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The Pulse: Maybe rules were meant to be broken

Looks like Republicans and Democrats in the state Senate are ignoring their own rules again.

Gov. Jan Brewer recently made a rare visit to a Republican caucus meeting, prompting the GOP to kick out spectators and seal the doors – an apparent violation of Senate rules.

Asked why they were going into a closed-door meeting, GOP Whip Steve Pierce said: “I didn’t know she was going to be here right now.” And Pierce called it his “prerogative.”

Actually, it’s not. The Senate rulebook governs when caucuses can go into an executive session, naming the election of officers and circumstances laid out in the state’s open meeting laws.

An appearance by the governor is not one of them. And while senators emerged describing the meeting as a kind of “kumbaya,” no one else will ever really know what went on behind those closed doors.

Republican staffers were quick to say, in not so many words: Well, Democrats break the rules, too.

And Democrats did, in fact, hold a caucus the week before without posting it or making it public, said Minority Leader Jorge Garcia. “That’s something I guess I have to be more conscientious of,” he said.

Williams wows; provost fumbles

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams accepted the Walter Cronkite Award from the ASU journalism school Nov. 18 in front of a crowd of more than 1,100 people at the downtown Phoenix Sheraton.

Williams called the late Cronkite his “north star.” And he said winning the award and having his name “in the same sentence as the man I grew up wanting to be” was the “highest honor of his career.”

One of Williams’ many jokes during the speech was that he has received six honorary doctorates but never earned a bachelor’s degree.

Well, one of ASU’s top administrators made a slip during the introduction of Williams that had many in the audience cracking their own jokes about education credentials.

Provost Elizabeth Capaldi made reference to Williams’ reporting accomplishments, including covering the Indonesian Tsunami in 2004.

Only problem was that Capaldi pronounced the “t” – “tu-sa-mee” – in the word “tsunami” rather than saying “soo-nah-mee.”

The pronunciation error was not lost on the crowd full of journalists, state lawmakers and university professors.

Her slip even had one witty legislator joking that a “tu-sa-mee” might be what you call the UofA beating ASU in a football match. Sounds good to this UofA grad.

Daniel Scarpinato is editor of the “Yellow Sheet Report,” a subscription-based daily tip-sheet covering Arizona politics and the Legislature. Contact him at 602-889-7126 or daniel.scarpinato@azcapitoltimes.com. Follow him on Twitter: Scarpinato

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