For many years, the Arizona Legislature has had a 100 day target for the length of each session. April 20, 2021 was day 100 for this session. When more than 1000 bills are proposed every year and more than 300 are usually signed into law in non-pandemic years, the Legislature doesn’t generally finish in 100 days.
So, what did we do in the first 100 days? Here are a few examples of bills that have been signed by the governor. Below is the complete list of 33 video updates that I have created in 2021 … so far.
The Legislature passed two massive corporate tax giveaways that will primarily help Maricopa County — the qualified facilities tax credit (HB2321) and the data center tax incentive (HB2649). Fun Fact: according to the Financial Advisory Committee, 90 percent of the job creation touted by Governor Doug Ducey has been in the Phoenix metro area. Bills like HB2321 and HB2649 perpetuate the inequitable system that exists in our state.
We passed a passed another Ducey priority, the massive expansion of gambling (HB2772/SB1797), which legalizes sports betting, fantasy sports betting, and app-based Keno. In exchange for additional casinos and a portion of the app-based gambling action, the tribes backed and heavily lobbied for expanding off-reservation gambling. Since most of the new tribal casinos and all of the major league sports teams are in Maricopa County, the millions generated from gambling will disproportionately benefit Maricopa County. I have serious concerns about the negative public health and privacy aspects of this dramatic expansion. Gambling will be everywhere, and gambling apps will be hounding people on social media — thanks to HB2772. Every click, every bet, every win, every loss, and every betting location on every app-based gambler will be collected, stored, and used to advertise more gambling.
Ducey surprisingly vetoed Cathi Herrod’s bad bill which put ideological guardrails on what can be taught in sex education (SB1456). A second Center for Arizona Policy bill which criminalizes doctors and patients for even talking about abortion (SB1457) is awaiting the governors signature (or veto) at the time of this writing.
Many bills are stuck in the process somewhere, which is a good thing. Arizona would be in terrible condition if all of the tax giveaways, voter suppression schemes, and education privatization bills passed. In my opinion, Democrats should push for a speedy end to this horrible session, so the Legislature doesn’t do any more damage to our state or take away more of our rights.
There are many other examples. Check out the good, the bad and the ugly. Below is a list of my video updates for 2021 … so far.
Video Updates from Weeks 1-2 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 3 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 4 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 5 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 6 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 7 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 8 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 9 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 10 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 11 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 12 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 13 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 14 of #AZLeg2021
Video Updates from Week 15 of #AZLeg2021
April 20 (Day 100): Barto’s Anti-Abortion Bill Criminalizes Doctors & Victimizes Women (video)
2020 Updates can be found here.
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When Will the Session Be Over?
Trust me. I have been asking myself this question for months.
Several years ago, to hurry the session along, the Legislature passed a bill that imposed a financial penalty on members if the session went past the 100 day target. After day 100, our per diem goes down, but our expenses don’t. This particularly hurts out-of-towners who have to rent apartments in Phoenix.
When will the Legislature be sine die (end the session)? Republican Legislators are split on many issues — including the budget. Unfortunately, they stand together on the really horrible legislation on voter suppression, reproductive choice, privatization of education, and stingy support for families, children, healthcare access, and public education. There are dozens of bills that have not made it through the process, including some anti-public education bills and most of the voter suppression bills.
Rumors abound, with sine die guesses ranging from late April (probably not happening) to late June (please, no!).
I have lived in Arizona for 40 years. Although I am not a religious person, I have been known to shout, “Glory hallelujah, praise the Lord!” when the legislative session ends because with sine die the Republicans can’t do any more harm to the people of Arizona (for a few months anyway).
I am adding my video on HB1268 here because that anti-union bill is up for debate on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.