KNAU and Arizona News
5:35 am
Thu February 2, 2006

Legislators sue Gov. Napolitano

Phoenix – The action essentially asks the judicial branch of government to intervene in a legal dispute between the executive and legislative branches. Specifically, lawmakers -- or at least those in the Republican majority -- contend the governor's constitutional power of line-item veto permits her only to remove one or more specific spending authorizations from a larger bill. They argue it does not allow the Democratic governor to do what she did -- veto a provision in a pay hike bill that says state workers hired beginning next year above certain salary levels do not have the protection of personnel rules to be able to appeal discipline and dismissal. Napolitano contends the change really is an appropriation of state dollars because people exempt from the personnel rules
accumulate paid time off faster than those who are within the system. This isn't the first time lawmakers have taken a governor to court. In 1992 the state Supreme Court upheld the authority of Gov. Fife Symington to use his power of line-item veto to restore some budget cuts. And two years ago the high court, without comment, refused to overturn Napolitano's earlier use of line item vetoes. The GOP leadership hopes to expedite the issue by asking the Supreme Court to take the case directly rather than starting in trial court. In Phoenix, for Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.