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The Walking Laws: Dead bills rising in Arizona Legislature thanks to special rule

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PHOENIX — The deadline has passed for Arizona lawmakers to file new bills, but new laws are still being proposed and dead ones are being resurrected thanks to a special rule.

Both the state’s House of Representatives and Senate have rules that permit the passage of strike everything amendments, commonly referred to as “strikers.” This allows a bill to stay alive but strips the entirety of its text.

When using a striker, lawmakers can write a new proposal completely unrelated to the old surviving bill.

Essentially, this gives lawmakers a blank slate “so that legislators can resurrect issues that may be dead and have missed deadlines for traditional passage (of bills) and get them rebooted, and reloaded for voting,” Arizona political expert Stan Barnes said.

Strikers are typically used as a last resort. They are introduced more than halfway through a legislative session.

Lawmakers typically use strikers to breathe life back into bills that were just a few votes away from passing when they were first up for consideration.

Despite rules allowing them, some lobbyists dislike the use of strikers.

“Some people think strike everything bills give rise to the dead in kind of a zombie-like fashion,” Barnes said. “Like ‘Oh no, that thing cannot be killed.'”

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