By Joseph Flaherty | Phoenix New Times
The Arizona Legislature, a notorious cauldron of bad ideas, will reconvene on Monday, January 14. What fresh hell awaits?
Next week marks the beginning of the 54th Legislature, when the political machinery of the House and Senate will wheeze and start with a jolt. A larger coalition of Democratic legislators is joining the House. There are already fault lines among Republicans on taxes. Meanwhile, time-sensitive issues such as a drought contingency plan are careening at lawmakers.
How the session will play out depends on how skillfully lawmakers navigate the new political terrain. The Republican choice for House Speaker is Rusty Bowers, an enigmatic lawmaker from Mesa who also happens to be a professional artist and sculptor. The new Senate President is Karen Fann, a former House member who previously served as mayor of Chino Valley.
Unpredictable events or themes are certain to arise, too. See the #RedForEd revolt last spring, which resulted in the first-ever Arizona teachers’ strike and thousands of educators storming the Capitol grounds, and a late-night education budget that gave teachers a pay boost.
Will politicians set Arizona’s future aflame with some bone-headed idea or a brazenly unconstitutional scheme? Possibly. But if you want to prevent that from happening, you’ll need to make your voice heard on the topics that may drive this year’s session.