Lawmakers put pet projects in perspective as virus rages

By Julia Shumway and Arren Kimbel-Sannit | Arizona Capitol Times

Lawmakers introduced a record 1,731 pieces of legislation this year, from small tweaks to sweeping changes to state statutes.

They could end the session with fewer than 60 bills — including a last-minute budget and legislation to guide schools and unemployment administrators through the current COVID-19 pandemic — passed into law.

While lawmakers began talks of passing a skinny budget and recessing with the idea that they could return in a few weeks after the outbreak blew over, it has become increasingly clear that the policy goals and line-item budget spending they crafted months ago will be completely overshadowed by the need to respond to the pandemic and its impact on Arizona’s economy.

“I had a lot of bills die that I think were very important, but I absolutely have to put them into perspective,” said Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, a Phoenix Republican who typically leads the Capitol in the number of bills introduced and the number signed.

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