Legislators File Brief Asserting Their Role In Developing State Budget – Arizona Daily Independent

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Arizona State Sen. Vince Leach, along with Sen. David Gowan and Rep. Regina Cobb, have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court defending the Legislature’s constitutional authority to develop the state budget. The brief responds to the trial court’s ruling invalidating S.B. 1819, the budget procedures budget reconciliation bill (BRB).

The court invalidated the bill on the grounds that it violated the Arizona Constitution’s Single Subject Rule.

The Budget Procedures BRB was one of eight separate bills passed by the Legislature to effectuate the state budget.

Following the passage of the FY 2022 budget, a coalition of plaintiffs, led by the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona Education Association, sued the State arguing that the Budget Procedures BRB violated the Single Subject Rule. The Rule requires that “every act shall embrace one subject and matters properly connected therewith.” The trial court agreed with the plaintiffs and now the case is before the Arizona Supreme Court.

The brief argues that the trial court’s analysis was fundamentally flawed in defining the single subject. The brief shows that even though the Budget Procedures BRB contains 51 different provisions, ranging from how the State Lottery can spend advertising money to creating new state funds, that all matters in the bill pertain to one single subject – the budget.

The brief argues that it is “inherently within the purview of the Legislature” to determine whether any given provision is appropriately placed into a BRB and is “not the Judiciary’s authority to second-guess that decision.”

“The Arizona Constitution gives the Legislature, not the Courts, the sole authority to develop a budget and to determine how those monies in the budget should be spent,” said Leach. “This filing clearly demonstrates that all matters in the Budget Procedures are related to the budget and therefore meet the Constitution’s Single Subject Rule.”

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