2011 Session Wrap

Apr 11, 2012

Ethics Committee: Expel Patterson

After two hours of back-and-forth discussion, the House Ethics Committee today voted to recommend Rep. Daniel Patterson’s expulsion from the House of Representatives, and one committee member said to expect a full House vote on the recommendation later this afternoon.

Jan 26, 2012

Fiesta Bowl scandal spurs gift ban proposals

The Fiesta Bowl scandal has prompted two state lawmakers to plan legislation that would include an outright ban on gifts to legislators.

Jan 3, 2012

Judge to Bundgaard: Court can’t intervene; ethics trial will move forward

Sen. Scott Bundgaard’s final effort to halt the investigation into whether he breached ethical rules has failed.

A judge today ruled the issue is a political question that the court doesn’t have the authority to wade into, denying Bundgaard’s plea to stop the Senate Ethics Committee from holding a full-blown investigation scheduled for Thursday.

Dec 4, 2011

Self preservation: Lawmakers lament recall process, want to make it more difficult

Still shaken from the successful recall of Senate President Russell Pearce, some lawmakers are seeking to make it more difficult for voters to oust politicians from office.

One Pearce ally plans to sponsor legislation that would require recall organizers to obtain signatures from a majority of registered voters in a district — an unprecedented proposal that would far exceed signature [...]

May 18, 2011

Small business’ top 10 legislative victories in 2011

The 50th Arizona Legislature has boldly staked its claim to being the most pro-small business Legislature in Arizona’s history. On issue after issue, legislators advanced measures to relieve the tax and regulatory burdens on the engines of our economic recovery, Arizona’s small businesses. Even in instances where lawmakers mistakenly pursued bad policy, they did so with the right motive in min[...]

May 17, 2011

GOP reduced deficit, passed protection measures in 100-day session

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.

May 16, 2011

In an extremely busy year, Senate passes more bills than House

When Senate leaders boast that this is the most fruitful session in years, they have the hard evidence to back up their claim.

Despite being half the size of the House of Representatives, the Senate approved 117 more pieces of legislation than the House sent to them.

May 16, 2011

Lawmakers’ voting participation remains high in shorter session

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 vo[...]

May 15, 2011

Few see increase in civility following Giffords’ shooting

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 [...]

May 15, 2011

Measures on Clean Elections, merit selection, victims rights headed to ballot

The effort to put a Clean Elections repeal on the ballot overshadowed two other legislative referendums this year, and it promises to be the most contentiously fought of the measures in the upcoming 2012 election.

May 15, 2011

Freshman Rep. Carter leads batting averages with 4-of-4 bills passed and signed

Based on legislative batting averages — or the ratio of bills introduced to bills passed by the Legislature — rookie lawmakers were able to secure a few MVP trophies this year.

May 15, 2011

Group plans major overhaul of presidential election process

A group of frustrated voters from across the political spectrum is hoping to reform the way the nation elects its president, and Arizona will be on the front lines in that fight next year. The only question remaining is whether the state’s conservative lawmakers are willing to abandon the current constitutionally established election method that is as old as the nation.