Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer became an unlikely firewall for progressives yesterday, vetoing two controversial pieces of legislation passed by the state’s GOP-controlled Congress.
Brewer nixed legislation that would have loosened Arizona’s permissive gun laws by allowing guns on college campuses. SB1467 would originally have allowing students to carry concealed weapons in classroom buildings, though its jurisdiction was later amended to “public rights of way.” Brewer cited the nebulous phrase as cause for her decision, arguing that the bill was “poorly written.” Her veto was something of a surprise in light of her record of supporting gun-rights legislation. “Bills impacting our Second Amendment rights have to be crystal clear so that gun owners don’t become lawbreakers by accident,” Brewer said. One suspects the Jan. 8 massacre in Tucson, allegedly carried out by a troubled community-college student, may have steered her decision as well.
The Arizona governor also vetoed a so-called birther bill, which would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to be listed on the state’s election ballots. HB 2177, which would have required a full birth certificate (or, failing that, a battery of documents including proof of baptism or circumcision), fails “to do anything constructive,” Brewer wrote. She got that right.
Arizona lawmakers can override a governor’s veto with two-thirds majority in both chambers. “They have the numbers,” Brewer admitted to Fox News. But an override appears unlikely, according to the Arizona Republic. It hasn’t been done in a half-century.