Today: Jul 14 , 2020

The Remnants: Small Ball Legislative Session Ends

06 June 2020   Staff Report

Governor Ducey has signed a few bills that actually made it to his desk.

The 54th legislature is likely to be remembered not just for the COVID-19 shutdown, but as one of the most lackluster legislative sessions anyone can remember. With the premature sine die of the State Senate on May 8th, followed on May 25th by the House of Representatives, Arizona’s 54th legislative session came to an official end on May 26,2020, killing hundreds of pending bills dealing with everything from regulatory reform, tax cuts, education and infrastructure, to reforms of our state prisons and correctional system.

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Karen Fann, President of the Arizona Senate.

The thin majorities the Republicans hold in both chambers of the legislature were inadequate to stave off a determined effort by Democrats, joined by a handful of disaffected Republicans in the state Senate, to end the session. Governor Ducey has stated he intends to call one or more special sessions later this summer to deal with budgetary issues and essential COVID-19 legislation. Under state law, the scope and subject matter of any special session is determined by the Governor.

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Rusty Bowers, Speaker of the House.

Yesterday’s bill signing by Governor Ducey of the 32 bills that enjoyed enough support to make their way to his desk, shows the legislative disarray attributable to the COVID-19 shutdown of the state legislature.

We are publishing the full text of Governor Ducey’s self-congratulatory press release so readers might judge for themselves.

Governor Ducey Takes Action On All Remaining Bills

Governor Ducey today took action on all remaining legislation on his desk, signing a total of 32 bills. The bills include legislation to expand the Arizona Teachers Academy, increase accountability at boards and commissions, enhance suicide prevention training, and improve administration of Arizona’s 529 College Savings Program.

In total, the Governor signed 90 bills during the Second Regular Session of the Fifty-Fourth Legislature, an all-time low. There were no vetoes.

“Arizona once again showed this year how to put politics aside and come together when it matters most,” said Governor Ducey. “Facing unprecedented public health and economic challenges due to COVID-19, lawmakers prioritized passing a fiscally responsible budget, ensuring funding for our public health response, and expanding assistance to those in need. I’m grateful to all members of the legislature for putting public health and safety first this session.”

Key bills signed into law today include:

S.B. 1528 family college savings program; treasurer (Leach)

S.B. 1492 Arizona teachers academy; program pathways (Boyer)

S.B. 1445 suicide prevention training; school employees (Bowie)

S.B. 1274 professional regulatory boards; composition (Ugenti-Rita)

S.B. 1528

S.B. 1528, introduced by Senator Vince Leach, transfers responsibility for the 529 Family College Savings Program from its current commission to the State Treasurer, improvising oversight and administration of the program, and expands the program to cover expenses related to apprenticeships. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs and is authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

S.B. 1492

Sponsored by Senator Paul Boyer, S.B. 1492 expands the Arizona Teachers Academy and allows more students who commit to teaching in an Arizona public school to graduate from college debt-free. Specifically, the bill:

Expands participation by allowing college students pursuing all majors to enter the program.

Expands Teachers Academy slots to current teachers teaching in “dual enrollment” courses in high school.

Allows graduates of the Teachers Academy to teach at schools that serve primarily public school students. Currently, a school such as the Foundation for Blind Children, which transports children in from district schools across the valley, is barred from receiving teachers though the Teachers Academy. This reform changes that.

S.B. 1445

S.B. 1445, introduced by Senator Sean Bowie, requires suicide awareness and prevention training programs for school counselors and social workers.

S.B. 1274

Sponsored by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, S.B. 1274 requires that regulatory boards and commissions transition to having public members as majority membership. This change will ensure that industry experts remain on the board, but that unbiased public members have more influence on the outcome of board decisions.

Governor Doug Ducey today signed into law the following 32 bills:

S.B. 1012 executive session; school safety plans (Borrelli)

S.B. 1021 department of revenue; electronic signatures (Ugenti-Rita)

S.B. 1040 insurers; notices methods of deliver (Livingston)

S.B. 1041 travel insurance (Livingston)

S.B. 1042 executive sessions; security pans (Borelli)

S.B. 1061 schools; parental rights; postings (Allen, S.)

S.B. 1062 insurance transactions; discrimination; exemptions (Livingston)

S.B. 1083 agriculture department; livestock loss board (Allen S.)

S.B. 1090 insurance adjusters; claims certificate (Livingston)

S.B. 1091 insurance producer licensing; surrender; application (Livingston)

S.B. 1096 property management records; residential rentals (Pace)

S.B. 1099 tax deed land sales; proceeds (Mesnard)

S.B. 1121 model city tax code; procedure (Leach)

S.B. 1131 certified public accountants (Gray)

S.B. 1210 assisted living; caregivers; training (Pace)

S.B. 1236 adult adoption; stepchildren (Gowan)

S.B. 1274 professional regulatory boards; composition (Ugenti-Rita)

S.B. 1292 financial literacy; state treasurer; fund (Allen, S.)

S.B. 1303 annexation of territory; requirements (Pratt)

S.B. 1305 personal delivery devices (Livingston)

S.B. 1354 pubic retirement systems; prefunding plan (Livingston)

S.B. 1397 insurance; preexisting condition exclusions; prohibition (Mesnard)

S.B. 1441 protection orders; modification; residence possession (Farnsworth, E.)

S.B. 1445 suicide prevention training; school employees (Bowie)

S.B. 1446 student identification cards; suicide employees (Bowie)

S.B. 1460 electric cooperatives; broadband service (Borrelli)

S.B. 1492 Arizona teachers academy; program pathways (Boyer)

S.B. 1504 fingerprinting; vital records; child care (Brophy-McGee)

S.B. 1510 public contracts; payment methods (Livingston)

S.B. 1528 family college savings program; treasurer (Leach)

S.B. 1555 support order; dishonest payment; lien (Farnsworth, E.)

S.B. 1557 annuity transactions; requirements (Livingston)