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Arizona e-bike law in limbo after governor's veto on unrelated issue

Published April 26, 2018

PHOENIX (BRAIN) — Arizona's governor has vetoed a state measure containing three-class e-bike legislation favored by the industry. In an unusual gubernatorial protest related to a proposed teacher pay raise that Gov. Doug Ducey supports, he vetoed unrelated bills that had been supported by Republicans, who oppose the pay raise.

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"Please send me a budget that gives teachers a 20 percent pay raise by 2020 and restores additional [school district] assistance,'' Ducey wrote in a veto message. "Our teachers have earned this raise. It's time to get it done."

Tens of thousands of on-strike teachers and their supporters marched on the state Capitol on Thursday as more than 1,000 Arizona public schools in nearly 110 districts and charter schools shut down, according to The Arizona Republic

"Much of the protesters' ire was directed at Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, who has resisted demands to end tax cuts to bolster public education spending. Teachers pressed ahead with the walkout despite a promise by the governor to increase their salaries 20 percent by 2020. Betting that a growing economy will bolster revenue, Mr. Ducey said he could provide the raises and reinforce school budgets without tax increases, a proposal that many teachers and lawmakers doubted," the newspaper reported on its website.

The three-tier model e-bike legislation has been promoted in several U.S. states by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes. The Arizona Legislature passed it last week and state advocates had expected Ducey to sign it. 

"We are disappointed that our bill stalled when it hit Gov. Ducey's desk due to an unrelated legislative dispute, as it would have greatly benefited retailers and small business across the state. There is a slim chance that the bill language could be inserted into another bill currently on the floor, but we're betting on a success in 2019," said Morgan Lommele, e-bike campaigns manager for the BPSA and PFB.

Brandee Lepak, owner of Phoenix-area retailer Global Bikes and board chair of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, and Pivot Cycles' Chris Cocalis have both been involved in the industry groups' legislative effort in their home state.

"We need to get the three-tier e-bike law passed here," said Cocalis, president and CEO of Tempe, Arizona-based Pivot. "It passed the Arizona House and the Senate. It was on the governor's desk for final signature, and it should have been signed and gone through smoothly. However, he vetoed everything that came across his desk last week due to a looming teachers strike. He's basically told the Legislature that he's not signing anything until they get an education budget figured out. We got caught in the political crosshairs a bit.

"I don't think it's a long-term problem and hopefully the education situation gets resolved quickly and we can get back on track. It was my understanding that the governor was in support of the bill and that this setback has nothing to do with the bill itself."

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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