End of Session 2015
End of session came with a resounding “Crash” for Arizona Law enforcement on April 3, 2015 with the close of session. Following statewide LE support during Governor Doug Ducey’s 2014 election campaign, we are still scratching our collective heads over what transpired via the Governor’s Veto pen. This same veto threat also killed our “ Due Process” initiative once negative amendments were added. Overall bills of significance to our officers were: Senate Bills 1467, 1445 , 1443, 1224 and House Bills 2410 & 2163.
Senate Bill 1467 (Senator Allen LD 6) sought to expand officer rights in terms of time frames for file review by the employee as well as complete “Discovery” of all exculpatory evidence. After many concessions by APA/CLEAA the bill was gutted to where it was agreed that the sponsor withdraw this once promising piece of legislation. Ironically, last minute amendments would have caused loss of existing officer rights .
Senate Bill 1443 (Senator Smith LD 11), for the purposes of workers’ compensation regulations, sought to include PTSD as a qualifying illness. Following unanimous approval in the Senate Public Safety Military & Technology committee, this bill did not advance.
Senate Bill 1445 (Senator Smith LD11), with great legislative support, the 60 day window (reduced from 90 days) to release an officer’s name following a shooting, fell to the veto pen.
Senate Bill 1224 (Senator Kavanagh LD23) proposed all lights on a vehicle were required to operate , specifically referencing two operable taillights. This Senate supported bill (24-4) stalled following house COW approval.
House Bill 2410 (Senator Stevens LD14) proposed : municipalities, police departments, county boards of supervisors, county sheriffs, and the Department of Public Safety would have been prohibited from implementing traffic complaint quotas for peace officers, and from basing the determination of an officer’s rank on the number of traffic complaints issued. This Legislation was Vetoed by Governor Ducey on 3/30.
House Bill 2163 ( Representative Borelli LD 5) sought to give all law enforcement the right to warrantless search of individuals on probation and parole. This is currently the role of probation & parole officers. At the request of CLEAA/APA this bill was not heard in committee for the second consecutive year.
Other Bills of note included SB1300 which originally sought to set parameters for those jurisdictions currently using “body cameras”. This bill was amended to a study committee , in which CLEAA will play a role this summer during stakeholder meetings.
Pension: Firefighters and law enforcement have initiated discussions (summer 2014) over a positive pension referendum that would be brought to the voters in (what turns out to be) 2016. CLEAA has voted in support of language that would close the discussion of defined benefit Vs. Defined contributions. This would provide employers relief in contribution rates, thereby safeguarding pensions from the now reversed changes brought by SB1609 in 2011.
In closing, it may be said that Public safety had the complete support of the legislature in advancing our thoughtful initiatives. The unexpected Governor’s veto pen was the final obstacle that we must prepare for in 2016. As a CLEAA member you have the opportunity to participate in shaping your profession. Please answer the call when CLEAA assembles its Legislative Committee/ agenda for the fall of 2015.
Luis Ebratt, Executive Director / CLEAA