Elections

Arizona Supreme Court Reject's Brewer's Demand, Allows Lawmakers More Time to Send Budget Bill

The Arizona Supreme Court today decided not to force lawmakers to send Governor Jan Brewer a budget bill she wants to veto, but only because lawmakers said they'd send the bill in five days.

Brewer's argument -- that the State Legislature should not be allowed to hold back on sending the bill -- was bolstered by the Court's opinion, as summed up by Chief Justice Ruth McGregor:

The court concludes that, after the Legislature finally passes a bill, the Legislature cannot delay presenting it to the governor beyond that time needed to complete required ministerial duties.

However, the case's "unique circumstances" provide for some leeway, McGregor stated. Since leading lawmakers have already stated they'd send the bill at the end of the month, the thinking goes, why not just wait?

In response, Brewer put out a pointless, "See, I told you" statement to hammer home her "victory:"

I agree with today's ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court that stated: 'The Court concludes that, after the Legislature finally passes a bill, the Legislature cannot delay presenting it to the Governor beyond that time needed to complete required ministerial duties.'

Further, the ruling states, 'Presentment of the bills involved in this matter did not occur within the time mandated by the Arizona Constitution.'

The Legislature should adhere to its clear constitutional and legal duties, and present me with the budget bills, passed 18 days ago, without further delay. Anything less than an expedient presentment of the bills to my office is clearly a violation of the Arizona Constitution as found today by the Supreme Court.

The Legislature should not continue to hold these bills hostage, and should instead transmit the bills immediately.

Meanwhile, poll results published today show that Brewer's budget ideas have more public support. The poll, supposedly conducted by someone without a stake in Arizona's political landscape, shows that most Arizona voters would blame the Legislature, not Brewer, if budget problems caused a state government shutdown.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.