Legislative Update

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An Arizona Capitol Times reporter provides a mid-week update on news from the Arizona State Legislature.

Ted Simons: Governor Jan Brewer says she will veto any legislation that lands on her desk until she gets a budget but that's leading lawmakers to hang on to bills they passed which may be a violation of the state constitution. Here with more on that and other legislative news is Jim Small of the "Arizona Capitol Times." Jim, what's going on down there? Basically they are passing this stuff, she says she's not going to sign it, they don't send it over, it sits.

Jim Small: Yeah, it sits, and it seems to be in contradiction of a 2009 court ruling. The legislature and the governor were in the midst of a massive budget fight that ended up draggiong out the entire year. The legislature has passed a package of budget bills intended to squeak off the governor. They refused to sends them to her. She said, sends them to me. I want to veto them. They wouldn't do it, so she ended up suing them, taking them to court. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the legislature is not allowed to do that. They are allowed to hold on to bills for the time they need for ministerial work, which is essentially to make sure they have all the paperwork in order, then they have to send it up. They can't just delay presentment of the bills to the governor under the constitution. At that time they didn't order them to send the budget bills up because it was near the end of the budget. But it's interesting right now they are doing the same thing. They have about two dozen bills that they haven't sent to the governor's office. The rub is it's not technically I guess illegal. Technically it's illegal but it's not actually illegal until someone sues over it and right now no one is.

Ted Simons:: Is anyone interested in taking it to court?

Jim Small: No. The governor's office told us they understand what the legislature is doing but they don't have any interest right now in filing a lawsuit. They also took pains to note what's happening is we got the legislature doing this. The governor said I'm not going to sign anything. I'm going to veto everything. The legislature is still choosing to pass bills that should be sent to the governor's desk but hasn't yet.

Ted Simons: Good gracious. Let's keep it moving here. Senate okayed a ban on planned parenthood funding. Where is that now?

Jim Small: This is one of those bills that needs to go to the governor's desk. It's ready to go. It's all -- just waiting to get sent up. This bill is similar to some things we've seen at the national level where it would be to basically defund planned parenthood. Any state money would take away any grants, state dollars that go to any organization that performs abortions whether it's the main thing they do or a side thing. So essentially this would only allow these kinds of state monies to go to world community health centers, hospitals, things like that.

Ted Simons: Arizona already bans public money specifically for abortions. This basically says anyone even involved in abortion procedures, no money goes anywhere near them.

Jim Small: Exactly. It's the argument we saw last year in the U.S. Senate certainly. Okay, because planned parenthood uses money for maintenance and for mammograms and for other things, the view is technically that money is subsidizing abortions, which is another pot of money they get from private donors and things like that.

Ted Simons: As much of a Senate hearing as it was yesterday on Capitol Hill regarding SB1070. At the Capitol, I know there's a cocoon nature at the capitol and it's hard to get past that wall, but are people paying attention? Was there much buzz over this?

Jim Small: There wasn't much buzz to what happened yesterday to that Senate hearing in front of two Senators, but today people were certainly paying attention to the Supreme Court ruling. But at the same time, you know, both chambers were on -- basically when that Supreme Court hearing wrapped up and the news story broke out on it. I don't know that the impact wasn't really felt down there today. Certainly everyone is going to digest it tonight. Being so controversial and divisive issue I imagine that tomorrow the opinions we'll see are similar to the ones you would expect, Republicans generally supporting it and Democrats opposing it.

Ted Simons: Alright, we'll so you on the Journalists' Roundtable Friday. Thanks, Jim. Good stuff.

Jim Small:Reporter at Arizona Capitol Times

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