- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 4, 2006

PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Janet Napolitano’s vetoes are about to put her in the Arizona history books again.

A year after setting a single-session record for Arizona governors with 58 vetoes — Gov. Jane Hull, a Republican, set the old record of 28 in 2001 — the first-term Democrat is poised to capture the whole-term record in less than four years.

So far this year, Miss Napolitano has rejected 31 bills passed by the Republican-majority Legislature, including measures that would have created a new tax break on companies’ donations for private school scholarships and would have tightened an existing law requiring parental consent for minors to have abortions.

Her record veto — No. 115 — could come today, when she is expected to act on a wide-ranging border-security bill. It includes provisions similar to a bill she previously vetoed that would have made illegal aliens’ presence in Arizona a crime under the state’s trespassing law.

Miss Napolitano refused to say whether she will veto the measure, but she warned legislative leaders she would if the bill included criminalization provisions.

The Legislature has not been able to override one of her vetoes.

Her most recent veto on May 16 — rejecting a bill to impose new restrictions on cities’ use of impact fees charged for new developments — tied her with Gov. Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat, according to figures compiled by the Arizona Capitol Times newspaper.

However, Mr. Babbitt cast his 114 vetoes in a little less than nine years in office, while Miss Napolitano has yet to finish the four-year term she began in 2003. Miss Napolitano is running for re-election this year. She enjoys strong poll ratings, and several prominent Republicans decided against challenging her.

Political insiders say Miss Napolitano’s veto tally reflects her political self-confidence, the fact that she and most legislators belong to different parties and Republican lawmakers’ willingness to pass bills even though they’re likely to be vetoed.

“This governor has absolutely no reservation about putting her mark on anything,” said Republican lobbyist Kevin DeMenna, a former Senate chief of staff. “A lot of times, legislation is laid on the governor’s desk to send a message — perhaps in some cases (that is) even the primary motive — but this governor has not shied away in responding.”

Miss Napolitano said she hadn’t paid attention to the imminent veto record and doesn’t weigh public-opinion polling results when deciding whether to veto a bill. She said last week that she bases her decisions on whether a bill makes sense, accomplishes its purpose and is well-written.

“Some vetoes are vetoes because it’s a matter of principle, but some are because there simply has been inadequate communication between the Legislature and the executive,” she said.

Political analysts said several circumstances help punch up Miss Napolitano’s veto tally. Like Mr. Babbitt, “you have an activist Democratic governor and a real conservative House and Senate,” said Barry Aarons, a Republican lobbyist who served two stints in the 1990s administration of Gov. Fife Symington, a Republican.


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