Tuesday, September 14, 2021

How AZ AG Brnovich Got To File "1st Lawsuit In the Nation" Against Biden's Yet-To-Be-Detailed Vaccine/Testing Mandate; The Double-Flip With A Twist (READ Lawsuit)

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich boasted today about his "first lawsuit in the nation" status against the Biden Administration's yet-to-be-detailed vaccine/testing mandate. The broad outline was announced by the President last week, so how is it that noone beat Arizona to the courthouse?

The answer lies in the creative legal argument presented today by the Attorney General's Office.  Brnovich's fellow Republican AGs and Governors were likely drafting their Complaints to be ready when OSHA finally files the proposed emergency rule requiring companies with more than 99 employees to either mandate vaccinations or testing of all employees.

Since the Arizona AG team already has honed its arguments against the Biden Administration's policies regarding illegal immigrants and the southern border, some gymnastic moves were in the repertoire.

Brnovich is attempting to land a double-flip with a twist. He notes that there is no vaccine requirement for "unauthorized aliens", so to (kind of) impose such a requirement on U.S. citizens is a sort of reverse discrimination and violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. (And, therefore, the action is subject to "strict scrutiny".

To stick the landing and file the case today, Brnovich notes that his colleagues with the traditional arguments must wait. "Courts will have an opportunity to review and invalidate those forthcoming mandates as to private employers, federal contractors, federal employees, and health care workers. But this particular component—i.e., the unconstitutional discrimination against U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens lawfully residing and working in the U.S.—is ripe for judicial review and invalidation now.

Much of the lawsuit is a strongly-worded press release. Literally, the first six pages are an "Introduction", and much of it is repeated in the subsequent facts section. "The same Administration that would not dream of infringing upon the right of unauthorized aliens to choose whether to be vaccinated (or not), has no equivalent regard for the rights of United States citizens."

And, it includes a shout-out and reference to Fox News, for noting that Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain had retweeted a commentator's opinion that the yet-to-be-delivered vaccine/testing requirement is a "workaround". (Brnovich has already announced his first national interview on a conservative show to promote today's lawsuit.)

The entire legal allegations could have been published in a very brief Twitter thread. Here it is in its entirety:


The case has been assigned to Michael Liburdi, former General Counsel for Governor Doug Ducey.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court DENIES Cyber Ninjas & Sen. President Fann's Appeals Of Public Records Lawsuits; Stay Is Dissolved

The Arizona Supreme Court today DENIED separate appeals by both State Senate President Karen Fann and the Cyber Ninjas. 

The first appeal was brought by the Ninjas in the Arizona Republic case for public records. It focused on whether the Supreme Court could remove parties' right to demand a change of judge just because of the pandemic. That was an interesting tack that resulted from Cyber Ninjas' effort to have Superior Court Judge John Hannah removed from the case because he had sanctioned the Republican party in a post-election challenge.

Fann's appeal was directly on the point of whether the Senate was required to gather and turn over records that were in the control of the Cyber Ninja contractor (and their subvendors). The Supreme Court put a temporary stay (or, hold) on the August 31 turnover deadline. This removes that stay.

The newest Justice on the court, Kathryn King, did vote to accept both appeals, and Justice Bolick would have accepted the Ninjas' case in order to determine whether the peremptory right to a change of judge was substantive.


"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

UPDATE: Maricopa County Board Schedule Possible Monday Action On State Senate Election Audit/Recount Subpoenas

Update, 9/17,  2:15pm: The Supervisors have scheduled another Special meeting for this coming Monday afternoon. But, this one is more enticing than most: they have listed an *Open* session to possibly take action "regarding the election and compliance with the Senate subpoena and litigation."

This will be the 22nd Special (and/or Emergency) Executive Session of 2021 for the Board, which is overwhelmingly Republican.

As noted below, both the Board's Notice of Claim and the Attorney General's finding are coming up on their calendar towards the end of the month. Given the wording of Monday's 1:00pm agenda, this would more likely deal with the latter.

Original article 9/8/21: Maricopa County Board To Hold Special Meeting To Discuss Election Audit Subpoenas Standoff

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will hold a special closed door meeting to discuss their long-running standoff with the Arizona State Senate regarding the 2020 election and the subsequent subpoenas and audit/recount.

The Republican-dominated Board will receive updates from both their "in-house" County Attorney's Office AND their outside (private sector_ counsel. In addition, they will be joined by other county-wide elected officials (Sheriff Paul Penzone, Recorder Stephen Richer and Assessor Eddie Cook), indicating that the Senate's demands for the county's routers are going to be part of the discussion.

This will be the 21st Special and/or Emergency Executive Session held this year by the Board of Supervisors; all or nearly all of them have had to do with the battle with the Senate.

Currently on the clock are (1) the Board's Notice of Claim against the State Senate, seeking reimbursement for the $2.8M which the County is incurring for new voting machines as a result of the "audit"; and (2) the Arizona Attorney General's finding that the County could lose state funds if it does not resolve the outstanding subpoena issues. Both of those are coming to a head at the end of September.

Here is tomorrow's agenda:

 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Friday, September 3, 2021

BREAKING: Mesa's Jacob Chansley (aka "Jake Angeli" fka "QAnon Shaman" aka "Face of Jan. 6 Insurrection") Enters Plea Agreement

 Jacob Chansley, the Mesa man who became the face of the January 6 attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, entered into a plea agreement this morning. He has pleaded guilty to obstructing a Congressional proceeding.

The maximum sentence is 20 years, and the Asst U.S. Atty stated today that the Sentencing Commission recommendations will likely be 41-61 months

(We are live-tweeting the hearing: https://twitter.com/arizonaslaw/status/1433810293621092355 )

Chansley previously called himself the "QAnon Shaman" and was a fixture at Arizona protests before becoming one of the most widely-known persons involved in the January 6 storming of the Capitol during the certifying of Electoral College votes.

Chansley turned himself in shortly afterwards and has been in several different jails since. Last month, he was in a Colorado facility for psychological testing.


 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

NEW: AZ Supreme Court Sharpens Definition Of "Substantially Prevailed" For Public Records Cases; Benefits ACLU and May Impact Election Audit Lawsuit (READ Opinion)

In a case of interesting timing, the Arizona Supreme Court today issued an Opinion in a long-running public records case that the ACLU has had against the State, and it might impact the much-watched lawsuit about the Senate's election audit records.

To be awarded attorneys' fees in many court cases, a party needs to convince the judge that they "substantially prevailed". However, that is often not as clear-cut as you might expect. 

The unanimous court sharpened the definition today for public records cases, suggesting that the trial court judge must conduct a "comprehensive examination" and award fees if the plaintiff "was more successful than not in obtaining the requested records, defeating the government’s denial of access to public records, or securing other relief concerning issues that were contested before litigation was initiated...." (The key word there is the "or".)

 

The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the trial court to apply their broader test. In this case, Superior Court Judge David Gass had already found that the ACLU substantially prevailed, so it is likely to succeed in getting its fees from the state's Department of Child Safety. (More than eight years ago, the ACLU sought records regarding child welfare services.)

Of course (as we have been reporting on this past week), the Supreme Court also is currently considering American Oversight's public records case against the State Senate Republicans regarding the ongoing election audit/recount being conducted by the Cyber Ninjas. That case is not yet at the point where the plaintiff is ready to ask for attorneys' fees, but the Senate's attorneys have already acknowledged that more records will be turned over.

"I’d say the court made it clear that a superior court judge has broad discretion to award fees in public records cases and AO has a better chance of getting fees now than it did before this decision," Phoenix appellate attorney Taylor Young (Burg Simpson) tells Arizona's Law.

Here is today's opinion, written by Justice James Beene:

 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Friday, August 20, 2021

BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court Gives Fann/Ninjas More Time To Turn Over "Audit" Records - At Least Until Mid-Sept. (READ Order)

UPDATE, 8/24, 10:30am: BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court Gives Fann/Ninjas More Time To Turn Over "Audit" Records - At Least Until Mid-Sept. (READ Order)

The Arizona Supreme Court today extended the stay for Senate President Karen Fann and the Cyber Ninjas, extending the briefing and conference schedule on the Public Records Law suit to September 14. There had been an August 31 deadline to turn over the records in the physical possession of the Ninjas.

The full court warned the State Senate Republicans, however, to keep working on the documents during the interim period: "IT IS ORDERED extending the stay to enable the Court to fully consider the issues raised in the petition for review. However, this order does not relieve the Petitioners from continuing to review and produce documents Petitioners have already agreed to produce, as noted on pages 2-3 of Petitioners’ Petition for Review (“The Senate has produced, or will produce, to American Oversight any documents in the physical possession or physical custody of any of the Senate or of Secretary Bennett that are (1) responsive to American Oversight’s public records requests; and (2) not protected from disclosure by any constitutional, statutory or common law privilege or confidentiality.”)."

The Court invited any amicus ("friend of the court") briefs to be filed by next Tuesday, and promised to privately conference on the matter on September 14.

(Later clarification: The above paragraph from the Court has confused some readers. There are now two different categories of documents/records:

1) those Fann (Langhofer) acknowledges should be turned over, but haven't been. Still should be: "this order does not relieve the Petitioners from continuing to review and produce documents Petitioners have already agreed to produce."

2) the so-called "Withheld Records" are the ones that weren't in Senate's "physical possession". Those are the subject of the Supremes' Stay.

(Further pleadings and details can be found below, in the original article and updates.)

UPDATE, 8/23, 4:30pm: NEW, UPDATE: Arizona Supreme Court Told Impending Election "Audit" Findings "Makes Immediate Disclosure All the More Critical"

American Oversight has told the Supreme Court that the soon-to-be-released-maybe report on the State Senate's election "audit" "makes immediate disclosure all the more critical." American Oversight's Response - in their public records case against Fann and the Cyber Ninjas - argues the Court should refuse to stay the August 31 deadline set by Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp, and should refuse to accept the appeal.

Arizona citizens are entitled to see what their government is up to now, particularly where Petitioners and their agents have for many months been disseminating selective information about the audit while cloaking from public view the public records that would permit the public to assess the accuracy of that (mis)information and the credibility and financial motivation of those delivering it. Moreover, Petitioners are apparently about to release their “audit” report, which makes immediate disclosure all the more critical.

Justice Kathryn King put a temporary stay in effect on Friday, until this Response could be received and considered. It was filed Friday afternoon (it has not yet been publicly posted), so a decision could come at any time in the next few days.

American Oversight's attorneys (Desai/Gaona/Beauchamp) noted that Fann has already suffered three consecutive losses "on the narrow (and unremarkable) issue of producing public records relating to their “audit” of the 2020 General Election, Petitioners have the effrontery to declare (at 5) that, “[i]f American Oversight really is entitled to the documents it seeks (to the extent they exist), it will get them in due course.” But the Public Records Law mandates “prompt” production, and four months have passed since American Oversight submitted its requests.

Here is the full Response:

UPDATE, 6:10pm: The Arizona Supreme Court has re-placed a temporary stay on the trial court's order setting an August 31 deadline for turning over the records held by the Cyber Ninjas. However, as new Justice Kathryn King* held a conference call with the attorneys today and received American Oversight's Response this afternoon, it is highly unlikely that the state's highest court will not have come to a decision before the end of the month.

Here's the Scheduling Order:

*King was on call as the "Duty Justice" to handle emergency hearings such as this. She was just put on the Court last month.

UPDATE 12:45pm: Here is the Emergency Motion for Stay and Petition for Review which Karen Fann's attorneys filed with the Arizona Supreme Court last night. Fann blasts the "doctrinal innovation" of yesterday's decision and worries that "(I)ts conclusion that the Senate is not immune from judicial diktats ordering it to divulge alleged legislative records flies in the face of more than a century of federal and Arizona precedents recognizing legislative immunity as a bulwark against all claims seeking any variant of relief that arise out of an official legislative function, such as the audit."

UPDATE 10:45am: Karen Fann filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court last night, and has also asked that an Emergency Stay be granted (to pause the August 31 deadline). (Case number is CV-21-0197.)

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, 8/20/21, 7:20am: NEW, ELECTION "AUDIT": "Senate outsourced its important legislative function to Cyber Ninjas" - therefore, Ninjas' documents are "public records"

Because the "Senate outsourced its important legislative function to Cyber Ninjas and its sub-vendors", the Ninjas' documents related to the "audit" of Maricopa County's election are "public records" that must be disclosed The Court of Appeals thus disposed of State Senate President Karen Fann's appeal and argument that requiring disclosure would subject all government vendors to Arizona's public records law.

The Court "found no error" with the trial court's determination that the records must be turned over, lifting the temporary stay it had placed while considering the special action petition. Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp has given Fann until August 31 to comply.

The three judge panel also brusquely disposed of Fann's attorneys' argument that Fann could avail herself of legislative immunity because an audit and the decision to release the underlying records is a "legitimate legislative function."

Judge Maria Elena Cruz wrote the Memorandum Decision and stated that "(L)egislators are not afforded absolute immunity for all acts that are “in any way related to the legislative process,” nor is legislative immunity intended to make legislators “super-citizens,” immune from all responsibility." And, "Allowing the legislature to disregard the clear mandate of the PRL would undermine the integrity of the legislative process and discourage transparency, which contradicts the purpose of both the immunity doctrine and the PRL.

 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

BREAKING: Largely "Unconstitutional" - Arizona Supreme Court Sets Up Education Funding Portion Of Invest In Ed Initiative To Be Knocked Down

UPDATE, 8/19 at 10:15am: The Invest In Ed initiative passed by Arizona voters last year to provide additional funding for education via a tax surcharge on wealthiest taxpayers is largely unconstitutional. The Opinion handed down by a 6-1 majority of the Arizona Supreme Court this morning holds that the initiative cannot get around expenditure limitations in the Constitution. Therefore, revenues raised may largely remain un-spendable.

The majority opinion is written by Chief Justice Robert Brutinel noted that the tax surcharge will currently remain in place: "However, because we cannot determine at this preliminary stage of the case the extent to which, if any, such funding will exceed the constitutional expenditure limitation, we
decline to enjoin the imposition of the tax pending further proceedings in the trial court."

So, the Supreme Court has handed it back to the trial court to make that determination based on the restrictions it set forth.

The majority determines that the severability clause - a common provision that suggests that if one portion of a law runs afoul of the Constitution that the remaining parts remain in place - does not save Prop. 208. "However, the act intended to drastically increase education spending, which cannot be done without the invalid provision. Consequently, the severability clause does not save Prop. 208."

Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer dissented from that part of the decision, stating that the majority set up a test which was not asked for by the plaintiffs nor justified.

Would voters have enacted Prop. 208 had they known that a material amount of generated tax funds could languish in state accounts unless excess expenditures were authorized? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps they were willing to risk having Prop. 208 “lurch along,” counting on the legislature to authorize exceeding the expenditure cap and avoid needlessly accumulating “hundreds of millions of dollars in unspent revenues.” Perhaps not. But there is no vehicle for making such inquiries because Fann has not shown that the transfer and allocation provisions are facially unconstitutional, which would prompt a severability analysis under Randolph. The likelihood of successful as-applied challenges should not be used as a backdoor pathway for declaring an entire initiative unconstitutional and void. 

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit (and is likely the funding party). AZFEC President Scot Mussi celebrated today's decision in a statement to Arizona's Law/Arizona's Politics, already referring to Invest In Ed in the past tense:

"This was a great win for taxpayers, small business and the rule of law. Prop 208 was a poorly drafted measure that would have caused severe damage to Arizona's economy. We are looking forward to the trial court determining that the law exceeds the constitutional expenditure limitation and officially strikes down the measure."

On the other side, Save Our Schools called the decision "an affront to our right to self-governance" and stated that the referenda petitions they and Invest In Arizona are circulating to stop three of the Legislature's efforts to un-do Prop. 208 are more important than before to avoid "the twin blows of that lss and the impending loss of another $1B per year due to the legislature's massive tax cuts."


 Another interesting aspect of this is whether those bills passed by the Legislature this year will actually change the outcome of the test ordered today by the Supreme Court. 



(This is a developing story. Please check back for the Opinion, updates, etc.)

Original article, 8/18: Long-Awaited Arizona Supreme Court Opinion On Invest In Ed's Constitutionality Released Tomorrow
On April 20, the Arizona Supreme Court held oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Invest In Ed tax surcharge to help fund education. Tomorrow, the Court will deliver its Opinion on that controversial subject.

This case challenges the initiative that was passed by voters last November. This is not to be confused with the many lawsuits and actions that have taken place on the subject since the oral arguments. The Legislature passed three laws to un-do the effects of the surcharge on the wealthiest taxpayers, the Invest In Ed proponents began collecting referendum petition signatures to stop those laws and both sides have filed lawsuits.

If the Arizona Supreme Court Justices rule tomorrow that the original initiative was defective because of the state Constitution's expenditure limitations - meaning the monies raised by Invest In Ed could not be properly spent - most or all of that April through August activity will have been for naught.

The April 20 arguments were fascinating to watch - largely because the central issue was quite different from the arguments the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, State Senate President Karen Fann and the other plaintiffs had initially emphasized in their case. 

Plaintiffs now argue that Invest In Ed could not "exempt itself" from the expenditure limitations (Art. IX, sxn 21) and that voters would not have passed the measure if they knew most of the collected funds would not be able to be spent right away.

 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.






Tuesday, August 17, 2021

BREAKING: Phoenix Sues State For Stepping On Its Civilian-Led Police Review Office...In An Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill (READ Complaint)

The State Legislature wanted to monkey with Phoenix's new ordinance establishing civilian-led review of police officer misconduct. So, they stuck the restrictions in one of their many omnibus budget bills at the end of the session.

Today, the City of Phoenix struck back, filing a lawsuit claiming that the Republican-led legislature violated the single subject rule - among other constitutional violations.

That same bill also broadened legislators' ability to have the Attorney General investigate actions taken by cities (and counties, etc). Today's lawsuit attacks that measure, as well.

Phoenix's lawsuit is similar to that filed last week by the Arizona School Boards Association and others in attacking five of the other reconciliation bills. That Complaint - which has not yet been set for an initial hearing - focuses on the Legislature's attempt to ban face mask mandates in schools.

It is conceivable that the State might try to consolidate these two cases (and any other similar cases that may not have been filed yet). The City's lead attorney, Jean-Jacques Cabou of Perkins Coie, tells Arizona's Law that that could happen. "I do see the arguments here as aligned with, though not entirely the same as, those raised in the case in which ASBA is the lead plaintiff...." 

To make matters even more interesting, a few of the sections attacked by the ASBA lawsuit are also the subject of one of the referendum petitions currently being circulated. Arizona Deserves Better is trying to put several sections of SB1819 on the ballot for voters to decide in 2022, and Invest In Arizona is collecting signatures on three other budget bills which attack the 2020-voter-approved Invest In Ed initiative.

Lawsuits are flying back and forth on those referenda drives, as well. The dark money Arizona Free Enterprise Club claimed that the tax bills are not subject to the constitutional referendum power. Invest In Arizona struck back last week, arguing that the Legislature violated the Constitution's Voter Protection Act when trying to undo the tax surcharge.

Here are the newest entries in the legal wars:

 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

BREAKING: Education Groups Strike Back, Ask Judge To Find Governor Ducey's "Small Business" Tax Plan Unconstitutional Plot To Un-Do Invest In Ed (READ Complaint)

Education groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Governor Doug Ducey's "small business" tax credit law, telling the judge that it violates Arizona's Constitution by undoing a portion of the Invest In Ed initiative passed by voters last year.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens will hold an initial hearing this coming Monday on the request by Invest In Arizona for a preliminary injunction.

The effort against SB1783 appears to be a backstop in the event that the coalition created by the Arizona Education Association and Stand for Children are unable to collect enough referendum petition signatures before September 28 (2021) to put the measure on the ballot in 2022. The lawsuit does not seek to undo the other two tax bills which the groups are circulating petitions to stop.

In 2020, Arizona voters approved the Invest In Ed initiative (aka "Prop 208"), which raises monies for education by adding a surcharge to wealthier taxpayers. The Legislature and Governor passed several workarounds last month to un-do the funding mechanism. The newest Invest In Ed-related referendum targets SB1783, which creates a new credit for an expanded definition of small business taxpayers to offset the Prop. 208 surcharge. 

The legislative budget analysts estimates SB1783 would reduce Invest In Ed revenues by more than $262M each year.

In touting his signature on the bill, Governor Doug Ducey said "After a year as tough as the last, we should not be raising taxes on our small businesses — we should be cutting their taxes. That’s exactly what Senate Bill 1783 does." He did not mention either the impact on Prop. 208 nor that the new Arizona definition of "small business" includes anyone who reports interest or dividends. (This means that any high income taxpayer with any stock dividends or interest suddenly becomes a "small business" and qualifies for the new offsetting tax credit.)

The Complaint and the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction against the State of Arizona are below.

On the flip side, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club's lawsuit to stop all three of the Invest In Arizona referenda efforts will not be determined before the September 28 signature deadline. AZFEC is claiming that the tax-related bills are not subject to the citizens' right to refer them to the ballot.

 "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Monday, August 9, 2021

BREAKING: Maricopa County Supervisors Calls Meeting Tomorrow Afternoon To Discuss Election "Audit" Subpoenas; 20th Snap Meeting of the Year

 The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has called a snap meeting for 24 1/2 hours from now in order to discuss the current situation with the State Senate's election "audit" subpoenas. This is the 20th time this year that the GOP-dominated Board has held special or emergency meetings to discuss the ongoing post-election mess.

The Board has to call it an "emergency" meeting if they post it less than 24 hours before the starting time; there have been 11 such meetings this year.

Tomorrow's executive session is set for 3:00pm tomorrow, and notice went out at 2:40pm. The substantive agenda was not yet posted.

The County has provided some information responsive to the latest round of subpoenas sent out by Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Chair Warren Petersen. However, they have filed a number of objections to most of the demands for data.

Here are the both the subpoena and the County's response and objections to it.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

How AZ AG Brnovich Got To File "1st Lawsuit In the Nation" Against Biden's Yet-To-Be-Detailed Vaccine/Testing Mandate; The Double-Flip With A Twist (READ Lawsuit)

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich boasted today about his "first lawsuit in the nation" status against the Biden Administrati...