Phoenix, AZ – Host Intro:
The question of who is entitled to public benefits is headed back
to court. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.
Approved by voters in 2004, Proposition 200 denies state and
local benefits to those not in this country legally. But Gov.
Janet Napolitano, relying on a legal opinion by Attorney General
Terry Goddard, concluded the restriction applies to just a
handful of programs like rental and housing assistance. Last year
the Court of Appeals gave initiative backers the right to sue the
governor. Rep. Russell Pearce said a lawsuit is the only way to
get Napolitano, who opposed the initiative, to put all programs
off limits to illegal immigrants.
(She's the one that marched in the streets in Tucson against Prop
200. She stood with other folks against Prop 200 from Day 1. It
was very clear what she was doing. And then she back-door vetoed
the citizens initiative that was passed overwhelmingly.)
But gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer said Napolitano
directed her agencies to implement the law in a way she believes
(The attorney general is her legal counsel. He gave her his
advice. She has been following it and will continue to follow it.
These guys have asked the court to make a different decision and
they have the right to do that. And if the court orders a
different interpretation we'll deal with that when that happens.)
It could take months for a Maricopa County Superior Court judge
to rule. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.