The Week in Arizona Politics: 5 Things To Know

January 24,2016 | Triadvocates

1. Hearing schedules were relatively light this week, as much of the focus was devoted to digesting the Governor’s budget proposal. The work will pick up significantly over the next several weeks, as legislators face various deadlines for bill introduction and committee hearings. Members of the Senate have until Feb. 1 to introduce bills while members of the House have until Feb. 8.
2. Former Attorney General Terry Goddard, political consultant Chuck Coughlin and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson on Thursday launched the “Open and Honest Coalition” in support of two constitutional ballot initiatives that will appear on the ballot next November. The Elections Initiative proposes a top-two primary (often referred to as a "jungle primary") that would place all candidates on the same ballot in the first election in August. The two candidates who receive the highest vote totals—regardless of party affiliation—would then advance to the General Election in November. The Disclosure Initiative would require any outside group that receives a contribution of $10,000 or more ("dark money") to identify the original sources of the contribution. The measure would apply not just to state, county and municipal races but also to congressional races.
3. Valley Metro—the unified public brand of the regional transit system in and around the metro-Phoenix area—on Thursday announced that former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith will serve as interim CEO effective Feb. 1. Smith brings 25 years of accounting experience and a track record of strong leadership to the agency. Valley Metro's former CEO, Stephen Banta, resigned in November amid a highly publicized investigation spearheaded by The Arizona Republic that found he incurred thousands of dollars in questionable expenses paid with public funds.
4. With a 4-1 vote earlier this week, the Pima County Board of Supervisors appointed Matt Kopec to replace Rep. Victoria Steele, who recently stepped down to focus on her congressional run. The district (LD9) covers the majority of Tucson. Kopec is a Tucson native who has worked on many local campaigns and as an aide to Tucson City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich.
5. In a presentation to the Legislature’s Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) this week, economist Elliott Pollack partially attributed Arizona’s slower-than-expected housing recovery to millennials. Millennials (born between 1985 and 2004) are waiting longer to get married, start families and purchase homes. Waiting longer to purchase homes means lower demand and a longer road to recovery. However, millennials, according to Pollack, will eventually purchase homes which will lead to plenty of pent-up demand, increasing prices and all of the associated economic impacts of buying “stuff” to fill homes. For the full FAC presentation, click here.

Day of Session: 14
Bills Posted: 800
Bills Passed: 0
Bills Vetoed: 0
Bills Signed: 0

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