New Arizona legislation on illegal immigration will start advancing again in the Senate sooner rather than later, Senate President Russell Pearce said Tuesday.
A spokesman for Pearce had said Friday that the measures were on hold pending action on the state budget, but Pearce said Tuesday that he is accelerating consideration of the measures even as majority Republicans’ budget talks continue behind the scenes.
Pearce had the Senate Rules Committee conduct a legal review of the measures on Tuesday, and he said after the committee meeting that he plans to have the full Senate consider them soon, possibly this week.
The new immigration measures include a sweeping bill by Pearce on education, public services and other subjects ranging from driving to hiring. Other Republican senators sponsored two measures on citizenship and a bill on hospital admissions.
All were put on hold after being approved by a Senate committee two weeks ago.
Senate passage would send the measures to the House where Pearce said they would then be put on hold again pending budget action.
Pearce said he and House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, agreed that the measures can’t wait indefinitely in the Senate because of time constraints associated with plans to end the legislative session in April.
“Time frames … if you don’t get them over there (to the House), they don’t get heard,” said Pearce.
Pearce said he plans amendments to change some provisions of his bill that might make it more palatable to opponents but he said it was hard to predict the outcome of Senate votes.
“We’ll just do what’s right,” said Pearce, who was the sponsor of the 2010 illegal immigration law known as SB1070.
The illegal immigration legislation is a divisive distraction from lawmakers’ work on the budget, said Sinema, who opposes the bills.