Weekly Legislative Reports
To track AzTA’s involvement in the most recent legislative session, view our reports below.
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.
The legislature continues to set a low bar for itself, and the House and Senate faced attendance challenges again this week as some lawmakers found other things to occupy their time. Both legislative chambers kicked off the week by voting to cancel most floor sessions while Republican leaders continued their budget talks behind the scenes.
House and Senate leaders had to schedule votes around legislators’ absences this week because some lawmakers were not at the Capitol for the limited floor sessions. The House met Monday and Thursday to vote on several proposals, including a limited driving license for someone who lost driving privileges because of a DUI and continued traumatic event counseling for first responders and public safety employees.
The legislative session has nearly ground to a halt as lawmakers try to negotiate a state budget that can pass the House and Senate. Legislators spent a total of five hours in floor sessions this week, including the time devoted to speeches honoring specific causes or constituents visiting the Capitol.
Lawmakers’ pursuit of a budget was derailed this week when the House Appropriations Committee voted down a collection of bills that would have continued the current budget into the next fiscal year. The failure of the bills highlighted the factors that are complicating all budget negotiations: One Republican thought the proposal spent too much, another Republican thought it spent too little on tax cuts and new investments, and all Democrats on the panel thought it didn’t do enough to address their policy priorities.