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Adams, Burns: Courts don't have jurisdiction over budget negotiations

House Speaker Kirk Adams said a budget deal is likely before the end of the fiscal deadline as long as Gov. Jan Brewer agrees to continue negotiations.

Adams said budget talks have been ongoing since the budget passed June 4. But he said Brewer's decision to ask the Arizona Supreme Court to intervene in the suit will only delay the process.

"I think what it does is it adds an element of delay into the process and, as we're reaching our deadline, is unnecessary and counterproductive," he said. "But, we'll just add it on to the list of unusual circumstances this session and keep moving forward.

"What else is going to happen? Is it going to snow in June?"

Legislative leaders planned to meet today with in-house counsel to develop a response to Brewer's legal action. The governor filed a request for a special action June 16 in the hope that the state's highest court will force lawmakers to put its bills on her desk. She said the Legislature is trying to "trick" her by waiting until the last minute and forcing her to either sign a budget she disapproves of or order a government shutdown. (See full story at http://www.azcapitoltimes.com/story.cfm?id=11415)

Burns said if the Supreme Court decided to hear Brewer's lawsuit, the Legislature would argue that the courts should stay out of the picture. 

"We will try to make our argument that this is not something that the court ought to be involved in. This is ought to be something that is worked out between the executive and the legislative branches, especially as long as we are in session," Burns said.

Burns also said the Senate president has the right to hold bills, and he said this is not the first time the Legislature has held off on sending measures to the governor.

The budget bills have been held, he said, because there is no agreement yet between the governor and the Legislature. He said the goal is not to "trick" the governor, as she suggested in earlier statements to the media.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Jorge Luis Garcia, a Democrat from Tucson, urged Burns to transmit the budget bills to Brewer's office.

"This infighting needs to end so that the legislature can work on a budget that does not devastate the state and that does not cause government to shutdown," Garcia said on the Senate floor June 16. 

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