Last year, Senate President Bob Burns, who will be our guest on Arizona Illustrated's Friday Roundtable on March 12, allowed few non-budget bills to be heard for the first half of the session. It was meant to make lawmakers focus on the budget, although that remains out of balance even today. It did, however, slow down a lot of nonsense, although much got passed anyway.
Burns has just sent out a release saying he's suspending committee work next week to make his caucus focus on the budget:
Consistent with his commitment to focus on the state budget crisis, Senate President Bob Burns has suspended all Standing Committee hearings for the week of March 1. The postponement allows members to give full attention to the issue Arizonans want addressed: completing budgets for FY 2010 and FY 2011.
President Burns and Senate leadership have been working on the budgets since the beginning of this current Legislative session. At the same time, the Senate has been hearing hundreds of bills. Next week, the Senate will continue to hold caucuses and have votes on many bills, so those that pass can move to the House. But committee hearings will not happen, so Senators will have extra time to help solve this budget crisis.
The release came the day after Burns sent out a bulletin expressing his concern with the debt lawmakers were racking up:
As our state suffers through this current budget crisis, much of the attention has been focused on shrinking revenues and program and agency cuts. What people don’t seem to be talking about is