Mesa Rep. Russell Pearce says House Speaker Jim Weiers should not be holding up an illegal immigration bill that would let voters decide whether local police agencies should deal with federal immigration laws.
“I’ve spoken with the speaker about this and I got to say I’m real disappointed,” Pearce said Tuesday morning on the lawn of the state capitol. “He’s been a supporter of this in the past. I don’t know what the hang up is.”
Pearce made his comments at a press conference in which he was attempting to put pressure on legislators to pass HCR 2039. Pearce and Weiers are both Republicans.
The measure has cleared most of the legislative hurdles needed to get out of the House but has yet to receive a final vote on the floor -- allowing it to move to the Senate. As speaker, Weiers has the authority let the bill be voted on by the entire House.
Barrett Marson, a spokesman for the speaker, said resolutions are usually decided at the end of the session.
But Pearce said he did not want to jeopardize the bill by waiting until the last minute.
Two years ago, lawmakers refused to hear several key immigration proposals on the final night of the 2006 session. That prompted Pearce to take some of those measures directly to the ballot, and voters overwhelmingly then passed later that year.
If passed, the measure would also be on the November ballot. Among other things, it gives local authorities more leeway in enforcing federal immigration law.
Tuesday’s news conference comes two weeks after Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a similar measure.
Also attending the event in support of the measure was Maricopa County Sheriff Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Andrew Thomas and other East Valley lawmakers including Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, and Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa.