Arizona Republic
July 25, 2007

 (Phoenix, AZ) Author: Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2
Legislative leaders are rejecting a suggestion that they be held in contempt for not meeting a court order to fully fund programs for public-school students trying to learn English.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court this week, Senate President Tim Bee and Speaker of the House Jim Weiers argue that they are not subject to a contempt action in the long-running lawsuit over English-language learners.
That's because the duty to act falls on the state in the case, which is called Flores vs. Arizona, and not on specific legislative leaders.

Additionally, they argue they don't have the power to comply with the order, since they are only two votes out of 90 potential legislative votes. The lawmakers also assert in their court filing that the state is moving ahead with new plans for English-language instruction, and say Judge Raner Collins should not impose sanctions on individual lawmakers.

The arguments are in response to attorney Tim Hogan's request for a contempt finding against the two legislative leaders for failing to meet a March court order to properly fund programs for students struggling to learn English. In that filing, Hogan asked the court to levy fines that could climb as high as $2 million a day as an incentive to get lawmakers moving.

Hogan is representing the estimated 133,000 schoolchildren whose English skills don't meet standards. Under federal law, the state must help these students reach proficiency.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: VALLEY & State
Page: B1

Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: pho172300232

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