The Republican leaders of the House and Senate gave their take on the accomplishments of the 2014 legislative session and the work left to do in the business arena at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce legislative session wrap breakfast on May 1.
And no Phoenix Chamber Session Wrap breakfast would be complete without the “Sine Die Song,” an irreverent take on the happenings of the legislative session performed by “The Singing Senators,” former Senate President Ken Bennett, currently secretary of state, and former Sen. Rusty Bowers.
Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker Andy Tobin anchored a panel discussing the legislative session that included political strategist Scott Celley and lawyer and lobbyist Janna Day.
In a short, lighthearted conversation moderated by lobbyist Jaime Molera, Biggs and Tobin highlighted the Republican-led Legislature’s accomplishments for the year, which they said includes drafting a budget and adjourning for the year quickly, and approving many bills that the press hasn’t covered.
Tobin took the press to task for focusing on the “bad bills” the Legislature approved this year, and not concentrating enough on the good things lawmakers have done — which he said harms “Arizona’s brand.”
“There are a lot of things that just went under the radar screen. We all hear about the bad bills that the press likes to run up, the two or three bad bills. But I’ve tried to develop a list of things that I was sure you wouldn’t hear about,” Tobin said, citing the impending opening of an Arizona office of trade in Mexico City, breast cancer awareness legislation, victims’ rights legislation and suicide prevention legislation that was signed into law.
“There are a lot of things, and the list goes on and on, that you’re not going to hear about in the press,” he said.
Biggs cited the short session and tax cuts as some of the accomplishments of this year’s legislative session.
“The best thing that happened was we were able to get over whatever discord that took place in the Legislature last year to get out in 101 days, and get a budget that works. And nestled in that budget was a tax package that was roughly $35 million in tax cuts and incentives, and I think was probably the highlight for this year,” Biggs said.
Bennett and Bowers’ “Sine Die Song” this year was set to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie” and was written from the point of view of a lobbyist. As usual, they roasted elected officials and mocked some of the high profile events and bills of the year, including SB1062, the religious discrimination bill that put Arizona in international headlines.