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Court Hands Senate President Clear Victory

Senate President Russell Pearce is praising a clear, concise ruling from Judge J. Kenneth Mangum of Maricopa County Superior Court, siding with the Legislature in a dispute over the wording of a Proposition approved by Arizona voters in 2000.

Judge Mangum today dismissed a claim by school districts and the largest teachers union that Prop. 301 required inflation funding for not only transportation, as lawmakers supported in the current budget, but for schools’ base spending levels, as well.

In the bill that led to Prop. 301, authors described two different parts of education funding that could be adjusted for inflation by the Legislature. Judge Mangum agreed with the Legislature that it was not required to fund inflation for both.

“The union claimed that the wording mandated the Legislature to appropriate inflation funding for the base level. Judge Mangum rightly found legislative discretion in the language, and that’s why you see such a clear ruling,” says Pres. Pearce.

“This ruling also supports responsible inflation funding for the school districts this fiscal year, and provides guidance as we sit down to put together a budget for the state for the years ahead.”

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