Sen. Russell Pearce failed to get two of his priority measures out of committee during the final week to hear Senate bills in the Senate.
Pearce, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has introduced 54 bills this year. Twenty-five of them have been approved at the committee level. But he was unable to round up enough support for a bill that would make sweeping changes to the way employer sanctions cases are investigated and another that would have shifted control of county budgets away from boards of supervisors.
One bill, S1017, would give the county sheriff and other county officers control over their budgets. The bill was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 22, but Pearce decided to hold off because it wouldn’t have had enough votes to pass.
Pearce’s S1403 also faltered. It would give county attorneys subpoena power when investigating alleged violation of the state’s employer sanctions statutes. The measure, which was assigned to the Commerce and Economic Development Committee, has not been scheduled for a hearing.
The two bills appear dead for now because Senate committees have a deadline of Feb. 26 to hear bills filed by members of that chamber. Starting in March, Senate bills will be heard in House committees, and House bills will be heard in Senate committees. Exceptions would require the permission from the House speaker or Senate president.
Pearce, though, isn’t ready to give up. He vowed to continue to fight for S1017, which would require county boards of supervisors to hand over lump sums of money to elected county officials such as the sheriff, the recorder, the country attorney and the treasurer.
“Just like the board (of supervisors) has control over their budget, the same respect ought to be for the other elected officials,” Pearce said. “I am absolutely determined that is going to happen one way or the other.”
Pearce still has a few options. He may offer a floor amendment to tack the language of his bills onto another Senate bill. Or he may amend a House bill, once the Senate starts hearing House measures. He also may get the policy adopted as part of the budget, just as he had tried to do in the past.