Rep. PPH Legislative Update: Moving into the 2nd Session of the 55th #AZLeg (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley

As 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past Legislative session, the extreme laws enacted by the radical right that controls the Arizona Republican Party, the continuing court cases and voter backlash against these new laws, and a look forward to November 2022.

The first session of the 55th Legislature was a wild ride because of the Republicans’ slim majority (47 Rs – 43 Ds) and the radical nature of the newly elected Republican lawmakers. In order to get 16 Republican Senators and 31 Republican House members to vote “yes” on their budget, they stuffed many unrelated, failed policy bills into the budget. (Many of those were later thrown out of the budget by the courts.)

To get anything from tax giveaways to common sense bills to online gaming passed in the 55th Legislature, the Libertarian “Freedom Caucus” forced Corporate Republicans to reach out to Corporate Democrats and sometimes to all of us. They don’t like to pass bills where the majority of “yes” votes are Democrats because it shows how big our numbers are, but sometimes they need us … or some of us.

For a recap of the first session of the 55th Legislature, watch the video below.

As many as eight appointees will start the Legislative session in January 2022 with returning incumbents. At this writing there could be as many as 17 open seats in the Arizona House, plus the eight appointees will be running in the November 2022 election.

Appointees are technically incumbents, but they have not been elected and have proven to be vulnerable to losses at the ballot box. Many districts — both Ds and Rs — have two seats open or one open seat + one appointee because so many legislators have chosen to run for other offices or to quit or retire.

Add to this the unknowns regarding the new voting maps and the 2022 election have many unknowns. In fact, the reference to the LD2 Senate race in this video may be obsolete if the current draft maps are adopted by the Independent Redistricting Commission.

Even with all of this uncertainty, Democrats are on the verge of taking over the Legislature in the future — if we can stop the radical right from gaming the IRC. We need smart people with strong voices, good questions and brilliant ideas to run for the Legislature. This is a year of opportunity. Democrats must seize the day.

I provided a few of these updates during fall 2021. This video is the online update to attendees of a Salt of the Earth Labor College class on October 23, 2021.