Arizona House Gets To Work Without Senate

House Democrats ignored social distancing recommendations to gather in the back of the chamber.

PHOENIX — On Tuesday, Arizona House members returned to work and voted to remain, rejecting Democratic calls for adjournment instead of getting work done. The vote fell along party lines.

The Senate has not yet reconvened after it moved unilaterally earlier this month to adjourn.

Republicans lawmakers hope to pass legislation that will enable Arizona businesses to reopen without fear of frivolous COVID-19 related lawsuits as well as bills that had been in the legislative pipeline before Governor Doug Ducey issued his stay-at-home executive order in March.

Democrats want to end the regular 2020 legislative session and kill any bills still under consideration, and begin a special session with a sole focus on COVID-19 related bills.

Petty bickering broke out when Democrats began chiding Republicans for not wearing masks and called for social distancing.

Later, pictures of Democrats ignoring social distancing practices filled the social media feeds.

A new bill, HB 2913, was introduced by House Republicans, which directs $88 million from the federal CARES Act to support Arizona child care facilities, many of which are struggling as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.

HB 2913 directs the Arizona Department of Economic Security to administer the money through forgivable loans to facilities providing vital child care services in the state. Recipient facilities may use the money to reopen or continue operations, and for the purchase of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. The bill also provides support to the Arizona Department of Health Services to enable a one-time licensure renewal fee waiver for each facility.

The House managed to pass SB 1061 on a bipartisan vote. The bill requires the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to establish and post, on its website, a statutory handbook of parental rights and requires each school district and charter school to post a link to the handbook on its website.

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