In an unsolicited and unusual court filing, Gov. Jan Brewer has fired the latest salvo in a public conflict with Republican lawmakers over this year’s state budget.
On July 21, Brewer’s attorneys filed a supplemental brief with the Arizona Supreme Court to point out that GOP legislative leaders had broken their pledge to the court that they would send a set of budget bills to the governor before the end of June 30. The bills were not transmitted to Brewer until about 6 a.m. July 1.
“The governor believes that it is necessary to bring this fact to the attention of the court because the court relied on this commitment in its (June 23) order…to justify its denial of the governor’s request for immediate presentation of these bills…” wrote Joe Kanefield, Brewer’s general counsel.
Brewer originally brought the lawsuit against Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams, asking the court to order the lawmakers to immediately send her a set of budget bills approved by both legislative chambers June 4. The Republican leaders were refusing to transmit the bills until they had negotiated a deal with Brewer, at which time they would approve supplemental bills amending the original budget.
The Supreme Court agreed with Brewer’s contention that the bills should have been presented to the governor immediately for her to sign or veto, but declined to force the Legislature to send them because the fiscal year was almost over and the lawmakers said they would transmit the bills by the end of the month anyway.
But on July 8, Burns and Adams took the unusual step of asking the court to reconsider its ruling that legislative leadership must send approved bills to the executive immediately upon passage. The court has not indicated if it will reconsider its earlier decision and it did not require Brewer file a response.
But gubernatorial spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor wanted to weigh in anyway.
“Since the legislature decided to continue to pursue this, the governor’s legal counsel advised that it is important to provide some facts to the court for clarity,” he said.