Arizona Legislature Week In Review – Week Ending Jan 22, 2021

arizona capitol

Biden, on his first day in office, killed the Keystone Pipeline project, creating with a stroke of his pen several thousand unemployed workers and millions in losses for private enterprise. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Americans should be ready for a rough ride, including Obamanesque GDP growth rates in the 1-2 % range and unemployment rates in the 7-9 % range, all in the name of saving the planet.

This is why now, more than ever, we need to take as much control of state governments as we possibly can. The first step is to be informed about what is happening, the second step is to become proactive with respect to our state legislators, and the third step is to elect the right kind of legislators.

We at AZ Citizens Lobbyists have been preaching that sermon for quite some time. The only difference is that now there is, or should be, a much higher sense of urgency.

This second week of the current legislature was dominated by education related bills. This should not be surprising since nearly 60% of the state budget is spent on education.

Here are some highlights of last week’s activity.

HB2121 – schools; superintendents; severance packages; prohibition

This bill would have prohibited the very bad practice by governing boards of giving departing superintendents huge severance packages which did not earn or deserve. This bill failed in the House Education Committee when Rep. John joined the Democrats in voting NO. We should not be too hard on Rep. John because he saved the Republican majority in the House by defeating an incumbent Democrat, thereby offsetting the loss of Rep. Kern to a Democrat. It is early enough so that there is time for Rep. Bolick, the author of this bill, to submit a different bill with possibly more palatable language.

HCR2005 – English language education; requirements.

This could be the saddest bill of the entire session. It is obvious that AZ legislators do not have a clue as to what makes an effective program for students to learn a foreign language in a foreign land. Either that or they have a sinister motive for what they are doing. This bill passed the House Education Committee 9-0. This bill, if passed will create a proposition for the voters to decide whether or not to amend the AZ constitution to overturn the year 2000 proposition 203. Prop 203 dictates that students in the English Learners category be given a substantial dose of English immersion. Elsewhere in this publication there is an article with more information about HCR2005. It may be accessed by clicking HERE

Another area that was addressed last week was election integrity, as illustrated by the following bills.

HB2054 – voter registration database; death records

What kind of insane, or evil, person would oppose removing dead people from the voter rolls? It is obvious that the Democrats in the House Government and Elections Committee fall into that category because they all voted against this bill, except for Rep. Pawlik, who had enough sense to vote for it. It still passed 8-5, but its future is uncertain as it moves through the system.

SB1010 – recount requests; amount; bond; procedure

HB2039 – elections; hand counts; five percent

These two bills are being treated as a unit because, even though they are quite different, they have a significant feature in common. As introduced, both bills call for an increase from 2% to 5% the portion of precincts to be included in a hand count of cast ballots. SB1010 passed the Senate Government Committee, but not before it was amended so that instead of stating a specific percentage, it now uses the very vague term “statistically significant”. For that reason, we at AZ People’s Lobbyists have withdrawn our support. HB2039 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Government Committee next week. Elsewhere in this publication there is an excellent discussion of these two bills. It may be accessed by clicking HERE

One area that has not seen much activity lately is illegal immigration, but there was one bill last week that addressed that issue in an indirect manner. This bill dealt with human trafficking, which in Arizona it happens mostly in connection with illegal immigration.

HB2116 – human trafficking; civil action; liability

This bill, introduced by Rep. Bolick, establishes that a trafficked person can sue and receive compensation from the person(s) doing the trafficking. A very interesting and striking feature of HB2116 is that the plaintiff does not have to prove harm, only that the trafficker benefitted from the actions. It could be interpreted that anyone who benefits from the trafficking could be held liable, including those who exploit trafficked persons. Also, an acquittal under criminal proceedings is no defense against a lawsuit brought under HB2116. It cleared the House Criminal Justice Reform 9-0-0, which means rare bi-partisan support for a bill of this nature.

Looking to next week we see that the emphasis is going to be on reining in the antics of our near-rogue, edict-crazy, governor. Much of this activity entails going to the voters for approval via the referendum route because it is not likely that the governor will sign any bill that curtails his absolute power, and a veto override is absolutely out of the question. The following bills are indicative of the tenor of next week’s legislative activity.

SCR1003 – executive orders; emergencies; reauthorization; termination

SCR1010 – legislative special session; emergencies

We are treating these two bills as a unit because their provisions are so closely related. Collectively, they call for restrictions on the governor’s authority to act unilaterally in connection with medical emergencies. Both bills entail amendments to the AZ constitution. This means that if they pass both chambers of the legislature, they will go to the general voting public for an up or down vote. At the AZ Peoples Lobbyist, we are adamantly opposed to these types of amendments to the constitution, but we have to work within the system we have, so we favor both bills. They are both scheduled for hearings in the Senate Government Committee next week.

Those readers who wish to view complete reports on what activity has taken place, or will be taking place next week, with the bills we are tracking, may do so by going to: or

Both sites provide opportunities for readers to make comments, including suggestions for bills to add to our tracking list.