Pile of bills awaits action by governor - East Valley Tribune: News

Pile of bills awaits action by governor

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Posted: Monday, July 2, 2007 2:06 am | Updated: 8:03 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Gov. Janet Napolitano has to act on the last 34 bills on her desk by end of the day today.

Capitol Media Services looks at some of the key issues and the rationale the governor is likely to consider when deciding whether the bills should become law.

EMPLOYER SANCTIONS

Bill: Suspends the state licenses of companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers. A second offense puts the firm out of business.

Reasons to sign: Napolitano vetoed a measure last year saying it was too weak, amounting to “amnesty” for employers. She also has said any immigration reform needs to deal with the lure of jobs. The failure of Congress to enact immigration reform means it will be up to the states for the time being. Failure of state legislation increases odds of approval of stricter future ballot initiatives.

Reasons to veto: The penalties would be the harshest in the U.S. Suspending a business license harms not just the owners of the company but the employees who are legal U.S. residents who would be out of work. Measure also imposes felony punishment on workers who use fake identification to get a job.

Analysis: A toss-up, particularly because Napolitano is not currently seeking re-election.

GUN LOCKERS

Bill: Calls for government agencies to provide individual storage for weapons carried by people visiting their buildings.

Reasons to sign: This simply expands an existing law that requires governments to hold weapons rather than force people to leave them in their vehicles.

Reasons to veto: Measure could be interpreted to mean that once there is no more storage space, anyone else gets to keep weapon inside building.

Analysis: Likely veto because of unintended consequences.

RAILROAD EXPANSION

Bill: Allows Arizona Corporation Commission to demand studies from railroads that want to expand operations onto land acquired by eminent domain or at auction.

Reasons to sign: Plans by Union Pacific for a rail yard near Picacho Peak and over a groundwater supply have raised concerns. Bill seeks to avoid conflict with federal preemption by allowing the commission to suggest but not mandate alternate sites.

Reasons to veto: Even with limits on the commission’s authority, measure may illegally intrude on powers of U.S. Surface Transportation Board. Commission already has a lot on its plate.

Analysis: The governor might veto the bill, as she is likely to err on the side of federal law — and not angering railroad companies.

TAX INCENTIVES

Bill: Prohibits cities from offering sales-tax incentives and rebates to developers and retailers to lure them.

Reasons to sign: Cities have shown no ability to control the incentives, with bidding wars erupting between adjacent communities to attract companies that likely would come anyway.

Reasons to veto: The bill is unequal because it applies only to Maricopa and Pinal counties. It also infringes on decisions of elected city officials.

Analysis: Veto possible. Governor sides with local control.

PUBLIC PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY

Bill: Requires actual documentation of legal presence in the country to gain access to various state programs and lower in-state tuition at community colleges and state universities.

Reasons to sign: Voters passed Proposition 300, which restricts illegal immigrants from eligibility for subsidized child care, adult education and resident tuition rates. The legislation adds teeth to that measure. And signing it gives governor some political cover if she vetoes employer sanctions.

Reasons to veto: Arizona Board of Regents already requires documentation, as do community colleges. Measure could be seen as unnecessary.

Analysis: Probable signature, or at least let it become law without signature.

SELF-DEFENSE LAW

Bill: Retroactively interprets a year-old change in state self-defense laws to put burden on prosecutors to prove self-defense was not a factor in cases that had not gone to jury when that law took effect.

Reasons to sign: Overwhelming support in the Legislature. She vetoed an earlier version saying it was too broad; but this version is somewhat narrower and would affect fewer cases.

Reasons to veto: Still has opposition from prosecutors who fear too many cases would be affected, including those which already have been tried.

Analysis: Close call. Measure simply a cleanup of what Napolitano signed last year. But some questions remain about its legality.

Other bills

Other bills on the governor’s desk that are not likely to provoke vetoes.

- Increasing benefits to individuals injured in work-related accidents.

- Providing some legal protection to employers who don’t pay the state’s new minimum wage to disabled people on their payrolls.

- Giving counties the authority to regulate the sale of spray paint and other graffiti items.

- Giving scholarships to high school students who graduate at least six months early.

- Increasing penalty for those who write bad checks for more than $5,000.

- Requiring county recorders to redact social security numbers from documents.

- Increasing penalties on gang members convicted of certain crimes.

- Restricting ability of homeowners associations to limit the use of solar energy devices.

- Imposing new air-quality regulations, mainly in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

- Extending the state’s job-training program, which is funded by a tax on employers.

- Providing more cash for publicly funded candidates for statewide office and altering equalization formula for spending match by privately financed candidates.

BAILABLE OFFENSES

Bill: Spells out what information a court must consider when deciding if someone accused of a crime is in the U.S. illegally and therefore should be denied bail.

Reasons to sign: In November, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 100, which states those charged with serious felonies should not be released. It simply provides better clarification of the factors at issue.

Reasons to veto: The state Supreme Court is coming up with its own rules and directions for judges. Napolitano could decide that the Legislature should not interfere.

Analysis: Odds slightly in favor of a signature because it really plows no new political ground.

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