Your voice needed on HCR2040 to save Arizona State Parks

Below is an important action alert about Arizona State Parks from the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. This is an important opportunity to save our state parks from closure. Please do your part!

You can also send a quick message through their website.

This bill would add a $9 surcharge onto the annual vehicle registration fees, which would generate enough money to maintain and operate our state park system. In return, Arizona-registered vehicles would be able to enter state parks for free. It’s a good deal, and while I’d love to see the Arizona Legislature fully fund the parks system from the general fund, this appears to be the most politically-viable alternative.

HCR2040 sustainable state parks fund (Jones, Brown, Ch. Campbell, et al) refers to the ballot a measure to allow free day use of all of our State Parks for a fee on every vehicle registration. The funds would be administered by the State Parks Board to operate and maintain parks. With a nine dollar fee, Parks can generate approximately $39 million per year which would provide the necessary dollars for operation and maintenance.

The bill will be heard in the House Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee on Thursday around 2pm in House Hearing Room 5.

PLEASE COME TO THE HEARING, EMAIL LEGISLATORS, SIGN IN ON THE REQUEST TO SPEAK SYSTEM, OR ALL OF THE ABOVE. ASK MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES AND RURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT HCR2040!

Members of the Committee include representatives:

[Click here to email them all at once]

To sign in for Request to Speak, go to http://alistrack.azleg.gov/rts/login.asp and then enter your user name and password (remember this has to be set up at the legislature the first time and I can do that for you, but need for you to let me know what you would like to use for your user name and password). Click on House of Representatives and then hit login. Click on “Agenda Search,” then enter the bill number “HCR2040.” Click on “Begin Search.” You should see HCR2040 come up. Click on “Choose Bill.” You can then click on “for” the bill and indicate whether or not you wish to speak. If you are not going to be there, then you will want to leave it as the default, which is “no.” If you are going to be there, please consider speaking in favor of the bill and click on “yes.” One other thing, the default will be that you are speaking for yourself. If you are not listed as an authorized lobbyist for your organization, then you should just speak on behalf of yourself — that is more effective many times anyway.

Here’s the full text of the bill, as it currently stands:

HCR 2040
1 Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the
2 Senate concurring:
3 1. Under the power of the referendum, as vested in the Legislature,
4 the following measure, relating to a sustainable state parks fund, is enacted
5 to become valid as a law if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the
6 Governor:
7 AN ACT
8 AMENDING TITLE 41, CHAPTER 3, ARTICLE 1.1, ARIZONA REVISED
9 STATUTES, BY ADDING SECTION 41-511.17; RELATING TO THE ARIZONA
10 STATE PARKS BOARD.
11 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
12 Section 1. Title 41, chapter 3, article 1.1, Arizona
13 Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 41-511.17, to
14 read:
15 41-511.17. Sustainable state parks fee; sustainable state
16
17 A. AT THE TIME OF VEHICLE REGISTRATION, EVERY PERSON WHO
18 IS REQUIRED TO REGISTER A MOTOR VEHICLE IN THIS STATE PURSUANT
19 TO SECTION 28-2153 SHALL PAY, IN ADDITION TO THE REGISTRATION
20 FEE, AN ANNUAL SUSTAINABLE STATE PARKS FEE OF NINE DOLLARS.
21 THIS SUBSECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO THE REGISTRATION OF A
22 COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 28-601.
23 B. THE REGISTERING OFFICER SHALL COLLECT THE SUSTAINABLE
24 STATE PARKS FEES AND IMMEDIATELY DEPOSIT, PURSUANT TO SECTIONS
25 35-146 AND 35-147, THE FEES IN THE SUSTAINABLE STATE PARKS FUND
26 ESTABLISHED BY SUBSECTION C OF THIS SECTION.
27 C. THE SUSTAINABLE STATE PARKS FUND IS ESTABLISHED
28 CONSISTING OF FEES DEPOSITED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. THE
29 ARIZONA STATE PARKS BOARD SHALL ADMINISTER THE FUND. MONIES IN
30 THE FUND ARE CONTINUOUSLY APPROPRIATED. THE ARIZONA STATE PARKS
31 BOARD SHALL USE THESE MONIES TO OPERATE, MAINTAIN AND MAKE
32 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS TO STATE PARKS.
33 D. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, THE ARIZONA STATE PARKS
34 BOARD SHALL NOT CHARGE A FEE FOR THE DAY USE OF STATE PARKS TO A
35 MOTOR VEHICLE DISPLAYING A LICENSE PLATE ISSUED PURSUANT TO
36 TITLE 28. THIS SUBSECTION DOES NOT PREVENT THE ARIZONA STATE
37 PARKS BOARD FROM CHARGING A FEE FOR SPECIAL SERVICES, INCLUDING
38 TOURS AND OVERNIGHT CAMPING.
39 2. The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters
40 at the next general election as provided by article IV, part 1, section 1,
41 Constitution of Arizona.

Attending the Inauguration

I leave on Monday for Washington, DC, a city engulfed in excitement for a historic Inauguration. Not only does it mark the first time that an African-American–indeed, something other than a white guy–is sworn in as President of the United States of America, but it also marks a sea change in what kind of man is running the free world. Gone is the empty ego, the ideological warrior, the shallow thoughts of George W Bush, and in is the quiet confidence, the steady and intellectual approach, the even-handed statesman, Barack Obama. I hope I’m not overselling this, but it’s hard not to feel really proud and eager as an American to see this change take place.

I’ve decided to forgo many of the traditional inauguration festivities – I’m not attending any balls, for instance. Instead, I’m hoping to spend some time with friends and colleagues, and in particular, soak in the radiance and hope from the public at large. In fact, I think that will actually be more inspiring than anything Obama says during his inaugural address, though I expect that to be first-rate as well. But there’s just something about standing in a crowd of hopeful, proud, and inspired Americans during such a historic moment.

One thing I’m not looking forward to is the weather. Nasty, bitter cold, I’m expecting, and as an Arizonan that refuses to spend time anywhere near such things as snow, rain, and ice, I’m woefully under prepared. Alas, I don’t even own shoes that don’t have mesh in the sidewalls. Even so, I’m looking forward to the trip, even if it means I’ll be couchsurfing a few nights, freezing my ass off, and then spending several days in planning meetings for work.

Washington, DC, here I come.