The tamale bill makes a comeback at the Capitol
Last year's "tamale bill" took a step forward, the Arizona Commerce Authority's future is in doubt and Gov. Katie Hobbs' budget plan got a frosty reception as the Legislature wrapped its second week of the 2024 session.
Details: The House Committee on Regulatory Affairs unanimously approved legislation to legalize the sale of perishable home-cooked foods, a successor to last year's tamale bill.
- Hobbs rejected last year's bill, prompting an unsuccessful effort to override her veto.
- Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, the bill's sponsor, made changes in an attempt to avoid another veto, but Hobbs has been noncommittal.
- The bill's next step is a vote in the full House.
State of play: Some Republicans are taking aim at the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) as it seeks reauthorization, without which it'll expire in July.
- A state auditor general's report last year highlighted problems such as a lack of documentation showing that companies had met requirements for subsidies and lavish spending on things like Super Bowl tickets to woo out-of-state executives, the latter of which the attorney general's office said this week violates the Arizona Constitution.
- The Senate Government Committee voted 4-3 to recommend the agency "revise and consolidate" rather than be reauthorized in its current form.
- Sen. Jake Hoffman, a Queen Creek Republican who chairs the committee, has also sponsored legislation to abolish the ACA.
Flashback: Former Gov. Jan Brewer shepherded the public-private ACA into existence to replace the old Arizona Department of Commerce in 2011.
- Hobbs called on lawmakers to reauthorize the ACA in her State of the State address.
Between the lines: GOP lawmakers panned Hobbs' executive budget proposal in a joint appropriations hearing on Tuesday, taking particular umbrage with her plan to resolve the deficit by curtailing a universal school voucher program and eliminating tax credits used to fund private school tuition to students.
- They also criticized Hobbs' proposal to claw back unspent money from a variety of projects added to the current budget at Republicans' request.
- The governor's office assured reporters last week it has a Plan B in the almost-certain event Republicans reject her proposals to scale back the two school choice programs, but Hobbs has yet to release details.
Meanwhile, the Senate Transportation, Technology and Missing Children Committee OK'd a bill to ban red light cameras, and Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, wants to refer a similar proposal to the November ballot.
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