As you should recall, the SB 1454 complaint was filed as a result of unethical conduct by Rep. Ugenti when she surreptitiously attached an HOA reform bill to a bill with another subject in violation of the Arizona Constitution.
Discussions with the AG’s office continue on 2 important issues. I believe, however, that we are being taken to the brink where we will need to go to court and get an injunction to stop SB 1454 from becoming effective until the court decides the issue, as had happened with SB 1070. How much will that cost the State?
At the same time that we heard from the AG’s office on August 21st, it came known to us that an Administrative Director at the AZ Supreme Court filed a petition (R13-0041), two days after we filed the complaint, to change Rule 31 of the Supreme Court rules. This rule change would allow HOA managers to represent HOAs in small claims court, which would not be an unauthorized practice of law (UPL). State Certified Legal Document Preparers (paralegals) do not have this right.
This request for an emergency decision was based on SB 1454 becoming law in September to avoid the legislature encroaching upon the judiciary branch that sets rules and regulations for the courts. As it stands, if SB 1454 becomes law then we would have a second constitutional issue of a violation of the separation of powers doctrine.
There was no mention of our constitutionality challenge in the petition to change the rules. Upon being informed of the lawsuit the SC asked for a copy of the complaint, apparently not aware of it at all. I guess the petitioner misplaced it. A decision to hear the petition is expected within 2 days.
Today, another incident of misrepresentation of the facts in regard to SB 1454, a third instance, was discovered in an HOA article by a landlord-tenant attorney writing in the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business Journal. The school is an ADRE approved education and training facility for real estate agents and property managers. It provides mandated courses in real estate law, agency law, contract law, and the Commissioner’s Rules (administrative law). There are no requirements to know anything about HOAs where 23% of the population lives.
The author did not mention the constitutionality challenge either, but admitted to the co-plaintiff that she was aware of the complaint. While she refers to SB 1454 as “a hotly contested bill,” she failed to mention that it is still being contested in the courts. Apparently she felt no need to caution her readers that these “laws” may change or even be delayed, like SB 1070, so don’t go making firm plans right away. The 90 day wait period between bill signing and its effective date was intentionally put into place to allow for such challenges as ours to the newly passed laws.
Are there any men and women of honor in Arizona? Or, have those who should know better adopted the ethics of Machiavelli who believed: an ethical act is one that advances your goals or your power.
2. See Rule change petition