Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Police State Bill on Today's COW Calendar (Update: Pearce Bill Passes COW with Amendment)

****Please See Update Below****

Will we live in state Senator Russell Pearce's dream police state, or will we live in the United States of America?

That's the issue at hand this afternoon as Pearce's SB 1070/HB 2632 goes to the House Committee of the Whole for debate. 

The bill, which would greatly expand police powers and indemnify any cop who wants to arrest someone he or she believes is in the country illegally, was just added to the COW calendar today.

The item was not posted last night, which makes me question the shenanigans going on to ram it through the House.

The legislation is opposed by police organizations, the ACLU, the ADL, the Catholic Church, the Arizona Attorney General, and Ernie Hancock's Libertarian crowd over at Freedom's Phoenix, who've noted that the bill provides a back door to the federal Real I.D. act and a national identification card.


Along with most Democrats, there's also a handful of Republicans who oppose the bill over civil liberties concerns and the fact that no one knows how many millions this train wreck law would cost cities, towns and counties forced to implement it.

Activists from both the left and the right are encouraging all citizens to call their state representatives and tell them to vote no. You can find a list of state House members and their telephone numbers, here.

Your liberty literally hangs in the balance.

I'm on deadline, so I'll be monitoring the proceedings via the House's streaming video of the floor session. You should watch as well to make sure the state Dems use every parliamentary procedure possible to stop Pearce's poisonous legislation.

If the bill passes, the disastrous effects upon law enforcement, civility and individual rights will be difficult to undo. 

Don't fool yourselves that illegal immigrants will be the only ones impacted. We all will be subject to unreasonable search and seizure. This is an issue both sides of the political spectrum should band together on and hold firm.

UPDATE: Pearce's bill passed the Committee of the Whole today without debate. However, the bill was amended by Representative Russell Jones, a Republican, to exempt first responders, EMTs, and ambulance attendants.

Jones' floor amendment throws a bit of a wrench into Pearce's best laid plans. There are now two somewhat dissimilar bills: HB 2632 with the Jones amendment, which awaits a third read on the House floor; and SB 1070, without that Jones language, which has already passed the state Senate.

How these two bills become reconciled, and how quickly, is the question. Folks I'm speaking to are hoping to hold off passage till the legislature calls sine die.

Wednesday March 24, at noon, Border Action Network will rally again at Governor Jan Brewer's office. Libertarians, liberals and none of the above are invited to attend. The rally will urge the Governor to veto the bill should it come to her desk. 

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons