Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed several bills last week, some of them made sense, and others made no sense whatsoever. Of course, these kinds of decisions are becoming common for Brewer, we are sometimes excited by her decision-making, and other times we are left scratching our heads.
One of her good decisions last week was the veto of a bill that would have lifted the state ban on electronic billboards.
Professional astronomers applauded the governor, saying it shows the state is serious about protecting the dark skies essential to the astronomy industry. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that it shows the whole state is interested in preserving the dark skies, after all, the bill made it to the governor’s desk because the Republican-led legislature passed it through.
Jeffrey Hall, director of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, said the governor sent “the strongest possible signal” to “major international investors” that the state has their interests in mind.
Electronic billboards became an issue during this legislative session after a November ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, which banned electronic billboards along freeways. The ruling threatened 70 existing billboards in the Phoenix area.
In explaining her veto, Brewer said the astronomy industry accounts for more than 3,300 jobs and $250 million in annual economic impact. Further, Brewer said lawmakers must work to find a balance that will benefit both industries, saying she expects the bill to return to her desk next year.
Proponents of the bill argue that the outdoor advertising services 4,200 businesses. With that said, protecting dark skies in a state with clear skies that brings educational and economical benefits is still more important that an electronic billboard.
While that veto made sense, Brewer had the head-scratching moment last week when she decided to overrule that Legislature’s approval of a bill aimed at protecting Arizona State Parks.
Brewer rejected HB 2362, state would have protected Arizona State Park’s revenue from legislative sweeps. The bill had few opponents, easily passing through the House and Senate.
Brewer said the language in the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, was too broad.
Fann proposed the bill because the Bureau of Land Management, which leases land to 10 of the 30 state parks, requested that Arizona State Parks protect revenue from sweeps.
Brewer’s veto letter said her staff is working on the bill’s language to protect lease requirements for those parks on BLM land.
With so many devisive issues that keep party lines separate, it makes no sense that Gov. Brewer chose to reject this bill. Not only does it protect state parks, but it was also passed without a problem by both sides of the aisle. This is a place where she needed to support that state’s lawmakers, and sign it.
Some are confident they can work on the “broad” language and bring it back during this legislative session in order to get the measure passed this year. However, the current session will end some time this month, and with Brewer, it’s hard to know what she will end up doing.
Brewer has an ability to surprise you by supporting the bills that so many believe she will veto, and rejecting those bills that no one else worried about.
One thing is for sure, Brewer doesn’t always stick to party lines, she has been known to reject bills by the Republican majority.
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