Jan Brewer's Special Session Adjourns Leaving 45,000 Arizonans in the Lurch

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Brewer's "special session" was a major dud

The state Legislature recessed indefinitely today from its special session without making a minor change in state law that would allow some 45,000 jobless Arizonans to continue receiving unemployment checks.

Around 15,000 out-of-work Sand Landers will receive a check this week, and then no more. The Arizona Department of Economic Security estimates that another 30,000 would qualify for the federal extension by the end of the year.

The 20 extra weeks of payments have already been approved by the U.S. Congress. There is zero state money involved. The cash infusions equal about $3.2 million per week, and the bi-partisan Grand Canyon Institute estimates that this money generates $167 million in economic returns and $6 million in state and local taxes for the rest of 2011.

With a current unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, finding a job in Arizona is not an easy task. But even if you believe, as most of the state GOP does, that such federal money is tainted and runs contrary to the dictates of conservative ideology, turning down this money is easily the most idiotic, asinine and hateful move that the state Legislature has ever pulled. And that's saying something for this bag of wingnuts.

Governor Jan Brewer called the special session last week, and scheduled it one day before the benefits were officially set to expire. But, apparently, Brewer, who is a Republican, did this without lining up the votes necessary in her party to pass the small, one-word change to the statute.

State Senator Kyrsten Sinema questioned why the session was called with no plan on Brewer's part to pass the legislation and without the governor doing the lobbying necessary to get the job done.

Sinema said that state Dems alerted the governor to this problem in March of this year through correspondence and a press conference. They even identified bills that could be amended to make the change so that the money could continue to flow. But the governor ignored their suggestions.

Ditto Brewer's fellow Republicans. The local press has reported on the looming cut-off, and the Children's Action Alliance has issued dire warnings about the loss of these funds. Though this problem should have been addressed during the regular session, Brewer should never have called a special session without scoring support for it from state GOPers.

"Michael Hunter, who is the governor's lobbyist somehow got it into his head that they had the votes," said Sinema. "As far as we can tell they just made that stuff up. They never had the votes."

Sinema characterized Brewer's move as a "PR stunt," and a "waste of money," because it costs anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 a day to keep the Legislature in session. When I spoke to her Sunday night, she correctly predicted that the Legislature would adjourn today with no action.

She also asserted that the governor could extend the benefits on her own through an executive order, as North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, did recently.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, the U.S. Department of Labor has agreed to release North Carolina's extension money based on Perdue's order. HuffPo also reports that the action is not without precedent. Other governors, including ex-Florida Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican, have previously approved such funds by fiat.

Could Brewer do likewise? Her office has not returned my calls, asking for comment. I phoned Arizona State University law professor Paul Bender for his opinion. He said that he'd have to research the issue to offer one, but called it a "possibility," since there were no state monies involved.

If the governor can issue an executive order accepting the money, she should. Ethically and economically, it's the right thing to do for the state. And I suspect it would be a popular political move. Unlike this special session, which turned into a debacle.

Follow-up: I notice that the Republic scored a comment from Governor Brewer's spokesman Matt Benson, who, not surprisingly, was once a scribe for the Rep.

Benson told the fishwrap that Brewer had no plans to issue an executive order, and that Brewer's office doesn't believe it has such authority.

The notable point about Governor Perdue's action in North Carolina is that it got the money flowing again. Wingnuts there questioned it, but the feds accepted the order as valid.

So I don't buy this bull that Brewer lacks the authority. If she can declare states of emergency, she can do this as well. Sure the Republicans won't like it, but would it be illegal? And what would GOPers do in response, impeach her? Because she acted when they wouldn't? Don't think so.

One parting shot, concerning the Rep's story: Why do the Rep's editors need three reporters and a triple byline for a 690 word piece? Remind me not to feel so bad when the next round of Gannett layoffs hit. The Rep's obviously over-staffed.

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42 comments
Clarrity
Clarrity

Maybe the Unemployed can live in tents and eat "Nutriloaf", drink water and dumpsterdive for snacks on hot evenings after grocery stores dump their daily expired food.

After all, if it's good enough for the military it should be good enough for any Arizonan.

In my opinion the Republicans just treated 15-30K citizens the same way Arpaiotreats people.

Rick
Rick

Would you want to live that way yourself?  Remember that all it takes in a sudden tragedy in anyone's life and they could end up on the street eating our of dumpsters.  I was in Louisiana when in 2005 when the hurricanes hit and even a few wealth people spent some time living that way.

Rick
Rick

Remember Arizona Voters, this day when the the state legislature ignored the welfare of the jobless working men and women of the state and vote each member out of office at the next election.  If you are jobless and not registered to vote, then register immediately as a Democrat , Green Party or Independent.  Let the Republican legislators know that Payday is coming and they will be they will be unemployed too!

Bobby
Bobby

The "Green Party"' and Democrat Party won't help you either Ricky. Their both for more illegal immigration, and you know who the money's going to go to then. Don't you?

Rick
Rick

Don't believe every lie the Republican party has been telling you.  The Republicans have been using illegal immigrants as the whipping boy for the years of policy failures.  Notice that Sheriff Joe conducts illegal immigrant sweeps rather than focusing on serious crime fighting in Maricopa County.  When it comes to the welfare of the working class, Republicans could care less.  Tax cuts for the wealthy is more important for them.

Bobby
Bobby

I agree, I only said the other two parties you mentioned are equally worthless. I don't vote for any of them.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

It is also not a bad idea to register as a republican and vote against radical anarchist far right fringe so-called Republicans, like Pearce.  Good republicans should vote the primary every time and should vote educated every time.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Gerry, it hurts me to think I may have to do this very thing......

Coz
Coz

No shit Tommy....But sometime you just have to join them  to beat them at their own game.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Good point Tommy.  If Democrats would register as Republicans, they could vote the primaries and impact who will run in the general.  Paula Pennypacker in blogland of AZCentral has put forth some very effective and intelligent arguments for Repubs taking back their party by voting in the primaries.  Extend it to Democrats invading the Repub primary and it could work. 

Russell Pearce is the fault of the Registered Republicans that don't vote the primary, and thus allow the party to be hijacked at that point.   

Coz
Coz

What do these political nimrods care, they belly up to the trough every week to collect their tax payers paid checks.

They could give a shit about anyone else.

Bobby
Bobby

Although my main beef on this forum is illegal immigration shananigans, I totally agree with Coz on this point. It isn't just illegal immigration that has bankrupted California, it's the absurd, insane, totally out of proportion pay and pensions,(compared to other states) that worthless, do nothing  Civil "Servants" make. Too bad Arizona has the same problem.

Coz
Coz

Absolutely Bobby, absolutely.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

What screwed up California was the Enron  scandal and then the election of the Grabinator who immediately cut taxes  - taxes which if still in place would have balanced California's deficit.  Republicans will vote for the scum of the earth every time

Coz
Coz

As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

>Republicans will vote for the scum of the earth every time

Truth to Power
Truth to Power

How come the political opposition in this God-foresaken state haven't called for a rally at the state capitol of the 15,000 people our "leadership" have just sacrificed to the wolves?  What, organizing that is too hard? You might have to spend some money putting it together? Hell, if I was going to be the victim of this senseless bullshit, I'd make a sign and go down to there and do some yelling with several thousand of others in the same boat.

This is why Democrats can't win elections in Arizona. No guts. No vision. No imagination. 

Amberc46
Amberc46

A rally/protest is actually a very good idea....I might arrange something with a few others in the same boat as myself.

Andrew Zahn
Andrew Zahn

Well at least Repugs lived up to their name this day as the "party of no."  I wonder how their re-election prospects look now that they've shit all over their own constituents once again. You would think that Arizona could use the bill's economic benefits but the Repugs were always most concerned about mismanaging the state economy anyways.  There's a first class seat in hell waiting for you, Brewer and Pearce.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

How will Brewer explain that the cut in benefits is actually something Obama did.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

So do we have a governor?

Coz
Coz

No, we don't, what we have is a GED X-Ray Technician that is a total twit.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I thought you asked a stupid question, then I could not answer it.

Jason
Jason

Apparently not. Brewer is just a Pearce sock puppet. She has the authority to issue an executive order releasing the money. She's just too clueless to actually do it because her puppetmaster, Pearce, won't like it. Remember, she owes her job to Pearce due to 1070.

Jason
Jason

"I have to wonder if Jan Brewer is really confused, or just plain chickenshit, unable to stand up and take direct action on this critical issue."

I guess we found out today. She will always remain Pearce's fucking sock puppet.

Gerry C:

Well said. It was completely irresponsible of Pearce & Co. to not debate the issue, let alone introduce it. I know of 45,000 people who now want, more than ever, to see Pearce & Co. unemployed and begging for HIS $240/week.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Jason,

I think the term chickenshit goes to the legislators first and foremost.  They did not introduce the bill or take any action on it.  This way these pussies can avoid voting no and directly fucking those they represent.  It is far safer politically to not have it introduced so nobody has to vote no.  Pearce's vote was the same as Gallardo's on this issue.  My 13 yr old son has a term "tea bagger" and I think his definition applies to our legislature.  Believe me, that has nothing to do with the Boston Tea Party.

Jason
Jason

Agreed. I now want to piss on ALL the legislators, with Pearce getting hit with the most piss.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Samuel Johnson's description of patriotism fits RuSSell Pearce to a "T." And your association of the scoundrel Pearce with Timothy McVeigh is spot-on...

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Damn.  If we all piss on Pearce, isn't that like pissing on our flag?

There are two notable and infamous people in the last 20 years that claim they are True American Patriots and are taking action against the Federal government .  They are Russell Pearce and Timothy McVeigh.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

It is one thing that it failed.  But to not even introduce it and debate it is irresponsible.

Andrew Zahn
Andrew Zahn

Haven't you heard? The new legislative policy is that if the Repugs see something they dislike, they'll just pretend they never saw it on their desks.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I wonder how many people in LD 18 voted for Pearce, and today got fucked by him?  Same thing with lots of districts.  This sort of memory should survive until Nov 2012.

Jason
Jason

It's the whole state Gerry. Yuma County has a 25.5% unemployment rate. Nazicopa and Pima Counties have 8% unemployment. 

guest
guest

I guess that Pearce and his idiot cohorts are just begging to be unemployed as soon as possible. It may actually work! They may actually have accomplished something positive for Arizona after all....

Native Guns
Native Guns

I have to wonder if Jan Brewer is really confused, or just plain chicken shit, unable to stand up and take direct action on this critical issue. She had the general public fooled last week with that "PR stunt" of hers. Now I'm really disappointed in her.

Feathered Bastard I guess you are wrong. After today, she is a "Republinut", not an authentic Republican. Once a sock puppet, she'll always be a sock puppet.

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