PHOENIX — Calling the spending unnecessary, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a measure Wednesday to hire an outside expert to study the state’s child-welfare agency.
The governor said efforts already are underway to figure out what went wrong with the old Child Protective Services that led to nearly 6,600 complaints of abuse and neglect going uninvestigated despite state laws to the contrary. And she said there is a separate panel looking at her plan to create an entirely new Department of Child Safety and Family Services.
“Given the reality of limited resources and staff capacity, it is important to consider all the child-welfare reforms comprehensively,” Brewer wrote in her veto message. The governor did approve other measures on Wednesday. Among them:
- It’s now a misdemeanor to point a laser at an occupied aircraft. It’s an assault, with felony penalties, if it impedes the ability to pilot the plane.
- Regulations and insurance requirements for commercially operated trampoline centers will be established.
- Optometrists can prescribe certain drugs whose use is now limited to ophthalmologists and others who are medical doctors.
- Counties with at least 150,000 people and three-member boards of supervisors will be required to ask voters whether to increase the board to five.
- Online posts of naked images of someone without that person’s permission, which are known as “revenge porn,” are outlawed
- It’s now a crime to provide someone else the physical means to commit suicide knowing that is the other person’s intent.
- A memorial will be created to honor the 19 Granite Mountain hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire.
Brewer nixed a change in tax law that would have allowed businesses to immediately write off the cost of new equipment worth up to $500,000, 20 times more than now allowed. Brewer said the move would cost the state $25 million — money she said is needed for the new child-welfare agency.
Wednesday’s veto of the study comes weeks before Brewer is expected to call lawmakers into special session later this month to create that new agency. She wants not only to replace the old CPS, which has been part of the Department of Economic Security, but also to have an agency headed by someone who reports directly to her.
And Brewer wants lawmakers to take another look at her request to provide $80 million in new funds for child welfare. The budget approved last month had just $59 million, with lawmakers deferring action on the balance, including hiring new caseworkers, until the special session.