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Senate judiciary chairman won’t take up bill to repeal SB 1070

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PHOENIX – Calling the measure a “political ploy” and contrary to the wishes of most Arizonans, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Monday he won’t hear a Democratic senator’s bill to repeal SB 1070.

“He wanted the opportunity to have a rally on the lawn,” Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said of the bill’s author, Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

Gallardo’s bill, introduced Jan. 24, was assigned to Gould’s committee.

“It’s my prerogative, and I get to choose what legislation I want to hear,” Gould said. “I don’t want to repeal 1070.”

Signed into law in 2010, SB 1070 generated nationwide controversy and has been met by legal challenges that have prevented most of its provisions from taking effect.

Its most controversial requirement, which has been put on hold by the courts, would have law enforcement officers, when possible, check immigration status if they develop reasonable suspicion of someone with whom they have lawful contact.

Gallardo, who introduced SB 1218 with 15 other Democratic primary and co-sponsors, accused Gould of being afraid to hear how SB 1070 has harmed Arizona’s economy and tourism industry.

“It has crippled us nationally and internationally and has put a black cloud over our state that has damaged our image and is going to take years for us to come out from,” he said.

A September poll by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy found that 64 percent of registered Arizonan voters favored the law’s provisions. SB 1070 inspired similar legislation in other states.

Gallardo, who said he will introduce the bill again, said the issue deserves attention from the Legislature.

“If my action was a political ploy, then give it a hearing,” he said. “Let’s bring in the Border Patrol and hear the status of border security.”