Skip to comments.Lawmakers anticipate departure of Napolitano and her veto pen
Posted on 12/06/2008 5:25:34 AM PST by marktwain
The ink had barely dried on Gov. Janet Napolitanos signature to veto a bill that would have lifted a key restriction on carrying a concealed weapon when lawmakers, undeterred, sent another piece of gun legislation to her desk.
The second bill, which would have reduced the penalty for gun misconduct, suffered the same fate.
The successive vetoes, which occurred last year, illustrate what has come to define the relationship between Napolitano and the Legislature during her tenure in Arizona.
Napolitano generally does not comment publicly on pending legislation, giving lawmakers little or no indication whether a signature or a veto is forthcoming. It does not help that the Republican majority continues to pass virtually the same measures she had already rejected and measures she indicated would be vetoed.
It is a political dance, of course, with the two branches of government tugging, pushing and cajoling. In a way, it is also expected. After all, the governor is a Democrat and the Legislatures majority is Republican.
This also explains why Napolitanos expected departure to join Barack Obamas administration is infused with much anticipationand emotion. On the one hand, Republicans are heaving a huge sigh of relief. On the other hand, Democrats are hugely disappointed.
Sen. Ken Cheuvront, a Phoenix Democrat, told the Arizona Capitol Times that Janet always does whats good for Janet even though her departure has very negative connotations for the state.
To Cheuvront, Napolitano provides a balance that has kept Arizona from going too far in one direction on the political spectrum. With her leaving, the balance is gone, he said.
One way Napolitano has expressed that balance is through her veto power, which she has wielded a record number of times during her six years as governor. Democrats call her their backstop or goalkeeper and acknowledge her absence would place them in a difficult situation, diminishing their legislative influence.
With the prospect of Jan Brewer, the Republican secretary of state, succeeding as governor, many lawmakers are brushing the dust off their bill folders, hoping those vetoed by Napolitano would meet a more favorable outcome this time around.
Some said they were preparing to introduce those bills regardless of who is in charge of the executive tower.
But the chances of a bills passage on the Senate and House floors are enhanced when lawmakers think the governor might sign it. Indications of a veto can be a deterrent.
Senior Republicans in both chambers interviewed for this article anticipate that many bills that received the veto stamp would be revived under a Brewer administration. They are cautiously optimistic that Brewer will sign them once they reach her gubernatorial desk.
But the next set of legislative leaders has signaled that reducing the budget is the top priority. Indeed, under incoming Senate President Bob Burns plan, no other measures will be heard until the budget deficit has been eliminated.
In addition, there is little evidence that the states economy will rebound anytime soon. If revenues continue to nosedive after a budget is crafted, lawmakers might have to go back and rebalance the fiscal 2010 budget, just as they did last year and are expected to do this month.
Other public policy legislation dear to Republicans abortion, school choice, tougher immigration laws could be relegated to the sidelines.
Rep. John Kavanagh, the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said there wont be a tsunami of bills under Brewer.
We will be preoccupied with the budget, Kavanagh said.
But Governor Napolitano abused her veto power and a lot of bills that both chambers passed died as a result, and those bills deserved resurrection because they were passed by a body which represents the people, he said.
Earlier this year, Napolitano vetoed a bill sponsored by Kavanagh that would have allowed a person to carry a concealed weapon in a car without a permit.
Napolitano also vetoed one of his bills targeting day-laborers. So, Kavanagh modified it to incorporate the points raised by the governor in her veto letter. The measure, however, failed to pass. Kavanagh said he plans to introduce it again in 2009.
Sen. Jack Harper, a Republican from Surprise, said he thinks some of the public policy legislation vetoed by Napolitano will be resurrected quickly under Brewers watch. He mentioned a few measures regarding forest management, medical-liability litigation and abortion.
Earlier this year, Harper authored a bill to allow pistols in restaurants if the owners had posted a notice providing permission to do so. Those who carry guns would have been prohibited from drinking alcohol. The Senate passed the measure, but it failed to clear the committee level in the House.
Harper said another try this year would depend on whether the National Rifle Association or the Arizona Citizens Defense League decides to renew a push for the measure.
Another controversial gun measure was introduced by Sen. Karen Johnson, a Mesa Republican who is retiring from the Legislature at the end of the year. Her bill would have allowed those with a concealed-weapons permit to carry a gun on the grounds of community colleges and universities. The bill never left the Senate.
Johnson said she would try to get someone to introduce the bill next year.
Johnson, who carries a weapon herself, authored the gun bills mentioned at the beginning of this article bills that were successively vetoed by Napolitano between April and May 2007. She told Capitol Times she will work behind the scenes to get Republicans to sponsor those bills.
Harper said whether the guns-on-campuses bill is introduced would depend on the public mood at the time.
The results of the elections were canvassed yesterday and legislators could have introduced bills for the very first time, Harper said. I think that if there were a strong public mood for the bill, Id say it would already be in the hopper.
It remains to be seen how Brewer actually deals with gun measures.
But a key to understanding how she views Second Amendment-related legislation may be found in a bill Brewer co-sponsored with other lawmakers while she served in the Senate in the mid-1990s.
The introductory version of the bill touched on policies broadly similar to some of those that are still being fought on the floor of the Senate and House.
S1099, the bill Brewer co-sponsored in 1996, would have allowed people with a concealed-weapon permit to carry a gun on the premises of an establishment with a liquor license. Another provision would have allowed those who have a concealed-weapon permit to keep their weapon in a public area or event as long as the weapon remains concealed.
The bill also would have deleted a section of statute suspending a concealed-weapon permit if the holder fails to carry the paperwork at all times while in possession of the gun.
Another provision would have lowered the penalty, to a petty offense from a class 2 misdemeanor, for failure to present a permit while in possession of a concealed weapon at the request of law enforcers. If the concealed-weapon permit holder was able to show the court that he or she had a valid permit at the time of the violation, the court would have been required to assess a fine of not more than $75.
The particular provision is similar to what Rep. Russell Pearce, an incoming senator, tried to legislate earlier this year in the House.
Pearces bill, H2630, would have reduced the penalty for carrying a concealed deadly weapon without a permit, unless the violation occurred in the commission or attempted commission of certain offenses. The penalty would have been reduced to a petty offense from a class 1 misdemeanor. But it was vetoed.
Also vetoed was a bill by Pearce that would have permitted a person without a concealed-weapon permit to carry a gun if a portion of the gun or holster is visible.
Another bill Napolitano rejected would have justified the defensive display of a firearm in situations that a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary for self-protection against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical or deadly force.
Janet Napolitano has been an impediment to things that I think are important, Pearce told the Capitol Times.
He named a few: School choice, protection of the unborn, tougher immigration laws and the extension of a tax relief program.
Pearce and Napolitano also butted heads perennially on immigration and the state budget.
She has spent at a reckless pace in this state, Pearce said. Had we controlled our spending in this state and held it to a level of population plus inflation, the combination, we would have a surplus today, not a deficit.
Certainly, the economy has contributed to a lot of problems. But Arizonas deficit is directly related to overspending, he added.
Pearce expects the measures he mentioned to be revived under Brewer. He also believes he and Brewer are on the same page. Pearce said his experience with Brewer has been everything good.
I expect to have a great, great working relationship with Jan Brewer on issues that I think are critical to families and taxpayers, he said.
The disgraceful Napolitano has much in common with SOS Hillary Rotham Clinton. They’ll have pajama parties.
Agreed. I deal with Brewer’s department on occasion and have nothing but the highest regard for her staff and policies as Secretary of State.
One thing that scares me - non-profit corporations in Arizona don’t pay much now in the way of fees to maintain legal status. With our budget problems, that may change. I’m not looking forward to that possibility.
Janet Napalitano is just another example of the ‘Peter Priciple’ infecting most of Zero and his admin selections. I am hoping the incompetence and prima donna bickering creates incestual infighting and thereby a government in stasis, unable to move.
I guess if you’re going to have laws governing guns these would qualify as the “common sense” gun laws they keep talking about.
Here's hoping the first vetoed bill(s) to come back to life is The Fence bill(s).
Is this a Freudian slip.
She won by about the same amount of votes a third party candidate took.
So Freud was a cross-dresser? Doesn't surprise me.