— Alan Dulaney
HB 2613 passed the House and went over to the Senate in early March. It passed two committees and went to the floor for a Committee of the Whole (COW) vote in early April. Instead of approval, it was retained on the Senate calendar. And the same thing happened again on April 28.
The sticking point is amendment language that would have made registration for geologists voluntary. House sponsors wanted something that would allow nonregistrants to practice geology as a profession, so a clause to that effect was inserted. But an amendment by Senator Donahue essentially took geologists out of this deregulation bill. The Governor’s Office didn’t like this and worked with other Senators to ensure that the second COW vote would also not happen, and the bill was again retained on the Senate calendar on April 28. And there it sits.
Everything is now wrapped up in the budget discussions. The Governor has indicated he won’t sign anything until he has an acceptable budget. The Senate President and the House Speakers apparently are not seeing eye to eye on what constitutes an acceptable budget. So nothing may happen for some days… or the logjam could break at midnight. Once the budget negotiations are successfully concluded, the Governor will sign bills, so a flurry of activity may take place. HB 2613 may appear before the Senate COW… or it may not.
If it does, compromise language has been prepared by several hardworking and now totally exhausted Registered Geologists that would allow nonregistrants to practice in Arizona — but only if they haven’t been in trouble elsewhere and have both a geology degree and 4 years of work experience. This compromise should satisfy Republican proponents of this bill, yet protect the public. Kudos to Doug Bartlett, Steve Noel, Barbara Murphy, Wayne Harrison, Tina Rasmussen and many others who have put in major effort to retain registration.
Stay tuned; this saga isn’t over yet.