Democracy in action: how your legislature functions

The following is an example of how to read between the lines to interpret legislative procedures and legislator motives.  In short, how legislators use the rules to obtain their goals.

Arizona’s HB 2382 has an excellent amendment that would allow CC&Rs amendments to become valid only if no homeowner affected by the amendment objects to the amendment.  It applies to situations where the amendments affects less than all homeowners, like those with golf course views or like those whose properties borders some physical landscape condition as a runoff ditch or access road, etc.  It would restore the constitutional protection against ex post facto laws or eminent domain takings by the HOA.  A limited but major plus for homeowners.

The bill passed out of the House and out of the Senate committee and was set to be placed on the Consent Calendar.  Since there were no amendments to the House version, legislative procedure allows a fast route to final vote by bypassing the COW (Committee of the Whole) step. A legislator can object to a bill being placed on the Consent Calendar, as happened to HB 2382, and must undergo COW debate and vote.  In COW, a bill may be amended, a “floor amendment,” as also happened here.

The amendment was simply a technical correction – remove comma, change “or” to “and,” etc.  This was the essence of the floor amendment to HB 2382. Normally, these technical corrections are handled in committee before going to the final vote process, or in some later session.  So, what gives?

My reading is that in order to stop the bill from becoming law the amendment, if accepted by the Senate, forces the bill to return to the House for confirmation of the amendment or to resolve differences in the 2 versions of the bill.  It allows further opportunity to defeat a bill.  It says something about the amendment sponsor’s motives.

Now, a rational person would say that here should be no problem with accepting technical corrections to a bill.  But, this is politics influenced by a dominant special interest lobbyist effort.  People have been known to change their minds.  Let’s see what happens.

In 2013, Arizona Rep. Ugenti got caught in playing fast and loose with the rules and got an HOA bill passed in the wee hours of the legislative session. The bill was successfully challenged in court and rules invalid.   See AZ Attorney General admits SB 1454 HOA to be invalid and without effect.

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Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 7:49 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for your wonderful education and information.

  2. Kavanagh is little more than a transparent shill for CAI and the “association bar.”

  3. Sounds like a good law. Wonder what’s up? Please keep us posted, George.


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