This Week in Arizona Politics: 5 Things to Know

January 08,2018 | Triadvocates

1. Legislators, staffers and lobbyists are soaking up their last remaining days of freedom. The 2018 legislative session convenes on Monday with Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address. We’ll be sending out a recap with highlights of his key objectives for the upcoming session following his address, so stay tuned.

2. Among the many changes we’ve seen at the Capitol in recent months (and weeks…and days) is the appointment of new chairmen of the Appropriations Committees in both chambers. Rep. Don Shooter has been suspended from his post and Sen. Debbie Lesko is expected to resign after formally announcing her run for the open CD8 seat following the resignation of former Congressman Trent Franks. For the upcoming session, Rep. David Livingston and Sen. John Kavanagh will serve as chair of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, respectively.

3. Earlier this week, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Sine Kerr, a self-titled conservative Republican, to fill the LD13 Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Steve Montenegro. Kerr originally filed to run for the LD13 House seat, and has told press that she hasn’t decided whether to continue pursuing the House seat or make a run at a full term in the Senate during this year’s election cycle. In her non-political life, Sine Kerr and her family run a dairy business in Buckeye. In addition to her new role as a senator, Kerr serves on the Arizona Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Maricopa County Air Quality Hearing Board, and the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s Policy Advisory Council. Kerr will be sworn in on Monday by Senate President Steve Yarbrough. 

4. The pursuit for higher office continues… On Tuesday, state Sen. Catherine Miranda filed to run for Arizona’s 7th Congressional District against incumbent Congressman Ruben Gallego. Former legislative seatmates, Miranda and Gallego were first elected to represent LD27 in 2010 and served in the Arizona House of Representatives until 2014 when Gallego resigned to run for the seat vacated by former Congressman Ed Pastor. This congressional race is expected to be decided in the August primary, given that CD7 is known to be a safe Democratic district. At this time, it’s unknown if Miranda plans to resign from her LD27 seat—if she does, her decision will certainly have a domino effect at the Capitol.

5. All eyes are on the 2018 session as policy wonks look for clues as to what priorities legislative leadership and the governor will focus on this year. Republican leaders appear to be relatively on the same page with a limited agenda focused on new money for K-12 funding, opioid reduction, clarifications as to who is in charge of Arizona’s water policy, and clarity on how digital products will be taxed. No specifics on these issues have been announced and, as we know, the devil is always in the details. Some encouraging news: everyone seems committed to a 100-day legislative session. If so, the session would wrap around April 17 (disclaimer: don’t book your vacation plans yet—the Legislature can be highly unpredictable). Nevertheless, we are off to a good start so far.

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