Anti-Regulatory Overreach Bill from State Representative Justin Wilmeth Passes Through House Floor

Arizona State Representative Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) announced that his bill, House Bill (HB) 2254, aimed at restricting state agencies from enacting overreaching regulations, passed through the House Floor on Tuesday.

“Burdensome regulations can lead to higher prices, fewer small businesses, and fewer jobs,” said Wilmeth. “HB 2254 says legislative approval would be required before high-cost rules could be implemented by the state.”

Under Arizona law, a state agency may only conduct rulemaking after receiving written approval from the Governor. However, should the bill go on to become law, state agencies may need extra permission to create some rules. Specifically, suppose the rule would have an adverse impact on the state’s economic growth by over $500,000 within two years of implantation. In that case, the Legislature must approve the rule before it becomes effective. Agencies must submit their proposed rules to the Administrative Rules Oversight Committee, and any legislator can introduce a bill to ratify the rule if necessary. If the Legislature does not approve the rule, the agency must terminate it.

“Executive agencies would have to get buy-in from the Legislature before they could move forward with major regulations. It will increase government accountability by strengthening oversight on unelected bureaucrats and help keep government regulations in check,” Wilmeth said.

HB 2254 ultimately passed with 31 votes in favor and 27 against. It must pass through the Senate next.

Furthermore, this was just one of many bills passed through the House on Tuesday. Several bills came from State Representative Matt Gress (R-Phoenix), one of which would ban TikTok on all devices used by the state. Another bill from Gress, HB 2427, would up the penalties placed on those who assault a pregnant woman to a class 3 felony aggravated assault that can warrant five years above the maximum sentence.

Throughout the day, most bills passed along party lines, getting success from the Republican Majority. Yet, one standout was HB 2448, sponsored by Majority Whip Teresa Martinez (R-Casa Grande), which gained support from Amish Shah (D-Phoenix). The bill would appropriate $25,000,000 from the state General Fund in fiscal year (FY) 2024 to the Department of Water Resources. The funds would be split between the Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Central Arizona Irrigation Districts to build infrastructure to provide groundwater to the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The bill passed with 32 votes in favor.

However, Shah’s vote allegedly landed him in hot water. Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu) said Democrats “decided to punish” him for voting with Republicans by removing him from the floor.

Shah himself had bills appear on the floor, such as HB 2336, which states that spouses or children of veterans or peace officers who committed suicide due to a posttraumatic stress injury are eligible for a tuition waiver scholarship. While Shah did not vote, the bill was still passed with Republican support. State Representative John Gillette (R-Mohave) called the bill responsible.

Gillette also praised the passage of HB 2589, which would allow someone to become an emergency medical care technician (EMCT) if that person has received comparable training while serving in the military.

Lastly, a bill sponsored by House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) was also passed. HB 2757 would reshape an aspect of Arizona’s elections and require that all Court of Appeals judge retain their positions only through a statewide election. Toma explained that because Court of Appeals judges make decisions that affect the entire state, the whole state should have a say in who gets to keep the position.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona House Republicans Chamber” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 3.0.




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