Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Redistricting -- Montgomery appeals Fink ruling

As noted in a post last week, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery appealed Superior Court Judge Dean Fink's ruling regarding tea party claims that Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission members violated Open Meeting statutes.

Montgomery's office filed its 38-page opening brief in Division 1 of the Arizona Court of Appeals on February 3rd. On February 14, the AIRC filed a motion to extend the deadline for it to respond to Montgomery's opening brief. On February 22, Montgomery filed an objection to the request for extending the deadline.

Whether or not Montgomery's argument is petty or reasonable may be up for debate, but my first impression -- that he claims the IRC request is to extend the deadline indefinitely -- looks to this writer's untrained eye, at least arguably, false. From the second page of the IRC motion for extension:

Appellees respectfully move this Court, pursuant to Arizona Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure 5, for an extension of time to file an answering brief until 30 days after the Supreme Court issues its opinion in Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission v. Janice K. Brewer, et al., Arizona Supreme Court Case No. CV-11-0313-SA (“IRC v. Brewer”).

Because I have not yet read the entire opening brief or motion for extension, I don't know if the question of IRC having funds available for attorneys to work on this particular litigation was mentioned, but it IS a significant issue in the matter.

Today, Don Shooter, chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee introduced SB1533 to provide an unspecified amount as a supplemental appropriation to allow the AIRC to continue to pay its bills. In keeping with the spirit of the right hand not knowing what the other right hand is doing (even after Mary Jo Pitzl called attention to the issue yesterday), Shooter's bill currently contains language calling for further duplication of effort -- this time by the Auditor General -- to report on IRC spending.

As I have previously noted, House Speaker Andy Tobin called for an audit of AIRC expenditures, getting JLBC (Joint Legislative Budget Committee) director Richard Stavneak involved. Further, AIRC director Ray Bladine advised me that State Comptroller Clark Partridge also personally reviewed AIRC expenditures. So, for Don Shooter and Steve Pierce to demand the Auditor General also audit the AIRC makes it seem like somebody at the Capitol does not understand what is going on.

The House version, HB2862, was introduced yesterday but has apparently not been "first read" or assigned to committees. However, the House Appropriations Committee agenda for Wednesday, March 7 (2pm) already lists HB2862, subject to the bill getting that first read and committee assignment.

SB1533 HAS been first read and assigned to committees (Approps and Rules). It is on the Senate Appropriations Committee agenda for Tuesday, March 6 (2pm).

In the meantime, the AIRC will meet tomorrow (Friday) at 2pm at the Commission office (1100 W Washington, Phoenix) to discuss finances and vote to authorize initiation of a Special Action in the event the legislature drops the ball or further GOP leaders continue to drag their feet.

1 comment:

  1. As others like to point out, this is why we don't get to have nice things. Republicans claim time after time that they want government to be efficient and then they pull stunts like this, reinventing the wheel at every turn.