Yesterday was a day of firsts for Rep. Ed Ableser. Sure, it was the first time in his brief legislative career that the House and Senate would end their annual session in April. It’s also the first time in recent years that the waning days of the session didn’t include any budget action, as the spending for the upcoming year was settled six weeks ago.
More importantly to Ableser, a Tempe Democrat, is that yesterday marked the first time that one of his bills had cleared every hurdle in the legislative process and was sent to the governor for final approval. The bill, H2462, creates a new article of statute that regulates “private property trespass towers.”
The bill had sat idle in the House for nearly two months after it cleared the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in late January. But, in mid-March, it went to the floor for debate, and then for a vote 10 days later, passing 50-9 on March 29.
After being amended in a Senate committee and on the upper chamber’s floor, it was put up on the big board yesterday and received a 19-8 passage. When it came back to the House last night for a final vote, it was one of the final bills heard before the Legislature went dark for the summer. It passed 38-19, and was forwarded to the governor this morning.
I asked him about the bill earlier in the week, and Ableser was clearly excited. He also learned firsthand how difficult it is to shepherd a bill through the process. “I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort,” he joked.
Gov. Jan Brewer has until May 11 to act on the bills approved on the final day. Given the bipartisan support of the measure among lawmakers, it seems likely she’ll sign it into law some time soon.