Arizona Senate Votes To Adjourn, But Technically Can't

By Mark Brodie, Ben Giles
Published: Friday, May 8, 2020 - 4:38pm
Updated: Monday, May 11, 2020 - 1:29pm

Audio icon Download mp3 (6.83 MB)

Senate President Karen Fann
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on May 8, 2020.

The Arizona Senate voted to end the 2020 legislative session on Friday, a feat that technically can’t be accomplished unless the House of Representatives agrees.

House Republicans have given no indication they’ll do so and have instead said they’d prefer getting back to business as usual and voting on bills.

It appeared the Senate would take a stand and send the House a firm message by voting to adjourn “sine die,” a decision that sparked fierce debate in the chamber. 

A handful of Senate Republicans opposed ending the session, arguing it’d appear weak and that the legislative branch would relinquish its power to operate as a check on Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive orders during the pandemic.

But after nearly three hours of debate and a 24-6 vote to adjourn, Senate President Karen Fann provided a caveat.

The Prescott Republican said she’d prefer if the House agreed to adjourn. Lawmakers could then shift their focus to special sessions — which the governor has promised Fann he’ll call, she said — that would focus on the state’s economic recovery.

But Fann left open the possibility that the Senate would bend to the will of the House and consider a handful of bills in the current session, which is now in its 117th day.

“We are putting the ball in your corner and we are saying either sine die and let us start our special session, or get your bills together, the couple of bills you want to do,” Fann said. “We’ll come back and then we can do something."

For now, the Senate is officially at recess, meaning lawmakers won't conduct legislative business on the Senate floor. It's the same state of affairs the chamber has been it since lawmakers left the Capitol on March 23 to help halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The Show spoke to Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services about what — if anything — happens next.

More Stories From KJZZ

PoliticsThe Show

One Source, My Connection!