Gov. Jan Brewer sent five bills to the scrap heap Thursday in a pointed gesture intended to prod lawmakers into a deal on the budget and her plan to expand Medicaid.The five vetoes, follow-through on Brewer’s promise to block legislation until her top priorities move forward, capped a tense day that saw some lawmakers receive threats over their support for the plan to provide health care for more of the state’s poor.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday struck down Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, setting the stage for a possible U.S. Supreme Court showdown.Opponents of the law applauded the ruling and urged state officials to not waste further time and taxpayer money on the case. But Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who argued the case on behalf of the state, said he’ll begin the process of petitioning the high court to review the case.
The state budget deadlock showed signs of breaking Tuesday, as Senate leadership promised a vote by Thursday on an $8.8 billion spending plan.
But it could be the start of a long final chapter for this legislative session, because the budget proposed by Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, does not include the governor’s key priority: Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Jan Brewer has told lawmakers she’s done signing bills until they get moving on Medicaid expansion and the state budget.
“The governor believes it’s time to buckle down and get working on Medicaid and the budget,” said her spokesman, Matthew Benson.
State Sen. Don Shooter admits he could have better handled his attempt to talk to a teacher about his grandson in a confrontation at a Yuma charter high school that led to a police investigation after complaints by school officials.
But Shooter said he entered the classroom uninvited and unannounced because he was trying to resolve what he called a “hostile environment” that left the teen belittled and bullied.
It’s been a long slog out of Arizona’s economic doldrums, and just as the state is seeing some improvement, along come federal spending cuts to depress Arizona’s outlook.
That was the cautionary message a panel of economists sent Arizona lawmakers on Thursday as they weigh their spending power for the next state budget. The Finance Advisory Committee told lawmakers the local impact of the federal budget cuts, which officially took effect March 1, are hard to predict. They have been slow to materialize, and there is some skepticism if there will be as much job loss as initially predicted.
Two years ago, the Arizona Legislature passed the state budget on April 1 — no fooling.
Last year, the $8.6 billion plan was done by May 1.
Saddle up, Arizona!
The state is likely to get an official day honoring the cowboy, assuming the wrangler in chief (Gov. Jan Brewer) signs Senate Bill 1139 into law.
State Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, is the latest target of a recall effort.
A committee called Raise the Bar Arizona filed paperwork Monday for a recall election, citing what it called Kavanagh’s hypocrisy on pledging to reduce the size of government while introducing legislation that would extend government’s reach.
At the house on Apollo Avenue in Tempe, life seems unchanged for Tom Diehl and his housemates.
For the five men who live there, the routine remains the same: Up early, clean up, get breakfast, grab backpacks, clamber into a specially equipped van and off to work or therapy.
Gov. Jan Brewer is getting impatient with the Legislature’s lack of attention to her priorities, telling lawmakers to slow down on sending her other bills until they get moving on the state budget, Medicaid expansion and sales-tax reform.
On Tuesday, Senate President Andy Biggs held off on a final vote on House Bill 2082, which would make state Lottery winners’ names private.
“We’re kind of slowing down the amount of bills we’re sending to the governor,” Biggs, R-Gilbert, told reporters after the measure, a sure shot for passage, failed to come up for a vote. “We’re kind of pacing ourselves while we work on some major issues.”
But slowing down is exactly what the governor does not want to see the Legislature do, said Matthew Benson, Brewer’s spokesman.
“The governor would like to see some movement on her key initiatives, like Medicaid and TPT,” Benson said.
TPT is the state transaction privilege tax. A bill to streamline the tax, which effectively is the sales tax, is set for a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee this afternoon.
The bill had stalled in the House, where Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, had worried that the bill’s overhaul of the construction sales tax could hurt local governments and where Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, had not scheduled it for a hearing. Kavanagh’s wife, Linda, is Fountain Hills’ mayor.
Also today, the House Appropriations Committee will hold an informational hearing on Medicaid expansion.
Tuesday was the 65th day of the legislative session and the informal deadline for when lawmakers hoped to have a state budget. But there is no sign of a budget.
Benson said the governor is not issuing an ultimatum to lawmakers, something she did in 2009 when she was trying to persuade the Legislature to send a sales-tax increase to the ballot. He called the governor’s message to legislative leaders “a love tap” and said it would be abundantly clear when, or if, the governor drew a firm line on legislative action.
The Lottery bill has had easy sailing through the Legislature, and a vote Tuesday would have sent the measure to Brewer’s desk. HB 2082 would allow Lottery winners to keep their names private.
Law enforcement can’t see the numbers on Arizona license plates for the trees. And the elk. And the sports logos.
A bill moving through the state Legislature intends to clear up the picture by minimizing the clutter, as colorful and creative as it might be, on future Arizona specialty license plates.
The Goldwater Institute waves the banner of freedom but uses its influence to advance an agenda that promotes corporations over people, a report by two liberal groups concludes.
The attack on the conservative Phoenix-based think tank appears in a report published Thursday by the Center for Media and Democracy and Arizona Working Families called “A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute. What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know.”
The federal government’s automatic spending cuts do more than cut programs and jobs in Arizona. The sequester is also giving state lawmakers second thoughts about how much new spending to include in the fiscal 2014 budget.
That could dampen hopes for significant spending increases for Child Protective Services and education , key GOP lawmakers say.
Election 2012 — with its surge of Latino voters, increase in impossible-to-track campaign donations, and hotly fought ballot measures — is reverberating at the Legislature in a flurry of bills that seek to remedy the problems exposed by last fall’s contests.
But many of the bills, including three approved in the Senate last week, could backfire. County elections officials promoted much of the legislation in the name of trying to avoid a repeat of last fall’s issues, when a flurry of provisional ballots caused final results to be delayed for more than a week. Many voters were forced to file provisional ballots because their names appeared on early-voting lists.