Monday, March 19, 2012

House Democrats: ‘Let’s focus on jobs and education instead of extremist agenda’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Democrats are urging Republican legislators to focus on bills that would create jobs and improve education, instead of wasting time on ideologically driven legislation designed to “send a message” to the federal government.

“This year, we’ve seen too many bills that serve only to push an extremist Tea Party agenda,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Steve Farley. “These bills range from ordering the federal government to cede its lands in Arizona to spending state dollars on an untrained, armed militia that will be able to detain people at will. What we’re not seeing from this Tea Party agenda is a focus on creating jobs and improving schools.”

Several bills this session aim to invite lawsuits from the federal government, including:

SB 1083 – This legislation would allot state money to fund a volunteer state paramilitary force. This militia would not have sworn officers, nor would it require that members receive proper training. Members would be armed and have the powers throughout the state to pursue, arrest, and potentially shoot people they suspect to be involved in illegal cross-border activity.

SB 1332 – This bill would demand that the federal government turn over ownership of all federal lands in Arizona to the state by 2015 or else face levies and taxation by the state.

SB 1182 – If this became law it would make it a criminal act for any public officer to comply with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. It forces law enforcement to choose between violating a federal law or a state law.

HB 2719 – This bill attempts to undermine the Gun Free School Zone Act by allowing people to bring guns immediately outside schools, making it easier to intimidate school children and teachers.

“Legislation that picks a fight in the name of ideological extremism is not a solution to Arizona’s problems,” Rep. Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson (District 28) said. “On the contrary, these bills just open the doors to federal lawsuits that will cost the state money and will put Arizona back in the national spotlight for the wrong reasons.”

House Democrats said that this type of legislation is divisive and extremist and encourage their colleagues to focus instead on Arizona’s real needs - bills that will create jobs and improve public education.

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