Arizona Capitol

Jan Brewer Vetoes Bill That Would Have Forced Feds to Warn Joe Arpaio (and Other Sheriffs) When They're Doing Their Jobs

It looks like Governor Jan Brewer's only taking her battle against the federal government so far.

Brewer vetoed House Bill 2434 yesterday, which would have required federal law-enforcement officers to notify county sheriffs "before taking any official law enforcement action."

If that federal officer forgot or otherwise didn't inform the sheriff beforehand, they'd have to let the sheriff know shortly after the "official law enforcement action."

"This legislation has the potential to interfere with law enforcement investigations and adds unneeded reporting requirements for law enforcement," Brewer writes in a veto letter. "Rather than hinder the efforts of our federal law enforcement colleagues, we need to focus on collaboration."

That doesn't even sound like the same governor who sent a finger to the face of the president in January.

The Tenth Amendment Center, obviously a proponent of states' rights, was among the proponents of the bill.

"This bill may appear insignificant, but it does two important things," the group wrote in one of its newsletters. "First, it serves notice to the federal government that its authorities operate in Arizona with oversight and reaffirms the sovereignty of the state. Secondly, it puts the county sheriff in the position to protect the rights and liberties of Arizona citizens from federal overreach."

That might sound like it's right up the governor's alley, but she wasn't a fan of this particular piece of legislation.

"For example, the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Center brings together local, state and federal law enforcement to jointly fight against terrorism and other serious crimes," Brewer continues in her veto letter. "Establishing arbitrary reporting requirements for our federal partners takes us in the wrong direction."

Representative David Gowan, who introduced the bill via a strike-everything amendment at a committee meeting on March 15, said he was introducing it because the Constitution doesn't describe any powers granted to federal law enforcement.

Gowan cited an example in which Border Patrol got into a gun battle with suspected illegal immigrants, and says the FBI told Border Patrol agents they needed to keep sheriff's deputies out of the situation.

Gowan said his bill didn't have the backing of any of the county sheriffs in Arizona, but noted his example and called it a protection of state sovereignty so citizens can have "all the liberty they can handle."

The bill passed the Senate 20-8, and the House agreed to the bill with a 38-17 vote, but Brewer gave it the "nay" yesterday.