Weekly Legislative Reports
To track AzTA’s involvement in the most recent legislative session, view our reports below.
With just over 24 hours before Governor Ducey's “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected" order was set to expire, the Governor held a press conference today to extend his order (attached) with some slight modifications through May 15, 2020. He thanked Arizonans for their support and sacrifices and asked that they continue to adhere to the Order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The following is a quick summary of Thursday, April 9th, Legislative Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) discussion of Arizona’s revenue projections and budget update, as well as the Governor Ducey’s press conference this afternoon to summarize his latest “Good Samaritan” Executive Order protecting frontline healthcare workers.
Despite Governor Ducey issuing a public health emergency regarding the coronavirus after the ninth confirmed case in Arizona, legislative activity continued as usual this week. However, on Thursday afternoon, the House and Senate announced that they are closing their galleries from the public and instituting new policies which includes the request for people to limit their attendance and to register their support or opposition to legislation through electronic means instead. There are now 122 House bills that have passed out of Senate committees, with another 202 that are still awaiting committee action. Additionally, there are 88 Senate bills that have cleared House committees, while 151 bills are still awaiting committee action. The second week following “crossover week” has passed and still no budget has been introduced. Despite majority leadership from both chambers saying that a budget is close to being finalized, it appears as though there are still stark differences between the Governor and Legislature’s proposals that are continuing to postpone the budget from being brought forward.
This marked the first week following “crossover week” where House bills began to be heard in the Senate, and Senate bills began to receive hearings in the House. There are 263 House bills awaiting committee assignment or action in a Senate committee, while there are 218 Senate bills awaiting committee reference or action in the House. There are another 35 Senate bills that passed House committees this week, and over 50 House bills clearing the first hurdle in the Senate. An additional four bills have already made it through the entire legislative process and been signed into law by Governor Ducey this session. Though the House and Senate did not meet their self-imposed timeline of passing the budget during “crossover week,” majority leadership in both chambers have indicated they have an agreement between their respective bodies and are awaiting the Governor’s approval prior to introducing any budget bills. It appears the main area of contention is how much in tax cuts each wants.
Despite Majority Leadership’s hope to pass a budget during the “crossover week,” no budget bills have been introduced as of today. Instead, the House and Senate spent the majority of the week giving final passage to measures in their respective bodies. As of Thursday afternoon, 215 bills have cleared the House, while 189 bills have passed the Senate. Both chambers have lengthy Committee of the Whole and Third/Final Read Calendars, estimating another 25-50 bills being approved before the close of the week. The budget was not delivered this week as previously hoped, and Senate President Karen Fann has indicated it may not even come next week, as both bodies are trying to clear their backlog of bills. Since the three budget proposals released by the Governor, Senate and House did not vary drastically, it is still expected that the budget will be finalized earlier than prior sessions, likely in the next few weeks.
The Arizona Legislature had a busy week filled with lengthy agendas/hearings as it was the last week to hear bills in the respective chamber of origin. If the bill did not receive a hearing at the conclusion of this week, it will likely be considered “dead” unless revived by a “strike-everything” amendment or waiver of rules (with some limited exceptions). Next week will be “cross-over” week with the expectation that all policy and “stand alone” policy measures will be halted in order for the House and Senate to pass a FY 20-21 budget. In regards to transit issues at the Legislature this week, Rep. Campbell’s (R-Prescott) HB 2899, which adds taxes on motor vehicle fuel, use fuel, natural gas, propane, and electric and hybrid vehicles, was heard in the House Transportation Committee which he serves as Chairman. Rep. Campbell testified that this has been a five year undertaking to provide a permanent funding source for transportation and infrastructure needs across Arizona. Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) also testified on the bill and said that he believes it is important in his leadership capacity to acknowledge that this extra tax is worth it to provide the necessary maintenance for our roads and infrastructure. The bill passed the House Transportation Committee with unanimous support (though three of the Committee’s Republicans were absent and did not vote on the measure).