After more than three hours of discussion, debate and voting, three potential replacements for former House Speaker Kirk Adams were chosen.Read More »
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Two weeks ago the Republican Legislature wrapped up its business in only 100 days, a feat that was last accomplished over a decade ago and heralded by the media as if it was the main story line of this session.Read More »
Records from the past three legislative sessions point to a simple truism of the citizen-legislature model: The shorter the session, the better the attendance.
By keeping a 100-day session — the length prescribed by legislative rules — 27 of the Legislature’s 90 members voted on every bill that was brought to the floor, and only one lawmaker missed more than 20 percent of floor votes.
The January shooting in Tucson, which occurred just two days before the 2011 legislative session began, inspired soul searching among rattled and emotional lawmakers, who pledged a new era of civility across the partisan divide. Others vowed drastic changes to Arizona’s laws on guns and mental health in response to a mass shooting carried out by a man with documented-but-untreated mental health problems.
But while some lawmakers say the lessons of Jan. 8 stayed with them through sine die, most have seen few changes.
The Senate minority announced an audacious goal this year — to put the spotlight on Republicans and their legislation. That task fell to a young father to articulate his party’s positions in a year when Republicans, who are control both chambers, don’t even need a single Democratic vote to pass emergency legislation.
The immediate challenge for Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, a Tempe Democrat, and his caucus was to avoid being relegated to irrelevance.
If you’re looking for proof of how much more conservative the Senate emerged after last year’s election, look no further than the selection of Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican from Mesa, as the chamber’s leader.
Pearce is often perceived as unmovable, uncompromising, even single-minded — traits that may be good or bad, depending on which side of the aisle you’re sitting. Many wondered what his presidency would look like and some speculated whether he would rule with a hammer.
With a mere third of the House of Representatives being Democrats, Minority Leader Chad Campbell knew it was going to be an uphill battle trying to put a dent in the Republicans’ agenda this past session.
Predictably, the Democrats couldn’t get their proposals for tax reforms into the budget, nor could they stop a torrent of conservative legislation. But Campbell said that they did manage to get some of their goals accomplished, even if it was just keeping the public eye on the Legislature.
House Speaker Kirk Adams had quite the final year in the Legislature, authoring a major overhaul of the state’s public pension system and finally accomplishing last year’s goal of passing a bill aimed at making Arizona more business-friendly.Read More »
UpClose with Gov. Jan Brewer: Touts openness, says vetoes represent decision not to ‘blow a hole’ in budget
After two chaotic legislative sessions, things settled down a bit for Gov. Jan Brewer in 2011.
Having won an overwhelming voter mandate in November, Brewer no longer was the governor who simply inherited the job. And with her hard-fought battle for a sales tax increase won, she was no longer the Republican governor who spent most of her time feuding with her own party.
Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commissioners split along party lines Friday over who will serve as the group’s legal counsel, with the commission’s independent chair siding with the Democrats to select the firms Ballard Spahr and Osborn Maledon.Read More »