Arizona House Democrats call ‘longstanding’ GOP supermajority rule ‘abusive behavior’

A House GOP spokesperson says they're doing what past legislatures have done. The prior three GOP House speakers disagree.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 4:59 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2023 at 5:41 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Big money needed for DPS troopers and firefighters is held up at the state capitol with accusations of dirty politics bringing the wheels of our government to a grinding halt. We all learned through our civics class that it takes a simple majority to move most laws through the legislature, but in the state House, that is no more because of a new set of unwritten rules. House leaders are requiring a ‘majority of the majority party’ to sign off on a bill.

A spokesperson for House Republicans told Arizona’s Family that it’s been a longstanding practice. Three former speakers, Kirk Adams, Andy Tobin and J.D. Mesnard, said they never required a majority of their party for all bills, but that all changed on Tuesday.

Republican leaders are now requiring that at least 16 GOP members sign off and approve a bill for it to get to the House floor for a vote. In some cases, that could force a supermajority of support to get a bill to the vote board.

House Democratic Leader Andres Cano said the Republicans are moving the goalpost. “What we are seeing today, is to put these additional restrictions on members that make it nearly impossible because you know what we were told to get to 16 votes today? We were told to wait in line and we’re told ‘I’ll be the 16th signature.’ Come to me when you have 15 signatures; this is nothing more than abusive behavior,” said Cano.

The Democratic response is also getting criticized. To make a point, they voted ‘no’ on almost every GOP measure in protest, even bills with bipartisan support.

A spokesperson for the House Republicans said, “Arizona voters elected Republicans as the majority party in the legislature. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the bills we vote on must have a majority of the majority support to pass out of the House.”

Twenty-two bills from Republicans and Democrats were skipped on Tuesday.