State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, maneuvered Tuesday to keep alive a bill that would restrict the condemnation power of cities with a last-minute switch to a more friendly Senate committee.
Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, took HB2308 away from the Senate Government Committee just before a critical vote that appeared would go against Farnsworth’s proposal. Instead, the bill will be heard by the Senate Finance Committee next week, the latest date for most House and Senate committees to consider measures this session.
Bennett has developed a closer working relationship
this year with Farnsworth, the secondranking Republican in the House. Bennett said he made the switch at Farnsworth’s request.
Farnsworth’s bill would require cities to keep ownership of any condemned land for at least 10 years, reversing a trend in recent years by cities such as Mesa and Chandler to forcibly transfer private property for downtown redevelopment.
Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, RChandler, chairman of the Senate Government Committee, had tried to push Farnsworth and Valley citylobbyists to reach a compromise.
But a Friday meeting produced no results, so Tibshraeny agreed to the bill’s transfer to avoid a committee vote Tuesday.
"I didn’t support the bill in the form it’s at," Tibshraeny said. "But I also thought maybe, with some more time, they could bring something together. We just don’t have that luxury of time in my committee right now."
Tibshraeny is a former Chandler mayor. Democrat Sen. Harry Mitchell, a longtime mayor of Tempe, also is on the government committee.
The Senate Finance Committee has more lawmakers who are likely to agree with Farnsworth.
"I don’t know if it hurts or helps the position, but it says (the bill) is important enough that we want to continue the dialogue," Farnsworth said of the move.