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IRC holding off on lawsuit

Independent Redistricting Commission (File photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s threatened lawsuit for more funding was once again delayed after the commission decided not to sue the state today, as originally planned.

But IRC Executive Director Ray Bladine said the commission’s attorneys will file suit in Maricopa County Superior Court if no additional funding for fiscal year 2012 is approved by Wednesday.

Bladine said he spoke with Rep. John Kavanagh, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs, both of whom said they believe funding could be approved by Wednesday. He said IRC attorneys will complete the paperwork needed for the lawsuit, but won’t file it until next week, if needed.

“While I am concerned about receiving adequate resources, I do believe that good-faith efforts of legislative leadership requires us to postpone any litigation until they have a chance to provide a reasonable supplemental appropriation,” Bladine said in an email to reporters.

But even if the Legislature meets the IRC’s deadline, the amount of funding may be a sticking point. Bladine said the $600,000 or so that GOP lawmakers have proposed will not be enough to respond to unforeseen expenses, such as lawsuits against the maps or potential U.S. Department of Justice objections.

The minimum amount that the IRC could get and still meet its budget needs while planning for unexpected costs would be $863,000, Bladine said. Preferably , he said, the commission needs $663,000 to get through the year and a contingency fund of $600,000.

“There seems to be an effort by both the House and Senate leadership to provide a supplemental appropriation by next Wednesday. However, the amounts being suggested, which are around $600,000, are not enough to assure the commission of adequate resources,” Bladine said.

The IRC originally asked for $1.1 million, in addition to the $3 million budget the commission had for FY12. After adjusting expenditures by the first IRC for inflation, Bladine said the commission would need about $4.2 million total for the fiscal year to keep pace for its predecessor.

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