Hello all,

Happy New Year!

We are less than a week from the next legislative session opening on Monday. There will be a tremendous amount of change in both the number of new lawmakers and their leadership.

Both the House and Senate will see over 50% of their members change. Despite the massive changeover, the partisan split remains identical to the last Legislature with Republicans maintaining 31-29 and 16-14 advantages of the two chambers. However, for the first time since 2009, the State will have split partisan control with the election of Democrat Katie Hobbs as Governor offsetting the Republican-controlled Legislature.

While the partisan make-up of the Legislature did not change, there will be a tremendous change in leadership for both Republicans and Democrats. The incoming legislators elected the following members their leaders shortly after the November election:

Senate Majority:
President Warren Petersen
Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli
Majority Whip Sine Kerr

Senate Minority:
Democratic Leader Raquel Teran
Democratic Assistant Leader Mitzi Epstein
Democratic Caucus Chair Lela Alston
Democratic Whip Rosanna Gabaldon

House Majority:
Speaker of the House Ben Toma
Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci
Majority Whip Teresa Martinez

House Minority
Democratic Leader Andres Cano
Democratic Assistant Leader Lupe Contreras
Democratic Co-Whip Melody Hernandez
Democratic Co-Whip Marcelino Quinonez

The following committee chairmen were appointed:


Appropriations John Kavanagh
Commerce Steve Kaiser
Education Ken Bennett
Elections Wendy Rogers
Finance J.D. Mesnard
Government Jake Hoffman
Health & Human Services T.J. Shope
Judiciary Anthony Kern
Military Affairs, Public Safety & Border Security David Gowan
Natural Resources, Energy & Water Sine Kerr
Rules Warren Petersen
Transportation & Technology David Farnsworth


Appropriations David Livingston
Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education Matt Gress
Appropriations Sub-Committee on Health & Welfare Selina Bliss
Commerce Justin Wilmeth
Education Beverly Pingerelli
Ethics Joseph Chaplick
Government Tim Dunn
Health & Human Services Steve Montenegro
Judiciary Quang Nguyen
Land, Agriculture & Rural Affairs Lupe Diaz
Municipal Oversight & Elections Jacqueline Parker
Natural Resources, Energy & Water Gail Griffin
Military Affairs & Public Safety Kevin Payne
Regulatory Affairs Laurin Hendrix
Rules Travis Grantham
Transportation & Infrastructure David Cook
Ways & Means Neal Carter

For transportation investment, the key committees will be the transportation and appropriations committees of both chambers. Those committees have the following rosters:

Chairman David Farnsworth
Vice-Chairman Frank Carroll
Rosanna Gabaldon
Theresa Hatathlie
Jake Hoffman
Anthony Kern
Christine Marsh

Chairman John Kavanagh
Vice Chairman Jake Hoffman
Lela Alston
Ken Bennett
Eva Diaz
David Farnsworth
Brian Fernandez
Anthony Kern
Sine Kerr
Raquel Teran

Chairman David Cook
Vice Chairman Teresa Martinez
Neal Carter
Patricia Contreras
John Gillette
Consuelo Hernandez
Steve Montenegro
Keith Seaman
Leezah Elsa Sun
Myron Tsosie
Justin Wilmeth

Chairman David Livingston
Vice Chairman Joseph Chaplik
Lorena Austin
Selina Bliss
Michael Carbone
Lupe Diaz
Tim Dunn
Matt Gress
Quang Nguyen
Barbara Parker
Marcelino Quinonez
Athena Salman
Judy Schwiebert
Amish Shah
Stephanie Stahl Hamilton

With new legislative leadership and a new governor, new agenda priorities will evolve shortly. Increasing revenues will not likely be a viable option with the new legislative leadership team. However, for transportation, prioritizing transportation projects with existing funds remains a strong likelihood. The State ended the last state fiscal year with a record-breaking $4.66 billion carry forward balance. Through the first five months of the current year, collections are already $745 million above forecast and 10.8% higher than they were at this time last year. There was also a very healthy balance the previous year and lawmakers steered an additional $1 billion in one-time revenues to transportation infrastructure in this year's budget.

As long as the case continues to be made to prioritize addressing some of the decades of under-investment in the state's highways and roads, lawmakers are likely to dedicate a comparable amount again this year. On behalf of RTAC, Representative Tim Dunn of Yuma will once again be sponsoring a bill to fund highway and road priority projects from across Greater Arizona. More will follow on this legislation shortly and we encourage all stakeholders to help make the case, particularly with their representatives and senators, to once again prioritize directing available one-time funding to transportation.
Kevin Adam,
Legislative Liaison
Rural Transportation Advocacy Council