REFERENCE TITLE: water rights; general adjudications; funding
State of Arizona
First Regular Session
Senators Engel: Contreras, Otondo; Representative Salman
amending title 12, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 12-117.01; amending section 45-252, Arizona Revised Statutes; appropriating monies; relating to general adjudication of water rights.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 12, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 12-117.01, to read:
12-117.01. General adjudication personnel and support fund; joint legislative budget committee review
A. The general ADJUDICATION personnel and support fund is ESTABLISHED consisting of monies appropriated by the legislature. The supreme court shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund are continuously appropriated and are exempt from the provisions of section 35-190 relating to lapsing of appropriations.
B. Monies in the fund shall be used by both:
1. The supreme court to provide additional full-time personnel for the general adjudication as PRESCRIBED in section 45-252, subsection D and to provide case management and other support equipment, services and personnel.
2. The department of water resources for additional full-time personnel and other equipment and services related to the adjudication.
C. for fiscal years 2021-2022, 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, before any monies are spent from the fund, the joint legislative budget committee shall review the expenditure plan presented by the supreme court and the department of water resources for the fiscal year in which the monies are to be spent.
Sec. 2. Section 45-252, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
45-252. General adjudication; representation; superior court; assignment to judge; petition
A. One or more water users upon on a river system and source, the water rights of which have not been previously adjudicated under this article and administered by the director of water resources, or the this state of Arizona upon on the request of any state agency other than the department of water resources may file a petition to have determined in a general adjudication the nature, extent and relative priority of the water rights of all persons in the river system and source.
B. The attorney general shall represent the this state of Arizona in connection with all water claims asserted by this state. The director shall be represented by legal counsel retained in accordance with section 45-104, subsection F.
C. The general adjudication shall be brought and maintained in the superior court in the county in which the largest number of potential claimants resides. The clerk of the court in which the petition is filed shall notify the supreme court and the supreme court shall be responsible for assigning the general adjudication to a superior court judge and appointing a master and for consolidating the general adjudication with other pending general adjudications, if appropriate.
D. The supreme court may appoint additional full-time superior court judges, masters, paralegals and law clerks for the general adjudication. NOTWITHSTANDING section 12-128, the superior court judge, master, PARALEGAL and law clerk positions prescribed in subsection C of this section and this subsection shall be fully funded by this state.
D. E. The petition for a general adjudication shall be captioned: "In re the general adjudication of all rights to use water in the ____________ river system and source" and shall request that the court determine the nature, extent and relative priority of the water rights of all persons in the river system and source.
Sec. 3. Appropriations; general adjudication personnel and support fund; exemption
A. The following amounts are appropriated from the state general fund in fiscal year 2021-2022 to the general adjudication personnel and support fund established by section 12-117.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, as added by this act, for the following purposes:
1. $147,610 for two full-time paralegals for the special water master.
2. $109,710 for a full-time law clerk for the special water master.
3. $133,920 to expand the court's electronic case management system.
4. $2,000,000 for the other purposes of the fund.
B. The appropriations made in subsection A of this section are exempt from the provisions of section 35-190, Arizona Revised Statutes, relating to lapsing of appropriations.