Mar 22, 2024 - News

Arizona Senate president blocks House speaker's illegal immigration proposal

Illustration of the Arizona State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It was a critical week at the Capitol as lawmakers rushed to meet today's deadline for bills to pass out of committee in the opposite chamber.

🛑 Zoom in: A controversial plan to target illegal immigration didn't make the cut. House Speaker Ben Toma had hoped to send the proposal to the November ballot.

  • It would have required state and local governments to verify the immigration status of all public benefits recipients and licensing applicants, and mandate the same for all employers hiring contractors or subcontractors.
  • Employers would have faced fines of up to $10,000 for each illegal immigrant they employed.
  • The House approved the measure last month, but Senate President Warren Petersen blocked it. Petersen told the Arizona Republic the business community has concerns with the bill that haven't been resolved.

Yes, but: There's an old saying at the Capitol that nothing is truly dead until sine die, and lawmakers could still revive it through a "strike-everything amendment."

In other legislative action this week:

⛔ Illegal immigration would become a state crime under two bills passed by a Senate committee, which are identical to legislation Gov. Katie Hobbs already vetoed this year.

  • Hobbs is expected to veto the bills again if they reach her desk.

🏛 Voters will decide whether to impose mandatory life sentences on people convicted of child sex trafficking after House Republicans gave final approval to a measure that sends the issue to the ballot.

💸 Tipped workers could be paid up to 25% below the minimum wage — slightly less than their minimum base pay now — under a proposed ballot measure House Republicans passed in committee.

Hobbs made waves with her Monday veto of legislation intended to increase the supply of starter homes in Arizona by preempting local design requirements.

Yes, but: She signed a handful of bills this week, including legislation to:

  • Allow the State Board of Education to bar people without teaching certificates from working at public schools if they've been banned from other district or charter schools.
  • Expand judges' ability to prohibit criminal defendants from contacting their victims.
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