Freedom's Phoenix Web site owner and Libertarian activist Ernie Hancock is demanding that state Senator Russell Pearce be censured by the Senate Ethics Committee. This, over an e-mail Pearce sent out recently suggesting that Hancock's advocacy against Pearce's SB 1070/HB 2632 was "just short of a domestic terrorist act."
As I've reported previously, what Hancock did to incur the ire of Pearce was little more than send out a mass e-mail with a link to an article by John Green, one of FP's many columnists.
In it, Green argued that Pearce's bill -- which greatly expands police powers and makes it a trespassing offense to be in Arizona and be undocumented -- contained a back door to the federal Real I.D. Act and a national identification card.
The Hancock e-mail drew blood, appealing to a handful of Republicans with concerns about the Pearce legislation. On March 17, the bill's chief sponsor in the House was forced to "retain" the bill on the calendar, hoping for another chance at a later date..
(Many have anticipated that the bill would go before the House's Committee of the Whole again Tuesday, March 23. At present, I see no indication of the bill being on the House's calendar for Tuesday.)
In any case, Pearce was steamed, and dashed off e-mails calling Hancock "an open-boarders [sic] person."
Apparently, he was so mad, he couldn't spell.
Hancock said he was going to blow off the attack, but then folks started pointing out to him that having a state Senator suggest you might be up to domestic terrorism could have long term ramifications.
So Hancock had attorney Michael Kielsky fire off a letter, accusing Pearce of attempting to "punish Mr. Hancock and chill the exercise of his rights to free speech and petition."
Kielsky asks that the Ethics Committee investigate the matter, and that Pearce "be admonished and censured, and that he be required to retract his veiled threats."
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That'll teach Pearce to mess with a Libertarian. Too bad Hancock can't sue.
Meanwhile, according to the Arizona Legislative Report, there's a rump group of seven Republicans who're are saying no to the Pearce bill, some on the grounds that it's unconstitutional, some for the as-yet-unknown costs to cities and counties, and at least one for the concerns over the Real ID Act.
The bill may not be officially dead till the legislature folds its tent, and calls sine die. But the clock is ticking. The budget is done. And legislators want out.
Anyway, till sine die, best keep your dukes up, Libertarians and all the rest.