State Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) announced Thursday that there would be a new bipartisan Committee on Director Nominations in the Senate to make decisions regarding Governor Katie Hobbs’s executive appointments.
“Agency directors have a tremendous responsibility to administer necessary government functions as directed by state law, without attempting to legislate from the executive branch or expanding the reach of big government,” said State Senator Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who is appointed to lead the new committee.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Senator Jake Hoffman Named as Chairman of Committee on Director Nominations#AZSenate pic.twitter.com/dSacyXkjBi
— AZSenateRepublicans (@AZSenateGOP) February 2, 2023
According to the Senate Majority Caucus, the Senate is required to confirm position appointments made by the governor. Under Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 38-211, when the governor nominates an individual to take state office, they must “promptly” send a document outlining the nomination to the Senate President for review.
The incumbent is meant to continue serving in office until the new appointee receives approval. Once the Senate receives the nomination, they have three options. First, if the Senate approves, the governor appoints the nominee to office, but if the Senate rejects it, the governor has to restart the process. The Senate could also choose to take no action, and the nominee would serve until the next session meets and makes a decision. If the governor makes an appointment when the Senate is not in session, the nominee serves until the next session begins, and the process continues as usual.
However, the Senate Majority Caucus alleges that Hobbs has not followed this process for all of her nominees and instead appoints most of them to office without giving the necessary documents to the Senate. This lack of communication is the stated reason behind this new committee. Kim Quintero, the spokeswoman for the caucus, said this is not something the Senate has had to address before.
“The Senate has not had to take similar action in the past because past Governors have communicated with Legislature on their intentions with director nominations. Governor Hobbs has so far avoided our requests for documentation and conversations on these appointments,” Quintero told The Arizona Sun Times via email.
Moreover, 23 of the 25 executive appointments Hobbs has made were without the documents. She said the two appointments done correctly were Angie Rodgers for the Department of Economic Security (DES) and Joan Serviss for the Department of Housing.
Joining Hoffman in the committee are State Senators Sine Kerr (R-Buckeye) as vice chair, T.J. Shope (R-Florence), Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix), and Eva Bruch (D-Mesa). The committee’s first meeting will be on February 9th. The Senators will be responsible for reviewing the appointments Hobbs has made so far and deciding on a “course of action” for each nominee.
“The Committee looks forward to reviewing nominees based on their qualifications, experience and vision for Arizonans,” Hoffman said.
However, the governor’s office accused the Senate of “playing games” in response to the committee’s announcement.
“The most pressing issue the Legislature is dealing with right now is the [Aggregate Expenditure Limit] AEL. They should be focusing on that and not playing games with the nomination process. Our timeline for cabinet nominations is on par with previous administrations, and we will continue to work at an appropriate pace. These kinds of antics are just meant to be a distraction,” said office Press Secretary Josselyn Berry in an email to The Sun Times.
Hobbs announced several administrative roles and cabinet member appointments in late December and early January.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.