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Arizona Senate President, House Speaker Announce New Committee Studying Executive Emergency Powers

By Rocio Hernandez, Lauren Gilger, Steve Goldstein
Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 5:06pm
Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 12:49pm

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The Arizona Legislature is forming a new ad hoc study committee that will focus on legislative oversight of emergency executive powers, Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers announced in a Wednesday press release. 

Karen Fann
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Karen Fann in 2019.

The committee, which will be co-chaired by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Rep. Gail Griffin, will research the origin of statutes granting emergency powers to governors during declared states of emergency such as the ongoing pandemic. The committee will talk with experts and review best practices from other states to make recommendations on when emergency powers can be invoked, as well as the scope and limit of those powers.

“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,” Browers said in the press release. “I trust Rep. Griffin to bring her experienced and insightful leadership to a thorough exploration of these timely topics.”  

Rusty Bowers
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Rusty Bowers in 2018.

Fann and Bowers said other states have already begun this work and introduced measures that would limit governors’ powers. The National Conference of State Legislatures has said it's state lawmakers' duty to ensure that these powers are not abused. 

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

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