The 52nd Legislature, Second Regular Session of the Arizona State Legislature began on January 11, 2016.  The following chart outlines the Board-approved 2016 State Legislative Agenda as well as other relevant state legislative bills and issues that CAP is tracking, through April 7, 2016.

Legislative Agenda
Item and CAWCD Position

Bill Summary and Status

Arizona Water Resources

Continue to collaborate with various stakeholders on efforts to address in-state and interstate water resources. Support legislation as needed to implement multistate agreements relating to the Colorado River.     

H.B. 2075 (desalinization; study committee)

CAWCD Position:  Support + Seek Amendment to include CAP on the committee

H.B. 2075 (desalinization; study committee), sponsored by Representative Vince Leach, establishes a 9-member joint study committee on desalinization. The desalinization committee is comprised of two members of the House of Representatives, two Senators; a person who has experience with the Yuma Desalting Plant; a person who has experience with other desalinization projects; and a faculty member from each of the state's universities (University of Arizona, ASU, and NAU) who have expertise in hydrology, desalinization or a related field. Findings and recommendations are due to the Governor, House Speaker, and Senate President by December 31, 2016.

H.B. 2075 passed the House, 60-0, on February 25.

Status: In seeking an amendment to H.B. 2075, CAP staff learned that the bill was going to be used as a vehicle to add provisions unrelated to desalination. The bill was assigned to the Water and Energy Committee in the Senate, but did not receive a hearing.  H.B. 2075 is therefore dead. 

Multi Species Conservation Program (MSCP) Funding

Support the Arizona Game and Fish Department's efforts to collect and maintain revenues sufficient to continue its annual contribution toward the costs of MSCP.

The Governor's proposed FY 2017 state budget was released on January 15 and, like last year, it no longer contains a special line item for MSCP in the Arizona Department of Game and Fish budget. As in the past, staff will continue to reach out to Game and Fish personnel regarding the department's ability to make the MSCP payment and monitor the budget process.

Status:  No update to report. 

Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Funding

Support the efforts of the Arizona Department of Water Resources to secure a sufficient level of state funding commensurate with its statutory responsibilities and obligations.

The Governor’s proposed FY 2017 state budget proposes maintaining ADWR’s General Fund appropriation at the same level as this year ($12,803,100). The budget authorizes $15,159,400 in spending for ADWR, which is also the same level as FY 2016. 

The Executive recommends that the uses for ADWR's annual $500,000 special line item appropriation for Lower Colorado River litigation expenses be expanded to include efforts to ensure sufficiency of Arizona's Colorado River water supply.  According to the proposed budget, the efforts are expected to "primarily include hiring hydrologists, water resources specialists and project managers, along with obtaining necessary professional and outside services."

The Governor's budget also proposes to move $1,448,500 from the Arizona Water Banking Fund (Water Banking Fund) to support ADWR funding, which is an increase from this year's $1,209,700 total transfer. As in recent years, $200,000 is also appropriated from the Water Banking Fund to the Arizona Navigable Stream Adjudication Commission to pay for legal fees and hearing expenses.

Status: No update to report. 

Arizona Water Protection Fund

Support the efforts of the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission to seek state funding in order to carry out its statutory purpose. 

S.B. 1192 (Arizona water protection fund; appropriation)

CAWCD Position:  Support

S.B. 1191 (water protection fund; conservation; supply)

CAWCD Position:  Monitor 

S.B. 1192 (Arizona water protection fund; appropriation), sponsored by Sen. Gail Griffin, would appropriate $1,000,000 in state General Fund monies to the Arizona Water Protection Fund in FY 2017.

S.B. 1192 passed the Senate, 26-3, on February 18

Status:  S.B. 1192 was assigned to both the Agriculture, Lands and Water Committee and the Appropriations Committee in the House. The bill passed the Agriculture, Lands and Water Committee, 7-0, on March 3, but was not heard in Appropriations. 

S.B. 1191 (water protection fund; conservation; supply), sponsored by Sen. Gail Griffin, would expand the list of projects that the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission is required to give priority by including those projects that increase the supply of water. The bill also removes the statutory five-percent cap on total grants that are dedicated to water conservation programs located outside of the state's Active Management Areas.

S.B. 1191 passed the Senate, 21-9, on February 8. 

Status:  The bill was assigned to the House Agriculture, Water and Lands Committee and passed, 7-0, on March 3. It awaits a final vote by the full House.

Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD)

Monitor any proposed CAGRD-related legislation to ensure its operations are not adversely impacted. 

No update to report at this time.

Extension of the Arizona Power Authority

Support legislation to extend the Arizona Power Authority beyond its statutory termination date of July 1, 2016. 

S.B. 1060 (Arizona power authority; continuation)

CAWCD Position:  Support with Amendment

S.B. 1060 (Arizona power authority; continuation), sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Yee, would extend the Arizona Power Authority eight years, until July 1, 2024. 

S.B. 1060 passed the Senate, 30-0, on February 8. 

Status: On March 12, a strike-everything amendment was unexpectedly posted to S.B. 1060 that jeopardized CAP’s post-2017 allocation of Hoover Dam power, and Arizona’s allocation in general.

Among its provisions, the strike-everything amendment proposed to:

  • Terminate the APA’s current reallocation process for Hoover power and initiate a new process “conducted in good faith;”
  • Limit contracts for power to 15-year terms, rather than the 50 years the APA is currently offering pursuant to a 2011 federal law that CAP helped to get passed; and,
  • Continue APA for 2 years. 


    CAP, along with several interests including many electric districts in the state, opposed the strike-everything amendment that ultimately was adopted, 7-2, by the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee on March 14. The Committee, however, removed the provision to start the APA reallocation process over, but the other provisions related to the term of power contracts and the length of continuation remained problematic for CAP.

S.B. 1449 (prohibited operations; unmanned aircraft)

CAWCD Position:  Monitor 

S.B. 1449, sponsored by Sen. John Kavanagh, establishes violations and penalties for the operation of unmanned aircraft (e.g. drones), and pre-empts local governments from adopting regulations for unmanned aircraft, with specified exceptions such as the drone is owned and operated by the city, town or county. As passed by the Senate, S.B. 1449 specifies that it is illegal for someone to operate a drone to "intentionally photograph or electronically record, to collect information for the purpose of conducting surveillance or gathering evidence on or to loiter over or near" a critical facility without prior consent.  The definition of "critical facility" includes CAP. The bill also exempts anyone from the provisions relating to the unlawful operation of a drone if they are authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration.

For CAP, drone regulation is important from two perspectives:
1) others who are flying drones over CAP infrastructure and
2) CAP's use of drones for maintenance, engineering and other business-related reasons.

Status: The House amended some of the provisions of S.B. 1449 on March 28, but those modifications did not result in a negative impact to CAP. S.B. 1449, as amended, makes it illegal to operate a drone to “intentionally photograph or loiter over or near a critical facility in the furtherance of a criminal offense.”

S.B. 1449 awaits a final vote by the full House, and action on the House amendments by the Senate.  

H.B. 2579 (nonwage compensation; minimum wage)

CAWCD Position:  Monitor with Amendment

H.B. 2579, sponsored by Representative J.D. Mesnard, pre-empts any city, town or other political subdivision from further regulating nonwage compensation, which would include sick and vacation pay, pension contributions, and severance pay. Current law already prohibits cities and towns from regulating what employers in their jurisdiction must pay employees, so the bill is extending that state pre-emption to nonwage compensation as defined.   

Currently, the state pre-emption does not apply to what political subdivisions, including CAP, want to compensate their own employees. H.B. 2579’s proposed changes, however, did not include nonwage compensation in this current exception and therefore made it unclear whether CAP would be subject to future regulations that potentially could limit what CAP provides its own employees. 

To alleviate this concern, CAP legislative staff sought an amendment that clarifies political subdivisions like CAP can continue to regulate, or determine, what it pays its own employees, including with respect to nonwage compensation.

Status: With support of the bill’s sponsor, CAP’s clarifying amendment was adopted by the Senate Commerce and Workforce Development Committee on March 14.  The bill, as amended, awaits a vote by the full Senate.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding any of the issues contained in this tracker, please contact CAP Legislative Affairs Manager, Bridget Schwartz-Manock at 623-869-2150.

To learn more about Arizona's State Legislature and the various bills being considered, please go to www.azleg.gov.