Supporters of Gov. Janet Napolitano’s plans to reform Child Protective Services accused Republican legislative leaders of dawdling on the issue Wednesday during a news conference at the state Capitol.
GOP efforts to disprove the claim fell apart as leaders were unable to move ahead with a single proposal. Instead, a plan from House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, was filed late Wednesday while Senate President Ken Bennett, RPrescott, is expected to offer his own version today.
The Children’s Action Alliance brought out about 45 advocates and lawmakers to pressure the Legislature and to support a $35.5 million reform plan offered by Napolitano. Several speakers said leadership delays and a refusal by many Republicans to back the governor’s funding request should anger every Arizonan.
"As the Legislature waffles in its dysfunction, children are out there being abused," said House Minority Leader John Loredo, DPhoenix. "When we have children who are unprotected, it is a crisis."
Republicans leaders said they were moving closer toward adopting legislation that will include most of Napolitano’s reforms. But they acknowledged difficult negotiations make it likely a special session will continue into early December.
"When you look at the bills, there are some common themes throughout," said House Speaker Pro Tem Bob Robson, R-Chandler. "There’s still some committee time and there’s floor time for these bills to take further shape, if necessary."
A few Senate Democrats added to the confusion late Wednesday by temporarily blocking Bennett’s efforts to introduce his new bill.