By Corinne Murdock |
A Senate resolution to appoint Arizona’s first lieutenant governor passed the House Government and Elections Committee with bipartisan support on Wednesday, 10-3. The three to vote against the resolution were Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) and State Representatives Judy Burges (R-Skull Valley) and Alma Hernandez (D-Tucson).
The resolution, SCR1024, proposed that each gubernatorial nominee would name a lieutenant governor to run on the ticket with them at least 60 days before the general election, serving as a joint candidate. If the lieutenant governor couldn’t serve in the position any longer, then the governor would appoint another individual with majority approval of the state legislature. If brought before and approved by voters this November, the constitutional amendment would go in effect in 2027.
Bolding wanted to raise the total votes needed to approve a replacement lieutenant governor to 60 percent versus a simple majority. The resolution sponsor, State Representative J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) responded that the state constitution determines the number of state legislature votes needed to approve an appointment. In final remarks on voting against the resolution, Bolding added that he couldn’t support the resolution because he didn’t believe voters would know what they were voting on if the resolution came before them on the ballot.
Arizona is one of five states without a lieutenant governor: Oregon, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Maine. If Governor Doug Ducey were unable to fulfill his duties, then Secretary of State Katie Hobbs would be next in line to take over. Hobbs is running for governor this year, contending against fellow Democrats Marco Lopez and Aaron Lieberman, and may face off against Republicans Steve Gaynor, Kari Lake, Karrin Taylor Robson, Matt Salmon, or Scott Neely. The primary election will take place on August 2.
After the secretary of state, the succession for governor would fall on the attorney general, then state treasurer, and finally the superintendent of public instruction.
SCR1024 went hand-in-hand with SB1255, which passed out of the same committee with even more support, 12-1. That time, only Burges voted against the bill. SB1255 would award the lieutenant governor directorship over the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA), allowing the individual to fill any positions not under the governor’s purview to appoint.