By a margin of 39-12, the Arizona House of Representatives passed SB1403 on Friday, June 26th, putting the solar jobs bill just one stepaway from becoming law.
Although the Arizona legislation has received national attention,final passage in the House was overshadowed by the debate — andeventual victory in the US House of Representatives — of theWaxman-Markey climate bill on the same day. The American Clean Energyand Security Act of 2009 (HB 2454) squeaked by on a vote of 219-212.
News of the Arizona win came as a surprise even to many supporters of the bill.
The Phoenix Sun, I’m embarrassed to admit, was among those who onlybelatedly learned of the victory. In my case, the news came in the formof an eMail from the Senator who sponsored the bill, Barbara Leff.
“Did you know that SB 1403 passed on Friday,” Leff wrote, adding, “I didn’t see a story on it.”
The only item needed for SB 1403 to become law is a signature from Governor Jan Brewer.
There’s been no word from the Governor’s office, however, on whetheror not she plans on signing the bill. She has met with severaldelegations of manufacturers who say their decision to set upoperations in Arizona depends on the incentives granted in the bill. Ifthe Governor doesn’t sign SB 1403, said one person involved in thesemeeting, the manufacturers said they would go elsewhere.
The Republican Governor is currently locked in a battle withRepublican legislators over the state budget, and there is some concernthat SB 1403 could become collateral damage in that fight.
Representative Michele Reagan, who sponsored the bill in the House,told me this afternoon that SB 1403 is “a positive step for Arizona,and one of the only things done year that will be moving the economyforward.”
Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, agrees with Reagan.
“We’re happy it passed,” Bahr tells the Sun. “The bill may be the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal legislative session.”
Photo Collage : clockwise, from upper left, the sun over the earthfrom space, the Nellis Solar Power Plant, and the average solar energyavailable at the surface, with the black dots showing the total landarea required to equal the total energy used in 2006, assuming aconversion efficiency of 8%. College by: Matthias Loster