maricopa county supervisors
Wadsack Proposes Bill Removing BOS Ability To Choose Legislative Replacements

June 28, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

There might not be much runway left on this legislative session for Arizona legislators, but some legislators are already planning the introduction of a bill that could be introduced next year.

Arizona Senator Justine Wadsack tweeted Sunday, “I plan to introduce legislation that removes the power of the County BOS from choosing people to replace legislators who are Expelled or Resign. We must put the power in the hands of the PCs, who’s authority currently ends at presenting (3) candidates for the BOS to choose from.”

Wadsack explained her reasoning with a follow-up post, writing, “The Precinct Committeemen (PC) know who they want. Each PC represents their precincts & therefore know what THE PEOPLE want. The County BOS knows who to appoint based on what the political machine wants. It’s time to change the process to fit the needs of the people.”

The Senator received support for this bill from one of her colleagues in the House of Representatives, Austin Smith, who tweeted, “The opponents of something like this are TOTALLY ok with politicians having the final say picking their representatives and senators. Where are the champions of Democracy now?

When cautioned against proceeding with this idea with a Democrat governor, Smith responded, “Likely won’t need to the governor, may need to send this to the ballot as a constitutional amendment.”

The issue of selecting replacements at the Legislature during session became inflamed last month when Senator J.D. Mesnard took to the floor of his chamber to address the Maricopa County Supervisors’ ongoing consideration of two legislative vacancies in both the House and the Senate. Mesnard’s frustrations boiled over on the Senate floor as he laid out his charge against the Supervisors’ alleged delay in filling the two vacancies for 19 (Senate vacancy) and 20 (House vacancy) days. He informed his colleagues that “the length of these vacancies is the longest, while we’ve been in session, in half a century – 56 years!” The East Valley lawmaker also said that 8.76 days is the historical average to fill the vacancy.

Senator Mesnard spoke on behalf of the 120 Republican precinct committeemen who rearranged their schedule back in April to nominate the three individuals to fill the open House seat. He bemoaned the fact that such a lengthy delay was not previously an issue, and he hinted that maybe his colleagues should take future action to change the statute to force the county board of supervisors to act with more urgency when filling vacancies during a legislative session. He stated that the “Board of Supervisors should have held a special meeting to hasten what should be an important priority for them.”

Both of the vacancies for the Legislature were filled by the Maricopa County Supervisors soon after Mesnard’s address on the Senate floor. However, that didn’t stop Republican legislators from plotting a change in the law on this front.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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