Senate kills plan to let party activists fill legislative vacancies

Senate Bill 1063 would have put decisions about who fills vacant legislative seats solely in the hands of precinct committeemen. /Kerry Stutzman.com

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

A proposal that would have taken the power to fill legislative vacancies from county boards of supervisors and give it exclusively to political party activists fell short in the Senate after two Republicans opposed it. 

Senate Bill 1063 would have put decisions about who fills vacant legislative seats solely in the hands of precinct committeemen, who are elected, voting members of a political party’s legislative district-level organization. Currently, the PCs, as they’re known, select three finalists for vacancies, and the board of supervisors from the county the former lawmaker was from chooses from among those candidates. 

The system often puts elected supervisors at odds with precinct committeemen, the foot soldiers of political parties, who tend to represent the more ideologically strident bases of their parties. 

The bill would have also eliminated a law that allows only PCs from the former legislator’s county to vote in the replacement process. Under SB1063, all PCs from a legislative district would vote on who fills a vacant seat in the House or Senate. In addition, it would have nixed a requirement that appointed lawmakers be from the same county as the legislators they’re replacing. 

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