The 56th state legislature – 1st regular session did have some gains over the 204 days of the session. Gains, however, were relatively small while missed opportunities were massive.
How did LD3 legislators add or detract from the session?
SENATOR JOHN KAVANAGH
Our LD3 senator’s name was listed as sponsor of 100 bills. Thirty of the bills were budget bills.
Out of the 70 policy bills,16 were vetoed, 17 were signed by the governor, the remaining 37 did not pass. Some were not assigned to a committee, some not heard in committee, and some were held in either the senate or house.
Senator Kavanagh also sponsored two Resolutions which passed and were sent to the Secretary of State. These were simple proclamation resolutions.
Senator Kavanagh’s vetoed bills mostly dealt with elections and LGBTQ+ rights. In a nutshell they included his vetoed pronouns bill, the trans bathroom bill and drag show bill. His vetoed elections bills included a bill addressing observers during ballot counting, limiting what can be used for ballot signature verification, another sampling recount of 2022 ballots and removing Arizona from ERIC. (the multi-state voter registration comparison system). Senator Kavanagh is known for tweaking a bill that does not pass or is vetoed and submitting it the next session.
Senator Kavanagh’s 17 bills signed into law include:
· SB1010 Exempts children 12 and under from being required to wear personal flotation devices while in rowing shells being used for practice, training or competitive events if certain conditions are met.
· SB1038 Establishes the Probate Advisory Panel whose task is to review laws and procedures involving numerous aspects of the probate process. (all members of the Freedom caucus, minus Rep. Kolodin, voted NO)
· SB1060 Changes definitions in statute on animal ownership. Excludes from the definition of owner any person who keeps an animal at the request of an animal shelter and adds to the definition of stray dog that the dog must not be microchipped.
· SB1148 Enables any county, city, town or political subdivision of this state to establish a fee for requesting a copy of a video recording from a local law enforcement agency. The statute had stated a victim could receive a video copy at no charge.
Senator Kavanagh sponsors bills with common themes each year. His past themes of law enforcement, elections and HOA rules were joined this year by many bills on animal rights and treatment.
Representative Kolodin sponsored 19 bills this session. Two were vetoed and none of the other 17 passed. To be fair, much of the work Rep. Kolodin put into the Rio Verde water crisis was added as an amendment to another bill by Sen. Wadsack.
Tax reductions and voting changes were the most common theme of bills not making it to a vote.
· HB2322 Would have dictated the Sec. of State guidelines from 2020 be used for elections rather than be developed each election cycle as standards and technology changes. Would also eliminate all ballots with unclear signatures rather than current system of curing ballots.
· HB2319 Would have dictated judges use a more liberal interpretation of challenged election law. It would stress transparency over the intent of the law.
Representative Kolodin is an attorney specializing in elections law. He was one of the attorneys representing Kelli Ward and the republican party in 2022 arguing that mail in voting was inconsistent with the state constitution.
Rep. Chaplik’s resolution HCR2039 is most problematic as it passed out of both chambers on a partisan vote, by-passed the governor, as do all resolutions, and will appear on our 2024 ballot as a question to voters.
· HCR2039 terminates any emergency powers granted to the Governor during a state of emergency 30 days after the proclamation, unless extended by the Legislature. The governor must call a special session of the legislature to extend the state of emergency unless it involves fire or flood.
Our majority party was not happy they did not have a say during the Covid state of emergency.
Among opportunities missed this session were numerous bills on housing, the unsheltered, aid to reservations, accountability measures for vouchers, a permanent solution to the AEL Aggregate Expenditure Limit, public school support and safety issues, environmental guardrails, gun safety and water conservation issues. The vast majority were bills by democrats which were not assigned to a committee to be heard.
This comes full circle back to the introduction graphic.