State lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week with the pandemic and political turmoil weighing on the new legislative session. Both issues featured prominently in Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address. In a speech that lasted about 20 minutes, Ducey called the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol "sickening" and said Arizona would do its part to "bind up the nation's wounds." On the pandemic, which he called the most significant threat facing Arizona, Ducey defended his decision to not issue new restrictions in response to the surge in cases and hospitalizations. Days following his address, Ducey sat down with Lorraine Rivera to discuss his approach to the challenges ahead and clarify some of the statements made in his speech.
After the 2020 election, Arizona Democrats managed to flip a seat in the State Senate, but the party remains in the minority at the State Capitol. We checked in with Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios about the party's focus this session, which primarily concerns helping those hit hardest by the pandemic.
While Arizona Republicans retained control of the State House and State Senate, they hold a narrow two-seat majority over Democrats in each chamber. Lorraine Rivera spoke to House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham about how the Republican party can work across the aisle and what it's focused on accomplishing this session.
From the pandemic to narrowing margins between Republicans and Democrats, state lawmakers face a number of challenges this legislative session. For analysis we turned to Arizona Mirror associate editor Jeremy Duda. Duda explained what makes this session standout from recent years.
Tucson's streets are busy with the bustle of construction crews. Nearly a dozen transportation projects are underway that total hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of the most visible examples are in or near downtown. Tony Paniagua reports on how the detours and delays are an added drag for businesses already hurting because of the pandemic.