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Hmm.. How to recap last week at the AZ legislature…


What was scheduled?

The AZ legislature was scheduled for only one day last week. On Wednesday April 10th the Senate managed to pass 13 House bills and the House passed 3 Senate bills. Those bills will be sent to the governor for a signature or veto when both chambers convene for their one day work week next Wednesday, April 17th.

The real news came after the day’s agenda was over. Both the House and Senate democrats attempted to repeal the statute which reflected the 1864 territorial law on abortion.

 The senate did not get far as minority leader, Mitzi Epstein-D, was gaveled down and not allowed to speak.


The explosive action, making national news broadcasts, happened in the House of Representatives.




Background: Rep. Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton had sponsored a bill at the beginning of the session which would have repealed the territorial ban on abortion and the corresponding punishments for anyone aiding an abortion.  The bill was never granted a committee hearing.


According to procedure, a legislator may ask for the rules to be suspended in order to bring a bill directly to the floor and bypass committee hearings. Rep. Matt Gress-R LD4 made the motion to bring Stahl-Hamilton’s bill to a vote. Rep. David Livingston-R immediately made a substitute motion to recess. This is often done when some members do not want to be recorded voting for or against a controversial bill. The vote to recess is a voice vote and seldom reflects the accurate count of who hollers yea or nay. Democrats called division. Division is a procedure whereby the voice vote must be repeated with a roll call vote.  During the roll call vote Rep. Gress voted with his republican caucus, allowing recess to proceed. It halted his own motion to vote on the repeal.

Why?

Rep. Gress is from LD4 a flippable district. As reported by the Copper Courier “Rep. Matt Gress spent several years working for former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey—and now in the state legislature—to ban abortion in Arizona. Now that a total ban has been put in place, Gress has attempted to publicly appear opposed to it, while still working with fellow Republicans to keep the ban in place. “

 

In essence the Arizona GOP has caught the car they have been chasing for years. They now have no clue what to do.


Budget Update.

While we still have no budget yet, the new deficit projection came out on Thursday. The state is expected to have a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall which is down from the $1.7 billion deficit projected in January. Cuts will still need to be made.

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