Arizona lawmakers on Wednesday ended the third-longest legislative session in state history after approving the final components of a state spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Thursday and taking final votes on several other outstanding measures.
In all the session tallied 171 days, just shy of the 173-day record set in 1988 during the impeachment of Gov. Evan Mecham.
The bulk of the budget was approved last week, but changes made in the House of Representatives to education and criminal justice policy bills to secure the 31 needed votes — there are only 31 Republicans in the 60-member chamber — were opposed in the Senate, so a compromise had to be struck.
That compromise involved minimizing changes to the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program in order to increase access without expanding the scope of the school voucher system, as well as removing a provision added in the House that mandated a statewide curriculum for civics education.
The Senate voted on a number of other pieces of legislation Wednesday that were sent to Gov. Doug Ducey, including one that will make medical marijuana dispensaries have to do more testing on their products.
Sens. Sonny Borrelli, Wendy Rogers and Kelly Townsend asked for it to be put on the record that they were opposed to adjourning for the session. The trio have been especially vocal about not wanting the legislature to adjourn until the Senate’s controversial review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results had concluded.
The Senate’s review and allegations of election fraud have hung over the session, as bills related to the issue have passed and failed throughout the session.
Lawmakers also put a provision in the budget to create a committee to review the findings of the Senate’s audit of Maricopa County and gives outside agencies the authority to review voter rolls.