The Capitol Roundup

The Arc of Arizona's regular recap of State & Federal legislative happenings

January 5, 2018

So Many Hats, So Little Ring

At the Statehouse...

2018 Legislative Session

The 2018 legislative session will begin on Monday, January 8, and legislators have already started to introduce bills they hope to enact.

Governor Doug Ducey and legislative leaders hope for a short 2018 legislative session, but that goal may be unrealistic given many unusual dynamics this year.


Two special elections (a primary and a general election) to replace former U.S. Representative Trent Franks will take place this spring. Some current and former legislators will seek the Congressional seat – a dynamic that will bring at least two new state legislators to fill seats vacated by Senators Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) and Steve Montenegro (R-Avondale).
There are currently three new legislators since the last legislative session ended: Geraldine Peten now fills a seat vacated by former Representative Jesus Rubalcava, Sine Kerr was appointed to complete the Senate term of Steve Montenegro, and Ben Toma represents the district that Representative Phil Lovas vacated. Lovas is also seeking the open Congressional seat.
The 2018 election in November also will overshadow legislative relationships and cooperation. Several key legislators have reached their statutory term limits in the House and Senate, and will need to leave the office they currently hold.

Most will run for a seat in the opposite chamber (House members run for a Senate seat, and vice versa), but others will retire or run for another office. 
Priority Issues

Governor Ducey will share his policy and budget priorities next week, but it is clear he will seek new resources for education, adjusted oversight of water policies, and additional tools to battle the growing opioid problem.

Education is always a hot topic at the Arizona Capitol, and many legislators have also listed education funding as their top priority. State leaders will debate how to dedicate more funding to classrooms – especially since the state’s sales tax dedicated to education will expire in the near future if it is not reauthorized. Legislators will debate other education policies, as well, such as the appropriate level of funding for School Tuition Organization tax credits.

It is not clear how legislators plan to allocate funding for increased costs associated with the state’s minimum wage increase (Proposition 206). State agencies need additional resources to fund those who provide care to individuals with disabilities, and the debate on how much more funding is needed will continue throughout the budget process.

Federal policies may also hold state impact: Tax policies and health care funding are tied to Arizona’s budgets and programs. For example, if Congress chooses not to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Arizona’s KidsCare program (which provides children’s insurance coverage) will be defunded and state leaders will debate whether to allocate state dollars from other priorities to keep the program going.

Debates on the taxation of digital goods and services could also impact state revenues.  The legislature will consider whether to tax – and what to tax – in the growing market of digital products. 
Key Dates
  • January 8: Session begins
  • January 29: Senate bill introduction deadline
  • February 2:  House bill introduction deadline
  • February 16: Deadline to hear bills in first chamber committees
  • March 23: Deadline to hear bills in second chamber committees
  • April 17: 100th day of session

On the Federal Front...

Due to the December Congressional recess, no federal update is included this week. The Arc's federal activity reports will resume with the January 12 Capitol Roundup.

Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC

The Arc of Arizona


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