State Legislature briefs - East Valley Tribune: Politics

State Legislature briefs

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Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 2:46 pm | Updated: 1:23 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Illegal immigration enforcement

The Senate voted 16-12 Monday to make it a violation of state law for anyone to be in this country illegally.

Illegal immigration enforcement

The Senate voted 16-12 Monday to make it a violation of state law for anyone to be in this country illegally.

Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said creating this new crime of trespass would give local police clear authority to arrest those who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their legal visa. He said some police departments have insisted - incorrectly he believes - they cannot arrest people for violating federal immigration laws.

Another provision of SB1175 forbids elected officials and the people who work for them from enacting or enforcing policies that prohibit their employees from contact or cooperating with federal immigration officers. The bill now goes to the House.

Drop houses

On a 17-11 margin, the Senate voted Monday to make it illegal to knowingly or recklessly conceal any illegal immigrant.

That is already a violation of federal law. But Sen. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, said he wants to ensure that county attorneys also are able to prosecute smugglers who put those they have brought into the country illegally into "safe houses," many in residential neighborhoods.

Violators could face five years in prison - double that if the hiding was done for financial gain. SB1280 now needs House approval.

Guns in restaurants

Legislation to allow people to carry their weapons into places where alcohol is served stalled Monday, at least temporarily, as backers found themselves one vote short.

Backers of SB1113 say people should not be required to leave their guns in their cars or at home just because they want to go into a restaurant that serves liquor. This law would let at least those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to keep their guns with them, as long as they did not actually imbibe while armed.

The legislation would allow business owners to post their restaurants as off-limits to guns. Foes said the presumption should be the other way around: Guns should be allowed only if a business owner specifically posts signs saying they are permitted.

SB1113 is expected to be back when an absent lawmaker returns.

Display of firearms

On a 21-7 vote, the Senate approved legislation allowing individuals to "display" that they are armed without violating state law.

SB1243 is designed to address concerns that those who pull back a jacket to show they are harmed could be charged with intimidating or threatening someone else. Supporters said it could help defuse a violent situation; opponents argued it might instead inflame it.

The bill now goes to the House.

Tax incentives

The Senate voted 16-12 to provide income and property tax exemptions for firms that agree to set up new renewable energy manufacturing operations in Arizona or move their corporate headquarters here.

Sen. Barbara Leff, R-Paradise Valley, said the state's current tax structure is particularly unfriendly for firms with expensive manufacturing equipment. She said the incentives should help Arizona become more competitive in landing what she said would be high-wage jobs.

Foes of SB1403 questioned why the state was altering its tax structure only for one type of industry. The House now needs to debate the measure.

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