Wadsack Proposes Bill Removing BOS Ability To Choose Legislative Replacements

Wadsack Proposes Bill Removing BOS Ability To Choose Legislative Replacements

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.

Democrats Pledge to Block Emergency Measure Restoring Precinct Committeemen Elections

Democrats Pledge to Block Emergency Measure Restoring Precinct Committeemen Elections

By Corinne Murdock |

Legislature Democrats expressed that they won’t vote to restore precinct committeemen (PC) elections this year unless Republicans kill a bill requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration, one railbird informed AZ Free News. The passage of that election integrity bill out of committee, HB2492, on Thursday appeared to be a setback for Republicans hoping to correct a mistake made last week with the passage of HB2839.

As AZ Free News reported earlier this week, HB2839 gave a political party’s local county committee the sole authority to determine who gets appointed as PC. The bill intended to alleviate candidates’ qualification deadlines for this year’s primary election under the new redistricting. However, a section that allowed PC candidates to skip signature gathering also allowed local committee members to choose the PC appointments.

Republicans need supermajority in both the House and Senate to pass the emergency measures effectively reversing HB2839 and restoring PC elections for this year, HB2840 and SB17200. PCs are responsible for helping their party by providing aid with voter registration and voter assistance during elections, as well as nominating candidates to fill county or state office vacancies. 

HB2492 sponsor, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), sent out an email call-to-action acknowledging the murmurings that Democrats would kill PC restoration following the passage of his bill. 

“Rumors are swirling at the Capitol that the Senate may try to trade HB2492 in exchange for Democrats voting for the PC election repeal so it gets an emergency clause,” wrote Hoffman. “We cannot horse trade with critical election integrity legislation!”

Reportedly, legislators failed to identify HB2839’s consequences for several reasons: some admitted to not reading the bill’s language and trusted their leadership’s take on the bill, while others just misread the bill completely. 

The controversial proof-of-citizenship bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee along party lines, 5-3. Those who showed up to oppose the bill shouted, “Shame!” repeatedly at the committee after they passed the bill.

In response, State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) thanked the crowd for making their approval of the bill easier.

“Thank you for showing us who you are,” said Petersen. “You’re making this easy, thank you.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.