Which makes his sponsorship of SB1069 almost bewildering.
This bill, which has already gone through First Reading in the Senate, would impact Justice Court fees. In Arizona, Justice Courts handle a lot of 'minor' matters such as evictions, misdemeanor DUIs, traffic tickets, small claims cases and the like.
'Minor' = not minor to the people affected, but not felonies or high-dollar lawsuits either.
His bill would remove the supreme court's authority to adjust Justice Court fees, a power that is currently limited to the change in the national consumer price index.
Specifically the bill deletes Section 1.F of ARS 22-281 -
F. The supreme court may increase the fees prescribed in subsection A of this section in an amount not to exceed the per cent of change in the average consumer price index as published by the United States department of labor, bureau of labor statistics between that figure for the latest calendar year and the calendar year in which the last fee increase occurred.
So...did somebody hit Sen. Paton with a Stupid stick? What possible rationalization could he have for throwing down on the entire Judicial branch? I understand that standard Republican position that all taxes and government fees are bad, but Justice Court fees already have stringent limits on their growth. Why pick this fight?
Of course, if this is rooted in some anti-tax/fee ideology, we can expect a bill with provisions that similarly eviscerates a county sheriff's ability to create or increase fees charged to prisoners in his jail. (That's you, Joe Arpaio.)
And before somebody protests that the Sheriff's jail is a county function that shouldn't be subject to interference by the state lege, I'd like to point out one thing -
Justice Courts are just as much a county function as county jails.