Arizona legislative session had big impact on geology
Governor Doug Ducey last week signed bills that his office described as "aimed at protecting job creators from excessive government regulations and burdensome licensing requirements." This included HB 2613 that de-licensed a number of professions, initially including geologists, and SB 1256 which eliminated licensing of assayers.
The statement from the Governor's Office said, "In signing these bills, Governor Ducey kept good on his promise to begin the elimination of burdensome licensure of scores of odd jobs – regulations that are often designed to kill competition or keep out the little guy, including the elimination of licenses for talent agents."
"State licensure is the most restrictive regulation on individuals looking to earn an honest living. Licenses should only be required when they are truly designed to protect the public health and safety. With these bills, Arizona has started the process of chipping away at unnecessary licensing regulations."
A coalition of geoscience societies with support from some of the largest mining companies in the state opposed the de-licensing of geologists. This became one of the most intense battles of the session and resulted in licensing continuing but on a voluntary basis.
Earlier, Gov. Ducey approved the Agency Consolidation budget bill, SB1530, which eliminates state funding for the Arizona Geological Survey and transfers the duties of the Survey to the University of Arizona. The Governor's staff said this is part of his efforts to consolidate state government.
There was no additional funding provided to UA, so they are expected to fund the Survey from their own funds. AZGS has been told that the UA will provide one-time funding of $941,000 which is equal to the last state appropriation. After this coming year, AZGS will be responsible for finding 100% of its funding from grants and contracts.
AZGS will also give up most of its overhead on existing grants to the University. These funds had been about as much as our state appropriation, and used to support our core mission, so the net result will be a 40-50% reduction in funds for state services. We have started notifying staff members whose jobs will be eliminated as of July due to the loss of funding.