Bill seen by Yumans as water grab may be revived
With the committee deadline to hear bills in their chamber of origin passed, the major work of weeding out bills is done. But like weeds, bills are never really dead and can sprout back up at any time before the session ends.
There are many ways to circumvent the deadlines. Strike-everything amendments are one common method used to introduce bills late in the legislative session. Floor amendments can bring back an idea that otherwise appears dead and, as always, the Legislature can suspend their own rules and decide to hear new bills.
House Speaker Andy Tobin said there are some good reasons to suspend the deadlines or use strike-everything measures on occasion.
For example, he has vowed to pass a comprehensive water augmentation plan this year, and though his HB 2338 stalled twice in committee amid opposition from rural residents, ranchers, farmers and conservationists, Tobin said he will find a way to make the bill work — one way or another.
He said he didn't want to use a strike-everything amendment for the bill and would prefer to work out some amendments and call a special meeting of the House Agriculture and Water Committee, but all options are on the table.
The legislation was fiercely opposed by many in Yuma County who saw it as a water grab of the area's rights to Colorado River water by municipalities in central Arizona. Loss of the water would have a devastating impact on Yuma County and agriculture, its largest economic driver, said local farmers and community leaders.
This article is republished courtesy of Arizona Capitol Times, which ran the article on Feb. 25.