To Adjourn or Not to Adjourn the Legislative Session; That is the Question

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According to the April 21 edition of Capitol Notes, It appeared last week that the Republican leadership at the State Legislature, Senate President Karen Fann, and House Speaker Russell Bowers, had an agreement for legislators to return to the capitol on May 1 and then quickly adjourn the legislative session Sine Die.

Democratic leaders and most of their caucus were on board with the plan. So were apparently most Republicans, especially those in the State Senate.

Unfortunately for everyone, as the April 22 and 23 editions of Capitol Notes reveal, some of the more fringe members of the House (including Kelly Townsend, Michelle Ugenti-Rita, and Mark Finchem,) perhaps thinking this would be their last chance to pass pending legislation still on their reactionary bill wish list before Democrats take over one or both chambers next year, went to Speaker Bowers and managed to convince him to renege on his deal with Fann.

According to the April 23 edition of Capitol Notes, one lawmaker commented that the idea of returning to the legislative session, complete with public hearings on pending bills, would “create chaos.”

The return also would not happen on May 1 because of the lack of widespread Coronavirus testing when the state has probably not yet reached its peak in infections.

One staff source indicated that the Democrats are not willing to come back into session unless it is to deal with issues stemming from the public health emergency like shoring up the Department of Economic Security, promoting mail-in voting, and allocating funds to areas hurt by the Coronavirus.

Another issue is maintaining the safety of the legislators and their staffs.

To date, there is not a plan that satisfactorily addresses those concerns.

This is not a time to be playing games with people’s lives just because a vocal minority of the Republican caucus either do not believe in the health risk or want to use this potential last gasp of majority rule to get their extreme dream pet projects to the Governor’s desk.

Public Servants are supposed to be better than this and leaders like Russell Bowers should not cower when the extremists bark too loud against the wishes of the majority of the legislature.

It is time to think about the greater good instead of the narrow-minded interests of the reactionary fringe.

It is time to govern for everyone’s interests and devise a plan to do this either when this legislative session returns in late May or June or in a special session during the summer.

It is time not to ask the question whether or not to adjourn but when will all the legislators in the majority caucus put the people’s interests before the special interests.

It is time for the grown-ups to take charge and run the House.

 

 

 

 

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

3 COMMENTS

  1. “This is not a time to be playing games with people’s lives just because a vocal minority of the Republican caucus either do not believe in the health risk or want to use this potential last gasp of majority rule to get their extreme dream pet projects to the Governor’s desk.” – David Gordon

    You could also almost apply that phrase to all but two of the Democrats who voted against allowing for remote voting to protect “at risk” members in the House on the last day we were in the chamber. The rule change passed and we can do that now. The Dems opposed it because they knew that Republicans would lose at least one member, so they would have a bargaining windfall. Kudos to Reps. Shaw and Pawlick who voted to allow remote voting. Big boo to Rep. Powers-Hannley who voted against remote voting and then signed up and voted remotely the next day.

    I personally thought that that vote was the low point of all the votes I have witnessed in over a decade at the legislature and I have seen some bad ones.

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