State Capitol News
10:39 am
Tue April 19, 2011

Brewer Vetos Three Measures

Phoenix, AZ – Perhaps the biggest surprise was Brewer's veto of a measure which would have allowed individuals to carry their weapons anywhere on the public rights of way around and through state university and community college campuses. Brewer has been a staunch supporter of expanding the ability of gun owners to carry weapons where and when they want. She even approved legislation last year repealing the requirement that those who want to carry their weapons concealed must first undergo a background check and get certain training. All that has given her an A-Plus rating from the National Rifle Association. But on Monday Brewer rejected this latest proposal. In her veto message the governor said at least part of her heartburn was the fact that nowhere in the bill does it define exactly what is a public right of way. In fact, she called the legislation -- quote -- poorly written. That annoyed Sen. Ron Gould who crafted the bill.

(I thought it was a very rude veto letter. Generally you don't write the first sentence, because it is so poorly written. Bear in mind this is a bill that got through the Senate twice, got through the House once. And no one complained it was poorly written at that time. But it gets on the governor's desk and the governor decides it's poorly written.)

But Brewer said several legislators did bring up the lack of a definition of public rights of way and that the best answer one supporter could provide was that the courts would sort it out. The governor said it's up to lawmakers to make laws, not judges. The governor also rejected another bill which would have made Arizona the first and only state in the nation that would have required the secretary of state to refuse to put a presidential candidate's name on the ballot unless he or she provided documents to prove the person meets the federal constitutional requirements. That includes being a natural born citizen. Rep. Carl Seel said getting the state involved is absolutely necessary.

(The Congressional Research Service indicated that since the foundation of our country, this has never been done before. That is, federal candidates have never been vetted. Also the Congressional Research report suggested that this problem be solved at the state level. The U.S. Constitution says it's a purview of the state legislatures for this very question.)

But Brewer, who was secretary of state before becoming governor two years ago, said she feared that giving that much power to the person holding that office -- quote -- could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions. Seel called that an interesting assertion.

(The U.S. Constitution is very clear, once again, that we have this purview. The secretary of state is the chief election officer of the state. So I don't think it's unreasonable to put in the hands of the chief election officer the capacity to enforce election law.)

The governor also suggested the legislation had a certain 'ick' factor. She pointed out that candidates who could not produce the long form birth certificate sought in the measure would have the option of instead furnishing other documents relating to postnatal medical treatment. In vetoing the bill, Brewer wrote -- quote -- I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President of the greatest and most power nation on Earth to submit their 'early baptismal or circumcision certificates' among other records to the Arizona secretary of state. Brewer's final veto Monday was of a measure which would have required her to enter into compacts with other states to find alternatives to the federal health care law. The governor said that the Legislature has no power to direct her to sign such an agreement. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.