Arizona Legislative Session Outlook for 2023: What to Expect
As the 2023 legislative session begins, many of our clients are wondering how recent government changes and other factors might affect their businesses and sales strategies this year. To help you prepare, here is an overview of what to expect.
The State of the State Government
After 14 years of Republican control of the legislature and the Governor’s Office, Arizona policy making will now be divided between a Democratic Governor and a Republican-led legislature. In both the House and Senate, Republicans have just a one-vote majority. These dynamics will create many opportunities for bipartisan cooperation, but they will also complicate negotiations on key priorities like the state budget.
Additionally, Arizona’s new legislators this year make up roughly half of the 90 legislators in office. As such, they’ll have an atypically high chance at affecting the session. There are also new leadership teams for Republican and Democratic caucuses, and you can expect to see some conflicting priorities between House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria), who wants to focus on issues like tax policy and regulatory reform, and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), who wants to zero in on election procedures and ballot recounts.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that voters this year chose candidates from the more extreme sides of Republican and Democratic politics, which means legislators will have to work hard to reconcile diverging priorities.
Issues to be Considered at the Capitol This Year:
- Abortion – This will continue to be a high-profile debate, with Governor Hobbs expressing a desire to expand abortion rights while Republicans want to limit access.
- Agency Directors – Appointed by Governor Hobbs, they still need confirmation from the Senate majority. This might be a tough process, given the Republican majority in the legislature.
- Ballot Measures – Republican lawmakers might use this route to bring issues to the voters that Governor Hobbs won’t sign into law.
- Budget – Although the surplus in the state revenues is growing again, there are indications the growth might be slowing. Budget agreements will need to be achieved through bipartisan cooperation.
- Criminal Justice Reform – The Governor, along with legislators from both parties, wants to focus on the enduring problems within state prisons.
- Education – Always an important subject, we’ll see lawmakers discuss school funding, student curriculums, the state’s expenditure limit and Empowerment Scholarship Accounts as well.
- Elections – Both sides of the aisle want to make changes to the way our elections are handled and counted, and this will be a big topic in 2023.
- Healthcare – Expect to hear ideas about improving public health (including mental health), as well as ideas about specific programs like expanding coverage for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and KidsCare.
- Housing – Discussions about the availability of housing in our state, and how to make it affordable, will be sure to get attention this year.
- Taxes – Different policymakers have different ideas about who should pay for what and how much. This will be an interesting – and relevant – area to watch for all Arizonans.
- Transportation & Infrastructure – Given that Maricopa County’s Proposition 400 transportation tax expires in 2025, this area will be addressed with urgency, in addition to other needs like roadbuilding and better broadband infrastructure.
- Water – As the drought has drawn attention to our state’s water supplies, legislators will continue to discuss regulations and investments to ensure Arizona has the water supply it needs for the future.
January 9: Session begins
January 30: Last day to introduce Senate bills
February 6: Last day to introduce House bills
February 17: Last day to hear bills in first chamber committees
March 24: Last day to hear bills in second chamber committees
April 18: 100th day of session
Interested in learning more about these pressing priorities in-depth? Request a consultation today!