Arizona House Democrats denied quorum on June 22, stalling the Republican budget and the Flat Tax for third time.
June 22 was day 163 of the Arizona Legislature. The Legislature’s target end date is 100 days. Republicans have been twisting (breaking?) arms for two months to pass their extreme ideological budget. Every version of their budget has made it worse because they are inserting failed bills into the budget to buy votes from the bill sponsors.
Every version of this budget and all of the amendments were negotiated amongst a small group of Republicans behind closed doors. If the Republicans want to pass this budget with only Republican votes, they are going to have to have all of their members in the House to make quorum. The inconvenient truth is that some of them are out of state.
You can read these bills on request to speak and make comments on the azleg website. We are adjourned until 10 AM on Thursday, June 25.
April 20 was high drama in the Arizona House — and not because it was 4/20!
After multiple parliamentary maneuvers to shut down debate on voter suppression, a retreat by the Democratic Caucus, and three hours of raucous wrangling over one bill, the Republicans passed SB1485 on a party line vote.
This bill has been dubbed the PEVL purge￼ because it will knock voters off of the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL). It will disproportionally affect Black, Latino and Native American voters, seniors, and registered Independents. According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, if this bill passes, ~200,000 Arizona voters could be knocked off the PEVL before the next election.
Speaker Rusty Bowers refused to allow ANY debate in the Committee of the Whole (COW). Democrats called foul on lack of debate and late posting of amendments. Rep. Athena Salman, our parliamentary procedures whiz, called for a 24 hour delay in Floor action because amendments were not provided to members in a timely fashion, as per House rules. Floor was delayed one hour (instead of 24 hours). Republicans really wanted to pass both SB 1485 (voter suppression) and SB1457 (anti-abortion/fetal personhood) on the same day and then head to the border for a photo op on Wednesday with Governor Doug Ducey, who announced deploying National Guard to the border.
As a long-time office worker, I am all too familiar with the “hurry up and wait” game. You rush around to complete a project… just to wait hours, days, or months for the next step in the process to take place.
The Arizona House is stuck in the “hurry up and wait” game. For two weeks in a row, Senate President Karen Fann and Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers called senators and representatives back to the capital to work and/or to vote on ending the second session of the 54th Legislature (AKA sine die).
Perhaps, you remember that back in March, Democratic Legislators were pushing for a comprehensive response to the COVID19 pandemic, and we suggested several components. We wanted to give the governor and the Arizona Department of Health Services guidance in how to spend the money the Legislature allocated. Republicans voted to just hand the money to Ducey with no strings attached. Two months later, it’s obvious that guidance was needed.
That’s all folks! After the pledge, prayer. points of personal privilege (introductions) and a couple of proclamations, the Arizona House has adjourned until Wednesday. Why? Because Rep. David Stringer resigned due to the child sex charges, and the Republicans don’t have 31 members. The Republicans’ refusal to vote or even debate on anything without all 31 of their people in their chairs has really stalled progress this year.
We have done very little on the floor for the past two weeks. Heaven forbid that we would debate or vote on something that has bipartisan support but would pass with the majority of the Yes votes being Democratic.
Why are Republicans afraid of free speech? In the 53rd Legislature (2017-18), Democratic women ran rings around the Republicans with their debate skills and tough questions. In 2019, Arizona House Republicans tried to put a stop to that by limiting speech across the board.