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President Fann and Speaker Bowers announce Ad Hoc Committee on emergency executive powers

Arizona State Legislature

Senate President Karen Fann (R-1)

House Speaker Russell Bowers (R-25)

1700 West Washington l Phoenix, Arizona l 85007-2844

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

President Fann and Speaker Bowers announce Ad Hoc Committee on emergency executive powers

(Phoenix, State Capitol) --- Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers today announced the formation of the Ad Hoc Study Committee on Legislative Oversight of Emergency Executive Powers. A critical next step in Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our overall preparedness for future seasons of uncertainty, the Ad Hoc Study Committee will provide a timely and necessary evaluation of state emergency power statutes under lessons learned from the ongoing uncertain and uncontemplated times.

Co-chaired by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Representative Gail Griffin, the committee will research the origination of statutes granting emergency powers to the executive and legislative function to preserve separation of powers during declared states of emergency. This will specifically include Title 26 and 36 in State Statute. Using testimony from subject-matter experts, best practices from other states and timely committee member deliberation, the committee will make recommendations for requisite conditions necessary for enactment and continuance of state emergency declarations and the limits, nexus and scope of executive orders enacted under such declarations.

States across the country are evaluating past grants of authority enacted broadly to accommodate future unknown and varying circumstances. With increased knowledge from ongoing declared states of emergency, legislatures in at least 23 states have introduced bills or resolutions that would limit governors’ powers or executive spending. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Although governors need to be able to respond to emergencies quickly, legislatures have an important role in making sure these powers are not abused or undermine the separation of powers vital to our democratic system of government.”

“Arizona has a long and successful history of information-based policymaking to harmonize statute with the will and experiences of Arizona citizens,” said Senate President Karen Fann. “This trying experience has provided us with new information. Our Ad Hoc Study Committee is a pertinent first step in its evaluation.”

“It is imperative that we all have a complete understanding of the appropriate role of the separate branches of government in situations like the one we’ve been experiencing this year,” said House Speaker Rusty Bowers. “I trust Representative Griffin to bring her experienced and insightful leadership to a thorough exploration of these timely topics.”

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CONTACT:

Mike Philipsen

Director of Communications

Senate Majority Staff

602-926-3972

mphilipsen@azleg.gov

CONTACT:

Andrew Wilder

Director of Communications

House Majority Staff

602-926-5299

awilder@azleg.gov

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© 2020 by the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus.

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