Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Redistricting update; AZ House budget FAIL

Andy Biggshot's quick and (very) dirty Senate budget (SB1485-SB1494), ramrodded through that chamber last week, was met with consternation and apparently unmovable opposition in the House on Monday.

At around 7:30pm, Minority Leader Chad Campbell tweeted,
Shortly thereafter, he followed with,

Shortly after 8pm, he tweeted again,
Live online streaming video continued from the House floor in anticipation of ending the recess and resuming budget debate. House staff, at one point even took their seats in front of the Speaker's chair. They didn't stay there long.

Two hours after recess began, Campbell posted (on Facebook, apparently from home), "Completed 12 hour day at the legislature..."

So much for news reports over the weekend that Gov. Brewer and GOP House leadership had found enough common ground with the Senate to attempt finishing the budget bills last evening.

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One year ago today, on March 25, 2013 a three-judge panel chaired by District Court Judge Roslyn O. Silver convened a five-day trial in Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The primary question was whether the AIRC unlawfully infringed on the Voting Rights of White Republicans in Arizona by lumping too many people in some GOP leaning legislative districts.

The outcome was highly anticipated. Key word being "was." Even though a ruling has NOT yet been handed down, anticipation seems to have waned tremendously. The fact that a year has transpired seems to indicate deep division among the three judges. Leading up to the trial, Judge Silver admonished counsel for both sides to not dilly dally. She explicitly expressed heightened urgency so that if the map had to be adjusted/corrected the court wanted to give the AIRC as much time as possible to make those changes.

Nevertheless, the AIRC says there has been no indication from the court that it is ready to issue a decision in Harris.

Meanwhile, in Maricopa County Superior Court, the pending Leach v AIRC case is still in the discovery phase, with counsel reviewing documents that have been exchanged. No trial date or any other information is available for update on Leach at this time.

In Arizona Legislature v AIRC, a federal court panel last month ruled for the defendants (AIRC, dismissing the claim). The Legislature has filed notice that it wants the Supreme Court of the United States, to review (and they hope to have the ruling reversed) in that lawsuit. AIRC staff said that Legislature has until April 28 to file it's briefs explaining why the district court ruling was wrong. AIRC will then have until May 28 to reply.

Bottom line, neither the Congressional nor legislative district maps currently in effect will be modified or replaced before the 2014 election. Remember, candidates are already collecting nominating petition signatures, which they may begin filing with the Secretary of State in 35 days (April 28). The deadline to file nominating petitions is 5pm, May 28.

Finally, with the legislature busy fussing about the FY2015 state budget, it appears likely the AIRC will have it's request (submitted through the governor's office last summer) for $1,115,100 approved. (See page 62 of HB2703) Apparently at this point, nobody in legislative leadership thinks it wise to approve an appropriation for less than that amount. Of course, if any court ruling ultimately requires changes be made to either map, that amount will certainly go up.

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