After the first 87 days of the 2010 legislative session, 61 bills had made it to the governor’s desk for a final up-or-down decision. So far, she has signed 22 of them into law and vetoed one.
The majority of Gov. Jan Brewer’s signatures were procedural or technical changes that keep government agencies running. But a handful will make significant changes, including new gun laws and the establishment of corporate campaign contributions.
Here’s a rundown of the most impactful bills Brewer has signed into law so far:
Expansion of Gun Owners’ Rights
On April 5, Brewer signed two gun laws that give the state more control over firearms regulations, while at the same time limiting the regulatory authority of local governments and the federal government.
Brewer’s signature on H2307 means federal firearms regulations will no longer apply to any firearms, accessories or ammunition manufactured, sold and kept in Arizona.
The state law is an attempt to circumvent federal firearms laws by taking advantage of state sovereignty provisions in the interstate commerce clause of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Arizonans will be able to buy and keep their locally manufactured firearms without any federal regulation or registration requirements. But fully automatic firearms, firearms that require two or more people to operate and firearms with a bore size of greater than 1 1/2 inches will not be permitted.
“Politicians in Washington should not attempt to get between Arizonans and their constitutional rights,” Brewer said in a statement released after signing the bill.
The second gun law, H2543, prohibits cities, counties and political subdivisions of the state from enacting any ordinance that would curtail the gun laws of Arizona. It also nullifies any such rules or ordinances that already exist.
Sports Authority Probe
H2225 requires an inspection of the finances of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which owns and operates the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium and promotes spring training facilities and the Fiesta Bowl.
The audit will take place before the end of 2010.
The authority gets its money from hotel bed taxes and a 3.25 percent surcharge on rental cars.
The bill’s sponsors want to use the probe to see if the three-way contracts between municipalities, the authority and the sports teams involve unrealistic debts and repayment terms.
Absentee Ballots Changes
With the Feb. 11 signing of H2427, Arizona residents who are overseas, military members in particular, will be able to submit absentee ballots electronically, as long as they submit a special postcard request to their county recorder.
Corporate Campaign Contributions
Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in ~Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission~, which allows corporations and labor unions to spend freely on political campaigns, H2788 establishes all the necessary guidelines for organizations that want to donate to campaigns in Arizona.
The new set of rules, which passed unanimously at every step and was signed into law April 1, specifies that labor unions and corporations must report their contributions to the Secretary of State’s Office every time they spend at least:
* $5,000 on statewide campaigns.
* $2,500 on legislative campaigns.
* $1,000 on local campaigns.
Game and Fish Commission Appointment Board
The governor has, until now, had to select Arizona Game and Fish Commission members from applications submitted for vacancies. But S1200 establishes a new procedure for those appointments, including the formation of an unpaid, five-person board that will make recommendations to the governor regarding applicants to fill the vacancies.
The board will be composed of representatives selected by the boards of directors of a variety of nonprofit state conservation and sportsmen organizations.
VETOED: Board of Investment Continuation
Brewer vetoed H2075, a continuation of the state’s Board of Investment April 6, citing a provision for an additional member to the board.
Right now, the Board of Investment consists of five members: the state treasurer, the director of the Department of Administration, the superintendent of the Department of Financial Institutions, and two other members appointed by the treasurer.
Brewer said adding a sixth member without a means for breaking ties could lead to an impasse. She also said giving another appointment to the treasurer would give that office unequal sway over the actions of the body.
In her statement, Brewer called for a new continuation bill, as the board is set to expire on July 1.