Update on Arizona’s Legislative Session

Where bills stand and Audubon's budget priorities for 2024
American Coot. Photo: Jason Talyor/Great Backyard Bird Count

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**This blog was updated May 2, 2024**

It’s been busy at the Arizona Legislature this year, with more than 100 land and water-related bills introduced this session. All that interest keeps us actively advocating for our priorities and tracking the good and the bad bills moving through the process at the Arizona Capitol.

The 2024 legislative session is not over, but the deadline to hear bills in their relevant committees has passed. So, let’s get a status update on the bills that Audubon Southwest formally opposed or supported (for bills that were placed on committee agendas and voted on).

The bills are organized by: active, failed, and passed


  • OPPOSE HB 2060: irrigation non-expansion area; substitution; acres
    • This bill would: as amended, undercut local efforts to use existing groundwater management tools, such as Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas.
    • Where it stands: passed out of the House on a party line vote (all Republicans voted for the bill, all Democrats voted against), 31-27 vote.  The bill passed out of Senate Natural Resources, Energy, & Water (NREW) Committee and is now awaiting Senate floor action, which is when all members of the Senate will have an opportunity to vote on the bill.
  • OPPOSE HB 2062 assured water supply; certificate; model
    • This bill would: make the Arizona Department of Water Resources revert to using an outdated groundwater flow model when determining if new development has a 100-year water supply.
    • Where it stands: passed out of the House on a party line vote, 31-28.  Awaiting Senate floor action.
    • OPPOSE Senate Bill (SB) 1041 groundwater savings certificate; assured water
      • This bill would: undermine investments that municipalities with a 100-year water supply have made in their water portfolios. 
      • Where it stands: passed out of the Senate on a party line vote, 16-12. Awaiting House floor action. 
    • OPPOSE SB 1221 basin management areas; appropriation
      • This bill would: establish a new framework for managing groundwater in rural Arizona. In its current form, it would be difficult to implement and lacks the needed tools to reduce severe groundwater pumping.
      • Where it stands: awaiting House floor action after it passed out of the Senate with a 16-12 vote. This bill passed the House Natural Resources, Energy, and Water Committee along party lines (Republicans in favor, Democrats opposed). However, talks continue among the Governor’s office and Democratic and Republican lawmakers to see if they can come to an agreement on a legislative solution for rural groundwater management this year.
    • SUPPORT SB 1176 appropriation; Arizona trail fund
      • This bill would: allocate $250,000 from the state general fund to the Arizona trail fund, which helps provide maintenance, planning, and preservation of the 800-mile long Arizona Trail.
      • Where it stands: passed out of the Senate with a 21-7 vote.  Awaiting the Rules Committee in the House. Like all bills with funding attached, there comes a point in session where the bill stops moving and gets wrapped into the larger budget negotiations.


    • SUPPORT House Bill (HB) 2011 lottery; water infrastructure finance authority
      • This bill would: Allocate $25 million to the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority’s (WIFA) Water Conservation Grant Fund and $25 million to the WIFA Water Supply Development Revolving Fund from the State Lottery Fund
      • Where it stands: the bill was assigned to two committees in the House (Natural Resources, Energy, and Water [NREW] and Appropriations) and although it passed NREW 9-0, it was never heard in the Appropriations Committee; therefore, it failed. However, it could be part of the budget negotiation process.
    • OPPOSE HB 2015 subsequent water management areas; basins
      • This bill would: limit the residents in a groundwater basin who can petition and vote for forming new Active Management Areas (AMAs) and new Irrigation Non-expansion Areas (INAs).
      • Where it stands: failed in the House on a 30-28 vote
    • OPPOSE HB 2021 conservation easements; in lieu payments
      • This bill would: reduce incentives for conservation easements, a powerful tool for land stewardship
      • Where it stands: failed in the House on a 19-36 vote
    • OPPOSE HB 2063 exempt wells; certificate; groundwater use
      • This bill would: hand out water rights to small groundwater pumpers with no corresponding management framework.
      • Where it stands: passed out of legislature on partisan lines but vetoed by the Governor on April 30
    • OPPOSE HB 2366 physical availability; review; designated providers
      • This bill would: undermine investments that municipalities with a 100-year water supply have made in their water portfolios.
      • Where it stands: failed to receive floor action in the House
    • SUPPORT HB 2487 residential lease community; Prescott AMA
      • This bill would: require build-to-rent/ residential lease housing development to prove it has a 100 year water supply before building in the Prescott Active Management Area.
      • Where it stands: failed to receive a committee hearing in the Senate after it passed out of the House on a partisan 31-28 vote.  
    • SUPPORT Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1038 Ariona state parks heritage fund
      • This bill would: allow voters to decide if the State Parks Heritage Fund should be funded at $10 million annually from the State Lottery Fund. Subject to voter approval, it would reinstate funding, which was swept back in the Great Recession.
      • Where it stands: Unfortunately, this bill did not pass out of the Senate, on a 15-13 vote. We are hopeful it will be included in budget negotiations.


    • OPPOSE House Concurrent Memorial (HCM) 2007 Grand Canyon Footprints monument; repeal
      • This bill would: urge the President of the United States to repeal the recently established Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. This is essentially a letter than the legislature sends to the White House.
      • Where it stands: transmitted to the Secretary of State (does not require Governor’s signature) after it passed narrowly out of the House and Senate chambers along straight partisan votes (Republicans supporting, Democrats opposing).

    We’ll keep an eye on the active bills as they make their way to Governor Hobbs’s desk.

    Audubon’s Priorities in the Arizona state budget

    Each session, we outline our list of priorities for what should be included in a bird and people budget for Arizona. This year, the financial situation is less rosy than last year.

    Still, we must protect the lands and waters that sustain our livelihoods here in the state. So, in addition to ensuring the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have the resources they need to fulfill their missions of protecting our water supplies, Audubon is advocating that the following be included in the state budget:

    • $27 million for proactive forest restoration to protect communities from wildfires and to improve the health of forests and watersheds
    • $25 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority’s Water Conservation Grant Fund (WIFA received more than 250 grant applications requesting a total of $300 million before applications closed; $200 million total was available).
    • $10 million for the State Parks Heritage Fund
    • $9.5 million deposit into the Water Quality Fee Fund to ensure the cleanliness and safety of surface water, groundwater, and drinking water
    • $250,000 to the Arizona trail fund, which helps provide maintenance, planning, and preservation of the 800-mile long Arizona Trail.

    Be sure to join our Western Rivers Action Network so you can easily contact your lawmakers to let them know about these important funding priorities—for our birds and for our state.