PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law 13 bills passed by the Legislature, including one that allows the state attorney general to fight subpoenas issued to state employees even if they're not parties to the lawsuit.
That bill was prompted by subpoenas issued at the request of American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups that are trying to throw out the sections of the 2010 law that remain on the books.
Brewer's actions bring to 243 the number of bills the governor has signed since January. She also has vetoed 19 bills and cut spending from the state budget using her line-item veto authority.
Brewer's signature on Senate Bill 1221 allows the attorney general to defend state employees served with a civil subpoena. It was sponsored by Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert. The governor signed another Biggs bill in January that provided $100,000 to hire private lawyers to fight subpoenas issued to current and former lawmakers about their SB1070 communications.
Biggs calls the subpoenas a fishing expedition designed to harass members who supported SB 1070.
The groups challenging the law say they want access to letters, emails and memos between lawmakers and advocates for tougher immigration enforcement to see why proponents of the law believed it needed to be passed. They also are seeking documents to back up their claim that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent.
They have subpoenaed correspondence between Arizona legislators and SB1070 supporters that led to the creation of earlier immigration measures in 2008 through 2010. The subpoenas seek communications containing terms such as "immigrant," "illegals," "undocumented," "day laborer" and "Mexican." One of those targeted is former Senate President Russell Pearce, who gained national notoriety for pushing SB1070. He was recalled from office in 2011.
In other bill action, Brewer signed Senate Bill 1476 requiring the state's emergency management agency to develop recommendations for citizens just in case of nuclear attack. The bill by Rep. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa, is designed to beef up the state's preparedness in case a nuclear bomb goes off high in the atmosphere or a massive solar flare disrupts electronic communications and the power grid.
The recommendations must include the type and quantity of food, water, and medical supplies that each person should stockpile in case an electromagnetic pulse occurs over the U.S.
The state Division of Emergency Management is required to post the recommendations on its website and update them at least every five years.
Brewer also signed a Senate Bill 1097 creating a "Silver Alert" system modeled after Amber Alerts, which notify the public when a child has gone missing. The bill requires the state Department of Public Safety to coordinate emergency alerts for seniors who have gone missing and who are thought to be in danger. Local law enforcement must conduct an exhaustive search before an alert goes public.
There is already a system in place allowing law enforcement agencies to notify the public in cases where a person over age 65 disappears because of health problems through the news media. The new law authorizes the Department of Public Safety to use its emergency alert system to disseminate the information.