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Editor’s Thought Bubble: The legislature returns, more dangerous than ever

By: - January 11, 2021 10:03 am

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Today marks the first day that Arizona’s 55th Legislature will meet. It will be the first time that state lawmakers have gathered to do the people’s business since late May, when they briefly convened after a nearly two-month hiatus due to fears of the coronavirus.

Now, of course, our situation is much more dire, but lawmakers are intent on conducting the legislative session in person. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that there will inevitably be a COVID outbreak at the Capitol that will include legislators, staff, lobbyists and members of the public — especially since so many Republican lawmakers continue to pretend the 627,000 confirmed cases and 10,147 deaths our state has seen don’t exist (or don’t matter) and refuse to follow simple public health measures like wearing masks.

One would hope that the health and safety of everyone in the legislative buildings would be paramount. Unfortunately, there’s clear evidence that selfishness and willful ignorance will ultimately rule the day — and endanger lives.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.