Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick summary of a day at the lege

Things I learned at the lege today -

- Most of the talk of sine die (end of the legislative session) centers on next Thursday, April 29. According to House Democratic Leader Rep. David Lujan, the Speaker of the House is really focusing on that day (the 29th), so expect a lot of activity over the next week and a half.

Some folks are more pessimistic - Jeremy Browning, an associate at Ziemba Waid Public Affairs and seasoned Capitol watcher believes that they'll try hard for that date but will end up spilling over into the following week. On the other hand, he's a wide-eyed optimist compared to D17 Rep. Ed Ableser, who predicted a sine die date of May 11.

- Andrew Thomas may have left the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, but he hasn't left the nativist crazy train. In a press conference at the Capitol today, he announced that if he is elected as AZ Attorney General, his office will take over all human smuggling prosecutions in the state, including those against the smugglees themselves. In addition, his assistant AGs will be cross-deputized at the county level in order to handle prosecutions at that level.

And if any county dares to decline his offer of "help", he'll ask his allies in the lege to pass a law requiring them to do so.

AZRep columnist E.J. Montini offers his take on Thomas' announcement here.

- The House passed HCR2068, proclaiming April 20, 2010 as "Jack Brown Western Day" in honor of Rep. Brown's decades of public service to Arizona. There was a video tribute to Rep. Brown featuring a bipartisan roster of current and former denizens of West Washington, including (former) Governor Jane Hull, (former) House Democratic leader Art Hamilton, (former) Democratic gubernortorial candidate Eddie Basha, House Speaker Kirk Adams, Representative Olivia Cajero Bedford, and more. In addition, a number of members of the House rose to speak of their appreciation for Brown's civility, wisdom, and humor. Even folks who had gone on to greater things like current Congressman Harry Mitchell and former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini sent letters of appreciation which were read to the Brown, the rest of the House, and the public in the gallery.

It was a show of genuine affection and respect from all sides of the aisle of the sort that is usually missing from the Capitol these days.

- Weird fact department: Today was the first time I have visited the lege while they were considering "death resolutions" (not as macabre as it sounds - they're resolutions honoring a recently passed luminary). Turns out that out of respect to the honorees and their families, they close the public gallery. If you are in it when the session starts, you can stay, but you can't enter the gallery until the consideration of the resolutions has been completed.

Other updates for the rest of the week:

- Senate Government will meet on Thursday at 10:45 in SHR1 to consider the appointment of three people to the Arizona State Retirement System Board. Pretty mundane, but the names are interesting -

Thomas Manos, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Finance for the Brewer Administration

Kevin McCarthy, President of the Arizona Tax Research Association (his organization advocated sweeping money from K-12 to balance the state's budget last year. Perhaps the retired employees from the state should plan for dog food diets in the near future.)

Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor from ASU (OK, he looks like he may be qualified for this post in ways that go beyond political connections.)

- Floor calendars for tomorrow (April 21) are here.

- On Thursday, the House will be the location of the AZ Capitol's first-ever naturalization ceremony for three active-duty service members. Reps. Lynne Pancrazi and David Lujan will speak. Festivities start at 10:30 a.m.


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