2017 AZ Lege: Heads up – the train’s a comin’


By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

This post is an information post with almost no “commentary” (but me being who I am, there may be one or two instances of wiseass-ery 🙂 ).

Scheduled start: January 9, 2017 (tomorrow, as I write this)


Approximate end: Third full week of April (“approximate” because while the 100th day of the session will fall during that week, and 100 days is the unofficial target for the length of a legislative session, 100 days is *not* a requirement).


House –


Speaker – JD Mesnard.  Previously: David Gowan (ran for Congress, lost in primary)

Majority Leader – John Allen.  Previously: Steve Montenegro (elected to state senate)

Majority Whip – Kelly Townsend.  Previously: David Livingston (reelected to the state house, but no longer part of leadership; not sure why)


Minority Leader – Rebecca Rios.  Previously: Eric Meyer (ran for state senate, lost a close race)

Assistant Minority Leader – Randy Friese.  Previously: Bruce Wheeler (did not run for reelection)

Minority Whip – Charlene Fernandez.  Previously: Rebecca Rios (now minority leader)

Senate –


President – Steve Yarbrough.  Previously: Andy Biggs (elected to Congress)

Majority Leader – Kimberly Yee.  Previously: Steve Yarbrough (now senate president)

Majority Whip – Gail Griffin. Previously: Griffin

President Pro Tempore – Debbie Lesko.  Previously: Sylvia Allen (reelected to the state senate, but no longer part of leadership; not sure why)


Minority Leader: Katie Hobbs.  Previously: Hobbs

Assistant Minority Leader: Steve Farley.  Previously: Farley

Minority Whip: Martin Quezada,  Previously: Quezada

Minority Whip: Lupe Contreras.  Previously: Contreras

First bill: SB1001, from State Senator John Kavanagh.  In a rare (rare for Arizona legislative Republicans, anyway) “good government” proposal.  If enacted, it would protect from civil liability a person who breaks into an unattended vehicle in order to rescue a minor or a domestic animal.

However, Kavanagh has already offset the potential good of that bill with his proposed SB1009, making the theft of an American flag a felony (current law is that theft of property valued at less than $1000 is a misdemeanor under most circumstances)

SB1001 may be the only “good government bill proposed by Kavanagh (or any other Republican) during the 2017 session, though they might try to get sneaky about some of the bad government bills –

Kavanagh himself has already proposed SB1022, adding to the criteria of the types of hate crimes that police gather data on.  The criteria he wants to add?

[P]olitical affiliation, beliefs or opinions”.

Look for his proposal to criminalize dissent during next year’s legislative session, or even as a striker later this session.

Another example is from Kavanagh’s seatmate, Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita.

She has proposed HCR2002, which only seeks to repeal the provisions in the AZ Constitution that essentially bar the state legislature from tinkering with or overturning laws approved by the voters (aka – Prop 105)

Another “sneaky bad” one to watch: HB2043, from Rep. Heather Carter.

This one would both facilitate the privatization/profitization of the state’s mental health system (by allowing the director to lease property held by the system to private parties) while exempting those leases from requirements that the prices be fair, be in the public’s best interest, and be public information.


The lege will pass pro-gun legislation this year.

The lege will pass anti-LGBTQ legislation this year.

The lege will pass anti-women legislation this year.

The lege will pass anti-poor/working poor/middle class legislation this year.

The lege will pass anti-POC legislation this year.

Doug Ducey will sign most of those measures.

Having said that, most of the neo-secessionist/dog-whistle proposals that we’ve seen is recent years won’t be found in this year’s lege – most of them were motivated by their hatred of the black guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, not an animus toward the federal government.

Especially now that their ideological fellow travelers now control the federal government.

Short version: The ride is going to be bumpy.


Website of the Arizona Legislature

AZ Senate Democrats – Democratic Caucus announces committee members

AZ Senate Republicans – AZ State Senate Announces Committees, Chairs

AZ Senate Republicans – Senate Republicans Announce New Leadership Team