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House passes bill targeting day laborers

The House on June 18 approved a measure that would penalize people who linger on street corners seeking work, despite the objections of Democrats who said the measure was destined to be overturned by the courts.

The bill, H2412, makes it illegal for day laborers and their employers to impede traffic. Its sponsor, Rep. John Kavanagh, a Fountain Hills Republican, said the bill is different than a measure that was twice vetoed by former Gov. Janet Napolitano.

“Without a disruption of traffic, there is no violation,” he said.

But Rep. Ben Miranda, a Phoenix Democrat, said courts across the country have rejected similar laws because they violate the First Amendment rights of people to gather peacefully.

“It’s my deepest feeling that this legislation will also be rejected by the courts,” he said.

Miranda said the legacy of the state could be damaged if the bill passes and said it will lead to “a feeling of regret” for lawmakers in the future.

The bill passed 33-20 and will now be considered by the Senate.

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