Thursday, April 10, 2008

Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance) coming through for his friends...

Edit on 4/10 to update, at the end of the post...

...and proves that his win in the race for this year's Legislative Loon Award was well-deserved.

Thanks to The New Times' Sarah Fenske (writing the column 'Valley Fever') for the heads-up on this one...

Earlier this week, Pearce submitted a "strike everything" amendment to SB1192, a bill that originally related to perjury.

The language of the amendment -

SECTION 29. No public officer or employee of a public agency who is licensed to practice law in this state is subject to any inquiry, investigation or disciplinary action by the supreme court or any entity of the supreme court for any act that is done in an official capacity and in good faith and that is based on constitutional or statutory authority.

The end result of the language would be to ensure that Andrew Thomas (and his hatchet-man, Dennis Wilenchik) face absolutely no professional sanctions for any of their actions, no matter how out of line those actions might be (as in investigating and arresting journalists for writing uncomplimentary articles about Thomas and Joe Arpaio).

At first glance, this sort of legislation would seem out of character for Mr. "Operation Wetback" who normally targets his looniest legislation toward Mexican immigrants, but this makes perfect sense when you consider the fact that Thomas' support lends an apparent air of respectability to the immigrant-bashing and -harassing efforts of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Pearce.

So Pearce's ploy to protect Thomas, while repulsive in an 'ethical' way, makes perfect sense in a 'practical politics' way.

If the bill passes both the House and the Senate, the measure would then go to the ballot in the fall, bypassing the Governor's veto pen.

The bill was scheduled for a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday where Pearce would attempt to amend it. I don't know if it passed (the results haven't been posted on the Lege's website, and I couldn't find any MSM stories about the hearing), but since Pearce is the committee's chairman, I feel safe in guessing that it did pass on a party line vote.

Updates when available...

Update on 4/10 - Turns out my assumption was wrong - Pearce's strike-everything amendment did *not* pass on a party line vote.

It wasn't heard at all.

I called Pearce's office (after being referred to him by the House Clerk's office) to ask about the striker's prospects.

I was informed that the bill and the striker will not be heard because (to paraphrase) "the court will take care of the problem itself."

That's no guarantee that the bill and striker will *not* be heard, but as we are now in mid-April, every day that a bill isn't moving makes it more likely that it is dead for the session.

End edit...


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