Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Redistricting -- Supplemental Appropriation passed

With quite a bit of grousing, the Arizona Senate passed the supplemental appropriation yesterday; $700K, just enough to keep the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission from going to court to compel the GOP supermajority to comply with the state constitution.

Sen. Steve Yarbrough, a Republican from Chandler, said he would have liked to vote no in protest. “(But) I understand the constitution requires us to fund them. I care more about the constitution than the IRC or the Supreme Court,” Yarbrough said. (emphasis added)

There is no word yet on whether the bill has been yet sent to the governor, or whether she will sign it.

The next problem facing the AIRC is responding to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's appeal of Judge Dean Fink's ruling on the Open Meeting issue. The AIRC response (or rather, that of Commissioners Mathis, McNulty and Herrera) is due by April 12.

The potential for a lawsuit initiated by Andy Tobin against the legislative map is also on the horizon. However, since Tobin declared his intent to use taxpayer funds for this partisan political purpose, that potential appears to be small at this time. That is, because it is very likely NOT a lawful use of taxpayer funds.

Digressing to Yarbrough's comment above, the phrase I highlighted goes to the intent (ALEC-driven) to politicize the Arizona court system. Look for this issue to heat up this fall with out-of-state (i.e. US Chamber of Commerce) money being used to promote passage of the ballot measure on Judicial Selection.


Note: The troublesome aspects of the Judicial Selection ballot measure include changes to the screening committees for judicial nominations and for requiring the Supreme Court to publicize controversial rulings.

The documentary movie HOT COFFEE powerfully explores the overall issue of politicizing state court systems. I plan to follow this issue and write more on the campaign for passage between now and November.  At this time, I believe the strategy of the ALEC-owned Arizona state lawmakers is to push this issue as the public's "right to know." After all, isn't more information good for everybody involved?

In this case, the plan apparently is to introduce the next increment, direct election of state judges and justices, in a subsequent legislative session. You want to talk about slippery slopes? This WILL open the door for the Ron Goulds, Rick Murphys, Steve Yarbroughs and Andy Tobins and their cohorts to revive the UNfair Trust model of advocacy (precluding donor disclosure) to bring in Big Money to more directly influence the election of judicial officers in Arizona. So, watch for coverage of this issue over the next nine months or so.

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