By Mariana Dale

A bill has passed in the Arizona House of Representatives that makes it easier for officeholders to avoid resignation. House Bill 2157 would amend the Resign to Run law.

The existing law prevents elected or appointed officials from launching new campaigns without resigning. Under the Resign to Run law, incumbent officials must leave their post if they file nomination papers with the Secretary of State or announce their candidacy for another position.

The amended law would allow an elected official to formally declare candidacy without leaving their current position. Candidates would only resign after they file nomination papers with the Secretary of State’s office.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, sponsored the bill.

“All my bill does is it keeps the restriction--once you put the petitions in, you have to resign--but it lets you be truthful to the people and tell them what you’re doing,” Kavanagh said. “That’s all, the 'truth shall set you free' bill.”

The law, as it is now, allows candidates in their final term or seeking re-election to the same position to announce intent to run for office without resigning. Current elected officials can also form an exploratory committee and collect money and signatures before formally announcing candidacy.

The bill passed Monday in the House with a 40-19 vote and will move on to the Senate.

Mariana Dale is a University of Arizona intern at Arizona Public Media.