FILE - Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hill

(The Center Square) - A bill boosting the daily expense pay of Arizona lawmakers outside of Maricopa County became law without Ducey’s signature, marking the first time in seven years that a bill has passed without the governor’s signature. 

Ducey vetoed a similar bill two years ago which would have increased the per diem of 90 members of the Legislature, saying that lawmakers in the metro-Phoenix area who don’t have to maintain a second home do not require a higher allowance and that such a bill should take effect without an election in between.

Codified July 12, House Bill 2053 is sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills. It keeps the expense pay of Maricopa County lawmakers at $35 a day while giving rural lawmakers $207 per diem during session, a $147 increase from their current $60 allowance. The $151 a day funds the lawmakers’ lodging, with $56 paying for meals. 

After 120 days in session, the allowance for Maricopa County lawmakers will drop to $10 a day, as it does currently, and the $207 per diem of lawmakers outside of the Phoenix area will be cut in half. 

The pay and rates would be automatically adjusted each year when the U.S. General Services Administration sets them for federal workers.

The bill passed in the final days of the Legislative session with bipartisan support. It will take effect later this year. 

Those in favor of the bill said it was long overdue, as the expense pay of lawmakers has not changed since 1984. Critics argued that it was too large of a change to make so close to the session’s conclusion. Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, opposed the bill in its current form. 

“I let my rural colleagues know I supported their per diem increase request, but I didn’t think it should take effect next year while we were still serving out our current legislative terms,” Bolick told The Center Square. “If they wanted to craft a bill for a future legislature after our terms expire, I would have supported their measure to raise the per diem for legislators outside of Maricopa County.”