BUDGET TALKS COULD GET BUMPY!
On Friday May 5th Julie Willoughby was selected by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to fill the vacant seat in the House of Representatives. She was sworn in shortly thereafter at the Capitol.
The House once again has their 31st majority vote and will begin to tackle budget items in addition to partisan bills they had on hold.
The week will look like this:
Monday May 8th
· The House Rules Committee will meet at 1:00 to give permission for the introduction of budget bills. This is a formality, granted each year, since the date to introduce new bills has come and gone.
· Floor session will convene approximately at 1:15 where the budget bills are first read, another procedural formality. The Floor session will then proceed to vote on other bills put aside during the three recesses.
Tuesday May 9th will be a very long day.
· Floor session will convene at 10:00 to allow the budget bills to have a second reading which then allows them to be assigned to the Appropriations and Rules Committees.
· The Appropriations Committee will meet at 2:00 to discuss and pass the budget bills.
· The Rules Committee will meet, after Appropriations, to confirm the budget is in proper form and constitutional.
· The Republican and Democratic caucuses will meet separately to discuss the budget after the Rules Committee adjourns.
NOTE: All sessions can be watched live at www.azleg.gov . From the main page, use the drop down menu under the word “House” and choose live proceedings.
Wednesday May 10th
· House Floor session at 10:00 .
Thursday May 11th
· House Floor session at 10:00.
What do we know about the budget? Not a great deal but there is concern. Rumor has it the only new spending is the 2.4 billion in one time money, mostly from Covid relief that was not spent by the previous governor. Only Republicans could get a few million each to spend on their pet projects. Wonder where our legislators will use their millions?
While there may be one time money put into the Housing Trust Fund there does not yet appear to be a cap on voucher spending. Remember the expansion did not allocate any money when passed last year yet hundreds of millions of general fund dollars are being used by non-public school students.
Wednesday’s House Floor Session will be the Committee Of the Whole (COW) where bills are discussed. While the budget should be adequately questioned, the majority party’s new rule limiting discussion to 30 minutes per bill will shorten the debate. It is possible the budget could get a House vote this week.
We don’t yet know if the remaining bills waiting to be voted that have a fiscal impact will be included as line items in the budget or if they will fade away for this session.
The Senate’s schedule at post time was not released past Monday. They will hold Floor Sessions on Monday to continue voting on bills that had originated in the House. There is no mention of budget action in the Senate but that is likely to change. When the Senate takes up the budget they have the same documents with senate numbers. Before their final vote they would substitute the House number if the House already took a final vote. This allows the process to run somewhat concurrently.
What have LD3’s legislators been up to? Not much!
Senator Kavanagh has seen a few of his non-controversial bills pass and they are sitting on the governor’s desk.
Rep. Kolodin’s bill addressing the Rio Verde Foothills water crisis is on Monday’s Committee Of the Whole calendar. HB2561 was voted down then resurrected 3 times with continuing motions. His bill has gone through numerous changes and could still be changed by amendment on Monday. If it passes, we will report on what it will do.
Rep. Chaplik’s ballot resolution to change emergency declarations is still waiting for a senate vote. Did you know there are currently 41 different emergency declarations still active in Arizona? If Rep. Chaplik gets HCR2039 on the Nov. ballot, voters would decide whether the legislature needs to convene every 30 days to determine if each declaration should continue. Since this is a resolution it does not go to the governor. If the senate passes the bill there is no chance of a veto.