Two new political challenges have been mounted to the state’s tough new immigration law.
Phoenix resident Brandon Slayton began a drive to refer SB 1070 to the November ballot.
Slayton needs to gather more than 76,000 signatures by July 28 to stop the new law from taking effect until voters get a chance to weigh in. If the petition drive is successful, the law would have to be ratified by a majority of those voting on the question.
Slayton did not return calls seeking comment. And it appears he has no political organization to get the signatures.
His effort also flies in the face of decisions by two other groups to cancel their own referendum drives.
Backers of those pointed out the Arizona Constitution says any measure which has been enacted by voters can be repealed or substantially amended only by voters. And the referendum essentially asks Arizonans to vote on SB 1070.
The Rev. John Auther said that is why he is taking a different approach.
His initiative proposes an entirely new state law — but one devoid of anything that was added by SB 1070. That gets around the possibility that failure of the initiative would forever cement the immigration bill into law.
But the trade-off is that Auther, pastor of St. Francis Xavier church in Phoenix, needs to collect more than 153,000 signatures. And he needs them by July 1.
He acknowledged the difficulty of that chore. But Auther said he had to take the first step.
“Until the initiative was submitted to the secretary of state, it’s hard to get people to sign on to something that might happen,” he said. “We’re hoping that now that it’s in, if people look at it then they’ll be able to decide whether or not they’re willing to help us come up with all the signatures.”
Auther’s proposal, if it makes the ballot and is adopted by voters, does have something new: It would put a three-year moratorium on legislators enacting any new laws aimed at illegal immigrants.
The key provision of the law, set to take effect July 29, requires police to check the immigration status of those they stop if there is reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally. Several lawsuits have been filed in federal court challenging its constitutionality.