Report: 51st Legislative Session

First StrategicNewsReport: 51st Legislative Session

Jun

30

June 30 , 2015 | Posted by admin |

Report: 51st Legislative Session

Arizona State 2014 Legislative Session by the Numbers

First Day of Session: January 13, 2014
Last Day of Session: April 24 at 1:46 a.m.
Total Days of Session: 101 days
Bills Posted:  1,205
Bills Passed: 303
Bills Vetoed: 25
Bills Signed: 278
Memorials/Resolutions Posted: 113
Memorials/Resolutions Passed: 35
House Demographics: 36 Republicans/24 Democrats
Senate Demographics: 17 Republicans/13 Democrats

*In the 1st Regular Session, 37 members were either new to the Legislature, changed chambers or returned to the Legislature after having served in the past.

Session Statistics:

As mentioned above, there were 1,205 bills introduced this session.  The legislator with the most bills signed into law was Representative Karen Fann with 16 bills. Representative John Kavanagh, Senator Nancy Barto and Senator Gail Griffin all came in second with 15 bills each being signed into law. A total of 41 legislators had no bills signed into law.

In the First Regular Session the Governor Brewer vetoed 26 bills (five of those bills were vetoed during the moratorium the Governor imposed which lasted until Medicaid expansion was passed); this session she has vetoed 25.

The more notable vetoes include:  SB1062 (exercise of religion; state action) and SB1211 (Mexican wolf; taking; reporting).  SB1062, vetoed in February, received international attention and clamor.

Signed into law were measures that include making: “revenge porn” a felony; increasing the penalty for pointing a laser at an aircraft from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class 5 Felony.  Additionally, optometrists can now prescribe, dispense and administer certain drugs; and trampoline courts must now register with the Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety, have annual inspections and procure insurance of at least $1 million for bodily injury.

Regarding attendance, 25 legislators had perfect attendance on the floor.  Senator Ed Ableser missed the most days of session – missing 37 of 59 days, with Representative Doris Goodale right behind him missing 38 days.

Members Term Limited 2014: 

Senator Leah Landrum Taylor
Representative Chad Campbell
Representative John Kavanagh
Speaker Andy Tobin

And, Governor Jan Brewer

Changes in the Chambers:

Carlyle Begay filled Senator Jack Jackson, Jr.’s Senate Seat, after Jackson was nominated to become the State Department’s first liaison for Native American affairs.  Begay’s appointment to the seat was surrounded by controversy regarding his residency. Albert Hale, a rival for the seat, claimed Begay was actually a resident of Gilbert, AZ, therefore not eligible to fill the District 7 seat. Begay’s attorney argued that the state Constitution does require a candidate to live in the county for a year before being elected, but that does not apply to individuals who are appointed.

David Farnsworth filled Rich Crandall’s vacated LD16 Senate seat.  Amid controversy and requests from his constituents to do so, Crandall resigned in order to move to Wyoming and become the Director of Department of Education.

There was also controversy surrounding Senator Linda Lopez’s resignation.  Many of her colleagues accused her of holding onto her seat too long, to gain another year of service in order to pad her retirement benefits.   Her resignation was effective on January 13; the first day of the 2nd Regular Session.  Her seat was filled by Andrea Dalessandro.  Demion Clinco replaced Dalessandro in the House.

On March 24th the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Norma Munoz to fill the seat in LD 27 that was vacated when former Rep. Ruben Gallego resigned to run for Congress.

Vying for the Governorship:

By law, Governor Brewer is term-limited in 2014, even though her first term as Governor was only a partial term. Those interested in replacing her as the state’s top leader include:

Republican candidates who have declared their intent to run include:

  • Ken Bennett, Secretary of State;
  • Doug Ducey, State Treasurer;
  • Al Melvin, State Senator;
  • Scott Smith, Former Mayor of Mesa;
  • Andrew Thomas, Disbarred Former Maricopa County Attorney;
  • Christine Jones, Former GoDaddy Executive Vice President and General Counsel;
  • John Molina, OB/GYN and Former CEO of Phoenix Indian Medical Center;
  • Frank Riggs, Former U.S. Representative from California;

Hugh Hallman, the former Mayor of Tempe, withdrew from the pool and now intends to run for State Treasurer.

For the Democrats, only Fred Duvall (former AZ Board of Regents Chairman) and Ronald Cavanaugh have declared their candidacy.  Cavanaugh was a Libertarian candidate for Governor in 2010.

Candidates for other positions in state government include:  Terry Goddard for Secretary of State; Wil Cardon for Secretary of State; and Felecia Rotellini for Attorney General.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio intends to run for re-election.

The Budget

Governor Brewer signed the FY 2015 budget on April 11.  The $9.23 billion budget included money for child welfare services and $3.8 billion for K-12 schools. The state’s Medicaid plan received $1.3 billion; universities were awarded $768 million; community colleges received $72 million; and TGen was awarded $25 million over five years.  The state prison system was allocated nearly $1 billion.

Brewer used her line-item veto power to cut more than $4 million from the budget, to include:  $1.3 million for counties who will experience lower revenues due to a bill the Governor signed which eliminates electricity taxes for manufacturers; and $828,500 apportioned to the state’s Ombudsman’s Office.  The Ombudsman’s office was impacted because the legislature gave the office an additional $200,000 to handle an increased workload of the new child welfare agency. However, the Governor intends to have a special session to address the funding for the new agency and since she could not isolate and cut only the $200,000, she had to cut the entire amount.  It’s expected that the matter will be revisited during the special session on child safety.

Budget negotiations took place over a three week span. The overall spending plan falls about $133 million short of what the Governor requested and does not include a $50 million deposit into the state’s rainy day fund.   The package contained about $35 million in tax cuts and incentives.  One tax credit example is for investments of at least $300 million over three years in new renewable energy facilities.

The budget also appropriated $1.4 million to the State Land Department, for the removal of hazardous vegetation from state trust lands.  Additionally, lawmakers included an immunity provision to protect the state from liability on state lands.

The Passing of Stan Turley

Stan Turley, who is one of only four people in Arizona to ever serve as Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, died of natural causes on Saturday, April 26 at the age of 93.  The incredibly admired Turley was probably best known for his role in the passage of the Groundwater Act of 1980.

05/07/2014