Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 20, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Legislative Update


  • Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small provides a mid-week update on legislative news.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. THE STATE IS NOT MAKING AS MUCH MONEY AS EXPECTED FROM PHOTO RADAR. FORMER GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO PREDICTED PHOTO RADAR WOULD BRING IN AROUND $90 MILLION A YEAR. A REPORT BY THE STATE AUDITOR GENERAL'S OFFICE THOUGH SHOWS THAT THE SPEED CAMERAS BROUGHT IN ONLY $37 MILLION IN THE FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION. THE REPORT STATES THAT PHOTO RADAR REVENUE DID NOT MATCH EXPECTATIONS BECAUSE DRIVERS ARE SLOWING DOWN AND BECAUSE THE SYSTEMS HAD TROUBLE DETECTING SPEEDING MOAT 0ISTS. THE REPORT ALSO STATES THAT MORE STUDY IS NEEDED TO FIGURE OUT IF PHOTO RADAR HAS MADE THE STATE'S FREEWAYS SAFER. GOVERNOR JAN BREWER IS ASKING THE TOHONO O'ODHAM INDIAN TRIBE NOT TO BUILD A CASINO ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE VALLEY. THE TRIBE WANTS FEDERAL PERMISSION TO ADD UNINCORPORATED LAND NEAR GLENDALE TO ITS RESERVATION SO IT COULD PUT A CASINO THERE GOVERNOR BREWER IN A LETTER RELEASED TODAY SAID VOTERS WHO APPROVED INDIAN GAMING DID NOT ANTICIPATE CASINOS ON TRIBAL LANDS OTHER THAN THOSE THAT EXISTED AT THE TIME OF THE VOTE. LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO WORK ON THE STATE BUDGET. THEY'RE ALSO LOOKING AT OTHER MEASURES INCLUDING COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT AND A BILL THAT REQUIRES A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO PROVE CITIZENSHIP IN ORDER TO APPEAR ON THE ARIZONA BALLOT. HERE TO TALK ABOUT GOINGS-ON AT THE LEGISLATURE IS ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES REPORTER JIM SMALL. LET’S TALK BUDGET IS THERE ANY CHANCE WHATSOEVER 2/3 VOTE DIRECTLY OUT OF THE LEGISLATURE TO GET A SALES TAX ENACTED IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

JIM SMALL: I WOULD HAVE A HARD TIME BELIEVING IT WOULD HAPPEN. NEVER SAY NEVER. I THINK ODDER THINGS HAPPENED. I DON'T THINK ANYONE EXPECTED LAST YEAR'S SESSION TO VIRTUALLY DRAG ON UNTIL DECEMBER. I DON'T SEE HOW THOSE VOTES COME ABOUT. IN ORDER TO DO IT, THERE'D HAVE TO BE OVERWHELMING BIPARTISANSHIP. A NUMBER OF REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO SUPPORT THE BALLOT REFERRAL, YOU KNOW, PUTTING SOMETHING ON THE BALLOT AND LETTING VOTERS DECIDE. THEY TOLD ME FLAT-OUT THEY WILL NOT SUPPORT THIS IDEA OF DIRECTLY RAISING TAXES.

TED SIMONS: LET'S TALK ABOUT A REFERRAL THEN. ANYTHING DIFFERENT FROM THE LAST SESSION? SPECIAL SESSION? SPECIAL SESSION NUMBER TWO?

JIM SMALL: THE BIG THING THAT'S DIFFERENT IS THE GOVERNOR ISN'T PUSHING FOR A SALES TAX REFERRAL ANYMORE. SHE WANTS LAWMAKERS TO ENACT THE TAX IN SALES. SHE WANTS IT IN PLACE BY MARCH SO THAT WAY THE STATE COULD GET SOME MONEY IN THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR. YOU KNOW, HER BUDGET PLAN DEPENDS ON LAWMAKERS DOING THAT AND A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS.

TED SIMONS: HOW ABOUT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND THE LEGISLATURE?

JIM SMALL: SO FAR IT SEEMS LIKE IT'S GOING BETTER THIS YEAR THAN IT WAS CERTAINLY TOWARDS THE MIDDLE OF LAST YEAR. NO ONE HAS SUED EACH OTHER YET. THAT'S OBVIOUSLY A GOOD THING. WE HAVEN'T BROKEN DOWN TALKS. I SPOKE WITH HOUSE SPEAKER KIRK ADAMS ABOUT THIS LAST WEEK AND HE SAID THAT THE CHANGE IN CHIEF OF STAFF WAS REALLY KEY FOR HIM AND HE'S SEEN, YOU KNOW, AT HIS LEVEL COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE OFFICE WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE IMPROVE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF WAS REPLACED HALF WAY THROUGH THE YEAR.

TED SIMONS: HOW ABOUT THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET? HOW IS THAT? WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE ARE YOU HEARING DOWN THERE?

JIM SMALL: REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS GENERALLY, I THINK, LIKE HER BUDGET PROPOSALS BUT THEY ARE BALKING AT THE SALES TAX ISSUE. THEY DON'T WANT TO PUT IT OFF -- THEY DON'T WANT TO DO IT THEMSELVES. THEY WANT TO PUT IT UP ON THE BALLOT. THE REST OF IT, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, IT INCORPORATES A LOT OF THINGS THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN CALLING FOR, YOU KNOW SOME DEEPER CUTS SOME THINGS THEY MAY NOT BE TOO HAPPY WITH LIKE BORROWING SOME MORE EXCESSIVE BORROWING. EVEN THEY ADMIT THAT THOSE THINGS ARE GOING TO BE NECESSARY. DEMOCRATS, MEANWHILE, AS I'VE POUNCED ON THIS BUDGET AND HAVE SAID THAT THIS IS LEADING ARIZONA DOWN THE WRONG TRACK AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S DEVASTATING TO SOCIAL SERVICES, TO EDUCATION. THEY DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF ROLLING BACK ACCESS POPULATIONS, PROPOSITION 204 FROM SEVERAL YEARS AGO.

TED SIMONS: THE -- IS THERE A SENSE OF URGENCY GOING ON DOWN THERE? I MEAN, IS THERE A SENSE WE'VE GOT TO GET SOMETHING DONE NO MATTER WHAT IT IS AND SOON?

JIM SMALL: I THINK THERE IS. WE HAVEN'T SEEN IT PLAYED OUT YET. THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE PRESENTED THEIR BUDGET PUBLICLY TO A JOINT HEARING OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEES TODAY. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT HASN'T IN FACT HAPPENED IN A LONG TIME IT HARKENS BACK TO BYGONE DAYS, DAYS IN THE PAST WHEN YOU WOULD HAVE THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE REALLY CONSIDER, THEY WOULD LOOK AT THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET AND THE LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET AND HASH OUT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO. IT'S NOT QUITE WHAT IS GOING ON TODAY. THEY INVITED THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF TO COME DOWN AND TALK ABOUT THE BUDGET. FOR THE MOST PART IN THAT COMMITTEE THEY WERE SUPPORTIVE OF THINGS IN THERE.

TED SIMONS: WHERE ARE DEMOCRATS IN ALL OF THIS?

JIM SMALL: DEMOCRATS ARE ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN AS THEY WERE ALL OF LAST YEAR. FOR THEM TO GET TO THE TABLE, UM -- WELL OBVIOUSLY, SENATOR PRESIDENT BOB BURNS ASKED THEM TO PRESENT A BUDGET PLAN, DRAFT BILLS AND PUT THEM INTO COMMITTEE. HOUSE SPEAKER KIRK ADAMS MADE SIMILAR OVERTURES TO HOUSE DEMOCRATS THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME KIND OF DESIRE TO BRING THEM TO THE TABLE BUT IT'S CERTAINLY NOT IN THE WAY THE DEMOCRATS WANT. THEY DON'T WANT TO PUT THEIR BUDGET INTO BILLS. THEY FEEL IT'S A POLITICAL MOVE JUST DESIGNED TO GO IN THERE AND BEAT UP ON THEIR IDEAS.

TED SIMONS: HOW IS THE FACT THAT IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE AND THEIR BROTHER DOWN THERE IS RUNNING FOR SOMETHING? IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE ANYONE IS QUITE SATISFIED WHERE THEY ARE OR THEIR TERM LIMIT IS OUT AND THERE ARE CAMPAIGNS HERE, THERE AND HOW IS THAT AFFECTING THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?

JIM SMALL: EVERY ELECTION YEAR YOU GO THROUGH THIS SINCE TERM LIMITS HAVE BEEN IN PLACE, EVERY TWO YEARS, SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A CROP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LEAVING OR EYING SOMETHING ELSE. YOU KNOW, WHEN IT COMES TO THE MOST -- THE MOST INTERESTING THING HAS BEEN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE SUDDENLY DECLARED AN INTEREST FOR CONGRESSIONAL RACES AND A LOT OF THAT COMES FROM REPRESENTATIVE SHADEGG ANNOUNCING HE WAS GOING TO RETIRE TEND OF THE YEAR WHICH I THINK AT THE END OF THE DAY WILL LEAD SEVERAL REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS AT THE STATE CAPITOL TO RESIGN. I THINK SENATOR PAM GORMAN AND SENATOR JONATHAN PEYTON ARE TWO OF THOSE WHICH SAID THEY PLAN ON RESIGNING.

TED SIMONS: ANY RESIGNATIONS LOOK LIKE THEY MAY TIP THE BALANCE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER ON A REFERRAL?

JIM SMALL: CERTAINLY SENATOR GORMAN LEAVING, I THINK, SHE TOOK A -- SHE TOOK THE BRUNT OF THE HEAT FOR FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE FROM THAT SALES TAX REFERRAL NOT PASSING OVER THE SUMMER. SHE WAS ONE OF THE REPUBLICANS WHO DIDN'T VOTE FOR IT IN THE SENATE. WITH HER LEAVING, IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHO WILL REPLACE HER IN THE SENATE BUT CHANCES ARE IT WOULD BE SOMEBODY WHO -- IF IT -- IT -- THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE THAT I THINK IT COULD BE SOMEONE THAT WOULD SUPPORT THAT REFERRAL BUT, AGAIN, YOU GET BACK TO THE POINT THAT THE GOVERNOR IS RIGHT NOW, AT LEAST NOT ASKING FOR A REFERRAL RIGHT NOW.

TED SIMONS: THE FACT THAT -- OBVIOUSLY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BUDGET BUT OTHER THINGS ARE GOING ON DOWN THERE. COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT, RUSSELL PIERCE WITH THAT BILL. ALSO WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE BUSINESS THAT YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOU'RE AN AMERICAN CITIZEN TO BE ON THE BALLOT OR SOMETHING ALONG THAT LINE?

JIM SMALL: FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. IT'S FROM REPRESENTATIVE JUDY BURGESS, A REPUBLICAN FROM THE NORTHWEST VALLEY, I THINK SKULL VALLEY IS WHERE SHE LIVES IN YAVAPAI COUNTY. THE IDEA IS KIND OF STEMMING FROM THE WHOLE -- I MEAN, THE FOLKS WHO QUESTION WHETHER PRESIDENT OBAMA REALLY HAS U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IS QUALIFIED TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT. THIS WOULD REQUIRE YOU TO BASICALLY PROVE YOUR CITIZENSHIP AND SHOW YOU WERE IN FACT BORN IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE YOU GET ON THE BALLOT IN ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT? THIS SOUNDS LIKE EVERYTHING FROM STINGS TO OTHER OPERATIONS. THIS IS PRETTY FAR REACHING HERE?

JIM SMALL: IT IS. THESE ARE A LOT OF THE IDEAS THAT SENATOR RUSSELL PIERCE HAS BEEN PUSHING FOR SOME TIME. YOU KNOW, I MEAN, A LOT OF THE -- THE SANCTUARY CITY IDEAS AND THE THINGS THAT HE'S TO THIS POINT REALLY FOUND RESISTANCE AGAINST AND THAT'S WHY WE'VE SEEN MAYBE SOME MORE WATERED DOWN VERSIONS OF THIS GO INTO LAW IN THE PAST OR MOVE FORWARD IN THE PROCESS AND, YOU KNOW, IT -- THERE'S NOT A WHOLE LOT LEFT, I THINK, IN TERMS OF DOING IMMIGRATION LAW AT THE STATE LEVEL. THEY'VE DONE A LOT ALREADY IN THE PAST SIX YEARS. AND SO THESE MAY BE SOME OF THE MORE FAR REACHING ONES BUT I THINK THAT THE IDEA IS TO SEND THE MESSAGE AND GIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT EVERY TOOL. I KNOW SENATOR PIERCE HAS TALKED ABOUT THAT FOR A LONG TIME.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, VERY GOOD. JIM, THANKS FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT.

JIM SMALL: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

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