Plan for Arizona Legislature to meet Friday called off.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Legislature won’t meet as planned Friday after Republican leaders failed to reach agreement on whether to adjourn for the year or resume a session interupted by the coronovirus pandemic.
Sen. David Bradley, leader of minority Democrats in the Arizona Senate. said Republican Senate President Karen Fann told him Thursday there’s no new date set. Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers emailed members telling them the planned return was off.
The moves come as some GOP lawmakers prepare to push back against Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision Wednesday to extend his stay-home order until May 15. The order issued March 30 was due to expire at the end of the day Thursday.
Rep. Warren Peterson, the GOP majority leader, told a conservative radio host Thursday he was trying to get enough votes to overturn Ducey’s executive order. That effort appears unlikely to succeed, because only one Republican would need to join minority Democrats in opposition for it to fail.
“What we can do is we can overturn any executive order without anything from him. I think its time to do that,” Peterson said on KFYI radio. “Right now you’ve got a majority of Republicans who want to do that.”
Peterson didn’t returns calls seeking comment.
Bradley and House minority leader Charlene Fernandez said Democrats were ready to return to work to address virus-related issues. Otherwise, lawmakers should not return.
“Our priority should be helping hard-working Arizonans weather this pandemic and helping small businesses get the resources and assistance they need to stay afloat during this difficult time so they can ultimately bounce back,” they said.
Fann and Bowers announced a plan last week for the Legislature to meet May 1 to formally close out the session. But some Republicans pushed back, saying they wanted to complete their work, putting the plan in limbo. Democrats are united in pushing for adjournment.
Lawmakers passed a basic budget March 23, a week before Ducey issued a stay-home order to stop the spread of the virus. Ducey extended that order though May 15 on Wednesday.
Fann wasn’t immediately available for comment, nor was Bowers.
A Democratic senator, Lupe Contreras, has been infected with the virus, a development that toughened resistance to reopening the session.
Arizona had 446 deaths as of Thursday and at least 7.648 confirmed infections.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.