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We don’t have a budget but we have tamale talk!

First veto override in over 40 years?

Under current law a cottage food product, which is prepared in a kitchen of a private home for commercial purposes is exempt from the Dept. of Health Services rules if it is not potentially hazardous or does not require time or temperature control for food safety and is prepared by a person who is registered. Generally, baked good are exempt. HB2509 would add to the cottage food products exemption, food products that are potentially hazardous or require time or temperature control for safety.

The bill would help tamale and empanada street venders. Proponents of the bill offered examples of families relying on their homemade tamale sales in order to make ends meet. Also advocating for the bill are organizations wanting less regulation in general. The practice of street food sales, although currently against the law, is widespread. Opponents of the bill cited both sanitation oversight and the unregulated competition to the small mom and pop stores who do meet food prep regulations.

The bill was passed on a bipartisan basis in both chambers and sent to the governor. It was vetoed on April 18th. The veto letter stated the failure to establish minimum standards and other safety controls. Veto letter found here.

What makes this different from all the other vetoes of this session? The leadership in both chambers is ready to bring a veto override vote to the floor when the legislature reconvenes this week and/or they have all majority party members on the floor. A veto override has not been successful in Arizona in over 40 years. Some lawmakers in both parties have spoken their intent to override the bill in the House. On April 21st the Senate Democrats issued a statement with their intent not to override the veto. The Dems think they could modify the bill to take both safety and practicality into account. Both chambers need votes from Democrats to reach the supermajority number to override the veto.

This should be an interesting week. Not only will the Tamale talk veto override be discussed but a few very controversial, culture war bills could make it to floor votes.

Senator Kavanagh has many bills waiting for a House vote. They may be up for votes when the legislators return from their break. Some will need to wait for the full House of 31 majority party members to be in attendance as votes are sure to be along party lines.

The senator did have one more bill vetoed and another bill signed while on spring break.

· SB1021 was vetoed on April 18th. It required the Attorney General to defend the constitutionality of any bill passed by the legislature. A defense would be required even for those bills blatantly unconstitutional.

· SB1134 was signed on April 18th. It is a dry, procedural transfer of money from the general fund to various agencies to pay claims. Votes were unanimous.

Rep. Kolodin had another of his bills vetoed on April 17th. HB2319 would have directed judges to consider transparency above all other considerations when deciding an election case.

Rep. Kolodin has one bill alive in the Senate plus his Scottsdale water bill is still trying to get out of the House.

Rep. Chaplik has 2 bills still alive in the senate. HCR2039 is the more problematic as if it passes the Senate, it goes straight to the Secretary of State to be put on the 2024 ballot. It redefines the governor’s role in emergency situations, giving the legislature more say.

Rep. Chaplik is taking heat from former Rep. Liz Harris’ supporters. At issue was her behavior arranging a conspiracy theory presentation and then being dishonest about her involvement with the presenters. Chaplik was chair of the committee investigating Harris and he submitted the investigation report to the House chamber. He recommended the House, rather than the committee, decide a consequence. While Chaplik voted NOT to expel Harris he is being held accountable by Harris’ supporters for her expulsion.

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