This evening, the Arizona House of Representatives voted to adjourn sine die after an eventful week back at the Capitol. The chamber reconvened on Monday for the first time since late March, when lawmakers adjourned temporarily amid increasing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. Over the past several days, a series of committee hearings were held to advance a handful of bills that were already moving through the process, along with new COVID-19-related legislation.
Since reconvening, the House approved 46 Senate bills and two new House bills—HB 2912 (COVID-19; civil liability; evidence; penalties), which would limit legal liability for companies during the pandemic, and HB 2913 (supplemental appropriations; child care facilities), which would distribute roughly $85 million in CARES Act funding as forgivable loans for child care facilities.
It is unclear how the Senate might proceed. That chamber met nearly two weeks ago and approved a similar motion to sine die, essentially signaling to the House it was ready to end the session. The Senate, however, did leave open the possibility of returning to take up other legislation if the House could agree on priority bills. While legislative rules require the Senate to transmit any bills the House passes to the governor, any new legislation or bills that have been amended in the second chamber require a vote in the full body (translation: the Senate, by law, has to send up the 46 bills to the governor but could choose to adjourn without voting the two new House bills, effectively killing them). Once those bills hit the governor’s desk, the clock starts ticking—he has five days to act if the Legislature is in session or 10 days to act if the Legislature has adjourned. He can choose to sign, veto, or do nothing (in which case, a bill becomes law without his signature).
The Senate could return as early as next Tuesday, but no official plans have been announced. We’ll have a more in-depth recap next week, so keep an eye out for another edition of The Navigator.