As you know, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called a special legislative session because her patience had run out with continuing House procrastination over the Senate budget bills that had been passed nearly a month ago.
After introducing the bills and conducting first read last night, the real action is taking place today. Live video of the proceedings can be found online here.
Bottom line is that Committee of the Whole (floor debate), taking place as I write this, finds that (usual) Majority Republicans are wailing and gnashing their teeth. ALEC chair Rep. Debbie Lesko just now proclaimed that she feels like she was "punched in the gut." Speaker Tobin and Senate President Biggs seem to be among the loudest complainers in each chamber.
Among the bullshit claims is that the Majority Republicans' constituents are being disenfranchised by this special session process.
One of the reasons for that claim is that Senate bill sponsor Sen. Steve Pierce and House bill sponsor Rep. Frank Pratt are consistently refusing to yield to questions in floor debate.
The other (stated) main reason for the indignation is that in each chamber, rules were suspended by a majority of members. In so doing, the special session bills were brought to the floor for Committee of the Whole debate without regular committee (Appropriations) hearings. Rep. JD Mesnard decided to call Minority Leader Chad Campbell the "new Majority Leader." That, of course, was a dig.
Eddie Farnsworth decried the Republican governor rolling over lawmakers in her own party, saying that in all of his experience (he said he may be the most senior member of the House) he has never seen any of this happen. He's embarrassed. Yada, yada, yada.
John Kavanagh gets to the essence, (btw, he's embarrassed too) by making the inevitable claim that it is actually the "people of Arizona" that are losing because of this process.
Of course, translated into English, what this all boils down to is that Brewer decided to help the House "s**t or get off the pot."
The Arizona House of Representatives had a month to give the Senate budget bills hearing in committee, but they did nothing but sit on their thumbs. Now they are all sorts of indignant because they are no longer in control and were completely caught off guard.
Other than the fact that they have had the rug pulled out from under them, you can read a summary of the special session budget bills can be found here.
I have to figure that the irony of these indignant Republicans is lost on them. Since the now minority members of the House represents far fewer Arizonans of any political affiliation, why they are so concerned with disenfranchisement of voters ONLY NOW and not during the first five months of the regular legislative session -- and even more so during the redistricting process over the last couple of years -- is nothing less than mind boggling.
Look for those indignant Republicans to be given voice in corporate media coverage for their Orwellian claims.
Members and staff in the House seem to expect final passage of these special session budget bills sometime after midnight tonight/Thursday morning.