Arizona Supreme Court sets November 2 hearing on budget and mask policies


The Arizona Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 2 in an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the state’s budget procedures.

The case depends on whether the long-standing practice of adding policy issues to the annual budget meets constitutional requirements.

This year, lawmakers have incorporated a host of laws into the budget process, including a hotly contested provision that would bar school districts from imposing mask warrants.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper on Monday declared parts of three budget-related bills unconstitutional. She also ruled on the Senate Bill 1819, which contained 83 separate political questions, in violation of the single-subject constitutional rule for legislative bills.

His ruling put lawyers for GOP lawmakers, as well as Attorney General Mark Brnovich, scrambling to block Cooper’s order before new laws come into force on Wednesday. They missed; all three levels of the state’s judicial system have rejected requests for an emergency stay.

With Friday’s order, the Supreme Court accepted the state’s appeal and set a timeline leading up to the November 2 hearing.

Meanwhile, a host of new proposed laws are not in force. As a result, school districts are free to define their own mask protocols; universities and community colleges can determine the rules for vaccines and masking; and the 83 provisions of SB 1819 are not applicable.

A second lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court by the city of Phoenix, also challenges the state’s one-subject rule with respect to the budget-related criminal justice bill. A decision is pending.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @maryjpitzl.

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