. But in his mind, he said, several recent incidents have been intentional.

    Strobeck said the bill lacks due process.

    "The attorney general is making a determination without going to any court or deliberative body or making an argument in front of a judge," he said. "One lawmaker can go to the attorney general and one attorney general can make a finding, and thousands of people lose local services."

    Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey's spokesman, said the governor's staff will review the legislation, which dropped late Monday, the last day bills could be introduced in the Senate. However, he added, "Governor Ducey shares the Legislature’s frustration with policies that hurt working Arizonans and small businesses, and the governor supports policies that prevent a patchwork of bad laws across the state."

    Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said the proposal would be an effective way to ensure cities and towns behave.

    "Right now, it's against the law for a municipality to basically pass a law which the Legislature has pre-empted, but there's no penalty," Kavanagh said. "Bisbee has disregarded our pre-emption on plastic bag regulation. So it’s bad enough when a government entity breaks the law, but it's worse when the state can't do anything to make them comply."

    Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, a co-sponsor on the bill, quoted President Abraham Lincoln in describing his support. "Laws without enforcement are just good advice," he said. "My experience has been that the laws the cities bring down to us to pass, they get implemented, they enforce them, but the laws that we pass that benefit small businesses, they don't."

    He, too, cited the plastic bag ban and fire-sprinkler regulations at the city level as examples of why the legislation is necessary.

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    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/...-law/79667158/
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.



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