Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, March 26, 2012

Redistricting -- Can't Pay the Bills Yet -- UPDATED 3-27-12 7:45pm MST

Last Thursday, March 22, the Arizona Legislature forwarded HB2862, a supplemental appropriation bill for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission to pay bills incurred in the current fiscal year, to Governor Brewer.

On that same day, Brewer's co-chief of staff and director of the Dept. of Administration Scott Smith replied to Ray Bladine's letter (dated March 9) to Smith and state Treasurer Doug Ducey. Smith's reply -- that ADOA would refuse to issue checks to pay AIRC bills without a legislative appropriation -- represents the Brewer administration thumbing its nose at the AIRC. So, it should come as no surprise that even after the legislature grudgingly appropriated $700,000 to comply with the Arizona Constitution, that Brewer has yet to sign the bill into law.

In fact, Brewer only has to drag her feet for two more days in order to completely get out of having to put her name on the legislation at all. From the book, From Idea..... to Bill..... to Law, on page 66,
The governor has three options for each bill presented : 1) He can sign the bill within five days (10 days if the legislature is adjourned). 2) He can refrain from signing the bill, in which case it becomes law without his signature after the five or ten day period. 3) He can veto the bill.
Of course, if Brewer were to veto the bill, it would be tantamount to taking a baseball bat to a hornet's nest. So, that's very unlikely to happen. Therefore, the most likely outcome is for her to just ignore it and let it become law without her signature.

The text of HB2862:
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1.  Supplemental appropriation; independent redistricting commission; exemption; report
A.  In addition to the appropriation made by Laws 2011, chapter 24, section 50, the sum of $700,000 is appropriated from the state general fund in fiscal year 2011-2012 to the independent redistricting commission for the operating expenses of the commission.
B.  The appropriation made in subsection A of this section is exempt from the provisions of section 35-190, Arizona Revised Statutes, relating to lapsing of appropriations, except that any monies remaining unspent on June 30, 2013 shall revert to the state general fund.
C.  Within ninety days after the effective date of this section, the auditor general shall report on the fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 revenues and all paid and accrued expenditures incurred by the independent redistricting commission, including a description of and the purpose for professional and outside services, travel, other operating expenses, capital equipment and noncapital equipment.  On completion, the auditor general shall submit the report to the governor, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the secretary of state.
D.  The department of administration, consistent with its constitutional fiscal oversight authority of the independent redistricting commission, shall report at least monthly to the appropriations chairpersons of the senate and the house of representatives as to whether the expenditures made by the independent redistricting commission established in 2011 are necessary and lawful.
There are other questions about the effective date for this appropriation.

Normally, unless there is an emergency clause included in the bill, the effective date is 90 days after the end of the legislative session. Even if there is an emergency clause, it would not be effective immediately unless the bill passed by a supermajority margin. At this time, I do not recollect whether that is 2/3 or 3/4. However, since the language of the bill (above) specifically spells out that the $700K is appropriated in the current fiscal year, it is possible the amount would be available immediately (on Wednesday).

Again, it's an open question. To me, anyway.

If (when) I find out the answer, I'll update this post.

UPDATE 3-27-12 3:15pm MST

According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, in general, for a supplemental appropriation in the current fiscal year, if there is no specified effective date (which is the case on this bill), the bill is effective immediately upon the signature of the governor or when the governor's five days has elapsed if she does not sign or veto the bill. So, the AIRC will be able to resume paying the bills tomorrow.

UPDATE 3-27-12 7:45pm MST

The Associated Press reports tonight that Governor Brewer signed HB2862 today. AIRC director Bladine confirms that he received an email notification of the governor having signed the bill. So, tomorrow the AIRC will be able to resume paying bills. However, it's almost certain that the $700K in this appropriation will come up short, and likely do so prior to the end of the current fiscal year (June 30).

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