Arizona House Adjourns; Senate Plans Return To Capitol

Published: Friday, May 22, 2020 - 2:27pm
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Senate President Karen Fann explains her decision May 8, 2020, to have senators vote to shut down the session.

The Arizona Senate may have voted to end their legislative session two weeks ago, but Senate President Karen Fann is calling them back to the Capitol for one more round.

Fann (R-Prescott) announced senators will return on Tuesday at 11 a.m. to deal with bills approved this week by the House. 

The move comes after the Senate voted to cease legislative work on May 8. But Republicans in the House refused to follow suit and spent the past four days voting on dozens of measures before agreeing to end the 2020 legislative session.

There’s also a list of 28 bills that were left for dead in the Senate during the pandemic that Fann said lawmakers will get a chance to vote on.

“So those 28 have just been sitting there and that's all we need to do to them, is just put them up and vote them up or down,” Fann said. “So I would like to try and get those done on Tuesday before we officially (adjourn), if at all possible.”

Both Fann and Senate Minority Leader David Bradley (D-Tucson) described the list of more than two dozen bills as non-controversial measures that may gain the support of both Democrats and Republicans.

Less clear is the fate of two bills that were introduced and passed by representatives in short order this week.

One bill would limit the liability of businesses, churches and schools when it comes to COVID-19 related legal claims. It’s similar to a measure pushed by Sen. Eddie Farnsworth (R-Mesa) that the Senate passed over when it voted to adjourn on May 8.

Another bill would allocate $88 million from Arizona’s portion of the federal CARES Act to be spent on child care services.

Fann said she has no idea if senators are willing to suspend the chambers rules and vote on those bills Tuesday. 

Traditionally, multiple days of committee hearings and voting are required for bills to pass out of the Senate. Fann made clear that the Senate would end the 2020 legislative session for good on Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean that lawmakers’ work is over.

Ending the session “is the best course of action during these unprecedented times and we will shift focus to forthcoming special sessions, where we can address economic stimulus and recovery initiatives, liability concerns, meet the health and human services needs of the state and other legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fann said in a statement.

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