Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 4, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

First Thursday: The Governor on HORIZON


  • Governor Janet Napolitano discusses bills she's vetoed, including several abortion and immigration bills, in her monthly visit to HORIZON.
Guests:
  • Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano -


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon: Arizona had 'A day without an immigrant' on Monday--- an economic boycott. Many immigrants did not show up for work and organizers asked supporters to show solidarity by closing down businesses and avoid purchasing for a day in favor of immigration reform. The state republicans' budget proposal has city leaders in an uproar--- saying the GOP proposed tax cuts will hurt their cities and residents. And a federal judge says the state's school funding proposal which went into law in March is insufficient…and more should be spent for English learners. We'll talk about all these topics and more with the governor, next, on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Welcome to Horizon. Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Once a month, Arizona governor Janet Napolitano pays us a visit here at Horizon to talk about the latest issues affecting the state. We call it "first Thursday: the governor on Horizon." Tonight we'll talk to the governor about numerous pending issues, including the topics which are impossible to avoid right now: illegal immigration and English Language Learners. Joining us now is Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. They are pretty impossible to avoid, aren't they?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Well, until we get fundamental immigration reform at the federal level, I think we're going to continue to see these issues bubbling up in our state. I keep saying we need realistic approaches; we need to secure the borders, we need employer sanctions, we need a guest worker program that makes sense, and that has to come from Washington, D.C. ultimately.

Michael Grant:
Obviously spring break for congress is over. There seemed to be momentum heading into spring break. I haven't seen much momentum coming out of spring break. What's your information?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I was hopeful the senate would pass a bill before they took a two week vacation in the middle of all this with literally millions of people marching in the street because the problem's been allowed to fester for far too long. My understanding is that the senate majority leader, Senator Frist wants to have a bill on the floor before Memorial Day and done. But I've got to tell you if it's bad bill that's worse than almost no bill at all because then they'll pass something and won't deal with the issue for another ten years and it's got to be comprehensive to be workable.

Michael Grant:
The latest proposal that we heard about seemed to be comprehensive.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah. It seemed to be on the senate side, anyway, akin to the McCain-Kennedy bill which has all of the elements that I've described in it. The House is still, you know, thumping their chest and doing all that kind of stuff. But if you really know the border and you know the people who live on the border and their communities there and you understand the economics and you understand everything else that's going on, you understand that time only realistic approach is one that's very comprehensive.

Michael Grant:
Obviously one of the lightning odds on this kind of thing has been the Sensenbrenner bill that would make it a felony--

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Right. To be in the country.

Michael Grant:
To be in the country. There was a legislative version of that which you vetoed that I think made it a high misdemeanor if I recall.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Right. It said if you were here in the state illegally you would be in violation of our state's trespass law. And I will tell you I vetoed that for several reasons. One is it's more than likely unconstitutional. Number two, there was no funding or any support for law enforcement there and law enforcement was unanimous that they have murders, they have robberies, they have big drug cases. They have to patrol the highways and the streets. And to deal with a trespass misdemeanor to them was really a bad idea. And the third thing was in my view this would have done anything to deter illegal immigration in spite of what the proponents said.

Michael Grant:
Do you see any value in it at all in terms of providing an option to local law enforcement--

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
No.

Michael Grant:
So they could hold on to somebody and you don't have these catch and release situations?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Well, the catch and release problem is a federal problem. We have felons in our prisons and our jails who committed state crimes that we have caught and we can't get the feds to come pick them up and do the deportation. So the notion that they'd come and pick up a trespass misdemeanor when they don't even pick up our felons I think is not accurate.

Michael Grant:
Well, but as I understand law enforcement's position, and I think it's correct, is that if they catch up with him, we've had several situations I think where we had one in Mesa where they finally turned him loose. But if you had some state crime that you could hold them for, at least you could take them down to the jail and wait there for border patrol to show up.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
And law enforcement says, well, wait a minute. What are we supposed to do? If we're arresting somebody plus they're violating some other law anyway, and we can hold them under that-- under that law. And what we need is the feds to come over and get them so that the counties and the cities don't bear all of these incarceration costs. Our jails are already way overcrowded. Sheriff Joe's jail always has a vacancy. But I'll tell you, you talk to the Yuma county sheriff or the Santa Clara county sheriff they're saying, where am I supposed to put these people? And who's going to pay for it? I'd rather be focusing my attention on those actually violating serious criminal laws of the state of Arizona as opposed to acting as an adjunct to the border patrol.

Michael Grant:
Understood and wouldn't necessarily disagree, but wouldn't it be good to have the option available so you don't have people running through illegal immigrants running through neighborhoods in Mesa in certain circumstances?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
In those circumstances you have other options already available. And this law to me creates inextricable confusion between state and federal responsibilities. Law enforcement doesn't want it, the police don't want it. To them it's not a tool for law enforcement; it's simply an undue burden. And what we really need and I'm going to go back to it. We can do some things at the border to secure it at the state level. I've had a $100 million package pending since January that I asked the legislature to address. But what we really need is Washington, D.C. to finally cope with this problem in a realistic manner.

Michael Grant:
And let me go back to Washington, D.C. because that's actually where I was headed but I'm glad we have the intervening discussion about the local legislation.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Sure.

Michael Grant:
Let's say a comprehensive immigration reform package were to pass along the lines of let's say McCain-Kennedy, what you and I were just talking about a couple, three minutes ago. What's your position on having a provision as a companion to that to say, listen. We created a path to citizenship. We've created a guest worker program. We've cracked down on employers. We've done a comprehensive immigration reform. But if newcomer, if you now violate that, you are guilty of a crime. Should that kind of comprehensive package have a misdemeanor or felony federally in it to say, this time we want you to pay attention to it?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
You know, that's something that I think that I would look at seriously. It obviously depends on how it's written and everything. Because concepts can be bandied about but how they're actually drafted is another thing. But I'm going to go back to my major point. The border is federal. Immigration is federal. Even if you're going to contemplate creating a new federal crime, prospectively not retroactively, prospectively, don't do it without putting the resources in. You can have every employer sanction in the world and if all you do is once every three years shut down one pallet manufacturer in Maricopa County it doesn't mean anything. So you've got to put major resources in the sanctions you already have before you go to the next level.

Michael Grant:
So you're not opposed to it but you're not necessarily supporting it.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
No.

Michael Grant:
Again as part of a comprehensive package.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
The devil is in the details. You actually have to read the language on these things and understand how it would work and who it would effect and so forth. So, yeah, open mind on that. But I got to tell you, they have a long way to go in terms of funding and putting the resources for the things that already are illegal much less adding a separate crime.

Michael Grant:
Did ‘A day without an immigrant' hurt Latino businesses more than it hurt other businesses? Anecdotally.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Anecdotally I couldn't tell what was going on. I was mostly in downtown Phoenix on Monday. I didn't see a lot of activity on that front. I know they had a couple of places that were targeted. But to me it didn't have nearly the impact that the march on the 10th of April did, which was as astounding event.

Michael Grant:
It certainly didn't have the same visibility--

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah, it didn't have the same visibility nor I think unanimity in terms of approach. I still think that march on April 10th from the governor's office due east down the boulevard and seeing wave after wave of people from curb to curb for three hours, I've never seen anything like that and I think people were saying, you know what? We are human beings. There's a human issue involved here. We can talk all we want about this or that but let's recognize that we are all families and human beings.

Michael Grant:
Yeah. We're throwing up some video right now. It certainly was a large, impressive collection of human beings.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah.

Michael Grant:
Inside that movement, though, and it may be why Monday was toned down somewhat, there is a feeling that, well, in certain respects we may be hurting ourselves right now. We need to back off on the level of rhetoric. What do you think about that?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I think both sides. You know, there's rhetoric on both sides. Certainly the anti-immigrant sentiment has been-- the rhetoric is way overheated and regrettably a lot of that is on the floor of our legislature. And let's realize that we have a large Hispanic population in Arizona that are here legally. Over a quarter of our population. We have a long-standing relationship with Mexico. The republican in the 50's had a famous line. He said, God made Arizona and Mexico neighbors. We should be good neighbors. We need to work to have a safe and secure border. But some of the rhetoric is just to me is not helpful and not productive and is dividing us when we need to struggle to stay together.

Michael Grant:
All right. Let me move to English language learning. Judge Collins said, nope, legislative plan won't work. Stated three different reasons. There seems to be a lot of confusion. Certain aspects of his rulings have been stayed by the ninth circuit. The legislature seems to think that it need take no action because of those stays. Other people say, well, no, his core ruling has not been stayed and you are proceeding at your own risk if you don't pass a new plan. I suspect you side with the latter group but let me ask you what status do you think we are currently in?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Well I think it is confusing and I think Tim Hogan, the attorney for the plaintiffs, is going back to the district court to get some clarification. The only thing that's been stayed is the fines. And the money for the fines, which is something on the order of $21 million, we have sitting in a segregated account so that the minute the stay is lifted or what have you it can go into classrooms. I think it's regrettable that the legislature and superintendent of public instruction don't want to deal with this issue and want to keep it in the courts as opposed to dealing with it in the classroom. The district judge in this case, his ruling was something-- I hate to say it but in a letter I wrote when I said, I'm going to let the bill go so it can get to the court, I said, this bill has these following problems: it violates the anti-supplanting provisions of federal law; it's inadequately funded and arbitrarily funded; it has a two-year cap that is too rigid. And the district court that and for other reasons held the bill inadequate. I've been doing-- I must say as a former attorney general and former U.S. attorney, I've been doing supplanting cases for a long time and this was such a clear violation of that that ultimately when the ninth circuit rules I won't be surprised if they don't affirm the judge's order.

Michael Grant:
The legislature says the judge doesn't understand the plan. That it actually will ultimately get to a more rational, reasonable way of figuring out precisely what the necessary moneys are to funding English language learning.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Well, yeah. They had their lawyers in there and had every opportunity to explain their plan. I think the judge saw through their plan. It's an arbitrarily funded plan. It's way too low to do the job it needs to do. And look, here's the problem. We have a million kids in school in Arizona. 160,000 of them do not speak English as their first language. They need to learn to read, write and speak in English if they're going to succeed academically and if they're going to compete economically. And that means you've to have teachers that are trained in that, smaller classes, all those things to get those kids so they are fluent in English and competitive. Otherwise as a state we run the risk of creating a permanent underclass of some considerable size. That's just bad for Arizona. So forget the legal stuff. Clearly the legislature's plan is illegal. The district court said so and I believe the ninth circuit will say so. But what we will need to talk about, what do we need to do? We're a state where we have over 10\% of the children in our public schools come from non-English-speaking households. They have to learn to speak English. Let's get it done.

Michael Grant:
What's your read on what the legislature-- have you gotten any indication? The last I heard, it was more likely than not that they were not going to take a crack at another version of the bill before sine die is. Is that your feeling, too, or not?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I think that's probably true but there's a budget issue that has yet to be resolved which is how much we budget for E.L.L. for fiscal year '07. I put in my budget a higher amount than they had that was thrown out. I met with leadership yesterday and said, that's an issue we need too resolve, just as all day kindergarten and just as we need to solve a pay raise for teachers. These things can and should occur.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of budget, so you are having budget talks.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I wouldn't call them negotiations. I would call them-- I meet with them. They talk about a huge multiyear tax cut. And I talk about balancing a smaller tax cut with investment in education and transportation and paying back some debt. So that's kind of the overall struggle we're having.

Michael Grant:
In fairness to the legislature, I mean, they also want to pay back some of the debts, too. I think that the difference between your basic positions is they want a larger tax cut than you do and perhaps more across the board.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
They want a huge tax cut. They want a tax cut which and by the third year would be well over $800 million, which would preclude us as our state grows from being able to do anything more than basic funding for schools and keeping to the transportation construction schedule we have. I think we have an opportunity now to do some really smart investment for the people of Arizona and the state that in the long run will return multiples of what the tax cuts they're proposing would. Like I said, there was a tax cut in my budget when I proposed it in January. But I said, we shouldn't go through now and not try to complete some of the projects we've already started, invest in our schools, invest in our universities and really recognize these as the economic engines for the future.

Michael Grant:
I think sometimes these debates get set up with, you know, that's on one side and this is on the other side and there's nothing in the middle. We had tax cuts in the 1990's. And those sorts of draconian consequences did not occur. In fact we're sitting on record revenues right now. Admittedly we weren't a couple, three years ago.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I disagree, Mike. I think the cuts in the 90's were very unwise and were unwisely done. They precluded us from really increasing public education access to higher education, they left us at 49th in the country in terms of public education funding and when I came in the office we were still $1.3 billion in the hole. If we had left our revenue rather stable, in other words only cut some not all, we would have basically had no deficit when I became governor. But we were $1 billion in the hole. I think the tax cuts in the 1990's are a lesson we shouldn't be repeating.

Michael Grant:
Well, yeah, you did have 9/11, though. I think that that was a significant contributor to the-- admittedly, to the large deficit in.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
It was a contributor to the economy going down. But the plain fact of the matter is that economies go up and they go down. And if you don't handle your budget right and you don't have a long-term view of it and you cut too much or you raise too much-- if you ever raise and realize nobody is talking about raising taxes in Arizona. I have never talked about, it nobody's talking about it. But on the other hand it's cyclical. So you've got to manage things so the peaks are smaller and valleys are smaller. And the kind of tax cut that's being discussed now in the legislature, it would preclude us from for example having all day kindergarten, for giving teachers a raise, it would preclude us from in their proposed budget they don't have any money for helping the increased number of veterans we have in our state, a pay raise for corrections officers where we're desperately in need of adding personnel to our prison system. So there are some things that we need to take care of in addition to talking about the tax side of the budget.

Michael Grant:
Okay. Let me move to the city side of the equation. They say that time tax cuts would be bad because they would not be held harmless from the shared revenue impact of that. This is difficult to explain in less than 15 seconds. But the cities get shared revenue from the state.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah. We collect income tax and the cities get a percentage of that. If you cut the income tax in a draconian way, which is what is being talked about the cities would be likewise reduced because the money that they're getting a share of would be substantially reduced. That goes right into police services, fire services, libraries, city parks, all of that. And the city's perspective is, hey, look, when the state was $1 billion down and the revenues weren't coming in because the economy was bad, we took a hit then. Now you're asking us to take another hit. And for cities like the city of Phoenix and Tucson, it's a substantial number.

Michael Grant:
Understanding your position on the legislature's tax cuts, I mean, there is a simple fix there here, is there not? And it was used in the 1990's to at least hold the cities harmless and that would simply be to increase their revenue sharing proportions.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Well, the easiest fix is not to do a permanent tax cut but to do a tax rebate and put cash in people's pockets right now. That's an idea that I have forwarded. I said, yeah we have some extra revenue this year. Some of that is one time. Some is going to be permanent. Let's return a portion to the taxpayers right now in a check as opposed to waiting until next April or what have you. And then you have it and the next year if revenues continue to be good you can do another rebate. So there are lots of options here. What the legislature needs to do is come to grips with the fact that we need to be investing in Arizona's future long-term. This is not just an election year budget.

Michael Grant:
Let me pick up a viewer question here. "Why did you sign the "Castle Doctrine" bill, which virtually establishes open season on battered women, on the same day you honored a woman who was almost killed by her husband?" You might want to explain the Castle Doctrine bill.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Well, it is a bill that passed overwhelmingly in both Houses that changes the burden of proof if you claim self-defense back to what it was about seven years ago before there was an intervening court case. And obviously if I thought it would declare open season on battered women I wouldn't have signed it. That's kind of a loaded question in that regard. I just don't believe that. I think that if the parade of horribles that some have predicted from this bill comes to pass we can revisit it. But in my view, the bill was consistent with most states' self-defense doctrines and I just didn't believe the arguments about how it would ruin ability of prosecutors to do certain kinds of cases.

Michael Grant:
Yeah. Basically right now, if you claim self-defense, you have to prove self-defense. It essentially shifts that.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
You've committed a crime and then have the burden of showing self-defense. This says if there's a claim of self-defense the prosecutor has to show there wasn't a legitimate entitlement of self-defense.

Michael Grant:
You talk about a veto. You vetoed the bill that would have increased the burden of proof. I think it moved it to clear and convincing evidence on malpractice against health officials in emergency rooms, I think. Carolyn Allen says that you did that because you're dancing with the trial lawyers association.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Oh, poor Carolyn. You know, that's such an easy claim to make. It's not true and she knows that. She knows that I read every piece of material given. I met with her twice. In the end I was just not convinced the bill would do anything. And more than that, I got a letter from the four living retired chief justices of the Arizona supreme court and one a retired justice of the Arizona supreme court saying this bill is unconstitutional. It's not only bad policy but we believe it violates what's called the anti-abrogation provisions of the Arizona constitution. I think we can do much more for E.R.'s. There's no disagreement that we need to be looking fully at our E.R. and trauma center system. Got no disagreements there. But this bill was-- to me it was your classic trial lawyer versus doctor bill and everybody got all up in arms about it. I'm saying, no, wait a minute. Let's look at the problem and then if we need to do some things legislatively we can do those. But we have to be looking at the insurance issues, we ought to be looking at amcal issues, we ought to be looking at pooling issues. There's a whole host of things that we need to look at beside a technical change in the burden of proof.

Michael Grant:
Carolyn Allen is one of the more moderate voices of the republican in the legislature and in fact has been supportive of you on some issues including all day k. She seemed to think very strongly that it would help what as you indicated is a very bad problem in the emergency healthcare delivery system.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah. And she and I just differ on that. And we've differed before. I vetoed a bill of hers a couple of years ago on unemployment insurance, and she was upset at me about that. But then I kept working with her on the bill over the summer and we came back the next year and got a bill and got it passed. So just because it's a veto doesn't mean it's over. And again we need to deal more thoroughly with the underlying problem.

Michael Grant:
Not sure if we have much time left or not but let me ask you because we're getting close to fire season. What's the latest report on how bad it is out there? We got some late rains. Did that help much?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
No. It may have delayed the season for a couple of weeks. But we've had everything at extreme fire danger except the very northwest corner of the state.

Michael Grant:
Resources adequate, available, deployed?

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
We are propositioned. We have more aircraft that we have state-leased. We have firefighters ready to go. We'll deal with whatever we need to deal with.

Michael Grant:
Governor Janet Napolitano, thank you very much.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
You can check future shows airing on Horizon or take a look at a transcript of tonight's show by going to the website. You'll find that at www.azpbs.org and click on Horizon in the middle of the page.

Larry Lemmons:
Governor Napolitano keeps using her veto stamp. This week she used it and disappointed people in the medical community. And another protest in the valley by people for immigration reform. Did this have the economic impact organizers wanted? Join us for the Journalists' Roundtable Friday at 7 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Those topics and more tomorrow on this not so roundtable. Thank you very much for joining us on this Thursday edition of Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents