Tempe and Beyond: What’s Going On In Politics
National/State/Local: Week of February 20, 2018
Earlier this week, the Commerce Department recommended that President Trump raise tariffs and target penalties against nations that sell steel and aluminum in the United States. The American Iron and Steel Institute is in support of such regulations and assured that American producers could close the gap in lost imports. The American Aluminum Association is hesitant, citing that concerns that imported aluminum create jobs domestically and that it would prefer tariffs target China and leave alone the EU and Canada.
Goldman Sachs recently released a research note regarding the U.S. debt. It remarked that the United States’ proportion of debt is “within range” of other developed-market economies, although it is among the highest. Goldman believes that the U.S. Treasury should continue to borrow at a low rate, citing nearly full employment, high corporate earnings growth, and the recent tax overhaul.
On Monday, Molson Coors said in its financial report that it is keeping a cautious eye on marijuana legalization, as it believes consumers could reduce alcohol consumption in areas where cannabis is legal. This is on the heels of data from 2016 that shows beer volume sales “flat,” as wine consumption rises.
This week marks the sixth week of the 2018 Regular Session of the Arizona Legislature. To date, more than 1160 bills are under consideration by lawmakers. This week most bills that have been heard in the House or Senate will be transmitted to their opposite chamber for hearings.
HB 2333 (home-based businesses; local regulation) passed through the commerce committee with a 6-3 vote. The bill seeks to prohibit local government from shutting down “no-impact businesses,” which the bill defines as selling a legal good or service; marked by appropriate signature; does not cause parking or traffic congestion, and employs residents or immediate relatives, or no more than three outsiders. The bill was introduced by Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler), who brought a constituent to the committee hearing, where she told the story of how the City of Chandler shut down the lawful home practice her father started twenty years earlier. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns opposes HB 2333.
HB 2442 (physical body adornment; establishments; certification) seeks to regulate the tattoo industry, which its sponsor, Kelli Butler (D-28), argues has some of the least stringent regulatory rules in the nation. If passed, the bill would require all body-art businesses to follow sanitation rules, require annual blood-borne pathogen training, and would allow local health departments to inspect businesses and investigate consumer complaints.
On February 20th, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was in Arizona to speak on what she calls the “devastating effects” on the tax overhaul signed into law by President Trump. She participated in a Facebook Live session moderated by The Arizona Republic. Many believe that Pelosi’s appearance is a sign that national committees see Arizona as competitive in the 2018 midterms.
The Arizona State House passed with a 33-25 vote HB 2153 (campaign finance; nonprofits; disclosure), which prohibits local governments from putting rules in place to force organizations with tax-exempt status per the IRS to register as political action committees. As of now, no local community has sought such restrictions. The bill is now being debated in the Senate.
HB 2281 (ELL instruction; dual language programs), which removes requirements that English Language Learner students attend a four-hour block daily if they are enrolled in a dual-language program. The bill, which some say advocates for a more effective English learning regime, passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee.
Tempe’s Mayor and City Council have planned an open hearing on the budget for February 21st at 6 p.m. at the Tempe History Museum. The Council hopes to gather input on everything from infrastructure to daily operations. Additionally, community members may weigh in online at www.tempe.gov/forum; the survey is active through March 31st.