The Arizona Legislature advanced bills Wednesday creating a $100 million fund to respond to a wildfire emergency after hearing dire warnings from state officials and praise from worried leaders of rural counties and cities amid a brewing fight on the role of climate change in driving blazes and drought.
The votes were nearly unanimous after a joint session of Arizona House and Senate committees that hear natural resources bills, with only one Democrat opposing the appropriation because it did not do anything to address climate change.
The Legislature is meeting in a special session called by Gov. Doug Ducey to quickly boost funding for firefighting and recovery efforts as the state is in the midst of a historic drought and fires have been ravaging the state. The House and Senate are expected to overwhelmingly approve the legislation Thursday, even as lawmakers remain split on an overall spending plan that contains a massive tax cut.