Legislative session on hold indefinitely, GOP leader says




Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The top Republican in the Arizona House of Representatives has told elected officials and staff in his chamber that they won’t be returning to work on April 13 as planned because of the COVID-19 crisis.

In an email shortly after noon Tuesday, House Speaker Rusty Bowers wrote that “it has become clear that it is not yet safe to reconvene the Legislature” to finish the annual legislative session, which was suspended March 23.

Bowers wrote that he and his counterpart in the state Senate, President Karen Fann, will reassess things at the end of April. If and when they decide to reconvene the legislature, Bowers wrote that “sufficient notification” will be given to lawmakers so they can plan their return.

In the meantime, he implored legislators to watch live-streamed budget updates on April 9 from the legislature’s Finance Advisory Committee, a panel of economists and budget analysts that provides regular updates on the state’s budget situation. Bowers noted that updated forecasts from legislative budget analysts “will give us our first look at how COVID-19 has impacted our state finances and how much work we have ahead of us.”

Bowers also wished his colleagues good health.

“I hope that you and your families are remaining safe and healthy and you are doing all you can to lessen the impact of COVID-19. Thank you all for your service to our state,” he wrote.

How you can tell if you might be ill

Symptoms of COVID-19 resemble that of the flu. So, if you’re experiencing coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, you should consider getting checked out. Call your primary care physician or visit an urgent care center or emergency room — but call the health care provider before you go so they can be prepared for your arrival. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is taking COVID-19 calls: 1-844-542-8201

How COVID-19 spreads

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it

How to prevent spreading COVID-19

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Don’t use your hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including counter tops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: If you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better. Once symptoms are gone experts recommend staying home an additional 72 hours.