Arizona Legislature Approves Senate Bill 1241 to Restore State Parks Heritage Fund

Arizona Senate Bill 1241 (state parks board; heritage fund) – introduced by Senator Kate Brophy McGee (R-Paradise Valley) and co-sponsored by Senators Paul Boyer, Heather Carter, Sine Kerr, Tony Navarrete, Lisa Otondo, and Frank Pratt – has been transmitted to Governor Doug Ducey for his review and signature. SB1241 restores the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund to be funded by grants, donations, and direct appropriations until Arizona Lottery encumbrances are repaid and removed.

House Bill 2701 (state parks; lottery; heritage fund) as also introduced this session by Representative Joanne Osborne (R-Buckeye) and co-sponsored by her House colleagues Andres Cano, Regina Cobb, David Cook, Tim Dunn, Charlene Fernandez, John Kavanagh, and Ben Toma, as well as Senator Sine Kerr. Although this bill whizzed through committees and the House and Senate, it was held as a budget bill. HB2701 would not only have put back the Heritage Fund into statute, but it would have provided full funding of $10 million from the Arizona Lottery – its original funding source from 1991 to 2009.

“It has been ten years since the State Parks Board was forced to cancel or suspend $11.7 million in Heritage Fund grants already awarded and contracted. It has been a long, hard journey to restore the Heritage Fund, but we finally did it,” said Janice Miano, Arizona Heritage Alliance Board President. “This year, building on past efforts, hundreds of our members and friends voiced their support for one or both bills via the Legislature’s Request to Speak system and hundreds more communicated through phone calls, emails, letters, or attendance at committee hearings.”

“If anything, we’re tenacious. We won’t give up until the State Parks Heritage Fund is 100% whole again. We’re thankful to our bill sponsors, all legislators, and our friends for making great progress this year,” said Russ Jones, Alliance Board Member and former State Representative who introduced bills in 2011 and 2012 to restore the Fund.

ABOUT THE ARIZONA HERITAGE ALLIANCE
Formed in 1992, the Arizona Heritage Alliance is a non-profit 501-c-3 organization that is funded solely with private donations, grants, and memberships. The Alliance’s mission is to protect, preserve, and enhance Arizona’s historic, cultural, and natural heritage by protecting the integrity and voter intent of the Game and Fish Heritage Fund; working to restore the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund; monitoring state legislative and agency activity; and educating Arizonans about the benefits of wildlife, open space, parks, and historic and cultural resources.