Former State Senator Kirsten Engel was the keynote speaker at the Feb. 14 meeting of the SaddleBrooke Democratic Club (SBDC), which meets every month at 3:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday in the SaddleBrooke One Activity Center. Engel’s presentation described some of the more subtle, inner workings of the Arizona Legislature, from her experience as both a State Representative and a State Senator.
Engel emphasized how short the annual sessions seem when trying to address the usual 1,200 to 1,600 bills that are submitted and that they often result in fewer than 400 actually getting a hearing. One of the methods this Legislature’s majority Republicans put into rules in order to address this concern was to allow only a total of 30 minutes of debate for each bill on the floor of the Senate unless a majority votes to extend that maximum for any one bill.
Engel talked about how the budget is the one piece of legislation required from the Legislature every year before July 1. However, under Governor Napolitano one year, the Legislature and the Governor were unable to resolve their differences over funding priorities until August.
Throughout the presentation and after, several people asked questions that Engel was happy to answer about some of the issues facing the 48th State on its 111th “birthday.” Asked if she plans to run for Congress again in District 6, she kept the door open, saying she hadn’t decided as of this meeting.