Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, June 10, 2013

Action week in the AZ House?

All the usual suspects are biting their fingernails in anticipation of what Speaker Andy Tobin and his Appropriations chairman John Kavanagh have in store for the Arizona House of Representatives this week.

I had been scratching my head wondering why only one of the ten budget bills forwarded (nearly a month ago now) from the Senate were scheduled for hearing in Appropriations Monday morning. Then, after talking with an unnamed House insider, it occurred to me that they may be trying to out flank House Democrats lest they try to emulate their Senate counterparts.

You may recall that the Senate Democratic caucus threatened to withhold support for Medicaid restoration if concessions on the rest of the budget were not included. If the House gets the Medicaid bill out of the way first, Kavanagh and other hard line Right Wingers may think that removes any leverage House Dems may have or try to get.

Another issue that arose last week was when Mike Williams, allegedly lobbying on behalf of Maricopa County Sheriffs detention officers and deputies made the rounds trying to get Democratic support for $1.5 million amendment to one of the upcoming appropriation bills. The stated purpose, or at least the pretense, was to purchase equipment for the front line officers and deputies.

But the amendment specifically EXCLUDED any language limiting how the taxpayer funding could be spent. The same thing had been sought in the Senate weeks earlier. The Senate said, no dice.

Well, then we find out that activists are pressuring the Board of Supervisors to deny funding for Arpaio to appeal Judge Snow's recent ruling. According to the Arizona Republic:
Dozens of Latino legislators and anti-Sheriff Joe Arpaio demonstrators are calling on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to pick a side in a public ultimatum: Deny funding the sheriff’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that his office engaged in racial profiling, or concede that the supervisors condone racial profiling.
But the board refused to take a public stance on the issue last week, with the majority of supervisors saying the issue is not so black-and-white, and there are outstanding questions over legalities and logistics of the appeals process.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow issued a ruling late last month that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office engaged in racial profiling against Latinos. In his 142-page ruling on Melendres vs. Arpaio, Snow outlined the constitutional violations sheriff’s deputies committed when they targeted Latino drivers and detained them on the side of the road longer than other drivers.
Since the amendment for which Williams sought support was nothing but a blank check (equivalent to a slush fund for America's most Latino hating sheriff), it should therefore be no surprise that House Democrats find the idea just as repulsive as did their colleagues in the other chamber.

And since there are 9 additional budget related Senate bills outstanding, look for something, perhaps some procedural oddities, more to happen than what we can specifically anticipate up to this point.

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