Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Remember this from the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair back in January? Don 'Tequila' Shooter: 'We don't need no stinkin' testimony on the budget':
The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Tuesday he is considering banning all public testimony when lawmakers take up the state budget later this year.
* * *
His decision not to hear public testimony during budget presentations by government agencies isn’t entirely unprecedented, but banning testimony during budget-bill debates is.
If he takes the more restrictive route, it will surely invite criticisms from Democrats and groups who expect to at least be heard in committee.
Shooter's attitude: "I heard it last year."
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports today that the GOP Caucus is reviewing the budget outline agreed to between the Tea-Publican leadership and Governor Brewer last Friday, and will vote on the budget this Tuesday -- with no opportunity for the public to digest the final details or to testify on the budget. "We don't need no stinkin' testimony on the budget." Lawmakers expected to pass budget Tuesday, then tackle Brewer’s personnel agenda | Arizona Capitol Times:
The Republican-led Legislature plans to approve an $8.6 billion spending plan for the state on Tuesday, shortly after Gov. Jan Brewer and GOP leaders sealed a budget agreement last week.
They then intend to turn their attention to the governor’s proposal to overhaul the state’s personnel system, a source privy to the budget talks told the Arizona Capitol Times on condition of anonymity.
* * *
Rank-and-file Republican members were briefed about the contents of the budget deal last week. They were given a few days to dig into the details of the proposal and bring back their concerns to leaders.
They will also meet this afternoon to discuss the budget for the first time in the open.
Approval of the budget sets the stage for adjournment of the current regular session. This is the week when bad bills that have been hanging around all session get slipped into other bills as amendments and get passed in the wee hours of the morning when no one is watching, not even the alleged "watchdogs" of the media.
The first will be the plot to end the civil service merit selection system and return to the halcyon days of the spoils system of political patronage, HB 2571, the number one legislative priority of Governor Brewer Boss Tweed.
Also hanging around are the four anti-union bills sponsored by the Goldwater Institute/ALEC and Sen Rick Murphy (R-Peoria), two of which have received Senate approval. An amended measure, HB 2103, now contains provisions from two Senate bills, SB 1484 (annual renewal of payroll dues deduction) and SB 1486 (union activity "release time") and still needs final Senate approval. It is my understanding that the related SB 1487 (banning automatic payroll dues deduction - a similar bill last year was ruled unconstitutional in the courts) and SB 1485, the attempt to kill union collective bargaining rights, lack support even among Tea-Publicans due to fierce opposition from public safety unions.
Also awaiting action are some election law related bills. Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) is still trying to push primaries for recall elections, SB 1449, as retribution for the recall of his good buddy Russell Pearce, even though legislative legal staff have told him this requires a ballot measure to amend the Arizona Constitution.
Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale) is still pushing her bill, HB 2826, requiring local candidate elections to be held only during even-numbered years, to which cities and counties are fiercely opposed. It has passed the Senate and awaits final action in the House.
There is also the Comprehensive Election Law Amendments, HB 2379, which make a number of technical changes but also corrects Secretary of State Ken Bennett's recent incorrect interpretation of Arizona law by clarifying that if a politician changes parties after taking office, then his or her replacement — if the seat is vacated — must come from his or her original party. The bill still needs final Senate approval.
There are a number of other bills awaiting action that will be next to impossible to keep track of as they are rammed through pro forma hearings, possibly attached as amendments to other bills, and voted upon in rapid succession in both chambers of the legislature. Even the political media will not keep up and only report on these bills after passage.