Yesterday (May 7, 2020,) was a kind of chaotic day for the Arizona State House.
Following the announcement that the State Senate would adjourn (apparently after making a deal with the Governor to call one or two special sessions) sine de on Friday (May 8, 2020,) the State House at first called everyone back to the State Capitol to resume its legislative session.
Some non-Phoneix area legislators traveled through the afternoon and early evening to rush back to the capitol.
Then Speaker Russell Bowers issued a statement telling everyone that the House would not resume the legislative session on Friday after all.
The Senate still plans to meet and adjourn later today.
House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez issued a statement after the Bowers about-face, commenting:
“The House Republican caucus is in a state of chaos, and they are willing to risk the health and safety of members, staff and the public to get their way. Our caucus supports returning to end the session sine die and stop pretending that we can to do business as usual. We must return in a special session to help hard-working Arizonans and small businesses further navigate this pandemic. That would be the right thing to do under these difficult circumstances. Arizona has not yet flattened the curve. Tomorrow we will surpass 10,000 COVID-19 cases, and deaths continue to spike. We have lost 450 lives to this awful disease, 88 reported in just the last three days, including a child in Yuma. To sabotage the Senate’s plan under pressure from lobbyists and members who want to return indefinitely to move their pet bills — with no safe or effective way to include public testimony – is dangerous and counterproductive.”
Russell Bowers needs to consider the Views of the Majority and not the science-denying fringe few like Kelly Townsend and Mark Finchem who want one last shot at passing their dream reactionary legislation before the Democrats possibly take over the House (and maybe Senate) next year.
By combining the forces of reason in his caucus with the Democrats, the House can sine dine and come back when the Governor calls a special session.
That is the right and sensible thing to do.
It is time for Mr. Bowers to act like the Speaker of the House and not the Speaker of the Republican Caucus.