UPDATE, 6/24: Other coverage in the AZ Republic.
PHOENIX -- House Democratic members of the Military Affairs and Public Safety committee left a hearing Wednesday after Republican lawmakers chose to rush through a slew of bad bills.
House Democrats said the unprecedented rush to pass bad bills was abusive to the legislative process and does a disservice to Arizona.
“Rushing bills through at such a rapid pace is poor judgment,” House Democratic Leader David Lujan said. “It can only harm Arizona and prevent lawmakers from doing their due diligence in representing the people who have elected them. Passing these bills without proper consideration is a wrongdoing that is difficult to undo.”
One bill set for the hearing, Senate Bill 1270, would significantly loosen Arizona’s gun laws by allowing gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Police oppose the bill.
“I’m an NRA member, hunter, a proud gun owner and enthusiast, and I believe in the right for Americans to use self defense and to own guns,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), a member of the committee who left the hearing. “I also believe in common sense. Senate Bill 1270 completely ignores common sense, it’s irresponsible and it will endanger our communities and hinder police from doing their job.”
The committee was short one Republican member, creating the opportunity for Democrats to deny a quorum and effectively stall passage of Senate Bill 1270 and other bills opposed by Democrats on the committee agenda.
But instead of using the common practice of assigning the bills to another committee later in the week, House Speaker Kirk Adams chose to rush to appoint to the committee a new Republican member minutes after the hearing began.
Rep. David Stevens, R-District 25, who serves on the Water & Energy and Natural Resources & Rural Affairs committees, had never served on the Military Affairs and Public Safety committee before.
Before any given committee hearing, members are briefed on bills, study them and speak with the public and constituents to learn their concerns, support or opposition. Stevens had little chance to do that.
“This kind of behavior of passing bills at such a breakneck pace can only damage the state, and apparently that doesn’t seem to matter to Speaker Adams and Republican lawmakers,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema.
“Speeding bills through the legislature is another burden Arizona can’t afford to deal with right now,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “This is bad policy and it’s not what Arizonans elected us to do.”
- from House Dems PIO