The 2021 legislative session Monday is being brought to you by the letter E.

From left, education funding, election rules and the emergency powers used by Gov. Doug Ducey during the pandemic are expected to be the key issues when Arizona legislators return to session on Monday./Arizona Daily Star and The Associated Press

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

As in emergency powers, election legislation and education funding.

The session will get off to a quick start as one of the lawmakers’ first acts will be to determine whether it’s time to pull the plug on the state of emergency that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey declared 10 months ago because of the pandemic.

If there’s a majority vote in the GOP-controlled Legislature to end the declaration, the governor cannot veto it.

Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, already has the language crafted. Her measure, SCR 1001, seeks to take advantage of a provision in the law that gave Ducey the power to unilaterally declare an emergency in the first place. It says the emergency ends when the governor says it does — or when a majority of legislators vote to say it’s over.

Legislators haven’t been able to debate the issue until now because they weren’t in session. It takes either a gubernatorial call, one Ducey was not going to provide, or a two-thirds vote to end the emergency declaration.

Now, with the session starting tomorrow, Ugenti-Rita will need 16 senators and 31 representatives to side with her.

But there’s no clear law about whether the governor can simply turn around and declare a new one and reinstate all the provisions, including which businesses can be open and under what conditions.


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