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Arizona Democrats say GOP illegally holding rental tax repeal

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(The Center Square) – The Arizona Constitution states, “every measure when finally passed shall be presented to the governor for [her] approval or disapproval.” But Senate Republican leadership, under President Warren Petersen, is illegally withholding a bill from the governor’s office, according to a July 7 press release from the Arizona Senate Democrats.

“The Arizona Supreme Court already ruled against a former Senate President for holding on to recently passed bills for political reasons,” Senate Democratic Leader Mitzi Epstein said. “The Arizona Constitution allows for the completion of certain ministerial duties before transmitting a bill to the Governor, but it doesn’t allow for the leader of a legislative chamber to hold bills and abuse the office’s power to effectuate their partisan communication calendar or as part of a negotiation tactic.”

Democrats are specifically demanding Republicans send Hobbs Senate Bill 1131. If enacted, the legislation would ban local governments from taxing rental properties.

In Arizona, non-emergency laws take effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn their session, also known as sine die.

Democrats referenced a 2009 Arizona Supreme Court ruling involving a dispute between former Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature. Lawmakers narrowly passed a budget that Brewer opposed. She asked the court to force the Senate to send her the bills. While justices agreed that the state Constitution said bills must make it to the governor’s office in a reasonable amount of time, they declined to force lawmakers to send the budget bills.

“Just this last month,” Assistant Leader Juan Mendez said, “we have seen the Senate Republicans fail to transmit the so-called drag queen bills which would have limited free speech and attacked the LGBTQIA+ community, bills that embraced election conspiracies measures, bills that would have criminalized homelessness and limited the state’s ability to invest based on the best financial interest of the state all to give themselves ample time to craft divisive and dangerous communications materials.”

The Arizona Senate Republicans did not respond to a request for comment.

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