Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 11, 2008

Host: Ted Simons

Legislative Update

  • Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small joins us to discuss the latest legislative news from the Arizona State Capitol.
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
Hello and welcome to Horizon, I'm Ted Simons. State lawmakers are regrouping this week after the death of a colleague. Here to tell us more is Jim Small, a reporter with the Arizona Capitol Times.

>>Ted Simons:
Jim, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us as always. Memorial service today for Jake Flake?

>>Jim Small:
Right. It was this afternoon at a Mormon Church in Central Phoenix, attended by several hundred people. It was kind of the chance for people in the Phoenix political community, the people that have worked with Senator Flake for a long time down at the Capitol to get together and to kind of remember him and celebrate his life.

>>Ted Simons:
And funeral services obviously later in the week up in Snowflake, his hometown.

>>Jim Small:
Correct, Friday up in Snowflake.

>>Ted Simons:
Let's talk about who is going to replace Jake Flake.

>>Jim Small:
That is the thing everyone is watching right now. What's happened, the way state law is structured is that there is a Citizens Panel that was appointed by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors, they are meeting tomorrow. They'll go ahead and select three people to nominate to replace Senator Flake. Those three people then on Friday will be -- one of those three people will be chosen by the County Board of Supervisors and then Monday that person will be sworn in. We don't know a whole lot about all the people who might be in consideration to replace him. There has been talk about one of Senator Flake's brothers or one of his children replacing him, being nominated to come down here and kind of fill the seat for the rest of the year. And realistically only for the rest of the legislative session which hopefully will only be another couple weeks. But a couple people that I've spoken with up in Navajo County have said that's actually not the case, that the family isn't really interested in it. Which I think is contrary to what we've been hearing down at the capitol. And if that's the case, it opens up the door for a number of people. Probably the most well-known in Phoenix circles would be Sylvia Tenney Allen who -- excuse me -- who ran for the State House about four years ago and she's actually a candidate this year for the state house. She's a Republican from Snowflake.

>>Ted Simons:
Okay. But she would then fill out the term in the Senate. Then when the election comes around it sounds like -- and we had Representative Kopernicke on last night it sound like he's interested in that Senate seat.

>>Jim Small:
Yes, he told me the other day he was interested in replacing Senator Flake on the ballot. Jake was the only person, Republican or Democrat, to turn in signatures to qualify for the ballot for the election. So what would happen is next Friday or sometime next week there'll be a meeting of the District 5 Precinct Committeemen. And they're going to get together and talk about who they want to put on the ballot and they're going to go ahead and vote on somebody to put on the ballot. If it's Representative Kopernicke, then his name would have to be removed from the House ballot because he was running for re-election to the State House. They'd have to begin that process all over again and replace him on that ballot.

>>Ted Simons:
Ramifications of Jake Flake no longer being in the state senate. What does this mean now in terms of this session and bills that are out there and legislation that still needs to be decided on?

>>Jim Small:
For the most part the biggest impact where we'll feel this will be on the budget. Senator Flake was a pretty reliable conservative vote, fiscal conservative vote. And depending on who gets put in here, it could changes things a lot. There's only a couple of weeks presumably left in the year. The budget is definitely the biggest thing out there. It will be hard for anyone coming in brand-new to get up to speed on all the budget issues and what the ramifications are of cutting this versus not cutting this. And it's going to be difficult, an uphill climb definitely for whoever gets selected to come down here. There are other bills the Senator Flake was working on, Senator McGuire was work with him on a bill. It remains to be seen what will happen with those things. But time was short, anyway, so it's unlikely there was going to be anything major coming down the pike, anyway.

>>Ted Simons:
Sounds like nothing new on the budget. We have a couple of weeks to go and I'm sure that will be stretched out. Something did happen to regarding Real I-D.

>>Jim Small:
Yeah. The house voted on a bill that would require Arizona to not participate in the federal Real I-D Program, which is put on by the Federal Department of Homeland Security. Supposed to be a secure I-D a way to verify which people are in the country legally versus which ones aren't. And there's a lot of concern over that by people who view that as kind of a first step towards creating a North American Union, is one of the prevailing theories about this, uniting Mexico and Canada and the United States. And on the other end of the spectrum you've got people who are concerned about the security of the card. They say it's not secure, that there's going to be information stored on a chip on the card that can be read by radio frequency readers that can be detected by anybody. Someone could poach all of your information off that card.

>>Ted Simons:
This is something, though; the governor has been kind of pushing. Is she going to swat this one back?

>>Jim Small:
I don't know. The bill passed outs with pretty heavy majorities in the House and the Senate. It's been something she's been a proponent of certainly the real I-D and also what's called the three in one I-D which is, pending on who you talk to, kind of hair-splitting on what the real I-D Is versus another I-D at the federal level. And I'm not really sure. I talked to the bill sponsor today and she wasn't entirely certain what was going to happen with the bill. She kind of had the attitude of let's wait and see.

>>Ted Simons:
All right. And that we will do. Jim, thank you so much for joining us as always.

>>Jim Small:
Thanks, Ted.

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