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Legislature to revote budget bill after engrossing error discovered

Newly appointed State Representative and Speaker of the House Kirk D. Adams addresses his fellow Representatives for the first time at the Arizona Capitol on Monday Jan. 10, 2011n Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Speaker of the House Kirk D. Adams (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The budget isn’t quite done yet.

Lawmakers are expected to vote again today on one of the budget bills that was originally approved last week after it was discovered they passed a version that included an amendment they never actually adopted.

The bill sent to Gov. Jan Brewer represented what she and GOP legislative leaders had agreed on during budget negotiations, but was not technically correct.

Yesterday, the Senate successfully asked for the bill, which dealt with criminal justice policy changes, back from the governor.

Senators also procedurally undid its action to approve it, and then remanded the measure to the House of Representatives.

Today, the House will once again debate the bill on the floor, and this time it will properly amend it.

The amendment will remove provisions in the budget that give sheriffs control over jail-enhancement funds and exempt them from country procurement rules when purchasing vehicles with jail-enhancement money.

The House, after adopting the amendment, is expected to vote on the correct version this afternoon. It will then be sent to the Senate for a final vote before being returned to Brewer, who is expected to sign it.

The error became another occasion for Democrats to blast at the budget.

“Mistakes happen when a budget is rushed through the Legislature and considered in the middle of the night without transparency,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira.

“This is just another example of how the Republican Leadership hurries bills through the Legislature without accountability and an opportunity for adequate public input. This process is a disservice to the citizens of the state of Arizona,” Schapira said.

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(Photo by Luige del Puerto/Arizona Capitol Times)

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