Day 124 and counting, with no apparent day in sight for a sine die adjournment.
Another week has gone by with no substantial progress. This is one of many weeks in which the legislators worked fewer than the customary four days. The reason for this is that we have a huge impasse in the budget process. The republican leadership is between a rock and a hard place. As a result of the current composition of the legislature, it takes all 31 republican representatives and all 16 republican senators to be on board in order to pass anything. We cannot count on democrats for assistance because that assistance, if provided, would require substantial socialist concessions which would be disastrous for the state. Therefore, nothing good can happen unless all 47 republican legislators are on board. All it takes is for one republican to vote NO or not vote at all to kill a bill.
Some legislators may make a big deal of the difference between a vote against the bill (shown as NO on the AZLEG website) and not voting at all (shown as NV on the AZLEG website). But in either case the result is the same; the bill dies.
It seems that a major contributor to the impasse is senator Boyer. He has been behaving more like a lobbyist for the education cabal than like a conscientious legislator promoting what is best for Arizona citizens.
Boyer’s latest caper appears to be his demand for a substantial increase in K-12 education funding. Given the current level of funding for education, this is a totally unreasonable demand.
The last Arizona budget (FY 2022) was about $12.8 billion, of which about $7.2 billion (well over half) went to education. If we add federal, county, and local funding, the total education funding was around $16 billion. This is way higher than the total AZ budget! But it’s not enough. It’s never enough.
This behavior by Boyer is, or should be, criminal.
The governor did sign a few bills this week, most notably SB1009. This bill places some restrictions on the ability of the governor to act unilaterally regarding emergencies. It puts us closer to a better balance of power between the governor and the legislature.
The legislature did make some progress regarding some of the bills that we are tracking at Peoples Lobbyists. Four of those bills have been scheduled for third readings in the senate next week. They are:
It may take some nudging of the senators by rank-and-file voters to motivate them to pass these bills.
There are a few other good bills that are still alive, but in a state of limbo. Hopefully, those bills will be brought to a positive resolution soon.