Friday, June 22, 2012

Gallego admonishes Tea Party legislators for not helping people in Colorado City

‘Now the feds have to come in and do what the Tea Party Republicans here refused to do’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 16), admonished Tea Party legislators for not coming to the aid of people in Colorado City when they had the chance. They blocked a law that would have taken power from the local law enforcement agents who are now under fire for allegedly intimidating residents.

The U.S. Justice Department recently filed a federal civil rights case against a pair of polygamous Utah-Arizona border towns. The lawsuit claims that authorities in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz. intimidated people deemed unfaithful to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“We had a chance to put a stop to this reported abuse of power months ago. Now the feds have to come in and do what the Tea Party Republicans here refused to do.” Gallego, the ranking member of the House Military and Public Safety Committee, said. “The majority of the Tea Party Republicans in the House wouldn’t pull the trigger on legislation that would have helped people in Colorado City. People got hurt while they were too busy making laws to get women fired for using birth control and stealing money intended to help people facing foreclosure to fund private, for-profit prisons.”

The intimidation reportedly included denying victims housing and municipal services, destroying property and killing animals. The lawsuit claims that authorities, including members of the local law enforcement agency, were responsible for some of the intimidation at the behest of Warren Jeffs. Jeffs is the former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for the sexual assault of two underage girls.

In late April, Tea Party Republicans in the House killed SB 1433, which would have replaced Colorado City’s local police force with Mohave County sheriff’s deputies. Specifically, the bill would have removed the authority of a city or town to establish, regulate, appoint or remove the police within that city or town where 50 percent or more of the city or town’s police officers have had their peace officer certifications revoked by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, according to a specified formula.

Tea Party lawmakers also blocked another attempt to address this issue when it was added as an amendment to HB 2018. Those who supported the legislation argued that it was necessary to ensure police were enforcing the actual law, not Jeffs’ demands.

“The people who didn’t support this legislation, those who weren’t willing to stand up against the abuses occurring in Colorado City, should be ashamed of themselves,” Gallego said. “They stood by instead of stepping in.”


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