ACC Takes Defensive Action on Several Bills

ACC Takes Defensive Action on Several Bills\

This week was the last week for bills to receive committee hearings in their house of origin.  Consequently, there was a flurry of activity as sponsors attempted to get their measures heard so that they could stay alive.
Fortunately, the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) can report that its efforts to defeat extremely problematic measures relating to both assisted suicide (SB 1298) and the provision of morning after pills (HB 2737) were successful when they were both denied a hearing.
Other problematic bills, however, did receive committee hearings, including a bill (HB 2597) that would have put a sunset on all tax credits.  Following testimony from the ACC opposing the bill because of its impact on both the tuition tax credits and the charitable organization tax credit, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated the bill.
Meanwhile, yet another bill of concern (HB 2632) was heard in the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee.  HB 2632 is a parallel measure to SB 1070 (which has passed the Senate) and pertains to local police enforcing immigration laws.
The ACC testified in opposition to this bill primarily out of concerns for public safety and the fact that crime victims and witnesses who are in the country unlawfully may not come forward and report crimes unless they have clear assurances that they will not be deported for doing so.  Although the bill was significantly improved by an amendment, concerns remain over public safety and the creation of a new crime of criminal trespass for those merely present in the country unlawfully.
Despite all of the defensive action taken on bills this week, there was also positive movement to report on bills supported by the ACC.  The most significant development in this regard was the passage by the full House of a measure (HB 2148) to provide a preference for married couples in public adoptions.
There are no committee hearings scheduled for next week as both the House and Senate focus their energies on the budget.  Nonetheless, it is expected that both chambers will take action on a number of bills that are ready for the floor.