Weekly Legislative Reports
To track AzTA’s involvement in the most recent legislative session, view our reports below.
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. Though the expectation was for a generally light Committee hearing schedule and longer Floor sessions this week, the former held true but the latter wasn’t possible for the first couple days to start the week. The Senate began its week by approving the ability for Senators to vote from home (as opposed to remotely from their Senate office) after Senator David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) was forced to isolate due to exposure/contraction of COVID-19. In order to vote from their home, approval must be obtained by Senate President Karen Fann and Minority Leader Rebecca Rios. After approval of the amended Senate Rule, the Senate moved forward with passing a plethora of 16-14 party-line measures the rest of the week. Similar to the Senate, several Representatives were traveling over the weekend and into the start of this week, so the House was unable to conduct the majority of its Floor business until Wednesday when the House had its full body present. The House spent the majority of the day debating bills in the Committee of the Whole and granting them final approval by the full House. Like the Senate, the House passed many 31-29 party-line votes and those bills will now head to the Senate.
The Arizona Legislature’s “crossover week” was filled with a couple long Appropriations Committee Hearings in both chambers. However, the bulk of the week was spent moving bills through the legislative process and giving final passage to measures in their respective bodies. At the close of the week, 294 bills cleared the House and 217 bills passed the Senate and are awaiting action in the opposite chamber. Both chambers had lengthy Committee of the Whole (COW) and Third Read Calendars Thursday, however only the Senate finished the majority of their work. The House only took action on a few of the over 80 bills it had scheduled to debate and vote on before adjourning until Monday afternoon. The delay was attributed to multiple members who were traveling for the weekend, and with a slim Republican majority, every legislator's vote is crucial to pass any party-line policy legislation. The House will now have extensive COW and Third Read votes next week to finish getting the rest of their bills over to the Senate. To date, Governor Ducey has signed 35 bills into law and another seven bills are on his desk awaiting his action. Next week will be the first week of bills to be heard in committees in the opposite chamber of origin (House bills in the Senate and Senate bills in the House).
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 a 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 the “cross-over” week in which both the House and Senate should be spending the week on approving measures by each respective full body. As of Friday morning, there are 156 House bills and 70 Senate bills that have cleared Committee and are awaiting the Rules Committee and Caucus. There are 74 House bills and 110 Senate bills that have cleared Rules and Caucus but are awaiting Floor action. There are 25 House bills and 14 Senate bills that have cleared Floor debate and are awaiting a Third Read in their respective chamber. There are 157 House bills and 143 Senate bills that have cleared their chamber of origin and are awaiting action in the opposite chamber. Lastly, the Governor has already signed 31 bills into law and has another five on his desk awaiting his action.
The Arizona Senate started the week with a contentious vote on a resolution to hold the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (Board) in contempt regarding the dispute over a proposed audit of the 2020 general election. Despite signing onto the resolution as a co-sponsor, the effort failed after Republican Senator Paul Boyer (R-Glendale) sided with Senate Democrats voting against the measure. Citing his desire to continue to work with the Board and resolve the dispute amicably, Sen. Boyer indicated he opposed the proposal to give the Board (which is also a 4-1 majority Republican body) more time to work together to find a resolution instead of holding the County Supervisors in contempt. The Arizona House of Representatives bill introduction deadline passed this week following the Senate’s same bill introduction limitation last week. Next week will be the final week for bills to be considered in their chamber of origin, so any remaining legislation needs to be heard by the end of the week to move forward in its current form without a waiver of rules or a strike-everything amendment (with some limited exceptions). As of today, 1,707 bills have been introduced (exceeding the prior year record high by 100) in addition to another 113 memorials or resolutions.
The 55th Arizona Legislature had its first resignation this week as Democrat Representative Arlando Teller of Chinle announced he would be resigning his seat to join President Biden’s administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Apache County Board of Supervisors will now appoint a Democrat to fill the outgoing legislator’s seat. The Arizona Senate and House are both proceeding quickly by streamlining many previous measures that did not quite cross the finish line last year as a result of the global pandemic and abrupt finish to session. Governor Ducey signed his first bill of the new session on Thursday afternoon, HB 2045 (civil rights; amendments), sponsored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, which codifies federal law in prohibiting workplace discrimination against pregnant women. With some exceptions, this past Monday (February 1) was the final day for Senators to introduce bills and next Monday, February 8 is the last day for House members to introduce legislation. The Arizona Legislature is getting closer to its “crossover” week, considered to be the traditional “half-way” point of the session. Friday, February 18 is the final day for bills to be considered in their house of origin, so any bills currently in the queue need to be heard within the next two weeks, or face dim prospects for advancement. As of Friday morning, over 1,750 bills, memorials, or resolutions have now been introduced and we expect many more to be dropped in the House prior to Monday’s deadline.
The Arizona Legislature is in the third week of session and had several lengthy hearings this week consisting mostly of repeat bills that did not cross the finish line last year due to the abrupt end of session as a result of the global pandemic. Additionally, there were a host of new measures targeted at reining in the powers of the Governor during a state of emergency, as well as distinguishing the Arizona Legislature as the energy policy making body, and limiting the Arizona Corporation Commission to its ratemaking authority. The Senate Republicans released their budget framework, with the main area of contention from the Governor’s proposal being the amount of tax cuts, and over what length of time. Senate Republicans are proposing $450 million in tax cuts (though few details were provided) but only $200 million would be ongoing. Meanwhile, Governor Ducey’s proposal would cut income taxes by $200 million the first year and increase to $600 million by the third year, for a total tax reduction of $1.2 billion over the next three years. Also differing from the Governor, the Senate Republicans proposal fully funds virtual learning for the 2020-2021 school year, allocates $200 million to the state’s depleting Unemployment Trust Fund, a 5% pay increase for state personnel, and a $200 million set aside for yet to be determined highway infrastructure projects.