Multiple sources at the state Legislature are informing me that former state Senate President Russell Pearce's $260,000 "reimbursement" will be added as an amendment to Senate Bill 1449, which I'm told will be in Conference Committee today at 4 p.m. in the State Senate Building.
The bill could go to both floors of the Legislature tonight for a vote.
SB 1449 is state Senator Steve Smith's baby, a proposed statute seeking to add a primary election to the recall process.
I've had Republicans tell me that there are votes on the Senate side to kill it, but I do not think we can rely on that happening unless there is an overwhelming show of outrage over this insidious effort to hand a quarter of a million dollars to a disgraced, recalled politician.
The only bright side is this: If it passes, it will be an albatross around the necks of Pearce, Smith, and any GOPer dumb enough to vote for it.
Granting Pearce this windfall -- when the Legislature can't fund KidsCare, when education is cut to the bone, and when the state is still suffering from economic doldrums -- should be criminal.
It's worth remembering that the folks who want to fill a suitcase full of taxpayer cash for Pearce are the same ones who refused to extend benefits to the long-term unemployed in 2011.
To contact the Pearce lackeys behind this proposal, see my blog from yesterday, which includes all the contact info.
For now, on to the Capitol. Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE 8:09 p.m.: Have been busy following the murder-suicide in Gilbert involving former Pearce pal J.T. Ready, so I didn't make the hearing.
The Capitol Times has a general round up of what happened.
Basically, state Senator Steve Smith refused to allow public comment and had Randy Parraz of the pro-recall group Citizens for a Better Arizona removed from the hearing.
There's no money in the bill, but it allows for reimbursement in the future, should Pearce apply for it. And you know he will.
A number of Republicans have spoken out against this boondoggle, so its chances of passage remain uncertain. However, fanatic Pearce-worshippers such as Smith will no doubt push this proposal to the bitter end.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
UPDATE 5/3/12: The AP reports that the Pearce reimbursement bill seems finally to be kaput.
Love this quote:
Democratic Sen. Linda Lopez said she'd received more than 150 emails critical of the proposal, "and they're still coming in. People don't know it's not going anywhere."