Tuesday, January 4, 2022

BREAKING: Taxpayers' Cost For AZ Legislature's Extreme Log-Rolling About To Multiply; Brnovich May Cause It To Keep Increasing (READ Filings)

Update, 1/5, 4pm: The AZ Supreme Court will release its slam dunk Opinion TOMORROW, explaining why the Legislature's extreme log-rolling was unconstitutional. This was the order finding the Leg's ban on schools requiring face masks unconstitutional. The Court made its decision on November 2, only a couple of hours after hearing oral arguments. 

Original article, 1/4 at 4pm: BREAKING: Taxpayers' Cost For AZ Legislature's Extreme Log-Rolling About To Multiply; Brnovich May Cause It To Keep Increasing (READ Filings)

The cost to state taxpayers for the Arizona Legislature's extreme log-rolling budget bills is poised to more than double this month, and Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office can do little more than ask the courts to shave a little off of the bill.

Phoenix successfully sued to strike down a part of the Legislature's budget bills which interfered with the city's new ordinance setting out civilian oversight of the police department. 

The Attorney General's Office has appealed that anti-logrolling decision, even after the Arizona Supreme Court had affirmed a similar ruling brought by the Arizona School Boards Association (and others) against portions of the budget reconciliation package striking down schools' masking policies. (The appeal is still pending, with an opening brief due Feb. 28. See, "AZAG Mark Brnovich and Albert Einstein (Z''L) Finally Have Something In Common; Appeal Filed In Phoenix Suit Vs. BRB")

The City is now asking Superior Court Judge John Hannah for more than $177,000 from the state to recoup its attorneys' fees in the suit so far. (The Motion is published below.)

Brnovich's office has responded (also below) by asking the Court to *only* award $105,569.49, claiming that the attorneys inflated some of their time entries. In an interesting argument, the AG also notes that the ASBA plaintiffs only received $102,760 in attorneys fees, and that that was for a bulkier case.

No matter which way Judge Hannah rules after receiving Phoenix's Reply next week, Arizona taxpayers' tab is going to balloon to more than $200,000 for the two cases. (That does not include the time devoted to the cases by the Attorney General's Office.) And, it could go over $300,000 if any of the plaintiffs seek fees for the appellate processes initiated by Brnovich - particularly the one started *after* the Supreme Court's decision.

Perhaps even more interesting and eye-opening, the AG's argument includes the attorneys' fees awards obtained by private counsel for the Arizona Board of Regents in Brnovich's ill-fated lawsuit(s) against Arizona State University for its development practices. The Response notes that only $85,512 was awarded against the state in one part of that case, and that Superior Court Judge Christopher Whitten pared down another award to *only* $115,610. 

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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.

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