Arizona State Park Fee (2010)

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The Arizona State Park Fee did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Arizona. The measure would have allowed free use of state parks during the day and would have required residents to pay an additional motor vehicle registration fee of $9 in order to sustain those state parks. The measure was killed in a vote of 5-4 by the House Appropriations Committee on March 24, 2010. Instead, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a proposal to implement an optional fee for drivers in order to keep state parks open. The proposal would not be placed on the ballot, but would be implemented 90 days after legislative session concludes if passed.[1][2][3]

The measure stemmed from closings of some state parks, caused by reduced funding.[4]

Text of bill

The text of the bill, according to the Arizona Legislature, read as follows:

"An act amending title 41, chapter 3, article 1.1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 41‑511.17; relating to the Arizona state parks board."[1]

Path to the ballot

The proposed measure was a legislatively-referred state statute, which meant the state legislature must have voted to put it before the voters. Arizona is one of 22 states that refer statutes to the ballot.


In a letter to the editor of the Arizona Daily Sun, Tuscon resident Bill Thornton stated a need for the measure to be placed before voters. He wrote in response to John Kavanagh's guest letter published on March, 17, 2010, which stated an unconstitutionality regarding the measure. Thornton wrote:

"I find it rather curious that Rep John Kavanagh discovered the unconstitutionality of HCR 2040 only after he'd been beaten up by the press. His originally stated reason for refusing to hear the bill in the Appropriations committee was that it "didn't fit the Republican tax plan." Had Rep. Kavanagh acted in good faith, issues of constitutionality could have been addressed in committee, and the bill could have advanced for an up or down vote by the citizens of Arizona who own the State Parks."[5]


John Kavanagh, in a letter to the Arizona Daily Sun, stated why the House Appropriations Comittee, which he chaired, had not passed the measure to be heard by the Arizona House of Representatives. According to Kavanagh, the proposal was "unconstitutional." He wrote, "There are many good reasons for not moving forward with this bill.The principal reason to not hear HCR2040 is because, as originally drafted, it clearly violates the Arizona Constitution, which states that, "No moneys derived from fees, excises, or license taxes relating to registration, operation, or use of vehicles ... shall be expended for other than highway and street purposes ..." Even as amended, the monies raised by HCR2040 could only be spent on park road activities."[6]

See also

External links

Additional reading