Regent designees still waiting to be approved
The two Arizona Board of Regents designees, originally intended to be active by January, have still not been approved by the Arizona State Senate.
Gary Stuart and Christine Palacios were appointed by Arizona Gov. Jane Hull in September and since have been attending ABOR meetings as designees without the right to vote.
Stuart and Palacios were intended to replace Regents Rudy Campbell and John Munger, whose eight-year terms expired in January.
At the last ABOR meeting Feb. 25, Campbell returned to fill in for the designees who could not vote yet.
"The outgoing regents maintain the ability to vote until the regent designees have been approved," Regent Chris Herstam said.
The delay is being blamed on the shortened legislative session and an increased volume of bills before the Senate.
"There were over 1,000 bills filled, in terms of sheer volume," said Francie Noyes, Hull's press secretary. "It's not surprising they have to work their way through somewhat slowly."
The Regent designees are not the only governor's appointments which have been held up by the Senate, Herstam said.
"There are numerous appointments that have been cleared by committee but not by the Senate," Herstam said. "Its just a matter of the style of the legislature at that time,"
Both the designees have been approved unanimously by the education committee and have gotten out of caucus. Now their appointments must go before the Senate, Herstam said.
"The Senate Education Committee has voted unanimously, and now, it's on the floor," Stuart said. "The process always takes some time."
The Senate has not decided when it will vote on the governor's appointees since the matter hasn't been put on the floor schedule.
"The Senate is getting to these things in their own time," Noyes said. "It's an extremely busy session with a massive number of bills."
"They're going to do them all at one time," she added.
The legislature's target date to end its session is March 31, and it is expected that the designees will have gone before the senate by that time, said Russell Bowers, Senate majority leader, in a statement released from his office.
While it is expected that the two designees will pass through the senate without difficulty, Stuart said he doesn't believe their appointments to be an important matter.
"The legislature decided on a very short session," Stuart said. "This wasn't very high on the list of priorities."