Gov. Jan Brewer is getting plenty of advice on what to do with the pile of 168 bills awaiting her signature or veto following the end of the legislative session.
Brewer’s office reports she received thousands of contacts — emails, phone calls, faxes and other correspondence — about pending legislation, with one bill alone generating more than 5,000 pro or con statements in the seven days that ended Wednesday.
That bill would let health insurers licensed outside Arizona offer policies in the state and lift Arizona coverage mandates if the outsiders’ policies don’t include that coverage.
The week-long tally provided by Brewer’s office on the health insurance bill was nearly even, with 2,753 supporting it and 2,665 opposed.
Groups on both side of that issue — and others — urged their supporters to weigh in with Brewer.
The conservative group Americans for Prosperity urged supporters to tell Brewer to sign the bill so Arizonans would have more insurance options.
“Signing SB1593 would seem like a no-brainer for a governor of conservative principles such as Gov. Jan Brewer. But Brewer is currently being inundated by calls and emails from members of specific disease lobbies, asking her to veto SB1593,” Americans for Prosperity said in its call for action.
The liberal-oriented Children’s Action Alliance asked its supporters to “take a moment to ask Gov. Brewer to veto SB1593 so kids can get the coverage they need, families aren’t forced into bankruptcy, and providers are not put out of business.”
Meanwhile, a national group, Autism Speaks, said it was running television ads on four Phoenix stations urging a veto.
A bill to require Phoenix and Tucson to consider contracting out various municipal services also drew many comments, with 352 in favor and 816 against.
Meanwhile, a bill to allow guns in public buildings unless they had airport-style security to back up gun bans drew 736 messages in favor and just 84 against.
Addressing its supporters, a gun-rights advocacy group tried to bounce back from Brewer’s veto of a bill that would have allowed guns on rights of way of university and college campuses.
“Let’s make sure the governor doesn’t make any more mistakes because she listened to bad advice. SB1201 is still awaiting action by the governor and if we act now, we can make sure the anti-rights crowd isn’t the only voice heard,” the Arizona Citizens Defense League said.
Arizonans for Gun Safety also cited the first veto but told its supporters to ask for another.
“Please call the governor today — thank her for vetoing SB1467 and ask her to also veto SB1201. Allowing guns in public facilities, places where children and families visit, is bad public safety policy and simply beyond the pale.”
The state AFL-CIO requested phone calls against the bill on contracting services, and the labor umbrella group and the Arizona Education Association also urged a veto of a bill to impose a new state spending limit keyed to inflation and population increases.
“Send a message to Gov. Brewer and ask her to stand behind her claims to make education a priority by vetoing HB2707,” the teachers union said.
The Goldwater Institute weighed in on the contracting bill.
Brewer has “a tremendous opportunity to put large Arizona cities on a glide path that will deliver fiscal responsibility and government transparency, ultimately lifting a potentially bankrupting burden from the shoulders of both cites and taxpayers,” institute attorney Nick Dranias wrote. “Let’s hope she makes the right choice.”
Brewer spokesman Matt Benson said the governor takes input from a variety of sources when deciding whether to veto or veto a bill. Those include her policy advisers, advocacy groups, lawmakers and individual citizens, he said.
“These are, generally speaking. regular Arizonans calling in to give their 2 cents on how the governor should act on particular legislation,” Benson said of those who called or wrote.
While releasing figures on contacts regarding specific bills, Benson declined to release a copy of the office’s full tally of the week’s contacts. He also declined to describe the report in detail and said it doesn’t have to be released because it constitutes internal communications between the governor and her staff.
The Associated Press on Friday formally asked Brewer’s office to release the report under the state’s public records law.
The AP’s request said the document should be released because public employees produced it at public expense and it concerns input on public interest items. Release would further the public’s ability to monitor the performance of the governor and her staff, the AP’s request added.
Brewer’s office acknowledged receiving the request but did not immediately release the report.