Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tim Bee helps kill AZ off-road law enforcement bill

Long-lasting damage from reckless off-roading in western AZ

UPDATE, 3/27: ORV bill revived.

Related: Off-road excess problems in Utah.

PHOENIX -- House Bill 2573, (also known as the off-highway vehicle, user fee bill) was defeated Wednesday by a vote of 3-3 with one absent in the Arizona Senate Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Jake Flake (R-Snowflake).

No good deed goes unpunished by Republicans in the Arizona legislature. After all of the work to come together on a bill that many diverse groups think will help limit the negative impacts of off-road vehicles and provide better law enforcement, three Senators kill it. It had already been double assigned to unfriendly committees by Senate President Tim Bee (R-Tucson).

House Bill 2573 would have provided resources to better manage Arizona’s growing off-road vehicle (ORV) use while protecting wildlife habitat. According to AZ Game & Fish, ORVs have seen a 347 percent increase in usage in Arizona in the last few years, but law enforcement and trail management have lagged far behind. Through this legislation, dollars would have been provided by a nominal user fee to create new law enforcement positions, new land and habitat mitigation for damaged use areas, and better trail management.

Apparently Tim Bee does not see the problem with off-road vehicles. Please take a moment and call his office and ask him to support efforts to protect sensitive public and private lands from off-road vehicles, to ensure better safety provisions – especially for children, and to provide for better law enforcement. You can reach the Senate President at tbee@azleg.gov or (602) 926-5683.

-- adapted from Sierra Club and AGFD

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