Journalists’ Roundtable: Impact of legislative abortion actions, GOP plan for abortion ballot measures and more

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Journalists’ Roundtable. To discuss this week’s top stories, we were joined by Ray Stern of “The Arizona Republic” and azcentral.com, Jeremy Duda of Axios Phoenix, and Jim Small of the Arizona Mirror.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • Lawmakers wrestle with abortion ban repeal
  • Impact of legislative abortion actions
  • GOP plan for abortion ballot measures
  • Austin Smith signature questions
  • Justin Heap campaign report questions
  • Vetoes: School board partisanship and 10 Commandments

Legislature discussing Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion:

Ray Stern: “I think there was an expectation that they might be able to take off in the House with this repeal. They had Matt Gress, one Republican, down, but they didn’t have a second Republican. It turns out David Cook was expected to vote ‘yes’ on the repeal, but he suddenly felt that he needed to pay homage to the Speaker of the House, and this rule 31, which says that you can’t change a rule to bring up something like this late repeal, unless the speaker approves. So the fact is, with 31 members in the House you can pretty much change that rule, but David Cook decided that he didn’t want to do that. So they only ended up with 30 votes, and that wasn’t enough to get the repeal moving.”

Jeremy Duda: “There were two (Republican legislators) who seemed to be subject to a lot of pretty intense lobbying over there: Cook, who we’ve seen has a habit of bucking leadership and being the nail that kind of stands out over there, and the other is Tim Dunn from Yuma, who does not have that habit, but he told me afterwards that he does want to see the 1864 ban repealed. But he’s committed to more talks with his caucus; sounds like he’s not enthusiastic with overruling speaker Toma. That seems to be where they’re at over there. They’ve got one Republican as Ray mentioned, Matt Gress, who seems to be very enthusiastic about doing that but they cannot get another. And there’s a general sense over that, that if this actually went up for a vote… no one wants to cross the Speaker, and that’s where you get this stalemate.”

Jim Small: “The day before, he (David Cook) spoke with journalists over at the Arizona Agenda, and basically told them flat out, ‘Look, I’m not going to vote against the Speaker. I’m not going to vote to essentially rule leadership in order to vote this thing to a vote.’ This thing that he supports, and other folks support. Their conviction is that this 1864 law is wrong, but they won’t do what’s necessary to actually take the vote that they say they, ostensibly, they want to take. So you’re in this situation where, I guess for them, voting to reinstate abortion in Arizona, as people who run on pro-life campaigns, is an easier thing for them to do than vote against Republican leadership, who is saying that they have no intention of letting the bill come to the floor.”

Ray Stern, "The Arizona Republic" and azcentral.com
Jeremy Duda, Axios Phoenix
Jim Small, Arizona Mirror

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