Hand-To-Mouth-Lawmaking: Should AZ Legislators Get Bigger Paychecks And Longer Sessions?

By Mark Brodie, Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, September 23, 2019 - 2:52pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 2:53pm

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Arizona Hand-to-Mouth Lawmaking
Jeremie Lederman/Phoenix Magazine

The end of this year’s Arizona legislative session came later than in recent years, and featured a bit of a controversy.

That’s in part because lawmakers approved a last-minute bill to increase their per-diems. Gov. Doug Ducey ultimately vetoed the measure.

In her Phoenix Magazine column, "Raising Phoenix," longtime Valley writer Amy Silverman argues lawmakers are underpaid. The piece is called "Hand to Mouth Lawmaking," and advocates increasing the pay for members of the state Legislature.

Arizona is one of only two states where the length of its legislative session is set by rules made by lawmakers themselves. And for more than two decades, legislators have tried to wrap up business in 100 days. That doesn’t always happen.

Should they spend more time on the state’s business? That’s what public affairs veteran Kevin DeMenna thinks. He’s spent more than 40 years lobbying at the Legislature and says it’s time for state lawmakers to take their time.

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