Now that the dust has settled, and the 53rd Arizona legislative session is over, District 5 Representative Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, can weigh in on her successes and failures.
“I didn’t do a lot of bills this year because this was my first year as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Welfare, which meant I was going to be spending a lot of time on the budget,” Cobb said. “To accommodate, I tried not to overwhelm myself in sponsoring a large number of bills this year.”
Of the nine bills Cobb sponsored, one success was House Bill 2191 that expanded ways to target child support payments by non-custodial parents.
“This bill mandates that if they’ve got insurance money coming in that doesn’t have to be paid out to get a motor vehicle replaced, something deemed extra money, then it can be tacked on and given to the children,” Cobb said.
H.B. 2191 passed on a 35-20-5 vote.
Another success was H.B 2192 that gives judges more flexibility to issue a restrictive driver’s license instead of a suspended license, to a non-custodial parent who is six months behind on child support payments.
“By issuing a restrictive license they are able to get to work,” Cobb said. “If you suspend someone’s license then you are defeating the purpose of getting child support payments caught up.”
H.B. 2192 passed on a 28-0-2 vote.
“I’m kind of proud on some of the things that were passed,” Cobb said, “but there were some downfalls this year.”
One failure, H.B. 2521 died before being heard on the House floor. If passed, the bill would have provided tax reform for the state’s construction industry.
Arizona is a Transaction Privilege Tax state where taxes are levied annually on certain industries, such as construction, for the privilege of conducting business within the state.
“TPT is in confusion,” Cobb said. “It’s super confusing for any of the construction industry. They don’t know which category they fall into, Most of all it puts them at risk in what kind of liability they are going to have with the Department of Revenue at the end of the year if they get audited. Nobody knows if they’ve been following the rules or if they haven’t been following the rules.”
Instead of an annual tax levy, H.B. 2521 would have assessed taxes paid for equipment at the point of sale along with a 1.24 percent excise tax paid at the end of the year.
“I’ve been working on this for two years straight and I managed to push it down the line farther than it has ever been before, which is a good thing,” Cobb said. “Hopefully we will get it across the finishing line next time.”
Another bill that failed was H.B. 2520.
The Arizona House Land, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee killed the bill in a 5-3 vote. If passed, H.B. 2520 would have required the Arizona Department of Water Resources to conduct surveys of the groundwater basins of the upper Colorado River water planning area, mainly in Mohave and La Paz counties.
The bill would have assisted in future aquifer monitoring. There is currently no way to measure water usage from aquifers. HB 2520 would have allowed ADWR to gather current data to determine existing levels and paint a better picture on how to monitor future water usage.
The last study of the area’s aquifers was completed in 2011.
“Although this did not pass, it did put (everyone) on notice that we are still pushing toward a resolution on metering and monitoring industries on high volume water users,” Cobb said. “Even though it failed it gave everyone warning that if we don’t get something done quickly, (locally) we’ll do something ourselves. There has to be some type of control on water use in place.”