PHOENIX – On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate in a 16-14 vote, with Republicans Kate Brophy McGee, Heather Carter and Paul Boyer joining Democrats, the 2020 Legislative Session ended and so did the effort by legislators to protect small business owners. Refusing to even consider a handful of bills sent over by the House last week, the session was adjourned shortly after the day’s business began.
— James T Harris (@JamesTHarris) May 26, 2020
Small business owners, conservatives, and both senators and representatives were shocked and outraged by the swift maneuver of the three Republicans.
According to sources, a motion to adjourn sine die had been left on the table when the Senate went into recess amid the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year. With the help of the three Republicans, the Democratic Caucus was able to vote on that motion before there was a chance to introduce the other 30-some bills that the House passed out last week.
One of the key bills, HB2912, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, is designed to reopen Arizona and limit penalties associated with violating Governor Ducey’s partially lifted stay-at-home executive order. Sen. Eddie Farnsworth introduced the same bill in the Senate, which if passed, would have protected Arizonans from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19. The bill was seen as a “must have” for many small business owners in order to reopen their businesses.
The legislators are prohibited from campaigning while in session and with Carter facing a tough primary race against Rep. Nancy Barto (R), the pressure to call it quits was intense. Boyer, frequently referred to as Carter’s “lap dog” followed along obediently, according to sources.
For her part, Brophy McGee has said all along that she was only interested in calling the Senate back into session in order to end it.
“It just seems odd that now that Arizona is reopened, the Legislature closed,” said one Capitol insider. “Anyway, no one was in danger of being there for a few hours and getting the job finished. The real story remains the same, the Democrats view their job in the Legislature as preventing things from happening, largely so they can go out and campaign against the lack of success – that they are largely responsible for. Not sure what drove the decision making of the three GOP quitters though. A few more hours wouldn’t have hurt them at all. They were likely just settling grudges or something.”
Sad day! https://t.co/nUNHyrz5U4
— David Livingston (@LivingstonLD22) May 26, 2020
Kate Brophy McGee, Heather Carter and Paul Boyer all voted with the Democrats to close session Sine Die without doing the people's work. You know what to do. #AZLEG
— Rep. Kelly Townsend (@KellyTownsend11) May 26, 2020