Weekly Legislative Reports
To track AzTA’s involvement in the most recent legislative session, view our reports below.
The 2022 legislative session was shaped by a mix of cooperation and conflict, high-profile feuds, and unexpected alliances. It included a record-breaking budget surplus and big policy wins on both sides of the aisle. It ended in the early-morning hours of June 25 – 166 days after it began – tied for the fifth-longest session in Arizona history.
The 2022 legislative session ended in the early hours of Saturday morning, 166 days after it began. The last week of the session was marked by dramatic swings between cooperation and division, long hours of waiting mixed with flurries of voting and debate. It ended in a cloud of tear gas that drove protesters from Capitol grounds after legislative buildings were locked down and legislative staff moved to the basement.
The end of the state fiscal year is less than two weeks away, but the legislature did not make any obvious progress toward a state budget this week. Instead, legislators turned their attention to new legislation that would significantly alter the state’s education funding system. Republicans in the House Ways & Means Committee approved bills that would invest an additional $400 million in education programs, but only if the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program expands to include all Arizona students. Currently, ESA enrollment is limited to students with disabilities or those who meet other specific criteria.
After weeks of closed-door negotiations, Governor Ducey and Republican legislative leaders have a budget deal – they just don’t have the votes to pass it. While most Republican lawmakers say they could support the proposal, several Republicans staunchly oppose it because they believe it spends too much or too little. Democrats say they can’t support it because it does not include their priorities, including more education funding and a new earned income tax credit.
Behind closed doors this week, Republican legislative leaders continued their efforts to find support from their colleagues for a budget agreement. Their quest for cooperation was hindered by the debates and divisions that unfolded in public, and divisive floor sessions interrupted the two days the House and Senate convened. In the Senate, the debate unfolded around gun control and whether the state should increase background checks for some gun sales. In the House, Republican leaders quickly adjourned for the week to interrupt an attempt to decertify the results of the 2020 election. Focus on the decertification effort, which House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) blocked earlier this year, was renewed when Senate Republicans hosted a forum to share their views on election fraud allegations.
It was a short but dramatic week at the Arizona Capitol. House and Senate floor sessions were dominated by debates about the school shooting in Texas and gun control bills that never advanced this legislative session. As Republicans and Democrats sharply disagreed about the causes of gun violence and the best approach to curbing it, Governor Ducey hinted that he might try to renew the discussion on his proposal to block gun ownership from dangerous individuals – a measure that was blocked two years in a row by opposition from his own political party.