Jun 27, 2022 - Politics

Arizona lawmakers pass a flurry of bills to end 2022 session

Illustration of the Arizona State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Arizona legislature wrapped up its 2022 business Friday night, ending one of the longest sessions in state history.

  • Lawmakers dramatically expanded the state's voucher-style program for K-12 schools and enacted the governor's marquee water plan.
  • The session lasted 167 days, making it the sixth longest on record, according to the Arizona Capitol Times Political Almanac.

Water: One of the most contentious issues was a plan championed by Gov. Doug Ducey to address Arizona's ongoing water crisis. After months of negotiations, both chambers passed the bill on a near-unanimous vote.

  • Under the legislation, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) will have the power to distribute $1 billion for things like infrastructure, conservation and new water supplies.
  • A new WIFA board appointed by the governor, Republican and Democratic leaders in the legislature, and several state agencies will make decisions on how to distribute the money.
  • Cities, counties, water providers and other entities will be eligible to receive loans, bonds and grants.

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts: The voucher-style ESA program that gives parents cash for private school tuition, tutoring, educational materials or other things for K-12 students will be open to every student in Arizona.

  • For years, the program had been limited to specific groups of students, like those in failing schools and Native Americans living on tribal reservations.

Yes, but: Save Our Schools Arizona, the group that referred the legislature's last big ESA expansion to the ballot in 2018 — when voters rejected it — plans to do the same again .

  • There won't be enough time to put it on the ballot this November, so if the group is successful, the expansion law will be on hold until the 2024 general election.

Proposition 400: Months after it passed the Senate, the House finally followed suit and voted to send the expiring half-cent sales tax for transportation infrastructure to the ballot in Maricopa County.

  • Because the legislature couldn't muster the two-thirds supermajority needed to enact the legislation immediately, the election for Prop. 400 won't be until spring.

Film tax credit: Movies that are filmed primarily in Arizona or that use in-state production studios would be eligible for up to $25 million in tax credits.

Lieutenant governor: Voters in November will have a chance to decide whether Arizona should have a lieutenant governor who will be first in the line of gubernatorial succession instead of the secretary of state.

  • Voters rejected lieutenant governor proposals in 1994 and 2010.

Ballot measure supermajority: Lawmakers also referred a proposal to the ballot that will ask voters to decide whether a ballot proposition should need 60% of the vote to become law.

What's next: Ducey still must sign or veto the legislation that lawmakers passed in the final days of session.

What didn't pass: A last-ditch attempt to pass a bill to restrict the way racially sensitive topics are taught in schools failed because of a lack of Republican votes.

Farewell: For at least 21 lawmakers who aren't running again, as well as for Ducey, Friday marked the end of their final legislative session.

By the numbers: The legislature passed 385 bills and 33 resolutions this year.

  • Ducey has signed 305 bills so far and vetoed one.
  • That leaves 79 pieces of legislation that await his signature or veto.

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