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Senate Republicans introduce budget bills

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The Senate completed the first step towards passing a budget on Monday while the House hit a snag.  

Republican leaders in the Senate introduced budget bills on Monday that would continue funding to state agencies for the next fiscal year, but not add new monies. 

This is a far cry from the $17.1 billion dollar budget proposal Gov. Katie Hobbs put out Jan. 13. Republican legislators called elements of Hobbs’ proposal non-starters.  

Now, it seems that Republican leadership is making its own move for a budget that has non-starters for Hobbs and her staff. 

“The governor has been very clear that her door is open for anybody who wants to work to find solutions for the people of Arizona, and a continuation budget is not working for the people of Arizona,” Bones said on Jan. 13. 

The Republican budget is a continuation of fiscal-year 2023 funding with a handful of small changes. 

Hobbs may not veto the entire continuation budget as soon as it hits her desk. Her spokeswoman Josselyn Berry said on Monday that Hobbs will use “all tools at her disposal, including line item vetoes if necessary.” 

Republican leadership argues that in a long session with split government, the Legislature and the governor could take many months to work on their bills and won’t get to a finished budget for some time. They say that passing a continuation budget now ensures that the government won’t shut down later on and will alleviate state agencies of the anxiety of waiting to see whether they’ll have funding.  

Democrats say that if Republicans get their continuation budget now, they’ll have no reason to work with Democrats on anything else for the rest of the session. 

The bills were read on the Senate floor on Monday afternoon during a committee hearing recess. Only a handful of members attended the first reading, and none of the Democrats were present.  

The House tried to read the mirror budget bills on Monday afternoon but were held up by technical difficulties and the absence of one of the members. 

House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, made a motion to suspend a House rule that limits representatives from being the prime sponsor of more than seven bills introduced after the fourth day of the session to allow Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, to sponsor measures related to the budget.  

None of the House members’ microphones were working on the floor, which forced members to either shout or approach the speaker’s desk to speak into the only working microphones on Monday.  

Democrats requested a roll call vote, and Biasiucci then withdrew his motion. House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, explained to members the House didn’t have the technical capacity to go through the vote and have members explain their vote.  

“We can either attempt to do that or we can let him withdraw and we won’t deal with it today,” Grantham said.  

Rep. Beverly Pingerelli, R-Peoria, was also absent Monday. Her absence cut the slim one-member Republican majority in the House, leaving them without enough votes to suspend the rule against a unified Democratic caucus. No other House members filed budget bills by Monday evening. 

The Senate scheduled a meeting of the appropriations committee for Tuesday morning where the budget bills will be heard.  

Senate Democrat spokeswoman Calli Jones said that the argument between Republicans and Democrats over the bills will likely happen at tomorrow’s appropriations meeting. 


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