PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer will lay out her Legislative goals for the coming year Monday when she delivers what is likely her final State of the State address.
The speech on the opening day of the 2014 session is her chance to set her agenda for fixing Arizona's child welfare system, boosting education and economic development and outlining spending priorities in the state budget. Brewer is known as a strong-willed executive who is largely successful in getting her priorities, so the speech serves as a roadmap for items the Legislature historically has adopted.
Last year's address contained a bombshell that shocked many fellow Republicans: Brewer's decision to embrace a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, Medicaid expansion. After a battle with Republicans who control the Legislature, she cobbled together a coalition of Democrats and a handful of Republicans and got the measure adopted. About 300,000 more Arizonans are now eligible to sign up for the free health insurance plan for low-income residents.
Republican opponents are challenging the laws in court, but both Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker Andy Tobin said Friday that the issue is essentially finished for the Legislature pending a court decision.
Brewer is in her final year of her first full term in office. But beceause she served part of another term former Gov. Janet Napolitano took a Cabinet post in the Obama Administration in 2009, she's in her second term and can't run for a third. To do so, she would have to challenge a provision in the state constitution that limits governors to two terms. Legal experts said that's a longshot, but Brewer has declined to say if she plans to try to run again. She promised a decision in February.