The Arizona House of Representatives has been adjourned since March 23, 2020, due to the COVID19 pandemic. Some of us wanted to vote to sine die (end the session) on March 23 and come back later for special session(s) focused on COVID19 public health and economic issues. Others– mostly Republicans– wanted to stay in session and adjourn because they had hopes that their bills would still pass during this session. I say “mostly Republicans” because even though the Democrats make up 48 percent of the Arizona Legislature, the majority party refuses to move more than a handful of Dem bills each session.
The majority party refuses to hear these types of bills that would help the people of Arizona because these bills are not backed by special interest groups, big money donations, individual corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the Goldwater Institute, Americans for Prosperity or the “Institute for Justice” (quote marks added to emphasize the irony of their name).
Consequently, as we begin committee meetings and floor sessions in the House of Representatives, most House Democrats have no vested interest in passing the vast majority of the hundreds of Republican bills that are lying on the cutting room floor– especially the ~18 tax giveaways, the ~20 voter suppression bills, the reefer madness ballot referral, the attacks on Clean Elections, the Citizens Initiative and Independent Redistricting Commission, remaking the government, vanity license plates to funnel money to special interest groups, carve outs for specific businesses, or — who could forget– the build your own Border Wall bill.
There are a handful of leftover good bills that many Dems are willing to vote for like the grandparent stipend, earned release credits, reforms to long-term care, the fix to the cannabis testing bill and others that have broad bipartisan support. As Senator Martin Quezada said on May 8 when the Senate voted to end the session, “We can do anything we want to if we have two-thirds of the Legislature in agreement, but we would have to have true bipartisanship to get there.”
If you are on RTS, check out the agendas at azleg.gov. Two of my committees are not meeting– Regulatory Affairs (the deregulation committee) and Ways and Means (the tax giveaway committee). This is a good sign because these committees hardly ever have bipartisan bills. House Health and Human Services (HHS) is meeting. We met online last week, and you can read about that below in the updates. I chose the featured image above because it shows how crazy packed HHS committee meetings can be.
Speaker Rusty Bowers did say that this week everyone’s temperature will be checked before entering the House building, and everyone will be required to wear a mask. Jim and I have been very careful about limiting our exposure to COVID19 during adjournment, and I plan to stay safe while doing my duty as an essential worker. My plan is to join caucus and committee remotely, and to be on the Floor with my mask and gloves for the votes. The goal is for the House to sine die on Thursday. What happens between now and then is anyone’s guess.
RTS folks watch out for the ALEC business liability bill that waters down enforcement of executive orders and eliminates business liability for opening up too soon during the pandemic. No bill number yet.
Recent Video Updates: Shelter in Place in Tucson Edition
All of the Shelter in Place Video Updates from Tucson
Resources and Links
Check out the video from the LD9 townhall on COVID19, here.
Go here to follow Coronavirus updates from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Go here to visit the Coronavirus resource page on my website.
Thanks for your support. Stay vigilant. You can follow my updates by clicking on the blue bar that says “Follow Powers For The People” on my website. New updates will be delivered directly to your inbox.
Please keep your distance and stay healthy! If you have to go to work, ask you employer for personal protective equipment. That’s all for now. Is the Arizona Legislature done for this year? Probably not. We will most likely have one or more special sessions in 2020 to address the pandemic.