The Daily Agenda: It’s never gonna end
But at least we get a vacation … When one budget season ends, another begins … And it’s never too late to laugh at Wendy.
The Arizona Legislature voted on a bonanza of bills yesterday, which should have signaled the beginning of the end of the legislative session.
Instead, after an exhausting Monday of actually working, legislators adjourned until next month or whenever they decide to come back to the Capitol.
But lawmakers made sure to keep the governor’s veto stamp busy while they skipped town. The House voted on roughly 100 bills yesterday, sending most of them to the Governor’s Office. Meanwhile, the Senate tackled another thick stack of bills, spending about two minutes each for the kind of thorough and thoughtful debate the Arizona Legislature is known for.
“This can take 10 hours or this can take two. It’s all up to you,” a frustrated Republican Rep. Travis Grantham told the House, adding after the first vote took several minutes, “If that’s the amount of time we’re going to take, nine hours, we’ve got nine hours left.”
The bills that lawmakers launched toward the Executive Tower were largely Republicans’ last chance to hammer on culture war issues, elections and school choice, and many, if not most, will receive the wrath of the “Veto Queen.”
Here is a very short sampling of bills that lawmakers sent to Gov. Katie Hobbs yesterday:
HB2539 would require the Department of Education to notify parents if their child’s school receives a D or F letter grade and tell them about Arizona’s school choice options.
SB1410 would require all schools to create a mechanism for parents to complain if they believe a school has violated their or their children’s rights, including the right to opt out of assignments and immunization.
HB2617 would allow constables to carry guns anywhere that police officers can. The bill was proposed in the wake of a Pima County constable’s murder while she was unarmed on duty.
SB1265 would ban ranked choice voting, which Arizona doesn’t use but might in the future.
SB1095 would require early ballot envelopes to warn voters that “Dropping off an early ballot after the Friday before the election may result in delayed election results as each ballot requires verification.”
SB1213 would require the Elections Procedures Manual or “elections bible” that the secretary of state drafts to be approved by a legislative committee, as well as the governor and attorney general (who are both Democrats now).
HB2308 would bar the secretary of state from performing any aspect of their job as the state’s top election official if they are running in an election, except the bill was amended to allow the secretary to sign the election canvass.
HB2722 would allow any county recorder or board of supervisors to appoint someone to do a full or partial recount of election results, just like Cochise County tried to do.
Drag shows and gender
SB1028 would ban cabaret performances (read: drag shows) from being performed anywhere a child could see them.
SB1030 would force counties to regulate where drag shows can happen.
SB1001 would ban teachers from using students’ preferred pronouns unless the student’s parent provides permission.
SB1040 would allow people to sue public schools for “psychological, emotional and physical harm” from having to share a restroom with a person of the opposite gender if the school allows trans kids to use restrooms aligned with their gender.
SB1413 would require cities and counties to take complaints about homeless encampments and go break them up.
Legislative leaders said they were pausing the session for a month to work on some compromise deals for the thorny issues that didn’t gain traction at the Legislature this year, including finding a way to extend Prop. 400, the Maricopa County sales tax to fund transportation projects.
We’d like to believe that’s why they’re keeping the session alive. But the more likely reason is that Republican leaders at the Capitol want to be able to challenge Hobbs whenever the mood strikes without asking her to call them into a special session.
Unfortunately, our lives and liberties won’t be safe until mid-June at least, as lawmakers can call themselves back into session anytime they like for the foreseeable future.
Last call: Today is your last chance to vote in the Tempe special election to approve or deny the Coyotes arena and entertainment district. If you haven’t voted yet, you can show up at any voting location today to drop off or cast your ballot. Voter turnout in the election is off the hook. And Tucson’s special election on Prop 412, Tucson Electric Power’s attempt to get a new agreement with the city, is also happening today. You can find voting locations here.
Spend those surpluses: It’s local budget season and the Tucson Sentinel’s Blake Morlock has a rundown of proposed city budgets in southern Arizona, including what’s happening in South Tucson, Sahaurita, Oro Valley, as well as the local school boards.
“Some politicians love surpluses and brag on them like profits. They are not. A surplus is a pile of dead money sucked out of the economy via taxes but not put back in to stimulate economic activity or support vital projects,” Morlock writes.
Housing crisis is everywhere: Cochise County officials are scrambling to figure out where to house the influx of migrants coming to town after Title 42 ended last week. The Daily Star’s Tim Steller writes that Tucson’s main migrant shelter, Casa Alitas, is full but stretching its capacity to keep up with demand.
Still Tom Horne: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne asked Attorney General Kris Mayes whether Arizona’s dual language education programs violate Proposition 203, a voter-approved “English only” initiative from 2002. Educational research shows dual language programs are more effective to teach non-English speakers the local tongue, but Horne is among a small cadre in the education world who oppose dual language programs, the Republic’s Daniel Gonzalez writes.
We’ll have to explain what lakes were to our kids: Despite rains and a healthy snowpack this year, Lake Powell and Lake Mead are still low and may never be full again, the Daily Star’s Tony Davis reports. It would take another four or five consecutive years of the record flows the lakes saw this year to refill them, according to some hydrologists, which isn’t likely to happen. Others note that if we didn’t use any of the water, it could happen a lot faster.
Just start a newsletter instead: Fewer Arizona high schoolers are planning to pursue a four-year degree. Right now, only about 28% of Arizona high schoolers pursue a bachelor’s degree, and by 2029, just 17% will, according to Noble Predictive Insights, KJZZ reports.
Shocking: U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s digital director, Wade Searle, is probably a far-right internet troll who goes by the name “ChickenRight” and who really loves white nationalist Nick Fuentes, Talking Points Memo reports. Gosar is also a big fan of Fuentes, having appeared twice at Fuentes’ conferences and asked the FBI to take Fuentes off the no-fly list.
She needs your money to run: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is using her campaign cash to pay for her marathon habit, adding to her long-running list of questionable campaign expenses, the Daily Beast reports. At last year’s Boston Marathon, she spent nearly $8,500 from her campaign account to stay at the Ritz Carlton, though she held a fundraiser that brought in double that. It was at least her sixth such trip.
“It is one thing to ask donors for money to support your campaign and get your message out to voters, it is another to ask them to bankroll your personal life,” Brendan Fischer, deputy executive director of the watchdog group Documented, told the Daily Beast.
A little rusty: Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner was back on the court Friday for her first game since spending nearly a year in a Russian prison on drug charges, the Associated Press reports. The Mercury lost to the Los Angeles Sparks 71-90.
Just in time for road trip season: Gas prices may finally be dropping as refineries adjust to Phoenix summer regulations, and gas price experts tell 12News’ Jade Cunningham that they should fall below $4 per gallon before the July 4 holiday.
We want to write a story about the must-visit places on an Arizona statewide campaign road trip. But those kinds of stories require a travel budget. Help us create a travel budget so we can do that!
Who’s a good dog?: Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a bill into law that will allow veterinarians (who are very hard to schedule these days, we can attest), to expand into pet telemedicine, Phoenix Business Journal’s Angela Gonzales writes. The law builds on an executive order that Gov. Doug Ducey signed during the pandemic. Lawmakers also sent Hobbs a bill yesterday to allow for animal acupuncture.
Thou shalt not (fill in the blank): KJZZ’s “The Show” chatted with Donna Kafer, the Legislature’s chaplain, about how religion and politics have changed in the 25 years she has been on the job, and, of course, #BibleGate.
After getting beat in court on her restraining order against a Capitol Times reporter, Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers picked up some “no trespassing” signs from her “local” Flagstaff hardware store.
We forgot to include this meme last week, but it’s so good that it’s still worth running.
Presumably the digital director is also the guy who does Gosar’s bizarre alt-right memes.
28% of Arizona high schoolers pursue a bachelor’s degree, and yet the state uses the ACT, a college aptitude test, to evaluate all high school students.
So I don't understand the legislature staying in session. (except my being afraid) They don't have the votes to override a veto. Do they just keep getting dumber? I didn't think that was possible.