Gov. Jan Brewer

Matt York

PHOENIX - The Arizona Legislature is sitting on approved bills by not sending them to Gov. Jan Brewer despite a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that said lawmakers cannot do that.

The 2009 ruling resulted from a lawsuit filed by Brewer when lawmakers refused to promptly send her budget bills that she planned to veto because she wanted to force lawmakers to draft new versions reflecting her priorities.

The House is holding 17 bills and the Senate three, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

But Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said his boss has no problem with bills being held at this time.

"It's just a matter of focusing the attention on the issues at hand," Benson said.

Brewer has said she'll veto bills sent to her under a moratorium intended to force action on a budget and her proposed Medicaid expansion.

On May 23, Brewer enforced her moratorium by vetoing five bills sent to her by the Senate.

House Speaker Andy Tobin said he's trying to respect Brewer's wishes. But he acknowledged he's violating the 2009 ruling.

"That might be true but I don't see anyone suing me over it," Tobin said.

Arizona State University law professor Paul Bender, an expert on the Arizona Constitution, said there's no question the Legislature is violating the 2009 ruling.

However, Bender said, there's probably no way to force the Legislature to transmit bills to Brewer unless she sues.

It's questionable whether anybody else, such as an Arizona resident with a stake in a particular bill, would have a legal position to sue, he said.

"Nobody knows the answer to those questions. Standing doctrine is not clear," Bender said. "Outside of the governor, you cannot tell."