Arizona Legislature considers stopping session as coronavirus concerns grow

By Andrew Oxford | Arizona Republic 

Top Arizona legislators are aiming to adjourn their annual session in the next few days as a public health precaution. House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, told members of the Legislature Monday afternoon that he hoped to pass a few bills he described as noncontroversial and a basic budget that would continue funding for state agencies and services. 

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Talk of the unusual move comes after some members said they would no longer attend proceedings at the Capitol and President Trump recommended canceling gatherings of more than 10 people.

About two months into a session that could last 100 days or longer, it remained unclear Monday how exactly the Legislature would wrap up its business. Bowers suggested the Legislature would return in the near future but others may be interested in adjourning for the year and returning if the governor calls a special session. Exactly which bills lawmakers would salvage before heading out the door is bound to be a subject of plenty of political wrangling as talks proceed Monday afternoon.

House Speaker Pro Tempore T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, said returning in a few weeks or months would give the Legislature flexibility in crafting financial plans for the budget year that begins in July.

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