Weekly Legislative Reports
To track AzTA’s involvement in the most recent legislative session, view our reports below.
A familiar scene unfolded at the Capitol this week: Republicans rolled out a budget package they negotiated behind closed doors with the Governor, fast-tracking it through committee hearings and passing it over objections from Democrats who felt left out of the discussions. But this year was different. Republicans no longer hold the Governor’s office, and it was months of private negotiations between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs that crafted the proposal introduced on Monday. Legislative Democrats expected to have a bigger role to play in shaping the budget under the new Governor, and as the budget bills became public, they decried the process, their lack of input, and their priorities that weren’t included in the final budget – like a limit to enrollment in Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs).
Arizona legislators spent just a few hours in floor sessions this week before adjourning until Monday. The Senate gave broad bipartisan support to a bill that allows AHCCCS to spend its federal funding through June, ensuring continued operations of the agency after partisan budget disputes suspended funding authority last month. Governor Hobbs signed the bill on Thursday, calling on the legislature to also confirm her nominee to lead AHCCCS and pass a bill that continues the agency in state statute.
Lawmakers returned to the Capitol for an abbreviated work week, spending a total of seven hours in floor sessions before adjourning until next Wednesday. Much of that time was consumed by debates about Bibles and tamales. During its short floor session on Tuesday, the Senate gave preliminary approval to bills that create new resources and oversight for Natural Resource Conservation Districts, criminalize owning a child sex doll, limit transgender access to women’s shelters, and exempt Arizona firearms from federal laws.
It’s the 96th day of the 2023 legislative session, and the House and Senate have hit “pause” on their work after a very unusual week at the Capitol. For just the fifth time in Arizona history, the House of Representatives voted to expel one of its members. The decision, which required a bipartisan two-thirds supermajority, came after the House Ethics Committee determined that Representative Liz Harris (R-Chandler) violated House rules when hosting a controversial legislative hearing on election claims.
This is turning out to be the year of the veto at the Arizona Legislature. House and Senate leaders have often prioritized proposals that advanced with support only from Republicans; the Governor has responded by vetoing 58% of the bills that have reached her desk. This week, she vetoed 17 more bills – including proposals that would have expanded legislative oversight of public service corporation decisions, exempted some waterways from state regulations, and limited ADOT highway messages. Governor Hobbs has vetoed a total of 37 bills this year – not as many as the record 58 vetoes by Governor Napolitano in 2005, but more than the average over the last 20 years.
It was a dramatic week at the Arizona Capitol, with an ethics hearing, a resignation in the Governor’s senior staff, and disagreements about how zoning laws affect housing affordability. Governor Hobbs signed most of the bills that reached her desk – including proposals to allow county attorneys to represent some schools, assist mobile home owners who have to move because of redevelopment, and require HOAs to allow the Betsy Ross flag.