Obviously frustrated with how long Arizona’s legislature was taking to pass a proposed State budget for 2022, Governor Ducey last week vetoed 22 bills that the legislature had passed and was sitting on his desk awaiting signature. In explaining his veto, the Governor remarked that the proposed bills “could wait” and that the budget was most important.
Unfortunately, the Governor’s veto means that these 22 bills are “dead” unless the legislature passes the bills a second time (which requires some changes in the legislative rules), and the governor then signs each bill. There is no guarantee that each of the 22 bills will make it back to the Governor’s desk.
Among the 22 vetoed bills were two bills that protect public health and safety bills. The first bill, SB1030, protects the public by strengthening the Psychiatric Review Security Board. The second bill, SB1716, lays the groundwork for how the Arizona State Hospital (ASH) can provide better care for patients and protect our communities in the future. These important bills were two years in the making; each passed the Senate and House unanimously! Sadly, the Governor’s veto came within weeks of a murder in a Gilbert “group home”… allegedly by a former patient at ASH whom the PSRB approved to live in the community just months ago.
The 2022 Budget obviously is critically important to our state, and it is the Legislature’s job to produce that budget. We all should advocate for our legislature to immediately pass a budget upon return on June 10. However, we also need the new laws that our elected representatives passed. Mental health and public safety are not simply “stuff” that can wait.
Be prepared to advocate for the Legislature to pass (again) SB1030 and SB1716 and, then to contact the Governor’s Office to ask the Governor to sign both bills. No further delays, please.