A State House committee was forced to postpone Tuesday’s discussion of a bill about who has authority to set energy policy in Arizona after almost all House Democrats failed to show up for a floor session earlier in the day at which the bill was to get its First Read.
The Committee on Natural Resources, Energy & Water (NREW) was to meet at 2 p.m. to consider HB2248, which seeks to rein in the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) regulation of critical electric generation resources. However, the bill had to be dropped from the committee’s agenda when the required First Read was not conducted at 1:15 p.m. because only 28 of 60 House members showed up for the floor session.
House members are split 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats. Public records reveal an overwhelming majority of those not present for Tuesday’s floor session were Democrats.
HB2248 sponsored by Rep. Gail Griffin (R-LD14) is in response to various Green New Deal mandates implemented by the ACC in recent years for how public service corporations can do business. It makes clear that legislators -not the ACC’s five members- have authority for establishing policies related to critical electric generation resources, whether biomass, coal, fuel-cell technology, geothermal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind, or petroleum fuel products.
HB2248 would prohibit the ACC from adopting or enforcing any “policy, decision or rule” which directly or indirectly regulates what types of critical electric generation resources to be used or acquired by a public service corporation within Arizona’s energy grid “without express legislative authorization.”
The bill’s First Read was finally conducted Wednesday afternoon, according to House spokesman Andrew Wilder. It will go back to the NREW committee which Griffin chairs, but not until Jan. 26 at the earliest. The last day for the House to consider the bill is Feb. 18.
Sen. Sine Kerr (R-LD13) has introduced SB1175, a companion bill to HB2248. The bills would amend Title 40 of the Arizona Revised Statute by adding a new section designated as ARS §40-213. The amendment would not apply to any ACC policy, decision, or rule adopted before June 30, 2020 but would be retroactive to that date if passed.
Griffin and Kerr’s bills are supported by the Barry Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research, the Free Enterprise Club, the Market Freedom Alliance, the Americans For Prosperity-AZ, and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona.