Arizona lawmakers mull shutting down session to prevent coronavirus spread

Wash your hands!/Steve Benson

By Julia Shumway  | Arizona Capitol Times

Legislative leaders plan to meet Monday morning to discuss how to proceed with the budget and pending bills amid calls from some senators and representatives to temporarily suspend the session to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

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Lawmakers already decided yesterday to shut down the Senate and House galleries and limit public testimony on bills as safety measures. And state Sens. Heather Carter and Paul Boyer pledged to stay away from the Capitol for the foreseeable future to promote “social distancing,” taking with them two votes needed to pass any partisan legislation. 

Senate President Karen Fann texted the 16 members of her Republican caucus on Friday afternoon to tell them she would meet with House and Senate leaders, according to a copy of the message shared with the Arizona Capitol Times. Neither Fann nor Senate Minority Leader David Bradley immediately returned phone calls. 

House Speaker Pro Tem T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, told the Yellow Sheet Report, a sister publication of the Capitol Times, that he thinks the Legislature should take a break until April 6.

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