State Legislature returns to Capitol Wednesday with budget and agency continuations on to-do list

With regular committee hearings now wrapped up for the legislative session, the state Legislature returned to the Capitol Wednesday under a one-day-a-week schedule. 

The House and Senate will conduct floor sessions to determine the fate of bills that have made their way through the committee process in both chambers, deciding whether to send them to the governor to be signed or vetoed. 

State budget 

The big remaining item on the to-do list is to hash out a fiscal year 2025 state budget amid a projected significant shortfall. The last Finance Advisory Committee report projected a combined fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025 shortfall of $1.7 billion, although lawmakers will receive new FAC projections later today.

The budget picture means that legislators who are backing bills with big spending implications are facing major headwinds, as legislative leaders are looking to cut spending to bring the budget into balance. 

Bills that have been tagged as “money bills” – meaning they would add new spending – are stalled in each chamber’s Rules Committee and won’t move to a floor vote unless they are folded into the multi-bill package that compromises the state budget.  

Agency continuations 

Also left for the Legislature to address are agency continuations. 

The Legislature periodically reviews whether to renew state agencies or to shutter them. The process involves assessing agency audits performed by the state auditor general and considering recommendations from oversight committees known as committees of reference that take testimony from the auditor general and agency officials. 

This year’s major continuation involves the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee last month voted to extend the Arizona Commerce Authority for an additional five years.

That bill now awaits consideration by the full House. If passed, it would have to return to the Senate for a final vote of that chamber.

The ACA continuation is strongly supported by a broad coalition of the business community.

Guest Contributor

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